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Matthew Williams's blog

2:31 PM on 02.29.2012

Rant: What the hell is wrong with GAME?!

Hey guys, sorry for not being on but I've been trying to fight anaemia for a week or so, but it seems that's the least of my worries right now.

As you may have noticed, GAME has been in the news recently. A lot. And it seems to be making me wonder one tiny thing...


Now as I have been a regular in the store for best part of ten years I can understand why, and argue why they are failing so much... I will list my thoughts below, and what I think should happen to it, even if it might anger a few british gamers in return.

1: The games are expensive. No, seriously, if you pay Ł43 or more for a game then you really need to look online and see if you can get them cheaper. Better still, if you have a Grainger games, go there. Or better still, try CeX for exchanging hardware and software, and get games - minus DLC and online accessibility for cheaper.
2: The hardware is just as expensive as well. Ł45 for a Move starter kit? Ł52 for a DualShock 3 with SixAxis? Talk about slapping gamers when they're strapped for cash!
3: They think they can still own the games industry. WRONG. and I'll explain. with sales of Rayman Origins and Lumines Electronic Symphony being missing from the PSVita launch, and now EA and Nintendo sticking up two fingers towards the company, they are on a knife-edge, which could mean one or two things should happen:

Either they should wait for a buyer and not be bullish about the takeover, in which will please the consumers, or they should scrap buying new stuff altogether and focus on preowned games and hardware, which some of the indie stores have done in my local area and are still trading.. If they fail in both of these, especially the possible GameStop buyer, it could literally become the scene from that NES chiller Friday the 13th:


1:12 PM on 04.09.2010

Review: Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver

Well I've spent about a good week and a half trying to complete the Johto region so, here goes my review on one of the most hyped games for the DS ...outside of Mario... Zelda... and Professor Layton. This review may contain spoilers.

Pokemon: Heart Gold Version, Pokémon: Soul Silver version (Reviewed)
Format: DS
Players: 1-5
Wi-Fi? Yes. Wireless? Yes
Price: Around Ł30-40, $40-50

I could really make this review quite short, but as there's a lot of stuff to cover, I will start off with the story. You're either a boy or girl, travelling the regions of Johto, collecting the Gym Badges, and becoming the best Pokemon Trainer. It's been the same for the past 10 years, so it shouldn't take a veteran days to clear that up. However, unlike the rivals in Gen 3 and 4 who were friendly, this game features a pretty ruthless rival called Silver. He peeks into the lab and steals a Pokemon under Professor Elm's nose, and tries to claim to be the best Pokemon trainer, and for some time until you show him he isn't, he'll be a pain in the butt. He won't try to stop you achieving it, but he doesn't seem to like you and other trainers bettering him either.


Now that we have covered the storyline, I could say that the game is exactly the same as the Gold Silver and Crystal games, and you can be right about it. However, there are a lot of differences in this game. First of all, you cannot customise your bedroom which was one of the best things in the series to do, going up to people and getting new toys every day until you got all of the gifts, and also, unlike the originals, there is a much more streamlined menu. Instead of just using the DS buttons to navigate, you can now if you wish use the Stylus to open up menus or go through a page of text. You can't move your character using this method, but since you can now trade using the Stylus, it takes mere seconds to do, rather than up to a minute for those playing on the 4th gen games, Diamond Pearl and Platinum.

Also it is worth pointing out that a lot more content has been added to this game, notably the Pokéathlon, a Athletics course designed for Pokemon of all levels, the Safari Zone finally makes its long-awaited return, with players allowed free-roam of the park, attempting to catch Pokémon with 30 Safari Balls, and content of additional areas from Red, Blue And Yellow. You can catch Mewtwo, the three legendary birds, and even some of the Hoenn legendaries as well! Also don't forget that the Crystal content is intact in Johto, meaning you only have to catch two of the dogs roaming around in Johto and Kanto, while Suicine is interactable.

Also, you can have a laugh and check how your Pokémon is, by looking at it, and talking to it. The best ones are either when they're getting Dizzy, or has given you a good or better trust, since they can act very randomly at times. Finally, one of the best inclusions is allowing yourself to take a Pokemon of any level down one of the many unlockable Pokéwalker courses. At first you only get two, but once you accumulate enough watts (providing you don't go mad on Pikachus) you can unlock more courses, eventually giving you unobtainable (by that I mean Spiritomb) Pokemon otherwise.


Did I Mention Kanto? This is what made the original game even better, when you could complete the game, then you realise there's ANOTHER continent to go to! I won't spoil much of it, but those who have played the originals will remember going through the old areas meeting similar or different gym leaders, as well as talking to the Professor in his original town! Not to mention you can now get almost all of the 493 Pokémon without having to go to any events!

On the Battle fronts, everything is the exact tried and tested formula from all of the series, so those looking for a few different moves may be surprised, as some Pokémon learn new moves either via the move tutor or training in the Johto and Kanto regions.

I would have given it full marks, however, there are three things that stop it from being the best games in the series. First, I mentioned about the lack of bedroom gifts in these games, but the games are nearly the same game as it was 10 years ago. Those looking for a complete overhaul will be disappointed. But worst of all are the random, and I quote: RANDOM Encounters. This seems okay on paper, but when you sometimes can walk around having next to no encounters, just to suddenly get one every 7 or so steps is extremely annoying, and the worst part is these so-called wild Pokémon don't even give you anywhere NEAR as much experience as you would until you get to two areas in the game, and that is disappointing, especially since the Gym and Trainer battles provide a good challenge, and reward to boot.


All in all, these games are a faithful remake of the originals on the Game Boy Color, however, it should be time to probably revolutionise some of the series' core mechanics. Now we know that Pokémon White and Black Versions are coming out, you'd better catch and train them all before the new appearances come out of hiding!

9.5/10 - Excellent (An excellent game which is held back by short grasps. Still, these are games that without fail, you must buy).   read

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