Pokemon FireRed Review
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Both new and long-time Pokémon players will find in FireRed and LeafGreen a lengthy and involving role-playing adventure.
In 1999, the original Pokémon Red and Blue games hit the Game Boy, and Nintendo's pocket monster franchise has been hugely successful ever since. It has been so successful, in fact, that the original games got a remake in the new Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen. Fans of the original games will feel a sense of déjà vu going through these latest games, though they'll enjoy seeing all their old Pokémon favorites in full color on the Game Boy Advance. However, both new and long-time Pokémon players will find in FireRed and LeafGreen a lengthy and involving role-playing adventure. The gameplay hasn't changed much at all over the years, but it's still just as addictive. And the inclusion of a wireless adapter with every copy of FireRed and LeafGreen makes Pokémon's popular multiplayer element more accessible than ever.
The enduring appeal of Pokémon may seem inexplicable to the uninitiated, but it's certainly no accident. The world of Pokémon is a cute, kid-friendly one, filled with hundreds of different colorful creatures, many of which are inspired by real animals. Each unique Pokémon has a clever name and a distinct combination of traits and abilities. In the gameworld, trainers capture these critters out in the wild and then duel them against other trainers and their creatures. It's sort of a violent premise, actually, and therein probably lies part of the allure--yet the world of Pokémon is so lighthearted and charming that even cynical players are liable to get swept into it if they give it so much as a chance.
As in the original Pokémon Red and Blue, in FireRed and LeafGreen, you play as a character with aspirations to become the greatest Pokémon trainer in the land. Unlike in the original Pokémon games, though, you can now play as either a boy or a girl. Either way, you'll be trying to discover every last breed of those mysterious creatures in the process. Along the way, you'll square off against the nefarious Team Rocket, not to mention dozens of rival Pokémon trainers. Just getting to the end of the story takes about 25 hours, and you'll have uncovered only a fraction of the Pokémon in the game by that time--so there's tons of lasting value here, especially since you can keep playing once the main quest is over. In fact, hardcore Pokémon fans would argue that you're only just getting started at this point. Once you've finished the quest, many more new Pokémon become available for catching, and it's possible to go back and challenge any of the trainers you've previously encountered for some tough high-level challenges.
As with previous simultaneously released Pokémon games, FireRed and LeafGreen are essentially identical products whose only differences are precisely which Pokémon creatures they contain. Neither version contains all of the Pokémon, so you'll need to trade with another player in order to catch 'em all. But there's little point in actually getting both versions of the game for yourself.
Last year's Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire introduced many new breeds of Pokémon, but it didn't do much to change the series' core gameplay. Its one real innovation was battles between pairs of Pokémon (the vast majority of fights were still one-on-one), and that twist carries over into FireRed and LeafGreen, which otherwise plays just like Pokémon always has. Basically, you'll run around in the game's fairly vast world of towns interconnected with stretches of wilderness, and as you go, you'll often run into rival trainers as well as wild Pokémon, at which time the game switches to battle mode. The turn-based battles are simple in execution--each of your Pokémon has a maximum of four different actions it can use in a fight--and yet there's genuine complexity in the balance between different types of Pokémon.
It boils down to a rock-paper-scissors type of system, meaning no Pokémon is without some sort of exploitable weakness (for example, a water Pokémon like Squirtle can really put the hurt on a fire Pokémon like Charmander), but there are so many different types of Pokémon and so many different moves that there's definitely a lot to consider as you fight. That's especially true, perhaps, when you're fighting wild Pokémon that you've never seen (or caught) before. Catching Pokémon can be tough, since you'll want to weaken them as much as possible, yet without draining all of their hit points, before trying to capture them with one of those poké balls that you should always have in ample supply. This is a consistently tense and exciting process, especially since the tougher the Pokémon you're trying to catch, the tougher it is to catch it.
You can have up to six different Pokémon with you at a time, and each one involved in a battle gains experience points. As Pokémon level up, they gain new abilities, generally get stronger, and sometimes evolve into stronger, more mature versions of themselves. Leveling your characters is a time-honored tradition of role-playing games, and in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, there are hundreds of different characters for you to potentially concentrate on building up. You'll need to make some tough choices along the way, since it is tempting to try different combinations of Pokémon, and it's also tempting to try different combinations of abilities for each one.
- Player Reviews: 216
- Game Universe:
- Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team (DS, GBA),
- Pokemon Snap (N64),
- Pokemon Puzzle League (N64),
- PokePark 2: Wonders Beyond (WII),
- Pokemon Rumble Blast (3DS),
- Pokemon Black Version (DS),
- Pokemon White Version (DS),
- PokePark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure (WII),
- Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs (DS),
- Pokemon HeartGold Version (DS)
- Offline Modes:
- Number of Players: