Pokemon SoulSilver Review for DS

On: DS
Pokemon SoulSilver screenshot
Pokemon SoulSilver screenshot

What is it about the Pokémon series that draws players back time and time again? Aside from improved graphics and a few new features, the formula hasn't changed since the original Red and Blue games from 1996. Regardless of this fact, the weeks leading up to the DS remakes of Pokémon Gold and Silver have been a frenzied blur of excitement. Gaming forums and communities from all corners of the web play host to the same assortment of zealous questions: which version should I get? What starter Pokémon should I choose? Want to arrange a battle? Nearly 15 years since its inception and Poké-fever is as contagious as ever, but is the series still worthy of all the excitement?

Much like Pokémon Fire Red and Leaf Green, HeartGold and SoulSilver are remakes of existing games in the series. The graphics have been spruced up for the DS generation and the game now has lovely WiFi connectivity features, but it's still essentially the same experience as that on the Game Boy Colour ten years ago. This is nothing to be sneered at, however, as Gold and Silver are widely regarded as the best games in the series.

If for some mind-boggling reason you haven't played a Pokémon game before, pay heed to the following paragraph as I explain what you've been missing out on for the last decade and a half. Each game follows the same well used template: after being given your first Pokémon, you set off on an adventure to become a Pokémon Master by defeating gym leaders in exchange for badges that will eventually grant you access to the Elite Four, the strongest Pokémon trainers in the game. Along the way you'll put a stop to the tyrannous Team Rocket and catch as many Pokémon as you physically can in order to complete a Pokémon encyclopaedia known as the Pokédex. It's a wonderful life.

With HeartGold and SoulSilver, that exact formula takes place in a region known as Johto. There are eight of the aforementioned Gyms to work through and countless other forests, caves, and ancient ruins besides. The same turn-based battles are at the heart of the experience, and seasoned players will quickly slip back into the satisfying grind of strengthening their team. Just like in the original games, once you've defeated the gym leaders, Elite Four and the Pokémon Champion in Johto, the game grants you access to Kanto, the region from the very first Pokémon games. Revisiting Kanto is a nostalgic experience, although the impact has lessened slightly since Fire Red and Leaf Green. This second region almost doubles the lifespan of the game, with a further eight gyms to collect badges from. What I'm trying to hit home here is that these are big, big games.

Pokemon SoulSilver screenshot

If you've played the original Gold and Silver, little of what I've prattled on about so far will be news to you – so onto the new stuff. The Heart and Soul prefixes bring with them numerous improvements and enhancements to the game. As well as being graphically superior, the battle screen and menus have all been given a makeover, allowing for quicker and more accessible item and Pokémon organisation. You also no longer need to hold down a button to run, and more than one key-item can now be registered for quick-use. Most of these enhancements have been seen already in the DS Pokémon outings, but HeartGold and SoulSilver offer a wealth of their own new features.

No longer are your Pokémon confined to the prison of a static battle screen; HeartGold and SoulSilver bring your companions into the world of Johto itself. The lead Pokémon in your party will actually appear behind your avatar, faithfully following you from town to town. What's more, the creatures are scaled to size; seeing a Charizard or Tyranitar towering above your avatar as he (or she) strolls through a town is empowering indeed. It might seem like a trivial addition to the game, but it breathes new life into the Pokémon that have never been anything more than listless battle combatants.

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User Comments

devante89's Avatar

devante89

ifn you have wi fi and pokemon soul silver this is my pal pad code my name is dj 502766114894
Posted 04:08 on 28 April 2010
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls

That's the trouble with getting it right first time ;P
Posted 21:40 on 21 March 2010
Neon-Soldier32's Avatar

Neon-Soldier32@ Thel-Win-Man

Yaaaaaaaay! I love milking franchises.
Posted 20:52 on 21 March 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Yeah, I'm really looking forward to a new region,
but I still love the reboots of old regions.
I can;t wait to get my hands on this game.
Posted 20:52 on 21 March 2010
Thel-Win-Man's Avatar

Thel-Win-Man@ Neon-Soldier32

Neon-Soldier, no doubt nintendo will end up making another new region, with 150-200+ new pokemon, mark my words
Posted 20:40 on 21 March 2010
Neon-Soldier32's Avatar

Neon-Soldier32

I am really looking forward to this, but it begs the question; how many more Pokémon games can be made. I mean, apart from being able to go through Kanto, Jhoto and Sinnoh. But apart the PokéWalker, there doesn't seem to be that much new.

But of course I'll buy it. It's my Call of Duty, in the same way that 12 year olds with an Xbox love Call of Duty.

Although, it would be cool if Nintendo did remakes of Red, Blue and Yellow, that is inna different to FireRed, Leaf Green and 'Electric Yellow?'
Posted 17:39 on 20 March 2010
thompo555's Avatar

thompo555@ Woffls

To the Internet to get a list and which look cooler!! :) thanks :)
Posted 22:34 on 19 March 2010
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls

One has different Pokemon to the other.

Yes, that really is it :laugh:
Posted 19:21 on 19 March 2010
thompo555's Avatar

thompo555@ Woffls

Hehe, tis my test so only smart peoples can answer ;) (alcohol has gon to me head lol, only had one :P)

Anyway, what's the difference?
Posted 19:08 on 19 March 2010
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls

Ah I thought you were talking about the other Chris, that confused me!

Buy Gold because everyone else is buying Silver! It's the most popular for some reason.
Posted 19:05 on 19 March 2010
thompo555's Avatar

thompo555

Somebody persuade poor chris to buy and which one!

Don't ask why I went 3rd person!!
Posted 19:03 on 19 March 2010
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls

Top review bruv.

I question now more than ever if sticking to the same formula is invariably a bad thing. Pokémon has hardly changed in 14 years, but is there anything else quite like it of the same outstanding quality? If the answer is no, then surely changing the formula would deprive us of something unique and magikarp KARP KARP

^_^ can't wait to play this, though I wasn't aware you could go back to Kanto in the original Gold/Silver, which I actually never played.

I have Silver pre-ordered from GAME with the super cool statue. I'm gonna' try my bestest to catch Mesprit etc in Pearl so I can import them as soon as I get my 6th badge or whatever it is.

AGGHHH I love you Nintendo.
Posted 18:58 on 19 March 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Oh God I love Pokemon.
Sooo much :D
Posted 18:47 on 19 March 2010
Thel-Win-Man's Avatar

Thel-Win-Man

i personally cant wait, i never played g/s, so johto will be a new place 4 me :)
Posted 14:18 on 19 March 2010
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Excellent review yet again Jamin! Keep it up :)

I want this game so bad but I have no money for the game. My money has already been spoken for :(
Posted 13:29 on 19 March 2010

Game Stats

Pokemon SoulSilver
9
Out of 10
Pokemon SoulSilver
  • PokéWalker is an inspired addition
  • 493 of the blighters to catch!
  • WiFi features are as innovative as ever
  • The Pokémon formula is becoming worn out
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 26/03/2010
Platform: DS
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: RPG
Rating: PEGI 3+
Site Rank: 1,371
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