How do I begin...?
I had low hopes for PMD Gates to infinity when I first learned of it back in september. I really did. Since the wiiware games were so bad they couldn't even cross the atlantic, I thought that Chunsoft was going to ruin this game once again, so they can just get back to finishing the Zero Escape series.
I was terribly wrong. When the Japanese trailers were shown, I was in amazement; not only was this game shaping up to be at least a decent 3DS game, it seemed to be a very well made RPG. But when it seemed to take forever for this game to be announced for North America and Europe, I gave up. I thought it failed and wasn't good enough. But then it was announced in December 2012 for a release, meaning that there would finally be a new PMD in America after all these years. When it was announced in Europe a few months later during a nintendo direct, I was excited to see what this game could be. Red rescue team was my all time favorite story in gaming, and used to be my favorite game before I discovered Ys I and II.
So when I popped this into my 3DS XL, I expected more of the same, but I was wrong. VERY wrong...
Similar to other PMD games, you are a human who becomes a pokemon. But this time there is a different twist to it- You have your memories, instead of being amnesiac. You enter the pokemon world in a different way. And then you meet your partner after arriving, who's biggest dream is to make a paradise and help others in need. Seems like a childish story about friendship.
But soon enough, the plot changes. It gets darker, probably the darkest in any pokemon game i've played. Shocking events happen, characters come into play, some even providing their own stories.
This story is by far amazing, and has a lot of surprises. When you think you know it all, something more shocking happens. When you think of a predictable solution to an event, something very different happens. This helps enrich the story, and many times through it, I felt bad for the characters, relating to a few of them in some cases. And the ending... It was so shocking and sad that I cried afterwards, even though I am a teenager. This is the main reason to pick up the game, especially if you are a fan of Virtue's last reward. .
This may throw off some, but trust me, it's improved and makes it addicting. It's the same dungeon-crawler experience as you've known, but this time with tons of added features and improvements to always keep it fresh. You can now go outside of some dungeons, which has you fighting the pokemon outside. This is similar to the Ys series in the sense of you running around and battling enemies, as well as the Legend of Zelda in terms of some of the light puzzle solving.
However, what probably will confuse people the most is the limited starter choices. There are only 5 pokemon to choose from, the three unova starters, Pikachu and Axew. Don't let this fool you though, as each pokemon are wonderfully designed and have their own unique animations to make up for this.
This game also has only 155 pokemon, unlike the other PMDs where there was all of them. This is actually a GOOD move on their part, as the reason the wiiware games and the previous PMDs were panned was because of how there was just too many pokemon, and the ones featured in the story didn't do too much. But in this game, every pokemon has a unique set of animations, and the story characters are unique in themselves, as they each how their own personalities. One pokemon has a trust problem that is gradually resolved over the story, and a duo of pokemon are lovers that work together to help you on your quest to save the pokemon world.
You also can buy DLC, but these are 100% optional, but in my opinion, worth it just for the fact that you get bonus music to play on the title screen.
There is also multiplayer, which i've tried with a friend, and it's quite fun, but limited. You and your friends battle bosses together... And that's all you can do, sadly, but it's still fun to take on a challenge with friends!
Oh my god... This is probably the BEST soundtrack in ANY video game I've played. Every song fits the situation you are in, and they are all beautifully made. Some will make you cry, some will make you scream, some will make you happy. All of the soundtracks I've listened to over the years, YS I and II, FFVI, FFII on the famicom, The Last Story, this soundtrack beats ALL of those combined. If they make a OST of this, I'll buy it ASAP. It's that amazing.
The controls are spot on and improved. You now attack by holding the L button and by using a move, instead of going to the menu or using a linked move. The movement in the 3D areas are precise thanks to the circle pad, The dungeons are more strategic thanks to these improvements.
Luckily for you, this isn't nearly as hard as the first two games, but it's still quite brutal. In this game, every single death is now your fault, and not due to a cheap move. If you didn't plan correctly, you are going to die. But if you want a REAL challenge, try the 99F post game dungeons... They are harder than ever before, and will test your RPG skills to the maximum.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Gates to Infinity is the best game I've played in my life. I had high expectations close to release, but they soared high into the sky above those. This is a game every 3DS owner needs to play and complete. You will NOT regret this purchase, even if it seems a little childish at first, it'll reveal it's darker nature overall. If you liked Ys, Etrian Odyssey IV, Fire Emblem awakening, you will love this game. The amazing story, the tearjerking ending, even for people who don't tend to cry, and the brilliant and addictive gameplay, along with the glorious music will all lead to what I consider the best handheld RPG of all time. If you like good stories, simple but challenging gameplay, great music, anything along those lines, it's your duty to get this game. You will not regret it.
I give this game my highest rating i've only given to 2 other games (FFVI and Ys). 10 out of 10
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