Hello. My name is Freezair. I am now 24 years old, and I still freaking love DINOSAURS.
But let's face it, the joke's never as funny the second time. So let's go about this review in a calm, orderly, and professional oh who am I kidding. When Nintendo first announced a sequel to the original Fossil Fighters, my high-pitched squealing was so powerful, it went back in time and reverberated throughout the Cretaceous. Due to the coming of the 3DS, I was at first afraid for the sequel's chances in North America, since it was still on the original DS. But the power of DINOSAURS knows no bounds, because NoA decided to localize it for the good of all the DINOSAUR fans in the Western hemisphere. And maybe more than just those DINOSAUR fans. But let's not get ahead of ourselves here.
So the plot of this game is a lot like the first one! You live in a world filled the DINOSAURS or rather FOSSILS, like, way too many fossils to be realistic but c'mon it's a video game, and people fight DINOSAURS and rank each other so one person is theoretically the BEST DINOSAUR FIGHTER EVER, and you want to be that guy because who doesn't want to be the best?! Josie McGoober McGee, that's who, and nobody likes her. Only there's more backstory this time that kinda reads like someone took a best-of list of a bunch of action adventure movies and stuffed them in a blender, so you and your Tag-along Kid best friend go to Jurassic Park and get saved by Indiana Jones, only it's really Caliosteo Park and Joe Wildwest because DINOSA--I mean, COPYRIGHTS! And it turns out Joe Wildwest is also our Professor Oak Analogue, because he lets you pick your Starting Dinosaur and guides your progress in Being the Best only he's younger and way hotter than Professor Oak ever was (sorry Prof.) And there's also a team of bad guys who want to stop ANYONE from being the best, so they constantly try to sabotage the big "Be the Best" tournament going on in goofy ways (like Jello Hot Springs) because they hate fun. So you have to stop them AND be the best! But if you can do all that, then you really are the best forever and ever at DINOSAURS, and everyone wants to be the best at DINOSAURS!
OK, so how do you DO that? Just like in the first game, you have to go dig up lots and lots of fossils and clean them off to revive them with SPACE MAGIC so they become real DINOSAURS. You clean off fossils with the touch screen and rubbing them with your stylus but not too hard, or you'll go breakin' their hearts (and bones). Only now that's a lot better than it was in the first game! For one thing, all the areas in the game are way, way bigger, because DINOSAURS were big and anything that's like DINOSAURS is automatically better. They also look way more awesome, like, it's not just the graphics being better, but they have neater designs, too, just like real DINOSAURS. Also all the areas now have neat different things about them instead of just their fossils, like some areas have places where you dig in walls and other places have different fossils depending on the color of where you dig and some even do different things in battle, but we'll get to that, too! There's also different kinds of fossils now, like, in the first game DINOSAUR fossils always came in four pieces: Head, body, arms, and legs. But in this game, sometimes you'll find the whole body in one big rock, or one GIANT rock, or some DINOSAURS (which are actually ancient mollusks but whatever, they're old and they're just bones now just like DINOSAURS) only have a shell to find! There's even super-mega-rare gold fossils you can give to ANY DINOSAUR EVER) (even though they all look like heads, and DINOSAURS with two heads would be... still DINOSAURS, but a little weird) that make them uber-powerful and also sometimes transform them into SUPER EVOLVERS, which are DINOSAURS but a millionty times better. And in the first game it was dumb, because you learned moves by finding new body parts and it was weird because we haven't found whole skeletons of some of those DINOSAURS in real life, and it made the game annoying and repetative to keep going back and find them all! But in this game, you learn skills when you level up so you only need the head part and the other body parts just make you level up faster! Oh, but you can still look for those because who doesn't want more DINOSAUR things? Though be warned, some DINOSAURS are rare and only have head parts available in this game, so if you want their whole body, you'll have to trade some fossils from the first game, which you should totally have on hand because you love DINOSAURS too, right? (Not that I'll judge you if you don't. DINOSAURS love everybody, even people who don't love them.)
But then you revive the fossils and have REAL LIFE DINOSAURS in your party, so it's time to go fight people with them and watch your dinosaurs be awesome! Just like in the last game, you have to go up and bug people to get them to fight you; you don't have to worry about walking by someone only for them to to go all "!" Metal Gear Solid on you and now you have to waste five minutes of your life fighting this guy just so you can walk on through the area. You can carry five DINOSAURS with you, but DINOSAURS always fight each other in groups of three because three is a magic number, just like Schoolhouse Rock taught me! You attack and do stuff with points that are called Fossil Points. That's like the first game, but the battling itself is pretty different! For one thing now battles take place in a CIRCLE instead of a triangle and you can swap your DINOSAURS around as much as you want! (In the first game, one DINOSAUR would go to this back zone and just sit there like a lump until it recovered and it was awkward.) And while in the original game, it was always TWO DINOSAURS who worked together supporting one DINOSAUR (two for one and one for all?), now you can switch it around and have one DINOSAUR supporting two awesome attackers, because two DINOSAURS is better than one! This means you have more options for what to do with your supporting DINOSAURS, because every DINOSAUR deserves a chance to shine because they're all DINOSAURS and thus all awesome. Speaking of shining, all of the battle mechanics got polished so now they're way better! Status effects were kind of lame in the first game because only the active DINOSAUR could have them and switching out got rid of them easily, but now in this game, every DINOSAUR can be effected by status stuff! Plus a lot of skills got their costs balanced and had their effect ratios changed and some DINOSAURS got new skills and trust me. I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but it makes a difference so huge that even SEISMO-FREAKING-SAURUS (that's a big dinosaur, dude) has to look at it and go, "Woah, that's big." If you played the original game, you'll totally appreciate it. And if you didn't, you newbies don't know how good you got it! (Except you do, because you still have DINOSAURS and that's still hard to top.)
And speaking of things that got way better! The graphics and music in these two games are, like, waaay super better than they were in the original! Like the first game was really blocky and badly animated and it had a nice framerate in the battles but that was kind of it? Well, this one has super more-detailed models for the humans and characters and stuff that's even cell shaded, and sure, they might not be DINOSAURS, but you stare at them a lot especially when walking around so they still deserve to look good too! They're a lot more detailed and have more unique designs and that helps bring them to life better (just like how you bring your DINOSAUR friends to life)! And the character designs are a lot more unique, like the last game's bad guys were just Team Rocket in purple suits but these guys are really different and also they make jokes about hipsters, which is funny to everyone. And of course there's even more DINOSAURS, with even more designs, including some totally crazy made-up ones for the Super Evolvers! The art style is less cartoony and more anime-like though, which might make some people sad. Aww. But one new thing that's in this game is avatars that you can make yourself look like in battle (because it makes you stand out in ONLINE FIGHTS) and those run the gamut from being really cartoony to really anime and everything in between! So you can look exactly how you want to! Oh, and speaking of, you can play as a girl in this one. Because I'm living proof that girls love DINOSAURS too!
And I didn't forget the music being better! Because it is! The original game had some pretty OK tunes but some of it was kind of forgettable and it was a pretty mixed bag. But this soundtrack is way more on its game! It's a lot catchier and there's some really groovin' stuff, like this game actually includes a sound test feature because you might want to listen to some of these songs just because. The songs have a lot of personality and they're really cartoonish. It's not hyper-fantastic as far as soundtracks go but it's still pretty good and there are a few standout tracks. Also on the soundtrack the songs all have silly names like "Chocolate Soiree" or "Raspberry Bell," and that's cute. If I were to pick any game the current soundtrack reminds me of, I'd say Paper Mario! The first one. And that game had a great soundtrack, so that's a compliment!
Oh, and speaking of, the localization in this game is still awesome! Just like the first game, this one was done in-house at Nintendo and you know how their other quirky RPGs have turned out. There's lots of jokes and in-jokes and out-jokes and jokes that got turned inside out in the wash and now their insides are pink because you washed them with those bright red novelty Christmas socks. Not only does it make jokes about hipsters (which I hear are funny), there's also one bit where they make fun of Yu-Gi-Oh! and I hear that's also really funny, especially on the Internet! The writing is really smart and on it, even moreso than the first game! And... gosh... I haven't mentioned DINOSAURS in a while... so how about I bring up that there are two commentators who talk through every battle and they're actually TALKING DINOSAURS, like how could you make the goofiness of ever-present in-battle commentators any better. And the first game had commentators who were pretty good, but these guys have some of the best lines in the game, seriously. Also, THEY'RE TALKING DINOSAURS! So let's give a big hand to everybody involved in Nintendo's localization team, because the power of DINOSAURS was clearly with them.
OK... gotta focus. Gotta be serious for a moment... breathe... let the power of DINOSAURS flow through you... There... got it!
The game is a striking improvement on its predecessor in many ways, from its vastly improved aesthetics to its streamlined and re-balanced battle system, and even in the excellent selection of new dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures added to the game. The only serious downside lies in the difficulty level: While the first game was a fairly decent challenge the whole way through, this game becomes far easier as it progresses, due to the way the game chooses to scale the levels of the enemy teams. The game is little trouble up until the final boss, and while the endgame content provides far more challenge, it is on the whole a much easier experience. The fact that certain fossils are only available by trading with the previous game is also a bit of a letdown, though every species is still available in this game without trading--though some are far easier to obtain in the original. Overall, though, the re-balancing and tweaking done here gives the two games a sharp contrast comparable to that between Pokemon Red and Blue and Gold and Silver, with the sequel coming off as superior in almost every way. While the original was fun, and certainly a treat for anyone who loves dinosaurs, this sequel holds far more... mainstream... Gah! Losing... focus... cannot... maintain... mature... demeanor!
Even if you don't really super-duper love DINOSAURS (in which case what planet are you from), you might actually wanna check out this game sometime! The first one was great for DINOSAUR fans but this one does battles a lot better and is way more balanced so really, it's worth checking out! Especially if you're looking for a portable RPG experience, because this one has a unique battle system and doesn't bog you down with fights and is good for short bursts of play! (But watch out, or cleaning all the fossils will get ya.) And since there's actually info about DINOSAURS and lots of different kinds of DINOSAURS in the game, maybe it'll convince you to learn more about them and you'll come to the DINOSAUR side and we can all be friends! Yaaay!
Don't worry! DINOSAURS don't bite! ...The people they like, anyway.
Freezair's Letter Grade-o-Tron: B+: A great work, but its flaws are occasionally distracting.