I was 12 when Pokemon Colosseum came out and I was incredibly excited. Pokemon was finally coming out on a console! I pre-ordered the game, got the bonus disc, and even bought a game guide. At first, it seemed great. There was this weird new setting and you even caught Pokemon differently, but after a few hours of play I became bored and grew to hate the game. I put it down and sold the game and the guide. But a few weeks ago I decided it deserved a second chance, so I picked it up for cheap at GameStop to see if my hate was truly deserved.
Pokemon Colosseum is basically Pokemon Stadium with a story mode. The game's story mode takes place in Orre, a desolate wasteland where wild Pokemon are incredibly rare. This led to the creation of Team Snagem, who steals Pokemon from trainers. The main character is a former member of Team Snagem who has decided he wants out, so he runs off with their snag machine, the device used to steal Pokemon. The region also has Team Cipher who created the game's Shadow Pokemon, which are Pokemon that have no emotions and can only fight. Your goal is to stop Team Cipher and snag the Shandow Pokemon so you can turn them back to normal.
By Pokemon standards, Orre is a pretty dark setting and the game is actually a creative new turn for the series. I wish there were wild Pokemon in the game, because it seems rather silly that there are no living creatures anywhere in Orre besides humans and captured Pokemon. I enjoy the setting, but this is a rather ridiculous feature of the area.
The game has nothing but double battles as well, another change for the series. Generation III introduced the double battles, but there were not too many of them in the games. The battle system is the same system from Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald and Fire Red/Leaf Green, but in 3D with longer animations. The long animations are the game's biggest flaw, nothing is more annoying than sitting there for Surf's 3 animations to play. If they offered a no animation option like the handheld games, it would be significantly less irritating, but they don't. Also, some Pokemon just look strange, such as Golbat who wraps his wings around his body and just waddles there looking like an egg with legs and a face.
The story mode is not nearly as long as a main-series game, which is a good thing as I was not interested in a 70 hour console game. There are less than 50 shadow Pokemon in the game, and only one non-shadow Pokemon is obtainable, so there is a lot less variety possible in your team. Among these 50 there are some legendaries and some very strong Pokemon such as the Johto starters. Snagging works exactly like catching, except you're stealing them from trainers. When you first catch a shadow Pokemon it can only use one attack: Shadow Rush. It's a typeless attack that inflicts recoil damage. As you are friendly to your Pokemon by walking around with them or using items on them, they will start to relearn their old moves. Once you have their shadow bar down to zero, you just have to visit a shrine to get rid of Shadow Rush and relearn their final move, fully purifying them. Only when a Pokemon is fully purified can it level-up or evolve. Experience points gained while in shadow form is held until the purification.
The campaign features a pretty high amount of trainer battles, since they are the only Pokemon to fight. Most will battle you multiple times, allowing you to grind if needed. There are a few difficulty spikes on the Cipher Administrators due to their stronger Pokemon and Shadow legendaries, but the game is never too difficult. However, there are some areas that have too many battles. It felt like I was playing the Colosseum mode at times because there were so many battle right after another with almost no break between them. This created some repetitive areas where all you do is battle, and this happens multiple times.
Still, the campaign is enjoyable. The plot is good by Pokemon standards, and I enjoyed the challenge that a more limited pool of Pokemon presented. Colosseum mode is just Pokemon Stadium, you can do battles in 3D. However, the story mode makes the game worth it. It's a fun, alternate take on the Pokemon formula and a welcome twist on the franchise. It has its issues, but I enjoyed it and is worth at least trying.
Thumbs up out of Thumbs up Bro-fist
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