8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity Review


It’s time to take a look at the next Pokemon Mystery Dungeon game. This one actually ended up being the longest one yet so it definitely gave you time to be attached to the characters. It’s a great game and definitely one that I would recommend. While it is not quite able to top the last one, it really has no weaknesses. The mechanics are easy to pick up on and we get some pretty cool cinematics. Now there is only one Mystery Dungeon game left so I am definitely going to miss them when they’re gone.

The game starts off with Terry arriving from the human world and turning into a Pokemon. He meets up with Tepig who is trying to build a Pokemon guild so they can share paradise with him. “Paradise” is the name of the town that Tepig is creating but it’s been tough since Pokemon in this world don’t like each other which makes things pretty tricky. Terry agrees to help Tepig and initially they start by befriending local Pokemon and getting materials to build the house. We get more of a plot soon as a mysterious pair of Pokemon show up and explain that the world as we know it is about to end. The heroes will now have to buckle up and head out to protect the present, but doing so may involve destroying the future. Can Terry and Tepig really pull the trigger and make such a call?

While the plot does get pretty high tier as you would expect, it does have a longer opening act than the last title to allow you to get used to the village and the members. Since part of the plot deals with Pokemon not liking each other the game wants to really make sure you know what’s going on here before you get into the meat of the story. It’s a fun opening act though and part of why it’s solid is because Terry is solid. He talks quite a bit more than the other main characters from previous games which I think is definitely a good move. He feels like a natural leader and doesn’t rely on thought bubbles. One particularly impressive scene is when he takes down 3 bosses at once and later holds his own against another 5 before being saved. Terry is portrayed as a real fighter here and it was really a lot of fun to play as him.

The supporting cast is also pretty solid. Tepig’s a nice guy and he’s a lot more reasonable than your partner from the last game. Tepig at least always tries to do the right thing and doesn’t keep hounding on the other characters over mild matters. Emolga and Dunsparce have a good bond between them. I like that Emolga was always ready to step up for his friend and make the hard calls. If anything Dunsparce was just less impressive because he was a bit too gullible and obsessed with Virizion. Virizion was solid as one of the wise characters and while she didn’t really believe in friends, I couldn’t really blame her for that. She certainly did not have the best prior experiences with them. I also loved having her on the party because of how powerful she was.

Umbreon and Espeon are pretty solid. They are definitely very business oriented so they don’t mess around as much as the others. The Voice of Life made for a pretty interesting character. Just from the name you can tell that this guy has quite a lot of power. Unfortunately I have to give him a thumbs down here because at the end of the day he keeps saying that he has no choice and can’t really do anything about anything but you gotta be able to do more than that when you have cosmic powers. What’s the point if at the end of the day you’re not going to use them? Kyurem was definitely cool though. All of his scenes were definitely pretty hype and he had a menacing air about him. His goal also wasn’t all that bad. It was actually very reasonable which made him a compelling antagonist.

One subplot in the game that I don’t think was really needed though was Keldeo. The plot wouldn’t have really changed almost any part of the story so if you cut him out it all works out quite nicely. He tries to talk a bit tough by the end but nobody’s buying that. As for Kyurem’s position that I mentioned earlier, it’s basically that you shouldn’t change the future just because you don’t like it. The whole concept of the game is that we’re going to change the future because it turns out to be an apocalyptic one while Kyurem’s saying that it has to be preserved. I’ve always been for changing the timestream so I’m not objective in the slightest but I’m with the heroes here. If it’s a bad future then you’ve got to change it.

Additionally, it’s Kyurem’s view that we’re changing the future. Last I checked, the whole game takes place in the present so his argument loses a lot of steam. So long as we did not build a time machine or something it’s all fair game if you ask me. So in effect by trying to stop us he’s changing the future just as much. No future is certain unless you’re actively moving through time. Thanos for example has a stronger case since the Avengers got salty that they lost and started playing with time. That’s not what the heroes are doing here.

The gameplay is your traditional overhead turn based combat. It plays out a bit like a Fire Emblem game only you are moving through a dungeon. You recover health as you move and the goal is always to get to the final dungeon where you may or may not fight a boss. You have 4 different attacks and can have up to 3 partners with you. Be careful, your main partner will count as a second life so if one of you dies then the whole mission is a fail. Just something to watch out for because your partners tend to take really big risks for some reason.

Also, make sure you have a good amount of items before tackling the final boss. I had saved up a ton of them throughout the game so I was ready for it. Otherwise, you could be in for a pickle because the game saves after the first form of the final boss so if you’re not ready to fight the real one then you could end up being stuck in a loop. Hopefully there’s a way out of that but I didn’t intend on risking everything to find out. That’s why I always keep items in the bank for tricky situations like that. I was really glad I had the stash when I walked into the fight. One tip I have is to use the orbs you get during the levels. You get some that will put every Pokemon to sleep for example and they are incredibly handy.

The main campaign should definitely last you a clean 15 hours at the least. Aside from that the game has a ton of content to explore. You can get materials and money to build up the town and make a lot of gardens. I didn’t really play around with this feature, but there’s a lot you can do here. Additionally there are a bunch of extra dungeons and Pokemon to recruit to your cause. You can also work on maxing your guild’s rank up. If you do all of this the game should really last you for quite a long time. Then we get to the graphics and soundtrack which are both quite solid. The soundtrack has some catchy tunes even if none of them are all stars. The graphics are particularly impressive with each of the characters having a 3D model now. That’s not something we’ve really seen a whole lot so it was pretty fun.

Overall, Gates to Infinity is definitely a great game. The gameplay is tight and naturally the graphics/soundtrack are good as well. You’ll have a lot of fun here and aside from a pretty solidly long story you’ve also got a whole lot of post game content to work with. I expect you’ll definitely be kept busy with this game for quite some time. I doubt the price would be too crazy nowadays and either way this game has enough content to really make it worth your while. We really need more Pokemon spinoffs to come out soon because they’ve been pretty dynamite. Pokemon lends itself well to the RPG format.

Overall 8/10

Game Records

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 16h 12m
Quests Completed 58
Rank: Silver
Gold Bars 21

Character Levels

Tepig 39
Terry 39
Pansear 25
Woobat 2
Venipede 16
Sandile 21
Yamask 24
Emolga 39
Dunsparce 6
Espeon 27
Umbreon 26
Hydreigon 64
Virizion 37
Keldeo 50

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers of Darkness Review


It’s time to take a look at the next installment in the Mystery Dungeon series. I haven’t played one of these in a long while, but the first game was a lot of fun. Also, I own the next two games in the series so now I can start a bit of a marathon. In general the Pokemon spinoffs have all been pretty great. Just look at Pokken and Pokemon Ranger which have been a blast. Well, Mystery Dungeon can definitely hold its own with those big shots as well. This one ups the stakes and brings a pretty cool plot. It’s definitely a great game.

The title starts off with the main character losing his memory and being transformed into a Pokemon. Fortunately Pikachu stops by the Beach and decides to be Terry’s (the main character) friend. Pikachu wants to join the Guild which is where all of the various Dungeon teams go to team up and help out the world. Pikachu isn’t very brave though so Terry decides to help him achieve these dreams. Together the two of them solve many odd jobs and fit in pretty well. Things get serious though when a mysterious Pokemon begins stealing Time Wheels from around the world. If this continues to go on then the whole world will end up being frozen as time will be stopped. Can the heroes stop such a powerful villain?

I always like time travel. It may have a tendency to introduce plot holes into a series or not be utilized well in others, but it offers up so many different possibilities that I feel like you have to at least give it a whirl. This game handles it quite well. We get a few plot twists in the story as well. It’s fair to say that you’ll probably see a lot of them coming, but it doesn’t weaken the impact of these plots. The main campaign’s around 13 hours long so you’re given a lot of time to be introduced to the characters and get attached to them. There’s also a bit of a post game here to look at as well.

Now lets look at the gameplay here. It’s an overhead turn based combat system where you control the actual Pokemon. There can be up to 4 of you in a party although you only control the main character. The others are around to help out on the side. Be warned though that if Pikachu loses in combat then that will apply to you as well. There are certain ways you can at least control what your allies will do via tactics and turning off moves though. For example Pikachu learns an attack called Discharge later on which is incredibly powerful so after that I would turn off the other moves. That effectively forces him to use it until he runs out of PP. The move has 8 PP so you’ll need to switch it out again pretty quick.

The bosses could be pretty tricky here at times. If you don’t take them out fast or just some kind of technique to lower their stats you could really be in trouble here. Then there are the random monster houses that pop up which are probably even tougher than most of the bosses. If you run into one then it’s probably game over. Each dungeon ranges from 8-20 floors. So wherever you last passed a checkpoint is where you would be warped to. You also lose your money and a bunch of items so you are encouraged not to lose too often.

The dungeon system is pretty interesting because you’ve always got a pretty good sense of where you are in the game. They’re also just fun to explore in. The only mechanic I didn’t like here is when sand would randomly show up. It buffets your team members every few steps and if you have a full team of 4 that’s a lot of messages to keep clicking out of. It also seems to effect all dungeons until the effect randomly goes away. I understand that this is probably to add more drama to the dungeon since you’re constantly taking damage but since you heal more health than it can take away while walking it still feels pretty pointless in the end.

One other angle that’s not too interesting is how there are a few recycled animations every time you go to sleep and wake up again. You have to watch the heroes eat dinner every time and sometimes you are randomly chosen to watch out for foot prints which triggers a minigame and ends the whole day. I’d definitely be game with that being removed from the sequels. It’s just not needed and if anything it just wastes time. The post game hints that you won’t have to worry about these things anymore once you beat the hidden boss which hints that the game knew this would be a bit of a hassle as well.

In terms of characters, Terry’s pretty great as always. He’s very heroic and is always ready to make the hero call when necessary. He’s someone you can count on. His partner Pikachu isn’t quite as interesting. He’s a little too quick to believe whatever the villains say and has a hard time keeping up with the plot even when it’s not all that difficult. When someone tries to murder you, you should probably connect the dots that this character must be evil. The Guild is fun enough. Their leader Wigglytuff is a bit annoying at first but since he can actually fight I did gain some respect for him. At least that means he can be powerful when the need arises.

Grovile and Dusknoir are both pretty interesting characters. It makes for an interesting dynamic in the game and is also a pretty serious plot that works out well. Finally, we’ve got Dialga who is excellent in this game. We even get a cool time travel scene where Dialga and Celebi square off. Both of them are known for their mastery over time of course although I suspect everyone already knows that Dialga would have the edge in such a confrontation. You just can’t hope to beat one of those guys.

The graphics are pretty solid. There are quite a lot of Pokemon here which are nice to see and occasionally you’ll get a cutscene that is almost animated as the pictures light up and have some special effects. That always helps to add some weight to the moment. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which has some really nice themes in it. In particular one great theme is when Dusknoir grabs the heroes. That theme is always really epic and one of the best that I’ve heard in a spinoff lately. I still can’t go as far as to say that it beats the themes in the main games though because those are pretty phenomenal.

Overall, Explorers of Darkness is a great game. The RPG story can really hold its own and the ending is pretty emotional. Make sure you stick around after the credits because there is an extra scene. This is definitely one of the best stories I’ve seen in a Pokemon title. It’s going to be very difficult for the next Dungeon game to pass this one but it’s always possible since the game is on an upwards trend. The next one also makes the jump to the 3DS system so that should be pretty interesting. If you haven’t checked this game out yet then you should. It really shows you just what the Pokemon series is capable of.

Overall 8/10