Review of time and darkness

As part of my ongoing effort to get fired for being a completely useless vestigial appendage at 1UP, I’ve reviewed Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time & Darkness, sort of. Mostly this write-up is a discussion of how the fundamental concepts of “Pokémon” and “Mystery Dungeon” make for an uneasy combination that Chun Soft never quite reconciles. I almost briefly touch on the game mechanics, but not really. Join us next week when I critique Metal Gear Solid 4 in the context of its groundbreaking work in empowering the elderly and never actually mention how it plays.

Not that Pokémon fans care what I have to say anyway. They’re all waving their hands (claws) in the air, blowing carefree bubbles. Or something. Still, my advice would be not to pick up this game unless you absolutely have to own everything related to this curiously enduring children’s franchise. (Or, less likely, if you are obsessed with roguelikes.) If you would like a good introduction to the roguelike niche, I’d say hold out for Izuna 2 or Chocobo’s Dungeon, both arriving next month. When did roguelikes get so popular, anyway? Or are they really not popular and publishers are simply deluding themselves in hoping they will be? It is a mystery. (Dungeon.)

In other news of dungeon crawling, we’ve also posted an interview with the director of Etrian Odyssey II. My name is on this, but Andrew Fitch also threw in several questions on the second page. In any case, it is about as good as you can expect for an interview conducted by email with someone who speaks a different language and lives in a different culture. Apparently the game arrives next week (!), having been pushed forward a bit in the confidence that it will seriously crush MGS4. Man, is Konami in for a nasty surprise.

Edit: OK, someone lied to me. Etrian II ships a week later. Lucky break for Konami if there was one. Guess they’ll be able to make that first-day million sales target after all.

12 thoughts on “Review of time and darkness

  1. Ooh, thanks for the answer. Yeah, I forgot about the upcoming Chocobo game. Should be a good intro the to subgenre, i suppose.

  2. I know the point of roguelikes is that they’re HARD, but I still want to ease into the genre. Is the Izuna series that much easier than others?

  3. Izuna is a cakewalk compared to the real heavyweights like Shiren. Shiren will hand you your balls and your head on the same platter with ease. Izuna just offers you your head.

  4. Is it really shipping next week? Both the Atlus site plus a couple of stores I checked (Gamestop and Amazon) have it shipping on the 17th. I can’t wait!

  5. People still play Pokemon games? Really?

    Pokemon’s the game equivalent of Jason Vorhees. It just won’t stay dead….

  6. Not quite. The thing about Pokémon is that it’s never died to begin with. Somewhere in a hidden vault is a painting of Ash Ketchum that keeps looking older and older….

  7. Actually, I know a friend who prefers Pokemon Mystery Dungeon to the actual Pokemon games. This could just mean that she might really like rougelikes though…

    I wouldn’t call Izuna easy, but Izuna also taught me that I don’t like rougelikes. Might ease you in at least!

    Oh, and yeah: Pokemon is about as dead as Wolverine; it’s still considered awesome after all these years and, even if you remove their skin, it Just. Won’t. Die.

  8. I was going to make a comment about how Konami should push MGS4 back, but then I realized a) I’d blame myself if it somehow got delayed, and b) that was essentially the same joke you made.

  9. I think that interview turned out very well, actually. The questions were sufficiently detailed to provoke insightful answers. I’m a little disappointed about the minor spoilers about EO’s plot since I’m still on B8F, but whatever.

  10. Regarding the release date of Etrian Odyssey being pushed up:

    I check the Atlus, GameStop and 1Up websites and they all still list it as shipping on June 17th (the original date).

    Is it really shipping next week?

  11. I got the first Pokemon Mystery Dungeon (Blue version) for Christmas 2006, but I really didn’t try it until a couple months ago when the second one was coming out. I like it a lot, but now I think I need to try a “meatier” roguelike. So, which do you recommend? I was thinking Chocobo for Wii since I loved Chocobo Tales and H.A.N.D. is apparently developing the Wii Chocobo as well. But I also want to try Shiren the Wanderer for DS, but fear it might be too punishing for me since I’m used to the forgiving Pokemon Mystery Dungeon. So, any advice? :-)

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