Disclaimer: Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver are not bad games. They’re fairly good games on their own but therein lies the real issue. They’re Pokemon games, and with that comes certain expecations. They stand alongside the legendary titans of Pokemon Red and Blue, to the more modern icons like Pokemon Black and White.
To that end, this game itself is a very good one. Being top rated across numerous charts and pollings the world over!
But even so, there’s no shame in dodging this game if it doesn’t suit your fancy.
Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver were first released on the Nintendo 3DS, on September 12, 2009. It is an updated re-release of Pokemon Gold, Silver, and Crystal. Player explore the Johto region and includes many updates found in Pokemon Crystal like the Suicune plotline, the Dragon’s Den shrine, and various regions in Kanto that were removed from the previous versions.
So, that all sounds pretty good, right? If so, why should a person avoid this game? Well, here are five reasons to do so!
4. Lack of Good Accessibility for Pokemon
So, let’s start things off by pointing out that many Pokemon in the Johto region are somewhat underwhelming compared to their newer counterparts. What’s more, you can’t catch and train the better Pokemon until later regions.
To put it in perspective, you don’t get more niche Pokemon who can fill various spots on a team until later in the game.
This hurts the more on a casual playthrough, as the most useable Pokemon are Gen 1. As they are locked to the Kanto region, players must constantly switch out Pokemon all the time. This sounds fine on paper, as every trainer should have a team that can encounter a wide variety of situations.
The problem is that this requires players to catch and train said Pokemon, and there’s a lot of hassle that goes into training them, going back to a Pokecenter to switch them out, then going out to train them again.
In other words, it becomes a painful grind. A painful, long grind that doesn’t end anytime soon.
3. It’s a Re-Release of a Re-Release
It’s no secret Nintendo wants to make money off their Pokemon games. Like it or not, they do need money so they can pay their employees and pursue new business ventures. With that in mind, however, it doesn’t change the fact that HeartGold and SoulSilver are, ultimately, the re-release of a re-release. Pokemon Crystal was the updated version of Gold and Silver, and while that game is quite old by today’s standards, it doesn’t change the fact that HeartGold and SoulSilver might be a cash grab.
As Gold and Silver were legendary for gamers of old, it does make sense to try to bring that same experience to a younger audience.
That said, when a game is a re-release of a re-release, it can feel off-putting to play, like they took an old product and just gave it a fresh coat of paint. That’s not to say they didn’t do a great job updating it for the Nintendo DS. But sometimes, we just expect more.
2. The Leveling Pacing is Off
When Pokemon games throw hordes of wild Pokemon and trainers at you, its business as usual. You also expect to be given a suitable amount of EXP and cash when you win.
However, in HeartGold and SoulSilver, this exchange doesn’t quite work as well as it should. To give an example, the highest level Pokemon you can encounter in the wild is 32, the Elite Four, on the other hand, are 40. Simply put, that you have to do double the work to level your Pokemon to even make it to the Elite Four’s level, literally.
This can be painful, and it is worth noting that games like Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire (which came before Heart Gold, but after Crystal), offer Pokemon who are leveled 40-44, and the elite four in that game are 46. Meaning there’s less of a gap between them.
This makes Heart Gold and Soul Silver extremely grindy. This results in more work, less reward.
1. What about that true nostalgic feel?
The old GBA games were products of their time, to be certain. The music was repeatable, and the graphics were not up to today’s standards at all.
But even so, it was those old, annoying mistakes and issues that gave the original release its identity. Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver do update the game, but in doing so, it takes away their quirks. So, while it is certainly possible to enjoy the games, it is just not the same.