Pokemon Ranger: The Road to Diamond and Pearl

We give the latest Poke-game a brief test journey

Friday 19 May 2006
Anyone who's played a traditional Pokemon RPG in the past - and literally millions of gamers have - knows how annoying it is to fail in an attempt to capture a pokemon. You beat the critter down to near-unconsciousness and toss your little pokeball out there in total confidence - only to have the damn thing wiggle once, wiggle twice, and then, POOF! The ball evaporates and the pokemon is still sitting there, nearly dead, but not about to go down. It's random, it's infuriating, and you have nearly no control over it.

Until now. Instead of throwing pokeballs, when it's time to capture a pokemon, you're given a view of your targeted creature on the touch-screen. You then draw circles around the creature as quickly as you can, using the stylus. Once you've reached the designated number of circles, that pokemon is captured. Nothing left to chance, no balls to throw, no random reasons for you not to make the catch.

Above: The touch-screen is used to capture Pokemon - nothing left to chance here

Okay, there is one thing: if the pokemon touches the edges of your circles before you have it captured, you have to start over. But you can apparently use the abilities of the other pokemon in your posse to influence the odds of that happening. During our brief playtest, which involved a simple trip through the forest, we started out with one pokepal and quickly accrued our full allotment of six.

Exactly what else you do in the game isn't yet clear, as the dem owe were shown ended shortly thereafter, but it appears that the player uses the powers of the pokemon at his command to commit various good deeds. Which sounds good to us. We're eager to try to earn a few merit badges when Pokemon Ranger ships later this year.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I was the founding Executive Editor/Editor in Chief here at GR, charged with making sure we published great stories every day without burning down the building or getting sued. Which isn't nearly as easy as you might imagine. I don't work for GR any longer, but I still come here - why wouldn't I? It's awesome. I'm a fairly average person who has nursed an above average love of video games since I first played Pong just over 30 years ago. I entered the games journalism world as a freelancer and have since been on staff at the magazines Next Generation and PSM before coming over to GamesRadar. Outside of gaming, I also love music (especially classic metal and hard rock), my lovely wife, my pet pig Bacon, Japanese monster movies, and my dented, now dearly departed '89 Ranger pickup truck. I pray sincerely. I cheer for the Bears, Bulls, and White Sox. And behind Tyler Nagata, I am probably the GR staffer least likely to get arrested... again.
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