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Diehard GameFAN Review: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness

Diehard GameFAN writes: "I have something of a love-hate relationship with the Pokemon franchise; on one hand, adorable animal-like things are fantastic and the AWWWW factor of characters like Charmander and Pikachu is undeniable, but on the other hand the games themselves are functionally uninteresting to me because, sadly, they generally encompass the exact same thing each and every time: catch Pokemon, fill in your Pokedex, be the best, yadda yadda. The games are certainly not bad by any means so much as they're generally the same formula ad infinitum; in an action-oriented context this can be done without the player noticing so much, but in an RPG-oriented product, it's more noticeable.

On the other hand, I have more of an acceptance for Fushigi Dungeon games; from Izuna to Shiren the Wanderer to Chocobo's Dungeon to Torenko, I'm generally okay with all of the various attempts at the genre (yes, even Nightmare of Druaga, which would have been perfectly fine if not for the monsters five levels your better chasing you down and brutalizing you all the time). The CONCEPT is certainly one that takes some getting used to; what sort of a person would want to play a game where when you die, you lose all your stuff and go back to level one, right? But after a while, you just learn to, well, not die, or find ways to keep the stuff that matters most to you. Different games have different rules, of course; in Izuna, you don't lose your levels, in Chochbo's Dungeon you don't lose anything, Shiren is really more of a throwback game, and so on, but most of the games have the core gameplay in common: square movement grids, turn-based combat, deep dungeons, lots of battle."

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