Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Darkness Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Darkness RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network 5 Nintendo DS RPGs That Stand the Test of Time https://www.gameskinny.com/yzi52/5-nintendo-ds-rpgs-that-stand-the-test-of-time https://www.gameskinny.com/yzi52/5-nintendo-ds-rpgs-that-stand-the-test-of-time Thu, 30 Jun 2016 08:18:10 -0400 cactusjudy

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Radiant Historia 
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Radiant Historia might be the least-known title on this list, but that doesn't make it any less memorable. The game, produced by Atlus and featuring largely the same staff as Persona 3 and Etrian Odyssey, follows intelligence officer Stocke who works for the kingdom of Alistel in their war against the neighboring country to the West.

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After becoming severely injured in an ambush, Stocke discovers he has the power to enter a land called Historia and travel into the past and along different timelines. Using this power, Stocke jumps between different branching timelines in a quest to save his world from desertification, gaining different skills and meeting unique characters in each branch. 

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Radiant Historia requires that certain events in Stocke's history be revisited and their outcomes changed before he can continue in his story, like preventing character deaths, gaining new information, and snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. The game's cast is diverse and dynamic, with character interactions and relationships changing dramatically between the different timelines as Stocke's choices and his alliances shift. 

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Radiant Historia's combat follows a "Grid System" where enemies are placed on a 3x3 grid. Enemies closer to the character's party will take more damage but also inflict more, making the placement of characters in each battle highly important. Enemies can be moved to different spaces on the grid by various special attacks, and party members can switch turns with one another and with enemies in order to pile on combos and do more damage, though switching also makes the character more vulnerable to future attacks. 

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Ultimately, Radiant Historia is one the most fleshed-out games on this list, as its unique nonlinear, time travel gameplay and diverse cast of characters make for an original and enthralling experience. The game more than deserves its spot on this list as an RPG that is worth breaking out the old DS for.

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Good RPGs are truly rewarding games, offering fun and challenging gameplay alongside unique, deep plots with charming characters. The 5 games on this list represent the best of the genre, elevating the Nintendo DS to one of the best gaming systems ever created. 

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What do you think of the RPGs on this list? Are there any great DS titles that I missed that still hold up to current titles? Let us know in the comments below! 

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Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Darkness and Explorers of Sky
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A children's game and a Pokemon spin-off might seem an odd choice for this list. Nevertheless, years after its initial Western release in 2008, Explorers of Time still stands as not only one of my favorite DS RPGs, but one of my favorite DS games period.

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The gameplay is pretty standard for a dungeon-crawler, with the player controlling a team of Pokemon as they traverse dangerous dungeons catching Pokemon criminals and helping innocents in need. Battling also follows standard rules of turn-based combat, with each team member selecting an attack to perform on an enemy (the attacks replicating those found in mainline Pokemon games), choosing to defend, or use an item.

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What really sets Explorers of Time and Darkness, and its expanded-story companion Explorers of Sky, above the rest though, is its excellent plot and endearing cast of characters.

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The games follow a Pokemon (one of 16 species, decided upon by a personality test at the beginning of the game) who has lost all of its memories, remembering only that it used to be a human. The main character and their partner (one of 13 Pokemon species, chosen by the player at the beginning) join the Wigglytuff Guild, a group dedicated to exploring dungeons and protecting vulnerable Pokemon and lead by a quirky Wigglytuff and his overworked assistant Chatot. The characters soon find themselves chasing down a rogue thief Grovyle, who is stealing the world's Time Gears. Yet, Grovyle and his goals aren't all what they seem to be, and the plot proves darker and more complex the more the story goes along.

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Mystery Dungeon may have unfortunately repetitive gameplay, but its gripping plot and lovable characters are sure to keep players gripped to their dual screens. And if you haven't shed a tear or two by the end of the game, then you're probably heartless. I highly recommend this game for any and all Pokemon fans, as well as anyone looking for an RPG with a heartwarming, emotional story. (And it's a fun spinoff game to play while you wait for Sun and Moon.)

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Chrono Trigger
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Originally released for the SNES in 1995, 2008's DS port made this heavily-acclaimed game accessible for a new generation of gamers. Chrono Trigger is considered one of the best video games of all timeand as such it more than deserves a spot on this list despite the DS versions port status. 

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Chrono Trigger follows a cast of six party members from various points in time as they travel through history in a quest to save their world from future destruction. Gameplay consists of turn-based combat wherein the space between each character's turn is decided by a timer based on their speed stat. Players can use regular physical attacks or special and magical attacks called "Techs" that are more powerful and can be used in conjunction with other characters' Techs, but deplete the character's MP (magic points). 

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Chrono Trigger's seemingly simplistic plot and gameplay belie a highly memorable story full of lovable characters, side-splitting humor, and important character choices that lead to one of 13 different endings. Given its entertainment value and comparatively easy gameplay, Chrono Trigger is a great choice for newer RPG fans, or those who simply want to focus on the narrative experience instead of wasting hours in grinding levels. 

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Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
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Almost any of the DS Dragon Quest titles could have made this list, but Sentinels of the Starry Skies stands out as the best-received and first to reach international acclaim. The game sold more than 4 million copies in Japan and 1 million internationally in its first year of release, received a perfect score in Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu (only the 10th game to ever do so), and revolutionized the use of passerby connections in gaming, leading to advances in this function on the 3DS.

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In fact, Dragon Quest IX is considered one of the catalysts for social interaction in gaming. Thousands of fans set up real-life meet-up locations, and eventually opened up a new destination in Akihabara (Tokyo's electronic district and anime mecca) in order to exchange special treasure maps.  

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Sentinels of the Starry Sky isn't just included on this list for its revolutionary multiplayer capabilities, though. The game features a 50+ hour story, challenging gameplay, character customization, and intriguing plot and characters that together make for a truly enjoyable experience.

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The story follows a young Celestrian (angel) who falls from the heavenly Observatory down to the Protectorate below, the land of mortals. The main character must help out human beings in order to gain benevolence and earn their way back to the Observatory. The plot grows more complicated as it goes along, and eventually leads to the main character and their party of 3 human beings (fully customizable) on a mission to save both the mortal world and the heavens. 

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Gameplay is similar to other Dragon Quest titles, with the main difference being the significant increase in difficulty. Players engage in turned-based combat in order to defeat enemy monsters, stacking up damage by performing consecutive attacks of the same type. Different character classes (thief, priest, etc.) use different skills and attacks, and each character's class can be changed or upgraded when meeting certain conditions. 

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In all, Dragon Quest IX is an excellent RPG that effectively utilizes challenging combat, an engaging plot, and a quirky cast of characters in order to deliver a top-notch gaming experience that I would highly recommend to any RPG fan looking for a bit of a challenge. 

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The World Ends With You
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Released in 2008 by the same team behind Kingdom Hearts, Square Enix's The World Ends With You has become a cult classic, praised universally for its challenging and unique gameplay and intriguing story arc.

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The game follows an antisocial young man named Neku Sakuraba who finds himself in an alternate version of Tokyo's Shibuya district called the Underground (UG). He is entered into the Reaper's Game, wherein chosen deceased individuals can sacrifice their most treasured possession in order to be entered. The prize is either resurrection or transcendence to a higher form of existence.

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Each game lasts a week, and the winner is the one who best completes the tasks set out by the game's Composer and demonstrates the worth of humanity. While completing the tasks, contestants must team up with other players in order to defeat creatures called "Noise" that exist simultaneously in two separate "zones." The World Ends With You follows Neku for three consecutive Reaper's Games as he connects with new individuals and tries to uncover his memories and the circumstances of his death.

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Confused? Don't feel too bad; it's a complex game, with an even more confusing (and challenging) battle system. Called the "Stride Cross Battle System," combat utilizes the DS' dual screen capabilities in order to conduct two battles at once, one with Neku and the other with his partner.

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The two players are synchronized in battle, with the effectiveness of each player's attacks dependent on whether the player possesses the "light puck" that passes back and forth between Neku and his partner. The character with the "light puck" will be able to perform more powerful attacks, and the speed at which the puck travels between the two characters can be affected by the team's "sync ratio" and equipped clothing. Equipped pins also affect what moves can be used, and whether the character can self-heal. 

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It's a weird system to be sure, but also one that can be seriously fun and exciting. There's a reason why The World Ends With You was named IGN's DS Game of 2008, and has a critical score of 88 on Metacritic. If you're at all intrigued by the odd plot or complicated gameplay, be sure to check it out! 

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RPGs have long been a vital part of any system's library, drawing in classical game fans, Japanophiles, fantasy nerds, and children alike. Every gaming platform has had its share of great RPGs, some of which stay popular far beyond the platform's original lifespan.

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This rings especially true for the Nintendo DS, whose fun, engrossing RPGs continue to ring in sales and bring in new fans. If you have any interest in RPGs, and are looking to dust off your old DS (or play some old DS games on your 3DS), then look no further than this list of 5 DS RPGs that continue to engross gamers to this day.

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Pokemon Isn't as Original as Its Fans Would Like You to Believe https://www.gameskinny.com/gy6pl/pokemon-isnt-as-original-as-its-fans-would-like-you-to-believe https://www.gameskinny.com/gy6pl/pokemon-isnt-as-original-as-its-fans-would-like-you-to-believe Mon, 07 Mar 2016 06:05:19 -0500 Angelina Bonilla

With the announcement of Pokémon Sun and Moon, the fans launched into a frenzy -- not unlike piranhas when a bleeding animal is dropped into the Amazon River -- with ideas about new innovations the games might introduce. It would be interesting to talk about Pokémon’s past innovations, as well as those they borrowed from other virtual pet or battling pet games. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery after all, and in Pokémon’s case they’re being very flattering to some of these other franchises.



"We heard you were talking about the new Pokémon games."


Keep in mind that this article isn’t trying to bash Pokémon or its fan base, even if they were compared to piranhas earlier. Most gamers are like that when any of their favorite series announce a new game. This article is meant to give recognition to overlooked games that Pokémon borrowed features from. These games may have gone unnoticed by the mainstream gaming populace, or been maligned due to how complex said systems were.

Mega Evolution

This is a low-hanging fruit, but it’s a low-hanging fruit that must be plucked and cut to ribbons just like the rest. When Mega Evolution was announced, many cheered for a new type of evolution that doesn’t change the physical appearance of the classic Pokémon permanently like in Generation 4. However, Digimon fans might have looked at it in a different way, since Digimon has been doing Mega Evolution since the beginning of its run in 1997.


This fitting image is by SupaCrikeyDave on Deviant Art.


The tamers use a special device to mega evolve their Digimon,called Digivices. Evolution is partly based upon how strong their bond with their Digimon was. This Digivolution was temporary and usually was only used to boost the Digimon’s power to fight against stronger foes in the anime and in some of the games in the series; such as Digimon Rumble Arena. Similarly, in Pokemon X and Y when Korrina’s Lucario forms a special bond with you and decides to fight alongside you against its former trainer with its Mega Form against the other Lucario.

Pokémon only temporarily stay in the state of Mega Evolution, until the battle is won and they return to their previous form. Both give a bonus to stats and make their respective monsters considerably more powerful, both have you go out of your way to achieve this evolution (other than the Kanto Starters, Lucario and Gift Blaziken.). Other than Single Stage Evolution Megas in Pokemon, you have to evolve both Pokémon and Digimon to the state where they can be mega evolved, find either a Mega Stone (Pokémon) or a Device, Crest, Egg or grind up stats from a specific family of monsters (Digimon). There’s also usually some sort of prerequisite you have to meet for both, whether it’s beating the Elite 4, playing at specific times, or finding specific monsters.


This is actually one of the simpler charts to digivolve your Digimon. Digimon didn't mess around. 

 

There has been some debate on this, and even Kotaku weighed in on the comparisons with their “Naw, Digimon Had Nothing To Do With Pokémon's Mega Evolutions” article, but rather than going into detail about it, they just quoted Game Freak on what Mega Evolution is and talked about what it meant. Since Gamefreak said nothing about Digivolution then they must not have taken anything from it, right? That’s how the article frames itself and it never delivers on the title itself.

Pokémon Amie and Super Training

One of the other innovations that the sixth generation of Pokémon has is the addition of Pokémon Amie and Super Training. Players have been begging for something like Super Training for a while now in order to help train their caught or eugenically bred Pokémon.

Super Training in general is used much more in competitive play than in normal play. Now, things like Super Training, or specifically training each stat by doing little challenges, has been around in many virtual pet games, but we’ll address both it and Pokémon Amie, where you get to feed your Pokémon and raise their affection for you, all in one fell swoop with the series Monster Rancher.



Monster Rancher is a little more out of the limelight than Pokémon or Digimon, so it’s no surprise that very few people made this comparison. However, when it comes to playing with your Pokémon or forcing them to train specific stats, it rings very true to this series. Most of the time you have a sort of ranch in which you must train 1 monster to start. The monster has very specific stats depending on the type  and the letter or number combination used when “reviving” monsters from the stones.



Once at the ranch, you can give them affection, food and train specific stats with little mini games that can be failed; but monsters gain stats anyways. This is basically what Pokémon Amie and Super Training is, barring a few differences. Most of the similarities between the two can be seen in Monster Rancher 4, where the Super Training Page and the Monster Data Page have an uncanny resemblance. The biggest difference is that many of the Monster Rancher Games have this as a main focus, while Pokémon markets it as more of an extra feature.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, Recruiting Pokémon

While not part of the main series, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon has gained a sizable fan base of its own with its more mature storyline and integration of Pokémon-like elements with dungeon crawling mechanics. It’s a straightforward series that takes inspiration from the Megami Tensei games. While not as dark tonally, it does give you the option to recruit the monsters you stumble across rather than beating them to the point of fainting and throwing a ball at them.

The Megami Tensei series goes back to 1987 with the game Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei, one of Atlus’ earliest games, and has been an influence to not just Pokémon but to Digimon as well. Digimon World 2 plays similarly to the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games. You beat up your opponent to a point but then they ask to join your party or you do some sort of quest for them; similar to the main Megami Tensei series and its spin off, Persona...the first two Persona games, anyways.

This makes the phrase “Shin Megami Tensei 4, it’s like Pokémon but with demons” all the more amusing considering that Megami Tensei came first.

Pokémon Sun and Moon

Now we come to our latest entry, Pokémon Sun and Moon. It’s easy to say that since no info has come out about these games yet we can’t judge them. However, it is difficult to ignore the very similarly titled Digimon games, Digimon Dusk and Digimon Dawn. This makes me wonder if the Pokémon that are going to be available in the respective games are going to be dark and light-themed, just like in Digimon Dusk and Digimon Dawn.

 

Pokémon might not be original, but neither are its brothers and sisters.

While Pokémon does take a lot from other games, every other game in this very specific sub-genre has borrowed from one another at some point throughout their long series lifespans. Pokémon is certainly not the only “offender.” However, it’s tendency to borrow from other games is often not talked about as much because of the influence it’s had on the genre, pop culture, gaming, and because of the brilliant marketing that got many people attached to this series.

There are even articles about how business could learn about marketing from Pokémon. It’s easy for the gaming community as a whole to be excited about a new Pokémon game because most of us grew up with it and because generally the games are good; very few games with the official Pokémon label on it are genuinely bad. This can’t be said for some of the games from other series in the genre like Monster Rancher EVO and Digimon World Championship.

Pokémon borrows elements from Digimon, Monster Rancher, and Shin Megami Tensei. World of Warcraft borrows heavily from every "WoW-killer" in the past ten years, first-person shooters used to be known as Doom clones, and the Elder Scrolls and Final Fantasy series wouldn't exist without Ultima and Wizardry, which in turn wouldn't exist without Dungeons & Dragons. They all borrow from each other and it’s important to know just where these ideas came from rather than just attributing them to the most popular thing. After all, how can you know just how far you’ve come if you don’t know where you started?

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Top 5 Pokemon Games (Main Series and Spin-off) https://www.gameskinny.com/5bkuv/top-5-pokemon-games-main-series-and-spin-off https://www.gameskinny.com/5bkuv/top-5-pokemon-games-main-series-and-spin-off Sun, 12 Apr 2015 08:36:55 -0400 Asante Simone

The Pokémon franchise has been up and running for the past 17 years, adding more and more to the series as the time has rolled on. First starting out with just two games, Pokémon now has twelve main series games, six remake games, and a number of spin-off games - as well as a manga, anime, and movie series. Nintendo and Game Freak have obviously made some great games - everyone can agree on that - but in the scope of everything, there are some stand outs as the best games in the whole franchise.

1. Pokémon X & Y

Generation VI titles are a lot of people's favorite games in the series, even though they were released barely two years ago. X & Y introduced a lot things that were missing in the series while improving on the standard formula.

The game's 3D graphics were a big jump from the previous pixelation, but it was definitely a good thing. Full 3D characters, Pokémon, and cities showed more change and advancement for the series.

The long-awaited character customization was a definite plus, as well. Finally, after 15 years, players could make their character in the game look like them! (Though, if someone was Black, they'd just have to settle with a light tan as their skin color.) They could finally change their hair color and style, their skin and eye color, and even their outfits on a day-to-day basis. The fashion of the French-inspired Kalos made it all the more difficult to save money for actual Pokémon adventuring and not for the high-priced clothes in Lumiose City's Boutique Couture.

Pokémon-Amie was also one of the most fun and cutest additions to the series as a whole. Who doesn't want to play games and feed macaroons to their Pokémon? Especially if that Pokémon is Mewtwo, or Lugia, or Giratina, or some other Legendary no one would even think to play with.

All the other additions to the series and game (Mega-Evolution, character videos, the different types of trading, super-training, Fairy Type, and finally an attractive Professor) increased the fun and enjoyment of the series. It's not that hard to see why a lot of people like this game the most out of the whole series.

2. Pokémon Gold & Silver (And Crystal)

The second generation of Pokémon is (in my opinion) the most fun and the longest generation of the series. The journey in this generation is also much longer and more fun than in any of the other games. The player has to beat the eight Johto Gyms and bring down the newly resurrected Team Rocket.

Once they've beaten the Elite Four and become the Pokémon League Champion, they can now go back to Kanto to fight the original eight Gym Leaders! And if the player was strong enough, they got to battle Red at the summit of Mt. Silver. No other game in the series has allowed the player to do that, and that makes every other games' post-game seem kind of lackluster.

Not only that, but Game Freak made some significant improvements to these games after Red & Blue. They added a night/day, day/week system (perfect for getting Espeon and Umbreon), an improved Happiness and Friendship system, dual types, brand new types (Steel and Dark), and the option of playing another gender (though this only came in Crystal). Finally, the girls had some representation in a Pokémon game - and every one since then.

3. Pokémon Colosseum

Colosseum wasn't the first spin-off Pokémon game, but it's definitely the first one to do something different compared to the main series. Colosseum was vastly different to what the games were in 2003 when it was released. It didn't follow the standard formula of the main series titles. 

For one thing, players weren't able to normally catch Pokémon. In the game's story, Team Snagem wishes to rule the world with Shadow Pokémon, Pokémon that have turned into soulless fighting machines. You play as Wes, a former member of Team Snagem who tries to reverse their plans. Instead of normally catching these Shadow Pokémon, the players have to battle trainers and essentially steal them from their trainers in battle!


The fact that the game and its story is fully fleshed out on the Nintendo GameCube, and not a handheld, is also what makes this game so different. There are other Pokémon spin-offs that aren't on handhelds (like Stadium and Snap), but their stories couldn't compare to Colosseum or its sequel XD: Gale of Darkness. It showed players what the series could look like on a completely different system, as well as a different way of going about the series' main point: catching Pokémon. 

4. Pokémon Black & White


Generation V was the generation that brought some shock to the Pokémon community, as well as the video game community in general, with its surprising story.

The story of Black & White was a shocker because of how different it was, as compared to the other games'. Before, there was simply a crime syndicate that wanted to take over their region or the world (or universe, as in Team Galatic's plans).

Team Plasma was focused on liberating Pokémon from trainers and the so-called cruel fighting they were forced into. It's a very PETA-like stance and mission, but it brought up a real ethical issue for the series. Was it moral/ethical to participate in Pokémon battling? That in itself is an issue in real life as much as it is in the games.

The game's story was the basis for the introduction of the new 151 Pokémon, as well as more improvements and new mechanics. The other, original Pokémon are kept tucked away until the player beats the main game. As said by othersBlack & White treats the player like Ash. It places them in a brand new region without the chance or the familiarity of the original 500-some Pokémon and lets them go free. 

5. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness 

The Mystery Dungeon series got a boost in recognition when it worked together with Pokémon to create one of the more interesting spin-offs in the franchise.

The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series is different from the other spin-offs in how it completely focuses on Pokémon and only Pokémon. There are no trainers, no filling out the PokéDex, no battling the Elite Four. (At least in Colosseum and XD: Gale of Darkness they still retained some of the main points of the series.) These games follow the journeys of the Pokémon themselves, their individual characteristics and quirks, and whatever they do as they explore the randomized dungeons and world. 

The series' stories are also very interesting and entertaining. The fully fleshed-out journey is a joy to be immersed in and to follow. A story that seems to be typical of a Pokémon game gets darker and darker the further the player gets. The darker and more entertaining sides of the game emerge at the same time as a difficulty spike challenges the players more than before.

And that's the completed ranking of the top five Pokémon games. 

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