Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates of Infinity Review
A Fun story when it decides to get around to it, but not much else.
Author: Jeff McAllister
Pokémon is an incredibly popular force in gaming with multiple types of titles available from the franchise. The Mystery Dungeon series, which all take the same turn-based approach, have similar initial setups, have been hit or miss throughout their many releases. The latest Mystery Dungeon game, Gates of Infinity is no different, but sadly, this release misses the mark by a mile.
As the game starts, you play a human that is mysteriously transported to the body of a Pokémon- one of five that you can choose to begin the game with- and will quickly meet up with another Pokémon that will join you in your adventure. From there, the two of you decide to make a home in a barren wasteland and call it Paradise. It doesn’t always remain the desolate countryside it is at first, as once the game goes on a ways, you will get a house and you can hire builders to cultivate the land and increase the size of your homestead, as well as build facilities that perform various duties such as dojos, farms, prize palaces, etc.
The building up of Paradise is a side activity you are forced to do at the beginning, but doesn’t really serve much purpose as many of the things you can purchase or deeds you can do in the facilities can be found out on your travels or in the neighboring town. To build each facility, you’ll also need materials which can be found only through doing the Request Board missions that are found in your Paradise.
In the Request Board missions, you will find yourself doing the same things constantly and repeatedly, but not just to get the material rewards or to save the various Pokémon that need rescuing. You will basically need to continue doing the Request Board missions to pass time until the adventure starts to move along again.
Every time you complete a Request Board mission, you’ll wake up in your house, and you’ll either have a quick dream scene where you’ll keep seeing a Pokémon in trouble from where you first started the game, or nothing will happen and you’ll need to do more Request Board missions. It is a tiring and monotonous affair that you have to endure over and over for a long time until the next story mission triggers.
There aren’t many storyline sections that the game has, so the time between them is padded out for lengthy periods of time with the Request Board missions where you enter the random dungeons. Each time you enter a dungeon, it will in fact be random, and be different from the previous time you entered. When you re-enter the same dungeon after escaping an adventure because of low health or to perform another mission, it will have a totally different layout than previous times.
While this doesn’t really make things more difficult, it does allow the game to use the same locations over and over. As you make your way through the earlier dungeons, you will just have you and your adventuring Pokémon cohort, but eventually, you will be able to make a team of up to two more Pokémon from those you meet in town and those that ask to join you in dungeons.
Once you are able to have a full team, the game gets much easier than it should. Just about the only time that it tends to be at all difficult is when your team members take off on their own and roam the dungeons alone. You can always meet up with them again by seeing their position on the lower screen’s map, by using the team tactics to ask them to follow you (which rarely works) or by using an orb item that will teleport them back to your position. As long as you have one of those in your pouch, you can breeze through any of the dungeons without much worry of being in trouble.
There are a few extra modes included in the game that allow you to deviate from main campaign, but they still involve roaming around dungeons. These aren’t much more exciting than the main game, but do allow you alternate ways to earn items and coins. There is an ARG game from the main menu that allows you to use the camera to focus on round objects in the real world, such as CDs or coins, that will open a “Magnagate” that will allow you to enter new dungeons with different Pokémon than are used in the main game. There is also a “Companion Mode” that allows you to take control of any other Pokémon friends you have made in Paradise, but again, all you can do with them is explore dungeons and look for money and treasure. Once the dungeons in both modes are completed, the items earned will be transferred to your character’s deposit box so it can be used in your main game
Gates to Infinity does have an interesting narrative once it finally gets around to telling it, but it takes so long to get to and the text speed of dialogue during the many, many, many conversations, is aggravatingly slow and cannot be changed at all. In the times that you aren’t dealing with story adventures, you are constantly repeating the same things over and over and ultimately the game ends up boring, effortless, and not much else.
Title: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity