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'Guardian' a good sign for 'Pokemon Ranger'

Oct 21, 2010

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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Pokemon RangerForget the original saying, "Gotta catch and release them all!" should be the new Pokemon catchphrase. The venerable children's video game series with its precocious children, wonderfully unusual creatures, fanciful storylines and sometimes totally confusing translated dialogue has returned with another entry in the 'Pokemon Ranger' franchise.

The 'Ranger' series has come a long way since first being released in 2006. 'Guardian Signs' is reasonably free of all the mind-numbing dungeon crawling that set the series off in the wrong direction right out of the gate.

Sorting through missions on a job board and bumbling around one musty underground cave after another is not anyone's idea of fun unless you rocket back to the eighties where groundbreaking classics like 'Ultima', 'Bard's Tale', 'Wizardry' and 'Dungeon Master' were all the rage. In 2010, that style of Borg-ish gameplay just doesn't fly so it is nice to see 'Guardian Signs' move 'Ranger' out of that tar pit.

Pokemon Ranger'Guardian Signs' is all about the elite Pokemon fans have come to know and love from the comics, television series and movies. Although you don't get to capture the likes of Raikou, Celebi, Latias and Latios, you can interact with them, befriend them and summon them into battle by drawing their signs on the touch screen with your stylus. So, even though they are not all crumpled up like pretzels in one of your Pokeballs, the legendary Pokemon are ready to aid you when you need them the most.

Taking place in the island region of Oblivia, 'Guardian Signs' introduces a new breed of Pokemon baddie: the Pokemon Pinchers. Even though their name alone doesn't exactly evoke fear and dread, the hoverboard-riding meanies are the lowest of the low. Stealing, capturing Pokemon to sell to the highest bidder, the Pinchers have made themselves a nuisence in Oblivia and it is time for you, the Ranger, to rally the Pokemon and put a stop to the petty poachers.

Pokemon RangerYour weapon of justice is the stylus. As mentioned before, there is no battling in the 'Ranger' series. As a moving Pokemon launches attacks at you, you draw rings and rings around it with the stylus hoping to weaken and capture it. As you capture more and more creatures, your stylus will become more and more powerful. Sometimes, you will encounter a really grumpy Pokemon. To soothe the savage beast, you will have to rely on one of the Pokemon in your posse. Those Pokemon can assist you in many ways. They can calm other Pokemon or use their inherit abilities to chop a tree or dislodge boulders that are in your way. Once they have given you a helping hand, you will have to bid them a tearful farewell as they part ways with you.

You don't have to crazily scribble with your stylus all alone though. In cooperative multiplayer mode, you and up to four pals can complete special missions connected to the main storyline and can open secret Pokemon (like Deoxys), powers by doing so.

Pokemon RangerLooking back over the past 'Pokemon' video game adventures, 'Guardian Signs' does up the ante by casting so many legendary Pokemon in one storyline. Being able to command Raikou or Deoxys is every trainer's dream and with its amazing legendary roster, none of the other games delivers this better than 'Guardian Signs'. 'Guardian Signs' is a must-have for any true Pokemon fan.


Pokemon RangerPokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs
Format: Nintendo DS
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Creatures Inc.
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Official Site:

Rating: 7 / 10



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