I got the game early! Really, I can't wait to play it, so here's my hands-on report. I'll cover my first hour with the game itself! Well, this Pokemon Ranger, from the very beginning, looks like it has improved a lot over its previous attempts, but still maintains the core gameplay. Anyway, on to my log. Click 'Read More', please~! It's tons of pictures and videos I took while playing!
00.00 I turn it on, see the regular opening stuff. Wow, 3D ocean! And then in come Latios and Latias flying in towards the distance. You can see the land of Oblivia and listen to the familiar Ranger opening theme, albeit slightly rejigged again.
00.01 I'm given the option to either start the game, or go to the Ranger Net. There are online missions for downloading right off the bat, but I'll leave them for now and start the game proper. I choose my gender.
00.02 The opening cutscene begins with a chase in the sky in 3D. Some shady-looking guys are pursuing a Latios. You ride a Staraptor and end their plot. They send a Pidgey to attack you, but like the Ranger you are, you capture it right away. They think you're a Ranger, but because of your yellow scarf not being uniform in Oblivia, they hesitate first(nearly everyone in the early game thinks that way too). Next was dodging their attacks.
00.04 Oh? My lady partner comes in to help! But then their leader comes in and shoots me out of the sky. I plunge into the ocean and drop my Styler. A Mantyke decides to play with it and I give chase. This minigame thing is swell. Hopefully I can do it more than just once~.
00.06 The cutscene where the shady guys arrive in flying machines and kidnap Pokemon with their beams. All of Ukulele Pichu's friends were taken, and it looks more than upset.
00.08 Flashback to the Fiore Region, in the Ranger Union. Apparently I was given a special mission to go to the islands of Oblivia to take down an evil team called the Pokemon Nappers.
00.10 I end up on a beach and save my game. Some old guy called Booker shows up and introduces me to Drop Island, where I am right now. I capture my first Pokemon outside of the Pidgey. It was a Wingull. Ukulele Pichu thought I was one of the bad guys and attacked me (wait little guy, I'm a ****ing RANGER goddammit, Capture On!)
00.12 Lots of cute Pokemon around (XD). In no time I had racked up about 6. The top screen looks different too.(and this was where I finally decided to start talking screenshots)
00.13 First Pokemon field ability used to cut a log blocking the road. Obvious.
00.15 I captured an Ursaring, which was used to push ol' Booker's boat into the water. Apparently he knows Ukulele Pichu very well. It decided to follow the both of us to Rainbow Island, where there was a town, and where Booker lives. Pichu wants to save its friends. Main title appears.
00.18 I go into Booker's house. Ukulele Pichu notices the Nappers pass by and gives chase angrily(psh, children). Once the lot notices Pichu's absence, I was to go to the nearby forest to find Pichu and find out what the Nappers were up to.
00.21 Apparently the semi-3D graphic thing was a trick, it looks 3D, but everything still scrolls by on a 2D plane. Still a nice trick though. I also notice the absence of a Ranger Rank- probably because there aren't any Ranger Unions around Oblivia. As far as I can see. You can carry 7 Pokemon with you right off the bat, no more limits.
00.26 I pass the forest into a cave. Bumped into Pichu going nuts around the Nappers again.
00.29 Finally decided to try my hand at a PokeAssist. The system has been tweaked, and I like this new change a lot. See the video for details.
00.35 The Nappers attacked me for the second time(the first was outside the cave). They've obtained a Ranger Sign from a nearby slab of writing.
00.37 Raikou appeared and the Nappers are scared ****less and run off. Aw, Pichu's ukulele was broken in its scuffle. Well, now that we've found it, mission clear!
00.38 I receive 50 Ranger Points. Those are used for upgrading your Styler and other stuff, but the system is currently broken and I can't cash in my points yet(damn). I also noticed you get 1 Ranger Point for each S Rank capture.
00.41 I receive my first quest- sidejobs that give out rewards and stuff(in this case, it was 10 Ranger Points, not bad). It was by Booker. He needed something from Drop Island to repair Pichu's Ukulele. So off I go.
00.45 Arrived at destination, the girl that was tagging along jumped into a large pit in a tree trunk to get it. How clumsy, she disturbed a nest full of Sunkerns and I had to capture all 6 of them. Imagine what it's like to be close to this many of them!(she did let out a scream)
00.46 Returned to Rainbow Island with the item
00.50 Something went down at the square just outside the city. I went there to check it out and a group was standing looking at some green ball of light. It was a Celebi! After a successful capture, it took me back to the past, where I met someone...an acquaintance with the playful Celebi. She told Celebi to return me to my own time at once, which it did. I get the feeling I'll be meeting her more often though.
00.52 Pichu's Ukulele is repaired. Pichu looked completely thrilled and jumps all over the place. Cute little guy~
00.55 Ukulele Pichu wants to join me as my partner! I was taught how to use him, but as of now I haven't had the chance to try it out yet. Here's the tutorial I recorded.
00.57 I was to look for the area Ranger and made my way to the beach. Got caught up in an underwater mission that had me searching the ocean floor for one of those UFO things the Nappers were riding. Naturally Pichu can't follow me down.
1.00 I finished the mission and came back to the surface. A quick one. I had to chase a Kingdra at one point too. Check out both videos of it!
Phew....that was long. I don't think I have the energy to keep this up for the rest of the game~! Well take this as a taste of things to come! I'll be sure to keep everyone posted on interesting happenings in Pokemon Ranger 3 and expect an import review later on too!