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Aug 21 2017

Late Pokémon X (& Y) Review

This is it. Finally, a fully fledged 3D Pokémon rpg that I’ve been waiting for since childhood – that was 20 years ago! Now all I’ve got to do is just catch up on 20 years of Pokem… 850 fucking Pokémon species! I’d rather pick up a book and learn about the real animal kingdom!

Now I’ve actually played every Pokémon rpg released since Yellow, or so I thought until I looked up Pokémon Black on Google to only realise that I had skipped that one. I do recall starting it, but for some reason lost interest even before collecting a starter Pokémon. Now I knew I purposefully skipped out on Black 2 expecting the same sort of thing, but how on earth I actually forgot about the original Black, I’ll never know. So many of the Pokémon and game mechanics that are new to me in Pokémon X, probably actually originated in Black, but atleast I’ll be writing this review for those that have also been out of touch with the Pokémon games for a while. I don’t actually know if I will ever go back to Black as though I actually would be interested to see the 2 year progression between Black 1 & 2, I’m not sure if the graphics will put me off. I’ll just have to wait for a rainy day to see I guess. I also mention Y in the title of the review as the only difference between the games are certain Pokemon species and mega-evolutions, everything else remains the same.

So, right off the bat, we’re in 3D. That is, in the sense that the game engine is running the environment and sprites in 3D but not 3D in the sense of the 3DS stereoscopic screen, just yet that is anyhow. The stereoscopic effect only comes into play during Pokémon battles and cut scenes, with the overworld only shown in 2D. This is supposedly to help with showing better visuals in the overworld, and you will notice the impact on performance if you do enable 3D in battles, with stuttering frame rates as battle and environmental animations play across the screen. Clearly the older 3DS systems struggled to pool enough resources to run this game properly, with a compromise between framerate and 3D effects, but what surprises me is that the new 3DS console seems to struggle just as much running this game properly, which did severely piss me off. Surely there should be an update for this. I can’t comprehend how this game runs so badly in stereoscopic 3D when I’ve seen games such as Hyrule Warriors on the 3DS with over 50 on-screen enemies prowling around, even Mario 64 DS ran perfectly smooth in a 3D environment on the original DS. In all that time, how is Pokémon, one of the flagship IPs for Nintendo, struggling to make the most of the hardware. Having played Platinum, I’ve already seen overworlds in 3D that are well populated, this is nothing new, so I’m surprised population is the excuse for not having stereoscopic 3D. What has further pissed me off was that stereoscopic 3D isn’t even used at all in the new Pokémon Sun & Moon, as though Nintendo can just giveth and taketh. So it meant I had to make the most of the 3D in Pokémon X as it seems to be a technology that has been killed off in its infancy. I’ll be writing an article about the state of stereoscopic 3D in a later article, which I will eventually link to from here.

The game starts off as any other Pokémon rpg, in which we go through the initial naming and limited gender options for those that care for that, then we wake up in our bedroom, with the latest Nintendo console set up in the middle of the room, a PC to hack Bill’s Computer with and a set of stairs, in which we go downstairs to find our cumulative mother telling you to get the fuck out of her house, we’re nothing but the ungrateful spawn of the bastard that left her with a world of problems. Now it might not be said in as many words, but she doesn’t seem to have much of a problem sending her kid out into a world filled with exploding Pokémon, evil gangs set on world domination and youngsters who will mug you once all your Pokémon have been knocked out. Now the only change to the formula is that we don’t receive our starter Pokémon from a professor, as they’re now under pressure from government funding to actually get some work done, no longer having the time to entertain at kid’s birthday parties, so instead we meet up with a group of kids from the neighbourhood who hand’s over our Pokémon.

This group of kids will become the protagonist’s friends over the course of the game, each conveniently filling in any plot holes with HMs when you get to those points. I do like the idea that it is a group of friends tackling an adventure together, rather than going at it alone, creating some sense of companionship other than having to bond to Pokémon, and also as seeing that the game has removed items such as mobiles phones that used to allow you to call whoever you wanted and check in. For some reason, the kid who lives next door to you is set upon constantly being your rival, somehow thinking she has a chance even after I’ve demolished her Pokémon every time she’s challenged me. If I had the option, I would have called Pokémon Welfare on her considering how badly she treats her Pokémon, putting them into situations they don’t have a chance in. You can tell she’s the sort of person that if she was to ever beat you once amongst the hundred of ass-whoopings she gets, she would never let up about that one time she won. This was the only thing I was actually scared of happening throughout the whole game.

Just to clarify, my favourite Pokémon game over the generations definitely is Crystal from gen 2. I didn’t mind the additional Pokémon, well within the realms of being able to remember, the game had some great upgrades from gen 1 (which I have so much respect for), the game contained two countries that could be fully explored, one being the Kanto region that you could rediscover something like three years on from the previous events that transpired in gen 1, the story was good and this was all packed into a gameboy colour cartridge, utilizing the system to its greatest potential before moving onto the gba games, which I’ve played and can’t say was that enjoyable. So many of the comparisons I’ll be making in X will be to Crystal as I have a much better memory of this one (even after something like 13 years) and genuinely feel is the best Pokémon game to date.

So, the combat mechanics that I knew and loved have been changed for the umpteenth time. Essentially it feels like it’s been made easier for kids in some aspects, but taking away any of the fun and strategy of old, whilst burying you in only more knowledge required of the 800+ Pokémon for a smooth experience that I really couldn’t be bothered to learn about even if my life depended on it (yep, I really do disregard my own life that much). One of these changes is that when a Pokémon use moves that is the same to the opponents type, the move is now deemed ineffective, which can really slow down battle, unless you happen to teach your Pokémon every other move type than its original one. Usually you would of course utilise Pokémon that can also use moves of its opposite type just incase of this scenario. It’s not hard to be on the right side of this advantage, especially in AI fights who seem to lack the common sense to switch their Pokémon out, but as mentioned, it just makes the game even easier to complete, taking out any challenge of ensuring minimum loss of health. Also even Pokémon that have an advantage in a match, whilst being able to inflict super effective moves, will also now receive buffs against their weaker counterparts as though they now have a resistance against it. Now I’m not sure how a wimpy physic Pokémon can take a full-blown hit from a fighting type and yet have a buff against them, so unless there’s something going behind the scenes which hasn’t been explained to us unless you watch the anime, which I haven’t for a very long time, and I doubt it ever has been answered, it’s just a change to the formula of Pokémon that I know and love.

I can’t get over some of these absolutely ridiculous additions of Pokémon, such as a set of keys and garbage bags which I know were introduced in previous games, but will and can not ever get other. I think this ruins the integrity of what Pokémon stands for, which just demotes the fictional respect we have for Pokémon down to how we currently treat animals in real life, which is pretty low. But aside from that, with all these new Pokémon, I have to remember their names, evolutions, types and moves sets, it becomes quite confusing, again not in a fun way at all. So far the game is a chore rather than entertainment. If I was so fascinated with learning that many species, I would actually lookup much more interesting animals that actually exist in the real world.

The worst part of having so many Pokémon is trying to recall which of my lineup are effective against certain Pokémon, as it’s having to recall the slightest of details in the most worthless of battles. But the problem doesn’t just lie with new Pokémon, even old Pokémon have been giving additional type categories, and extra move sets, which further complicates any prior knowledge we used to have of these Pokémon and have to pretty much learn about them from scratch, having to now work out essentially every single outcome of any two Pokémon matched up to find out which is the most effective. I can’t believe years of Pokémon knowledge can just be washed down the drain just like that. And it’s pointless learning anything from this series, as it will only be changed again in the next generation of games, so more feelings of discouragement from even completing this crap. I’d rather they just started from scratch and created entirely new IPs than stretch this rubbish out any longer, with new monsters and characters each time that don’t coincide with previous games and have no relevance to each other anyway. I’m actually starting to think that most of the Pokémon are looking and behaving more like Digimon anyhow, so maybe I’ll just give that a go instead.

Now there are also 3 vs 3 group battles alongside the doubles battles that were introduced back in the GBA era. These battles are most advantageous to level weaker Pokémon, which isn’t exactly hard anyhow to do if you turn on the EXP share which I’ll get into later. The problem I had with group battles was that when forgetting old and learning new moves, there was no indication as to whether the move could attack either a singular target or a group of Pokémon, which again makes it difficult to strategize for combat without having referring to online databases. Even something such as an icon would have helped, but I could not find anything. One of the problems with the descriptions of the move is that it would say something like ‘This move slashes the Pokémon’. The thing with the word Pokémon, is that it is a plural of itself, as in the word Pokémon can either mean one or many of their kind, so again the descriptions gave no reference as to whether the attacks would target single or groups of Pokémon.

There was so many things I had to constantly refer to on the Internet for, such as the use of a move, a Pokémon’s evolution chain, finding hidden objects, etc. This is in no way, any good for a game if I’m having to constantly break any sliver of immersion to lookup information that should be supplied by the game itself. I found the built-in Pokédex to be abysmal, still acting as a conceited whore as in past generations, not giving any information away on the Pokémon we’ve yet to see, like wtf man, why isn’t the information on Pokémon being given away freely at this point in time, people have had Pokédexes for years and known of Pokémon for many centuries, surely they’ve gathered all the information required to fill out my own Pokédex. Whatever happened to the idea of a free central encyclopedia which anyone can have access to, basically Wikipedia (or bulbapedia). What’s more disgusting is that to access a fully populated Pokédex on the 3DS, there is a rom that can be downloaded from Nintendo eshop at the meager price of £11.99. To sell a separate app for so much money when the information is freely available on the Internet (plus being much more informative) is absolutely disgusting. Maybe a few quid for developers time, but 12 pounds is disgusting.

The overworld is absolutely boring to explore. For all the hundred of buildings in the game, there is absolutely no reward for clicking on bookshelves or bins, providing absolutely no information or items as in games of old. Another thing I thought absolutely disgusting. If the game had managed to get a message across at the beginning of the game to not bother clicking on anything, it would have saved a good few hours of clicking on everything pointlessly, expecting surely something would pop up, nope, not one single item or even shred of information. Apparently by clicking on 50 different bins, which before would reward in potions and pokéballs, you will get nothing for your troubles other than an achievement on an online profile somewhere which has since been closed down by Nintendo anyway, so so much for that piece of worthless shit. Bookshelves and NPCs provide not a single drop of useful information. Again talking to NPCs was just another waste of time and extremely boring to engage with, saying the exact same thing other and other, giving you no interesting backstory of the game or information of local events, instead just offering TMs as though they were sweets. There must have been something like 100 TMs you could pick up from NPCs which just goes to show that there are far too many moves which we just don’t use and need, especially when they’re rammed down our throats when all we really wanted was just a meaningful conversation.

If NPCs aren’t offering useless information or free TMs, they will otherwise just have the most cringiest of shit to say. They don’t react to any events that occur to the world or day and night cycles as in the previous well crafted games, very little work has gone into creating a dynamic world. I haven’t seen a game with a world that doesn’t react to in-game events in like over 10 years. Kills any replayability. A lot of the dialogue reads like a badly translated flash game made by a 5 year old. Side stories are absolute drivel. They’re nothing more to them than to run here and there, with absolutely no context. A side mission of having to pick up a Poke Flute from some obnoxious asshole who gives you shit is not my idea of fun. Save it for the anime.

One of the creepiest fuckers in the game is Mr Bonding, a bloke that apparently gives you powers that you can use to momentarily boost various parts of the game such as the amount of money received after a match or the encounter rate with wild Pokémon. You forget about using these powers anyway as they’re so deeply hidden away in the menu, taking ages to pull up. Where you will find this creepy bastard hanging around is either in a corner of the Poké Center or in a fucking hotel room. A child avatar going into a fucking room with some guy who refers to his teaching as ‘bonding’. This is absolutely inappropriate and I can’t believe Nintendo of all companies have allowed it. It’s disgusting what this was basically insinuating in a video game for kids. Whilst we’re unfortunately on this topic, I have to say that I do find it weird that I’m running around in a crew of kids, when Nintendo know that most of their business actually comes from adults who’ve been playing the games for the past 20 years now, so they should really be catering the games for adults rather than bringing in new generations of kids each time. I bet they would never conduct a survey of adult to child players as they’d be scared of the results.

To explore the world, you have a choice from walking, using roller skates or riding a bike. It was never clearly explained that roller skates are activated by using the circle pad and walking is activated by using the d-pad. This is nothing but a right pain in the ass, as roller skates would be too sensitive and fast when trying to walk complicated routes, meaning that you had to resort to the d-pad to walk, though this is hard for me to reach on the 3DS, causing aches after long periods of use, rather than just being able to use the joystick all throughout the game and just simply being able to toggle between roller skates as any normal game would have done. This has always been the case for using the bike, really don’t understand why they just didn’t do this for the roller skates aswell. You’ll also find that whilst travelling, when trying to walk around corners or objects, your character will always get stuck on them for some absolute stupid reason, in which you would have to walk backgrounds to unhook yourself from, then attempt again the previous maneuver even though you may actually get caught again on the exact same thing. This became really aggravating at times.

I’m still surprised that of all the changes, the games still requires us to use HMs for exploration, raping us of one of the valuable move sets from our Pokémon, who are still stuck at knowing 4 moves maximum. Trying to ensure my party remains diverse with their attacks whilst juggling HM moves is always a bitch, and I’m sure a massive complaint from many over the years. It ruins being able to use your exploring Pokémon as your tournament Pokémon, as they’re stuck with moves useless in combat unless you then go to the effort of re-learning moves after the game has been fully explored to be able to use your Pokémon in professional battles. Why am I still teaching my Pokémon cut when I could just as easily carry a pair of shears in my Tardis powered backpack. Plus why are they still refered to as HM and TMs when TMs can be used multiple times now like HMs, so there’s no difference there now. Let’s just drop HMs altogether please. I was also gutted that having spent hours to acquire my Golunk, a ghost golem Pokémon that is capable of using the Fly HM, he uses a default flying animation which shows a bird swooping down to pick the player up. He’s not a bird, he’s a fucking golem, put the effort in guys, I was so looking forward to the idea of flying on the back of a massive ghost golem, like, come on!

Incase you get bored of battling or exploring, you can also bore yourself further with the stupid-arse mini games that take up the entirety of your bottom screen as your exploring. Rather than using the bottom screen as something useful such as a radar, maybe a TV to watch Pokémon episodes or a menu to access the fabled O-powers, I’m stuck with time-wasting games that don’t really expand our gameplay experience, possibly offering to make your already strong Pokémon slightly stronger. But to make them slightly stronger, you have to waste many more hours than would have been simply required by training them in normal Pokémon battles. There’s a minigame where you pet a Pokémon where you shouldn’t be petting it and feeding it cake, and another one that just involves throwing balls at targets. Then you get to assign a Pokémon every few minutes to punch at a bag, so that’s interesting the first 300 times you do that.

I found that the Pokémon in the game were really boring, especially the first 10 hours. Basically all the Pokémon you gain in the beginning of the game will be swapped out for the type that you actually want such as Electic or Dragon which don’t come until later, which makes all previous leveling quite a waste with no choice in the matter. Even when you do get the electric Pokémon you wanted, you’ll probably end up swapping that one out for an electric flying to negate fighting damage, so even more levels wasted further in the game. This is where the Exp Share comes in, a device that you can activate in your backpack which will supply all your Pokémon in your party with half the experience that the Pokémon currently fighting receives. This means that you don’t constantly have to keep swapping out Pokémon to ensure they are levelling up, as it’s automatic, essentially meaning that training is 1000x much easier as it’s about 2.5x more experience that you just gained, rather than without EXP Share turned on, especially when weak Pokémon like a LV3 Magikarp doesn’t have to be swapped out in a LV60 battle, instead just being able to tag along to your party. I found that it actually made the game far too easy, reducing any grinding as I ploughed through gym leaders overpowered from my few encounters with wild Pokémon. Though to turn it off would have meant I would have had to spend much longer playing this game, which I just couldn’t put myself through, especially when you’re having to swap Pokémon out of your party and retrain as you’ve made a mistake thanks to the terrible information supplied within the game. There was quite a few times I trained the wrong Pokémon thinking it would evolve into something or be capable of being able to use a certain move to find out it actually didn’t and having to start again from scratch with another more suitable Pokémon. Essentially though, the EXP share takes away the reason of actually being a Pokémon trainer.

Of all the changes, what I would really want is an overhaul of the combat system. Rather than just have the 20-year-old method of choosing an attack from 4 moves than waiting for a opponent to take their turn at battering your Pokémon, why can’t we have randomly generated battlefields that resembles those from the anime, that gives us the ability of telling our Pokémon to use props to their advantage and as cover. Essentially the player should be allowed to choose between either playing a basic version of Pokémon that would resemble the combat that has been in the past 6 generations of Pokémon games or the more advanced version of gameplay, a tactical RPG with movement, attack, defense and special moves depending on environment. Also move lists should be arm long rather than limited to just 4 moves. There are hundreds of moves I want to be able to teach to my Pokémon, rather than having to run to Bill’s PC every time I have to swap a Pokémon around to be able to use a certain move. I don’t even see how Pokémon can really ever forget an attack once they learn it. Having Pokémon being more versatile would make them much more useful and would allow us to build stronger, fictional bonds with them for performing so well in battle. But essentially I just want to be able to have a varied, interesting battle rather than just repeating the same move other and other, instantly knocking out each of my rival’s Pokémon. I want to give them a chance and actually learn how to use environments and split second dodge moves, exactly as seen in the anime, in which we then also get to see the Pokémon’s personality come out, whether it’s tough, fearful or playful, which I’m sure is what everyone else wants to see aswell.

Also why isn’t there more compassion in battles, just like in the anime. I should be able to retreat from battle when I know my Pokémon doesn’t have a chance, rather than being forced to put them into battle knowing their going to get knocked out. In a battle against wild Pokémon, I should be able to throw food to bait them into going into Pokéballs rather than having to hurt them all the time, just like in Safari mode in the games of old. It’s only Pokémon like Mewtwo with an attitude where I’m really going to need to defend myself with a Pokémon and have to engage it in a battle. We’re trying to teach kids to be nice to animals rather than cut their ears off. The new games have nothing on the old games and how they managed to cram so much into their tiny cartridges. Pokémon X is basically like Trump being President, everything seems to have gone backwards in their attitude to others, rather than encouraging progression which is a surprise for a series that has been 20 years in the making.

With how the Universe of Pokémon seems to contain genetically mutated Pokémon, Pokémon with godly powers and how there’s always some mention of people’s souls becoming Pokémon, I wonder if we’ll ever get to go down some dark route of a human absorbing Pokémon to gain their powers, becoming an ultimate being that we either would have to battle against or get to become ourselves…

I don’t understand why at the beginning of the game we’re not giving full customisation of our character. Considering that a lot of these options open up further down the game with new haircuts and styles, it clearly shows the game is capable of it, so I have no idea why it holds this back from us, as for those of us that don’t look like the 6 avatars offered at the beginning of the game, we then have to pay in the game to make them look like ourselves, which in today’s world, I may as well jump on the bandwagon and call them out for their discrimination, the ‘hair’ist assuming bastards who force me to have hair though I’ve got none in real life. It’s hard enough being bald, being teased with full heads of hair is a massive slap on the head.

Mega evolutions are a bit of a joke. Again, I feel this is more a throwback to Digimon than anything else in which they could temporarily evolve up. It’s not really explained in the game until end game, so for the 40 hours gameplay before that, it’s just a non-sensical additional power to be even more OP other your enemies. It was a pain in the arse having to constantly mega evolve in each battle to gain a few additional stats and I think most of the Pokémon look rubbish. Having to collect the stones in the game is another joke the developers have thrown in, in which only some of these stones will appear for one hour a day. Usually at 8 o clock at night when I’m sure most kids are supposed to be in bed anyway, so they’re either losing sleep or arguing with their parents to stay up, just to collect some stupid fictional stone. The fact that they’re only there for one hour a days is a joke also for the rest of us with schedules, and there is just no need for it. How the fuck does a stone disappear for the remaining 23 hours of a fucking day and yet, it’s not like the developers have included nocturnal and daytime animals that only appear at certain times of the day just like in Crystal, so once again, developers not knowing any longer what the fuck they are doing anymore. It would be interesting if it turned out that the trainer suffers complications from having worn the matching mega-evolve bracelet, ending up with cancer from all the radiation that was coming out of these highly reactive, unresearched stones. I’m pretty sure the Professor is using us as a guinea pig in an experiment rather than wear it himself incase of these side effects.

One of the most stupid Pokémon ever is Lucario, a fighting type infused with steel, which basically means that it can’t go up against other fighting Pokémon as otherwise it would get its arse kicked. Why the fuck this is a mega-evolution Pokémon is beyond me, the useless prick. I thought it was quite funny that a part of the story was that there was a Lucario who gives you some shit whilst under the ownership of some gym leader, who doesn’t have a clue what she was doing, then later on, the Lucario betrays it’s owner to join your party, though I told it to fuck right off as clearly I can’t rely on it to be loyal (once a cheater, always a cheater), so it ended up having to stay with its original owner. I would have loved to have seen what happened when they got home after that debacle, showing up his gym leader owner.

Gyms are nothing but a chore in the game, mostly as there ain’t no puzzle aspect to it as in previous games and because I was so OP. I would easily get through the entire gym of trainers and leader using just one Pokémon alone, so no challenge whatsoever. The internal layouts of the gyms aren’t anything special, as they visually like to make out them to be, with no challenge in finding the correct path to face trainers and head honchos. I’m pretty sure the gym floors are a liability waiting to happen, having prospective kids having to balance on ropes of a spider’s web, or climbing ropes with no guides up a 100ft tree. Where are the real challenges of having to decode puzzles etc on the user’s part. I just can’t get over the feeling that the game has been dumbed down for the masses, which everyone tries to justify by saying “Well, the games are intended for kids…” Yeah, whatever.

The Elite Four are no better, a piece of piss, being able to walk through them only having to use three Pokémon, which was only due to status effects being the only real damage that slowed down my Pokémon. No challenge here though I’d been working throughout the entire game for this result.

I do like the soundtrack. Has a nice jazz vibe to it and there are some great solo instrumental pieces. Maybe not as rememberable as the original games, but certainly nice to listen to. There is one npc in the game who will play a nice piece of music, asking for a tip afterwards, which I don’t get the point of as there’s no known benefit or reward for tipping. And it’s only the annoying people who ask for tips such as the numerous restaurant servers. Where’s Nurse Joy’s tip jar? (Alongside a chat-up line option… I wish I could play as Brock)

I love how Lysandre is the most obvious of supervillians. I find it funny how dark he gets in a kids’ game, with plans to rid the world of humans and Pokémon (should we just refer to humans as Pokémon at this point, considering they seem to be interchangeable these days). All throughout the campaign, he seems perfectly fine having a kid boycott his plans, neither fussed years of planning and money just thrown away as a kid walks through his compounds as his measly henchmen’s Pokémon are pulverized into pools of blood. The ultimate weapon that Lysandre hopes to utilise has been pulled straight out of Full Metal Alchemist, so no originality in story there, with some tall bloke who’s been walking the Earth for thousands of years, being absolutely useless to mankind in all that time. The thing about the evil guy’s plan is that it is entirely plausible, concerned with the over-population of the Earth and how he want’s to limit how it’s resources are consumed, which of course affects us in the real world, so it was hard to not get behind the guy’s reasoning, as it makes complete sense and I could believe that he would have seen his vision through of ridding the world of greed. Ofcourse, there’s nothing wrong with just letting people live the entirety of their life out in peace and just imposing breeding limits, which of course everyone else would object to, thinking they were having their freedoms taken away even though it is for the greater good of the Earth and the future of humanity, so I guess his drastic action was one way of getting around it. I wouldn’t be too fussed which side of the ultimate weapon I was on to tell the truth, which was interesting when a choice comes up for the player to press either the red or blue button to activate the weapon or not. I’m sure Nintendo got a lot of information from that. I feel that this plot could potentially be setting a seed in some people’s heads, especially as kids are more easily influenced, and should be carefully moderated in case of any extreme views which maybe later expressed by these kids, just so they don’t go crazy from having played one Pokémon game. It’s far different from how Team Rocket operated, only wanting world dominance which is only what every evil cartoon guy normally wants, so there’s less room for any craziness to spawn from having taken them down and hitting your avatar’s peak at the age of 10.

I have to say that the quotes from this game and Lysandre are hard-hitting, and very true of the real world. “There is limited resources for an unrestrainable population. Whether it’s money or energy, the one’s who steal are the one’s who win in this world.’ How so very true.

An even stronger quote – “The world isn’t corrupt enough to end it like this!” Damn again, society just took a left right from a fucking video game. It’s certainly an ending that makes you think, and hopefully everyone else, hopefully so we do sort out the issues that have been plaguing us the last 50 years.

The legendary Pokémon don’t make an ounce of sense to me. One is Mewtwo for some reason, the other is a thing called Zygade that you would definitely have to catch up on a thousand hours of lore to understand. It’s basically a Pokémon that can just keep transforming into bigger versions, again, feels more like Digimon. I didn’t have to use my masterball at all, so that’s just sitting there useless. The entire story barely makes sense in the game, with the actual hero’s tale threadbare. I forgot what the word is, but basically everything in the story has to be explained to you by someone rather than just being able to experience it properly first hand. For some reason, there is an endgame mission in which you get to be an assistant to Detective Looker, completing a few missions around the city which doesn’t require much more than defeating a few Pokémon trainers. The story has some aspects of entertainment to it, and I find it difficult to understand why they had to leave this as endgame content rather than not break it up within the main campaign. The way each mission in this side quest is activated does hint that the Looker side quest was originally ingrained in the campaign, though now end content for whatever reason. Probably one of the better couple hours of the game. Also these missions help to explore Luminous City which was confusing to learn the layout of at first hand, with no references and there was no real reason to explore beforehand in the main campaign.

This game is compatible with the Poke Bank, a paid online service in which you can upload your Pokémon to a server to be transferred to other games. It is of course something I’m not interested in, considering all the Pokémon I’ve lost over the years on many cartridges and I have now hardened to ever feeling love for them. Over the last 20 years, I’ve had to give up and forget so many Pokémon, which is exactly what I’ll be doing for this generation. I’m quite surprised and not actually sure if I’m impressed with the amount of effort other players put into obtaining a full shiny library. I, myself have not even seen a single shiny Pokémon in the entire game, and I’ve already captured 300+ Pokémon. Not sure where everyone is finding theirs, but probably referring to the internet for spots. It also wouldn’t surprise me if people are using hacks to give themselves these shinies considering how easy the 3DS is to hack.

I missed the in-game feature of being able to have rematches with trainers on routes, as they used to call you up for battle, you’d pop around and see how much stronger their Pokémon had gotten. It gave a sense of the world around you being a living infrastructure, developing around you as time went on rather than feeling like time has come to a standstill as it does in X. Feels like I’m stuck in the anime, where nobody ever ages.

The biggest fucking letdown in this game was Ryhorn Racing, like WTF?!?! The fact that your in-game mother is a retired Rhyhorn racer, that there’s a Rhyhorn in your front garden, that there’s a Rhyhorn racetrack not far from your house, that your capable of actually riding Rhyhorns in certain parts of the game plus the many people who refer to Rhyhorn racing, and yet, there is no fucking feature to actually race on a fucking Rhyhorn. Of all the stupid, fucking, time-wasting mini games in this piece of shit, and with all the mentions of it in the game, the actual ability to take part in Rhyhorn races doesn’t exist. I was absolutely looking forward to when the minigame would be accessible, seeing as I couldn’t access the racetrack from one side of the map, so I was sure I would find the entrance on the opposite side of the world map, only it never transpired. There’s a billion cafés in the game, a billion battles houses and yet the one feature that would have required some initiative on the developers part, rather than being able to copy the formula of the previous generations, and they shit the bed. Game Freak basically just left us with a half-assed game that’s nothing other than a boring 60 hour grind.

I’m only getting more pissed off at this point, as having been collecting a tonne of small and big mushrooms in the game, thinking that there was a mushroom collector somewhere in the game after having spent thousands on acquiring the mushrooms. Only after having wasted more of my own previous time looking it up on the Internet, find that they are fucking useless and that you’re just supposed to sell them to a shop as soon as you obtain them. Well so much for all that stocking up.

I’m afraid to say, that overall, the game was no fun whatsoever. I knew it was going to be a ball-ache to learn 800 Pokémon and then later finding all the changes that were for the worst. I just wanted after 20 years of waiting to be able to see Pokémon in full 3D, something I’ve been hoping for on systems like the Nintendo 64, which only ever had Pokémon Stadium & Snap, which I never owned or played, but weren’t anyhow the full Pokémon RPG experience that I and pretty much everyone else wanted entirely in 3D. To be honest, there are still compromises in this game made with characters etc being 2D placards in the game. Though it’s a box ticked off my bucket list of seeing Pokémon in 3D, it still stands that the greatest Pokémon game is Pokémon Crystal, with all the Pokémon you could possibly need and want, plus you didn’t have to bear with the embarrassment that is a trainer throwing their house keys at you and pretending that it’s a Pokémon whilst they’re then throwing stones to imitate Rock Slide. Crystal had true day/night cycles, actual challenging combat & trainers, a plausible storyline, a good set of bad guys, great Pokémon lore and two actual areas to explore, with the second being a revised edition of the Kanto Region, actually showcasing evidence that the concept of time does exist in this world and that everyone aren’t stuck in the body of 10 year olds.

The series could have (and should have) grown with the children that originally grew up on Pokémon, which at this point would be catering for its adult audience, whilst still allowing younger generations to jump in, but instead they just remake the entire game experience over and over again, bringing the series to an all time low (amongst the fact that it’s probably actually at its most profitable due to the idiots who we refer to as the human population that keep thinking it’s OK to buy into this stuff and merchandise). I wish now that the series had stopped at Crystal, living on as happy memories of my childhood, rather than constantly being pissed all over on.

Having said that, I’m only going to play Sun & Moon as a very good friend of mine has recommended it, saying that it breaks away from the Pokémon RPG convention and is its own entirely own thing, which a few reviews I’ve read online do say similar things, but the fact that they’ve removed stereoscopic 3D entirely doesn’t give me any encouragement, especially considering these games were released alongside the new 3DS systems, systems that are more powerful than their predecessor and implement eye tracking for the 3D visuals, which now legitimately works, looking 10x better than before so no one has an excuse to hate on them any longer. I will have to see if the lack of stereoscopic 3D is just Game Freak cheaping out again and getting away with doing the bare minimum or if they did manage to use that processing power elsewhere. If Sun & Moon are just as bad though as X & Y has been, alongside Platinum and Ruby, then I’m going to just wash my hands of Pokémon, as at this point it’s just become a money Miltank.

 

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