Some time ago I announced to the world that I was boycotting the Pokemon series. In a nutshell, I felt that there was so much potential to the idea, and the developers of the game were teasing fans of the series with minor improvements towards that potential. I see it, many other fans see it. In fact, some are even trying to develop their own MMORPG, as that is the likely ultimate incarnation.
We’re getting fairly close to the October release of the next generation of the game, Pokemon X/Y. As is typical with prior releases, details of game mechanics have been released via publications such as Coro Coro. Have the changes appeased this first-day fan of the series enough to convince him to end his boycott?
Lets go over the known changes:
I’ve got a question: outside of the battles forced by the story to advance, have you ever done a triple/rotation battle? When they first told us they were introducing double battles, I thought it was cool, but a gimmick. Since then, I’ve grown fairly attached to them, and look forward to the opportunities presented. That never occurred with triple or rotation battles. I have never been part of one that wasn’t forced upon me to finish the game, and I imagine it will be the same with Sky Battles.
Sky Battles are battles that, oddly enough, are fought in the sky. This is actually even worse than previous new battle formats, as it imposes a limitation on you and your party – only flying types and levitators can participate. You’re likely to be forced to do one or two of these during the story to finish, so you better be leveling one up as you go along (my original party on Pokemon Blue never would have made it).
Additionally, someone is going to have to explain to me how this works for flying Pokemon like Dodrio.
I give 0 points for this feature.
I have concerns about this feature that are somewhat alleviated by faith – Game Freak and Nintendo wouldn’t have the hordes at a level too difficult for a given point in the story. I imagine you can see where I’m coming from: I have a level 10 Pidgey, going into a cave with level 8 – 12 Zubat. It would suck to suddenly be faced with 5 level 12 Zubats, 1 on 5. But I imagine the range of levels we’ll actually be seeing during hordes are either on the low end of the level range, or a few levels below, or you might even be sending out a few Pokemon yourself.
On the endgame side of this feature, I can’t wait to start EV training, and finishing up in minutes instead of an hour or two.
I’ll give 0.5 points for this feature.
At first I wasn’t taken by this, but then I realized that the developers could make this a really complex feature. The aforementioned Dodrio raced against a Rapidash in an episode of the anime. However, would Dodrio have the endurance to carry you up a mountain slope? Or perhaps, would Gogoat, the only confirmed ride-able Pokemon, be able to carry you in sandy areas? Perhaps not in either case. It is possible that different ride-able Pokemon will be required in different areas.
This idea reminds me of the Mach and Acro bikes in the Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald generation, so while it is far from guaranteed I wouldn’t count it out.
I’ll give a point for this feature.
This… is merely a “re-skin” of running shoes, or perhaps the bicycle. The same mechanic over a small change in animation. It is possible that they’d add a mini-game to go along with the feature (which I will promptly ignore).
No points for this feature.
This is kinda neat. In many cases people describe things as “icing on the cake.” I will describe this as icing that might be on a cake, which is no where near as cool.
Still, 0.1 points for this feature.
Useless, as I will be playing the game in the region-locked language that it would have been in if the feature wasn’t added. Well, I guess I could test/work on my rusty Spanish skills… Hmm.
I’ll give 0.1 points for this feature.
To me, this seems like a technical demonstration. It is a capability of the 3DS system that isn’t necessary to this particular game. However, I understand that the region is based on France, and I would be hard-pressed to convince anyone that there isn’t anything pretty to see in France, nor is there any tourists.
I’ll give 0.5 points for this feature.
Player Search System
And now for the meat of the post. Here are the practical changes to the game that most people are looking at.
First off, you can now trade/battle with (random) people without going to a Pokemon Center. The GTS has also been upgraded such that you no longer have to have the entry for a Pokemon in your Pokedex before you can trade for it. (What was the idea behind this, anyway? It’s like going to the grocery store, and all of a sudden your money isn’t green because… you haven’t seen an egg before?) Since these upgrades only make the system the way it should have been in the first place, I’ll only award 0.1 points.
You can now partake in a random trade, where you upload one of your Pokemon, and you don’t know what you’ll be getting in return until you receive it. I hope the developers thought this one through, otherwise I’m totally going to upload as many level 3 Pidgeys as it takes to get a Mewtwo back. I’ll award 0.1 points.
They’ve changed the name of the Pokenav/X Transceiver to the Holo Caster. This is largely a “re-skin” with a 3D projection of whatever NPC you’re talking to. I won’t award any points for this feature.
You’re now able to give friends O-Powers, which allow for brief increases in stats during battles, gaining more experience, or making catching Pokemon a little easier. This is very reminiscent of the Pass Powers from the Entralink in Black/White, except now it can be done over the internet. Yay? I’ll award 0.1 points since it is a little easier.
And now, the feature that begs the most questions in my mind: a Friends List. You’ll be able to see who is online and what they are doing in real time. The most important questions to me are: why do we need to see what they’re doing in real time? Is it because, perhaps, we can now go find them and interact with them in game?
It is possible that this feature is only a quick interface for launching into trades and battles, or offering O-Powers, effectively changing a 30-second process into a 20-second process. But I hope that the developers would understand that many fans would rather wait the 10-seconds and have them spend time working on a much more engaging experience. We want to explore things together. We want to accomplish things together. I hope my dreams are answered, and that I will soon find myself taking on Team Flare with an actual person playing with his own team of Pokemon. And we’ll conquer them together.
It wouldn’t even bother me if the main story were single-player only and multiplayer missions were included later on. It would still be a tease, but at least I would know that the developers understand what I want.
This feature could be worth anywhere from 0.1 points to 2 points for me. If it is what I hope it is, this game would get 4.2 of 5 points and you can bet that I’ll be buying this game day one.