Copyright Adam Schlosser

Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser

Posted by Pip

R3S2- How Doth the Little Crocodile

Murd is the caretaker of all creatures squishy, vulnerable, and downright weird. He's a good guy.
The Sins are a lovable bunch, but you really have to run with a specific crowd to find the joy in fighting, causing chaos, and corrupting souls. I mean, sure that sounds like a good Friday to me, but not a lot of people seek the end of humanity and the rise of our Force overlords. You guys don't know what you're missing!

It's time for the first fights in the Sins Pokemon X/Y tournament!
The Rules are:
Two-Player Match
Single Battle
Normal Rules
Handicap Off

We had a lot of people sign up, so please try to get your fights done quickly, let me know if you're running into problems, don't be a jerk, and have fun!

And speaking of the Pokemans...

Quick Review: Pokemon X/Y- It's hard to review Pokemon without either gushing over its adorableness or turning into a cranky old man. So here goes: Chespin is the freaking cutest thing ever and Pokemon games are way too complex now and have lost the simplicity that made them so fantastic back in my day. Nintendo nicely added some things to speed the process up (at least they're new to me, I haven't played Pokemon in a while). You can run at a nice speed, there's a shortcut to re-use the last item/Pokeball you used in battle, and you get skates that automatically equip when you use the analogue stick (although, they control poorly and using it slams your Pokemon against the side of the Pokeball so I stuck to just running). Early on, you get an Experience Share item that passes XP too all your Pokemon and it makes the game move at a nice clip. I generally stuck with the same team through the whole game and by the end, I was well suited to fight the Elite Four without any grinding.
As for the bad... Pretty much nothing else has been improved on and several areas are worse than older games. There's no map of the towns and the camera is in super close so it's very easy to get lost on your first trip through an area. In the main city, the camera shifts when you tap a direction and it's a mind-bogglingly bad design decision that winds up being extremely annoying. Several features of the game just aren't explained well too. You can “Register” an item and that makes the icon turn yellow. I have absolutely no idea what that is for. Super training lets you raise your stats a few times but it isn't noticeable and it gets confusing. Should I wait until later in the game to do it or do it as soon as possible? How do I know if a move uses Sp. Attack or just Attack? You only have a limited number of points you can earn in this mode, so if you train the wrong one, you're screwed. PokeMon Amie is cute for five minutes but then it turns into Roman calling Niko in GTA4. It seems to hurt your stats if you don't regularly feed and play with your Pokemon through some truly god awful mini-games that aren't even remotely fun. And how do you hit the giant yarn ball at the end of the bouncing game?! I did it once but can't do it again and I don't know how I did it that one time. I can get a perfect combo through the whole game but once it gets to the end, my characters move right through that ball. The game also busts out some super lazy level design. Almost every area is a maze or teleporters that warp you around the area. That is the worst, especially in caves where you're being attacked by wild Pokemon every three seconds.
The menus in the game deserve special mention. They're horrible. Just truly terribly, poorly designed, unintuitive, bad bad UI. It's hard to find what you're looking for for the first several hours of the game, there are too many nested options, they're slow to transition, there are so many unnecessary features, and because of the feature bloat there are too damned many of them. Take for example trying to manage your team. You can't just swap out one of your six for one in Bill's PC. You have to go to one menu, select the Pokemon you want to get rid of, place it in the PC, exit that menu, open a different menu, select the Pokemon you want, and then place it in your team. Then the menus are also a mix of stylus and button controls. You might be able to use the buttons for several layers of a menu but then you hit one screen where you have to use a stylus and it's so picky about where you tap and everything is so crowded that you can't just use your finger.
I was really excited to try out the Pokemon world's introduction to halfway decent Internet connectivity, but using the multiplayer features completely halts the game. You can voice chat with people in the game, but you can't continue to play while doing it and there doesn't seem to be a way to type messages to people. You can watch in-game videos that are purely there to show to other people, but to watch them, you have to send a request to view it and every person I sent one to, didn't reply. Same goes for battles for some reason. Of the 4 battle requests I made with strangers, not one person replied. Most of that is probably due to the fact that the game doesn't let you know what the person is doing and it always shows them as available as long as they're logged in. I've gotten requests from other people just as I was starting a battle or story sequence, you're not allowed to answer the multiplayer prompt while in those areas, and once you're done with that sequence, the request has expired so you look like a jerk for ignoring them.
I do have major kudos for the amount of post-game content. Several new areas and special Pokemon become available, there's a whole new town, several quests open up, and there's an especially strange string of quests involving a homeless illiterate orphan, gangs, mind control, and what the hell is going on in the Pokemon world?! Post-game, I also ran into an Articuno but at the start of every battle, it just runs away. I can't do anything and I have no prompts, so I've met this thing like eight times, we enter a battle, and then it runs away and warps somewhere else on the map then by the time I skate on over to it, it's on the other side of the world again or we enter a battle and it runs away again. I don't know if I'm supposed to be doing something or what, but this seems like terrible game making.
To just go into complete angry old man territory, here is a list of things Pokemon does not need and that make the game worse:
-There is a Pokemon that is a sentient key ring. This is what we've come to. There are far too many Pokemon if a key ring is a new addition.
-Pokemon have sexes? Does that matter? Does it do something special? Why is this in the game?
-Pokemon can hold items in battle. So having a good strategy and playing well matter less than just finding a good item and having a Pokemon bring that into battle?
-Pokemon have multiple types and you can no longer tell what type they are by just looking at them. It was far easier to remember what element each Pokemon was when there were just 150 of them. Now, there are like 700 of them and they can have two elements so I have no idea what to use against most of them. There's a floating seahorse dragon thing. Seahorses are ocean creatures, but plant moves aren't effective against this thing and anti-dragon moves aren't effective, and it has an electrical attack but rock moves aren't effective against it either. I have no idea what to do in this situation!
-Pokemon now have Natures/Traits, so it's no longer enough to just find and recruit a Pokemon, you have to keep doing that over and over until you find one with a good Trait. I have a Timid Pikachu. I have no idea what that means. It sounds bad, right? Should I bother training it or should I try to find a new one?
-Seriously, there are too damned many of them. Just bring a few of the good ones over, not all of them. 50 new, 50 from Red/Blue, and 10 from each other generation. 150 is a totally manageable number. I mean, who wants Weedle back?
-Mega Evolutions don't seem to actually do anything. They change what you look like for one battle but you don't actually seem to be that much stronger.
-Status effects that last after battles are BS. Especially considering every other frigging Trainer keeps causing Paralysis to you. It makes the game incredibly tedious because you have to either stockpile all the different medicines or fight a battle, run back to the PokeCenter, run back, and repeat.
-Pokemon escaping from balls really bugs me. The core gameplay idea for all of Pokemon is to capture and train a bunch of cute critters, so why make it so frustrating to capture them? If you have a Pokemon's health in the red and you throw a Pokeball at it, that's it, it should be captured. It shouldn't take six or seven tries to capture one. On my run through of the story, I only caught maybe a dozen Pokemon and that's all simply because it was too frustrating to have them constantly escape. Trying to catch them isn't fun, it's annoying and that seems to defeat the game's whole purpose. Especially now that you have to factor in its sex and traits for what makes a good team member, there are a dozen different kinds of Pokeballs now, and that there are 700 of these critters, the capturing process should not take longer than the actual fight. Given how high the battle frequency is, the fact that everybody you meet on the road wants to fight you, and that Pokemon struggle to not be caught, it makes the whole game kind of creepy. If you have to beat the animal to near death/faint, paralyze it, put it to sleep, and then throw eight Pokeballs at it, IT DOESN'T WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND. I thought the whole deal with Pokemon is that they like being around humans, forming bonds, and proving themselves against each other. If they don't want to be with you and keep trying to murder everything, it just makes you as the player a horrible human being. I had no guilt about catching them all in Red, but these design decisions now make the game's core gameplay seem extremely creepy and make me feel bad.