Gaming Blurbs 03/24/2011: Through fire and flames we catch Pokemon

Now onto Pokemon, a series that I have a long history with as someone who has played the series on and off since the release date of Blue back in ’98, I am enjoying the current iteration as I usually enjoy most Pokemon games for the first month or two that I own them before abandoning them since I really don’t have the same amount of time to pour into a game like I did back when I was 16.

My impressions so far:

(+) I like the idea of a whole new cast because it lets me cut any ties I had to my old favorite pokemon which also allows me to just dive in and play the way I want to, rather than the way I am accustomed to. I obsessively played Blue and Silver back in the day, and it’s great to start again without worrying about finding the right Pikachu with the right SP stat. I feel more of a sense of wonder from finding the new Pokemon and less of a, “Oh yeah, this one does that” kind of reaction. That is a great thing, to be able to reinvent that level of wonder in a player.

(-) I don’t like that the game uses the same save system as always. While the save anywhere option is great, the fact that it is purely user motivated and not something the game ever reminds the user of just causes more problems than necessary. I wish the game would ask if you would like to save upon healing your Pokemon and/or offer an option to auto-save. The auto-save could be a separate file that can be similar to the way Word saves files as temporary documents.

(+) The merging of the save center and shops from all of the other Pokemon games into one building is something that has been long over due and thankfully it has finally happened. Overall it simplifies the experience and lessens the leg work to do staple actions such as healing and purchasing items. This is something that is so big that even though it seems like a no-brainer and something that the series should have been docked for over the years, I can still give it credit for finally straying from the norm. I still wish they had the re-enforced “Would you like to save now?” option along with the healing process, that would truly streamline everything.

(-) The design of Pokemon has always been one surrounding incredibly obtuse solutions to simple problems aka buy the fucking book to enjoy the game. Pokemon is a game that hinges on what 4 moves you give your 6 Pokemon in your party. This requires a lot of data and explanations of said data to enable the creation of trial and error teams armed with certain moves. One would think with such large collections of data being so necessary to the experience, the game would come with some internal manual that truly dug into the features that people would be constantly needing (even if digital).