Wednesday, October 27, 2021

More Pokemon-ish thoughts

Please excuse my consistent spelling of Pokémon as Pokemon (without the acute). I have an English keyboard that makes adding diacritics difficult in a web browser. 

I've been having some thoughts about Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, as well as Pokemon Legends: Arceus, and because I'm pretty sure none of my social media friends care about Pokemon as much as I do, I figured this was clearly a better topic for my professional blog.

So, Gen IV remakes. I'm actually not super pleased with the direction I'm seeing them going in, which is apparently as faithful a reconstruction of the original games as possible. While this might be fun for people who have never played the originals, as someone who has played every generation of Pokemon games, I can tell you that half the fun of the remake games for me has been the content that deviates from the original so I don't feel like I'm just playing the same game over again. Remakes are supposed to be a fresh experience for newer and older players alike, in my opinion. I even liked Let's Go Pikachu - despite having played Red, Blue, Yellow, and LeafGreen - because it completely rehauled the catching mechanic in an addictive way, and allowed you to ride Pokemon which is something I've probably wanted since the days of Red and Blue.

If there isn't enough new content, I get bored pretty fast. And that's what worries me about Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl--I'm getting bored just reading the news releases. Everything looks just about the exact same. They even kept the overall aesthetic - just trading in pixels for high-res polygon models - rather than update the look to match the current generation. Am I the only one who wanted BD/SP to look more like Sword and Shield? Even the character artwork has nothing new compared to the original Gen IV art--no new character designs, just CGI-ish renderings. So far I'm not seeing any changes to the storyline, no additional gameplay content, and relatively minor new gimmicks (they rehauled Amity Park... big whoop). 

And that's really, really disappointing to me. If we're looking at virtually a port with enhanced graphics, I'm not sure how much fun I'm going to have playing it. (Maybe it doesn't help that I just replayed Platinum a couple of years ago.) I'm also frustrated by how the press releases seem to keep touting features of the original games as if they're something new, when pretty much every Pokemon fan over 20 years old still remembers them from the first time around. "Oh wow, Lake Guardians! And look at these weird Team Galactic guys!" Been there, people. Been there.

Well, I've already pre-ordered Brilliant Diamond, so I guess I'll just have to play it and hope it's better than my expectations. And maybe there's still some exciting new stuff that they just haven't announced yet. I hope the Grand Underground is at least interesting. I still think they really missed a big opportunity by not making it an MMO-like space like Galar's Wild Area. Then again, maybe they did and just haven't said anything about it yet. But argh I am very frustrated with how little they're seeming to offer to veteran players in what they've talked about so far. It's like they're so hung up on making the games look like faithful remakes, that they're not trying very hard to appeal to people who want to see a little more innovation.

And Pokemon Legends: Arceus. Overall I'm really looking forward to this game. It pretty much looks like Pokemon: Breath of the Wild and it's amazing and beautiful and I don't know if I'll have a life after purchasing it. Buuuuuut I'm a little put off by how dark some of the Pokedex entries are for the new/regional Pokemon. C'mon, Hisuian Zorua and Zoroark? Basculegion? And they're calling this an E-rated game?! One of the things I really enjoy about the Pokemon games is how lighthearted and kid-friendly they are. I really don't want to see things head in a darker direction. That's no fun for me. Guys get it togetherrrrrr.

Will I still play Pokemon Legends? Probably, because overall it doesn't look too violent. Will I cringe at some of the Pokedex entries? You bet. This is not a trend I want to see continue.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

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