It’s been out for a while now, and it’s already become a massive success in the process. And so with all the hype Pokemon GO has been getting, I thought it’d be time to finally review the game as a whole. Does it really live up to the idea of real life Pokemon collecting and battling? Does it do a good job of transferring the Pokemon feel to the mobile app world?
Well, sort of. It’s fun, and it’s certainly a nice way to get people exploring the world around them.
But what’s it like on a more detailed level? Well, let’s find out, in our official Gaming Reinvented review of Pokemon GO!
First on the agenda, let’s talk Pokemon GO’s graphics. Which for the most part, are actually pretty good.
For example, the Pokemon models have been designed pretty neatly here. Sure, they’re not Pokken Tournament or Super Smash Bros quality, but they do at least look a bit like what you’d see in one of the Gamecube era spinoffs.
And the menus and interface are a decent quality too. Yeah, they’ve got the same ‘flat’ look present in a lot of mobile games and modern websites. That’s pretty much undeniable.
But it does work well, and it makes finding nearby Pokemon, gym and Pokestops really convenient.
In addition to these, there’s also the unique style splash screen that’s run when you try and load up the game. You know, the one with a Pokemon trainer walking dangerously close to a Gyarados. This artwork looks really good, though it’s a shame that there’s only one design at the moment. Would have been neat if they’d switched it up randomly with some of these:
Above: They need to add these in. Via Magdalena Proszowska.
So on a graphical level, Pokemon GO works well. But how about the sound?
Well, that works well too. The remixes played in gym battles and wild Pokemon encounters are certainly nice to listen to:
And the game’s main theme is quite catchy as well:
Above: Some catchy songs from Pokemon GO
Yes, it’s not the best in the series. There’s nothing in Pokemon GO that can quite match some of the songs from generation 5 or generation 6, because it’s a simple ‘collect them all’ experience without anything in the way of special boss battles or a main plotline. But it works well for what it is, and you won’t ever really find any of the music irritating here.
But the aesthetics don’t mean anything without the gameplay to back it up. And suffice to say, Pokemon GO’s gameplay is pretty good for the most part.
Now, before we start, I have to mention that Pokemon GO is not a typical Pokemon experience. You don’t fight Pokemon directly to weak them. You don’t go around collecting badges from different gyms and battling the regional league and elite four. There are no gimmicky extras like the contests and studios and musicals or whatever else. Heck, you don’t even have the ability to trade or battle Pokemon with people nearby yet!
But this doesn’t mean the game isn’t enjoyable. It’s just a very different beast from the games on Nintendo’s handheld systems.
When it comes to release dates, the new Zelda game isn’t exactly very consistent. From 2015 to 2016 and 2017, the game’s been pushed back year after year.
But while the game’s immense scope and massive world justifies much of it, it seems there was another reason for the endless delays.
Aonuma’s management. Or more precisely, the mistakes made with it.
Because in a recent interview with Edge, series producer Eiji Aonuma mentioned some mistakes he made in managing the project. Namely, not telling the staff what was good about the previous build of the game, causing them to break things and make the game worse in the process. Here’s how he explains the issue:
We have these milestones during development. I play the game, then give staff my comments, my advice on what direction they should be heading in. At one of the milestones, the game was fantastic. There were so many great elements. But at the next milestone, that was all gone.
I’d made a lot of comments about what they needed to add, but I never told them what I thought was good about the game at that milestone. So they added stuff that I’d recommended, but they also added some other elements they thought would work well – and that ended up breaking all the good parts of the previous build. I learned that, when it’s good, I have to say so. If I’d managed that we’ll, maybe development wouldn’t have extended quite so much.
Still, at least the game seems like it’s working out for the best. Are the delays and management issues a good thing? No, not really. But they’re obviously not a showstopper here, since Breath of the Wild has broken records and caused the popularity of the series to skyrocket ever since E3.
Above: If 8 million people liked my game’s trailer, I wouldn’t care about any management issues.
I’d rather have a game like that (which looks utterly incredible) to a well managed game that adds absolutely nothing to its genre (like most games out there).
Either way, management issues delayed the Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild. And while they worked out fine here, hopefully they won’t be as much of an issue with the games developed afterwards.
Breath of the Wild’s delays were partly due to poor management by Eiji Aonouma
Since Pokemon GO was released earlier this month, it has just gone from strength to strength. Whether it’s topping the charts, breaking records or putting Nintendo’s market value above Sony’s on the basis of this one game alone, it’s clear the Pokemon phenomenon is back.
But no game is perfect, and Pokemon GO is no exception. So here are five features that should be added to improve Pokemon GO.
5. Secret Bases
So let’s start with the first improvement that could be made to the game. The addition of Secret Bases similar to Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire.
What are Secret Bases?
Well basically, they’re player run gyms and headquarters, often located into remote areas. You choose a nice looking location, use Hidden Power, and hey, you can now lay down furniture and challenge anyone who comes by as a result.
It’s a simple mechanic, and I think it would be great for Pokemon GO. Why? Well, multiple reasons really. But the first one is that they’d provide a more ‘typical’ gym like experience to the ones in the current game.
Because Pokemon GO gyms are not really anything like actual Pokemon gyms. You fight Pokemon there, sure. But it’s one at a time. You take them over if you win. And its all tied to the team mechanic in the game.
Secret Bases could provide a sort of smaller ‘traditional’ gym setup. Where the owner could basically act like a gym leader (with their own team) and the base would provide a way for other people to battle them (like in Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald). This would let users create all kinds of themed teams with certain types without worrying that someone else will take over their location.
They’d also provide something to do in remote areas. Because at the moment, there’s not as much outside of large towns or other inhabited areas. And as a result, it means people climbing mountains or exploring forests don’t have as much of an incentive to use the game as someone heading down to the local park.
Secret Bases could fix this too. People would see the interesting symbols on the map, then start looking for bases to come across and people to battle inside. You could even use them to mark interesting spots that otherwise wouldn’t have a purpose, like a strangely shaped tree, a cave on a remote island or an interesting piece of architecture.
Add the possibility for customisation (like maybe a custom icon for the map, or decorations that appear when you walk nearby), and it’d provide a lot of value for people who want to make the most of the world around them.
Talking of making the most of the world around them…
4. Legendary Pokemon Locations
Another way the game could be made better would be by including special locations for legendary Pokemon.
Because you see at the moment, there’s not really an incentive to explore that much of the world. I mean you can, no problem. But Pokemon are simply more common where there are more phone users. So in cities, parks, universities, that sort of place.
And this really takes away from the feel of the Pokemon series. Think about it, where did you encounter the best Pokemon in the main series?
Distant places far away from anyone else. Like Mount Silver, Sky Pillar, the Unknown Dungeon. Places that would take significant amounts of travelling and preparation to get to.
Above: Some legendary locations
You didn’t find them in the middle of Saffron City or Lumiose City.
So I think the game should add special legendary locations to kind of incentivise people to get exploring a tad more. These would be like Pokestops or gyms, except with a special powerful Pokemon like one of the legendary birds or Mewtwo found there instead. You’d then battle them (like you were in a gym), and get the chance to capture them if you win.
And they would deliberately be set to difficult locations to get to. They wouldn’t be houses or shops, they’d be caves thousands of miles from town where a legendary ought to be hanging out. Or at some point of interest near the top of a mountain, like a piece of artwork or ancient set of ruins. They’d be on an island in the middle of the ocean or a large lake where merely the act of getting there would be a challenge.
It would give players a reason to go exploring. To go on more interesting journeys across the country like in the main series games or anime. To check out landmarks and buildings they may not have known existed.
Well they’re certainly announcing new Pokemon on a regular basis now! It’s literally been just a week since Mimikkyu and Kiteruguma were announced in CoroCoro Magazine. And now, we’ve got a new trailer with even more new Pokemon species!
Here it is:
There’s a lot included, so let’s start with the CoroCoro announced Pokemon.
Like Mimikyu, which has basically got the same name as in Japan. It’s Disguise ability lets it escape damage once by using its fake head as a decoy. Or in other words? It’s Substitute as an ability.
We also know a bit more about its backstory too. Apparently, the ‘rising popularity of Pikachu-styled merchandise around 20 years ago’ makes it want to impersonate Pikachu for attention. Guess it really likes generation 1 then!
Either way, here are some pictures of Mimikyu. First one is its normal form, second one is after its Disguise ability kicks in.
Above: Normal, and horrifying
Aside from Mimikyu, we also have Kiteruguma. Or Bewear as its now called in English. This bear like Pokemon has the Fluffy ability, which halves the effect of direct contact attacks in exchange for doubling the power of any Fire ones. Seems like an interesting effect, though how it’d work for Blaze Kick or Fire Punch is anyone’s guess.
In addition to those, we also have some brand new species not revealed by CoroCoro. One of these is Comfey, a Fairy type blossom ring Pokemon. This strange wheel like creature has the Triage ability, which gives its restorative moves the highest priority in battle.
There’s also Mudsdale, a Ground type horse Pokemon. This Pokemon is supposedly extremely powerful, being able to kick a car to pieces and carry loads of up to 10 tons for three days straight. It has the ability Stamina, which increases it Defence by one when it’s hit by an attack. That might have some cool metagame uses.
Bounsweet is another newly revealed Pokemon. It’s a Grass type Pokemon that’s often used as an air freshener thanks to it sweet scent. No new abilities though, which is a tad disappointing. Maybe it’ll evolve into something good?
Finally there’s Wimpod. This cowardly Pokemon is a Bug/Water type which runs away whenever it’s approached in a group. It’s ability is Wimp Out, which causes it to run away or swap out if its HP drops below half in battle. Looks like this is one Pokemon that False Swipe won’t work on!
And those are the new species of Pokemon. Some look interesting, like Bewear, Mimikyu and Mudsdale. Some seem utterly useless (like Bounsweet). And Wimpod seems as annoying to catch as Abra was in generation 1. Still, you win some and you lose some, right?
What do you think about the new Pokemon revealed for Pokemon Sun and Moon?
Okay, take this with a grain of salt. Apparently, TechCrunch is now saying Pokemon GO will launch in Japan tomorrow, with 3000 McDonalds restaurants serving as gyms.
This would be the first example of sponsored locations in the game.
But is it true?
Well, it’s hard to say really. On the one hand, Niantic’s CEO said the game wouldn’t come out in Japan till the end of July. This was because of server issues relating to the game’s popularity.
On the other hand, Pokemon GO does tend to launch in new regions at the drop of a hat. It’s releases in the UK and Canada were marked by nothing more than a Twitter post. And both came just days after it was released elsewhere.
And July 19th isn’t too far from the end of the month. So hey, it’s always possible the game could be released in Japan tomorrow. There’s certainly a precedent for it.
Either way, take from it what you will. It’s only a rumour, and it won’t be very long till we know the truth anyway.
Pokemon GO is finally launching in Japan – TechCrunch