Pokemon 3DS; Three Easy Things to Make It Better

As a series, Pokemon doesn’t really seem to move on that much.  Ever since the days of Red and Blue back in the 90s, the formula’s been the same old ‘eight gyms then elite four then bonus content’ thing, the number of moves or Pokemon you can have has always been four and six respectively and the series hasn’t seem to have evolved that much over time.  But with Black and White slowly sprucing up the aging series formula and making the gameplay more entertaining, here are some things they should do when the sixth generation comes around:

1. Seperate HMs and their in battle and out of battle uses

Because while the current system makes sense to some degree because of gameplay reasons, it really makes the games much more annoying than they should be.  Not being able to delete HM moves?  Good idea in stopping players getting stuck, but it simultaneously stops them getting rid of a useless move once the next puzzle’s out the way.  Forcing players to have them as part of a Pokemon’s moveset?  Means players either have to rely on ‘HM Slaves’ and have only half a team or fill their best Pokemon’s limited movesets with useless moves.

Wouldn’t it be better if you could use HMs outside battle without wasting a move slot?

The answer to this would be to have the option to teach a Pokemon a move like Strength or Surf for out of battle use, but not require it to be part of their moveset in battle.  Hence you’d never forget the move or get stuck because it becomes merely a menu option when traversing the ‘field’. Of course, there’d still be a way to teach these moves so they could be used in battle if the player wanted, but they’d act like normal moves do and could be replaced as easily as any other.

Other ‘field’ usable moves like Teleport, Dig and Rock Smash could be used the same way.

2. Make the region a lot larger and with more choice in how you progress

So instead of just having eight gyms and the elite four, you have more of a choice.  The region would be about three or four times larger than any of the others in the series, and you’d have about 20 or so different towns to go to instead of about 10.

What all regions put together looks like.  Imagine a game where you could explore a single area as large as this and choose where to go in any order..

But this doesn’t mean the game would necessarily be ridiculously long or that it’d take forever to reach the Pokemon league.  No, it’d be more like the anime series where there were multiple sets of gyms you could challenge and where eight was merely the number of badges you needed to challenge the elite four, not the total number attainable in the region.  You wouldn’t be railroaded into a linear path that takes you past every possible point of interest in the area, you’d have the choice of where to go, what missions to complete and what badges to earn.

From the anime, but imagine if we got to choose what set of badges to go after!

To make this fairer, the levels of opponent Pokemon wouldn’t be preset.  So there’d be no area that necessarily has tougher Pokemon or more challenging trainer battles, it’d change depending on what order you visit the different towns and landmarks.  Hence before you’ve got any badges, all the Pokemon you face would be between level 2 and level 10, and after each badge all the Pokemon and trainers in parts of the world not yet visited would get stronger. But for the ones you already encountered?  They don’t change, the game sets the levels of wild Pokemon in stone after you visit a route for the first time.

Presumably the levels and evolution status of Pokemon used by gym leaders would set in a similar way.  So the first gym you visit would have the weakest Pokemon, the final gym the strongest.

Also just like the anime series there’d be various optional towns and areas with no gyms or badges, maybe with their own problems to solve.  Like the Sevi Islands in Fire Red and Leaf Green I suppose.

There would also be less of a fixed storyline.  Sure the evil team would cause trouble, maybe attack the league near the end of the game and have a hideout to attack, but they wouldn’t just mess around with the same areas every time.  Instead, whenever you went a city they could potentially take over at the right point in the game, they’d have set up shop there and have to be driven out.

With this major change, every game of Pokemon could be played completely differently and the replay value would be increased at least tenfold.  And the world the games are set in would feel much more real with more places to go and more choices in general, right?

3. Allow for movement in more than four directions

Really now, even SNES games gave you more choice in what directions to walk in than any Pokemon games do, and it seems almost pathetic you’re still limited to four basic directions on the D Pad.

Similarly, it’d be pretty neat if enemy trainers could also approach you diagonally, or see your character approaching from any direction like in more realistic stealth like games.

Just give us a control scheme that works better than those in games made ten or twenty years ago and it’s all good.

Well, those are the things I’d change in the Pokemon series for the inevitable 3DS versions/sixth generation.  There were going to be more things listed, but Pokemon Black and White seemingly fixed most of the main gameplay problems with the series (like the TMs being one use only and battles taking too long), so it’s really only the stuff mentioned that needs to be improved anyway.

Do you agree the ideas above would improve the Pokemon series?  If not, what things would you change instead?

There aren’t new characters in Mario Tennis Open

Sorry people on Nintendo 3DS Community who thought that Rosalina might be a new character for Mario Tennis Open, Nintendo has officially come out and said otherwise.  From their recent press release:

Track down the playable Yoshis by finding the Mario Tennis Open QR codes

and:

a massive Yoshi hunt will soon become available ahead of the upcoming Mario Tennis Open launch on 25th May. The hunt, entitled The Yoshi Chase, will involve tracking down a series of different-coloured Yoshis, playable in Mario Tennis Open, through corresponding QR codes released over the coming weeks through various channels.

Looks like the QR code characters are all a bunch of different coloured Yoshis unfortunately.  Of course, they couldn’t make these QR codes easy to find, oh no:

the Black Yoshi will be distributed first exclusively through 30 Asda stores on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th May, between the hours of 9.30AM and 5.30PM

Oh joy, it’s like the days of Pokemon again, where you had to trawl all through the local game stores and hope the one near you was giving out Mew/Celebi/Deoxys.  Considering they mention Asda specifically, that makes it even worse because in the UK they don’t have any kind of monopoly in their market, they’re only one of about five major brands of supermarket.  It’s extremely common to have a town without a single one of their stores in it, making this method of promotion nearly worthless.

And yes, it’s just Yoshi:

White, Blue and Red Yoshi will follow at a later date.

Hooray for complete unoriginality!

Have Nintendo come up with a worse set of unlockable characters than the ones in Mario Kart 7?  I think they may just well have. Still, at least this is merely QR codes, something you can at least share on the internet.  Useful for the large majority of us in the UK who don’t feel like going to a supermarket they never buy anything from for a stupid Nintendo promotion.

Still, sorry people, looks like the secret characters in Mario Tennis Open really are just a bunch of different coloured Yoshis.

Rayman Origins 3DS Launch Trailer

Why exactly this trailer is available nearly a whole month before the game’s due to come out is a question for the ages though, Then again, this 3DS version sure is taking a long time to be released isn’t it?  The versions for near enough every other major console in existance came out back in November last year…

None the less, the trailer for the game looks pretty good:

Looks pretty much the same as the home console versions to be honest, which is an impressive feat for a handheld game.

Still, even if the game has taken a long time to be released, it’s nice to know the 3DS version is due out soon and that it looks and plays near enough identically to the home console versions.  Pity about the launch date.

My E3 Predictions for This Year (Wii U and 3DS related)

Another year, and E3’s only about a month away!  So with that said, here are my predictions for games Nintendo will show at E3 2012!

In roughly the order in which these games could be announced, here are my predictions for what could be shown at E3 this year.  Obviously I’m only counting Nintendo games and consoles here, given the site’s focus, so keep that in mind before asking why there’s no mention of Halo 4 or Modern Warfare 4 or whatever.

The Wii U’s launch game line up will be announced

Could this be the Wii U’s free game?

One of those will be New Super Mario Bros Mii.  And in absence of a Wii Sports like game to use as a pack in/bundled title, it seems logical that Nintendo might choose New Super Mario Bros Mii as the free game you’ll get with the Wii U.

There’ll be a New Super Mario Bros 2 trailer

We’ve already had the first four screenshots and logo shown at Nintendo Direct this year, so it seems reasonable to assume the next step will be a trailer for the game showing more of the levels as well as whatever gimmicks Nintendo is counting on this time around.

I have a feeling Raccoon Mario will be the focus of the New Super Mario Bros 2 trailer…

I suspect the focus will probably be on the Racoon power up/Super Leaf/whatever just like how Mario 3D Land’s trailers and marketing was all focused on the Tanooki Suit, but I also expect we’ll see some attempts at pandering to long time Mario fans like the Koopalings reappearing and one or two more enemies from Super Mario Bros 3 or World being brought back.  Given what they found was cut out from New Super Mario Bros Wii due to lack of time, I’m saying the most likely new enemies will be Fishin’ Boo, Rex and maybe a Roto Disc or two if they’re feeling daring.  The P Balloon seems another good candidate too, it was actually once intended to be a power up in New Super Mario Bros Wii.

Animal Crossing Jump Out/3DS

Bet Animal Crossing gets a new trailer at E3!

It’s not been shown that much yet, and the game’s due out fairly late this year, so a short video of it seems plausible.

Retro Studios’ New Project

What’s their secret project?

Some say it’s Star Fox, some F-Zero and others Metroid, but regardless of what the game is, it makes perfect sense to assume it’ll be shown for the first time at this year’s E3.

Metroid 3DS

Something like Metroid Fusion seems a plausible enough 3DS game.

There’s been no Metroid games since Metroid Other M in 2010, and if the release schedule found on Wikipedia is accurate, it feels like we might be ‘due’ for another one.  This probably won’t be a Metroid Other M sequel due to negative reception the game from many fans and some critics, so a 2D game akin to Metroid Fusion seems the best bet.

Super Smash Bros 4 will be ‘shown’

As in, we’ll get a video like the one they made for Super Smash Bros Brawl at E3 2006:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ueUMld-7VM

Perhaps a bit too much to expect so soon?  Well not really.  It’s obvious that Super Smash Bros 4 isn’t going to be a launch game, but that still means an earlier ‘trailer’ seems likely about two or three years before the game’s due to be released.  So either this year or next year’s E3 seems like a good time and place to show the first ever footage of it.

Look at that trailer for example.  They only needed to make two or three stages, some items, about nine characters and one piece of music.  That seems fairly reasonable for a year or so time frame.

This would then leave the possibility open of having a Smash Bros Dojo like site running from late this year to about mid 2014 when the game comes out.

The Legend of Zelda Wii U will be announced

As well as this, I foresee a short trailer being shown like what happened with The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess.  Maybe Miyamoto himself won’t walk onto the stage at the end with a sword and shield, but it does seem pretty reasonable that something like the Twilight Princess reveal would happen at an event meant to get people excited for the Wii U.

Nintendo want to please the ‘hardcore’, right? Well it makes perfect sense that the best way to do this is to announce and show a few minutes worth of footage of an epic HD Zelda adventure game.  This would then give all the Nintendo fanboys and Zelda fans and people interested in more than New Super Mario Bros and Wii Sports a reason to buy a Wii U when it comes out.

This is why I think Zelda, Smash Bros 4 or both will get a short trailer shown this E3, Nintendo needs ‘hardcore friendly’ Wii U system sellers, even ones that aren’t going to be ready for the launch date.  These two games alone would get people extremely hyped up for the console and actually get people to pay attention to it, because no one buys Nintendo consoles for the third party stuff.

On Nintendo E3 website; Donkey Kong Country, Wario, F-Zero

These types of games seem like reasonable games to show on Nintendo’s website.  The former is pretty much a sure fire thing given than Returns was one of the best selling Nintendo games in a while (it outsold Skyward Sword and Return to Dream Land, you don’t really think they won’t follow up on it, right?), Wario (Land or Ware) seems like a plausible B list title that Nintendo could have available for mid 2013.  Wouldn’t require too many resources and would give 3DS owners something to play while Nintendo’s focus has switched to the Wii U.

And F-Zero seems like it deserves a comeback shortly, maybe this’ll be its lucky year.  Perhaps something like this fan made trailer might become a reality:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8UnfQkJfjU&feature=youtu.be

Also, here’s betting on another Kirby game soon, since they’re basically yearly now.  Again, seems like a fairly minor title that could be made for the 3DS, and it would keep the console’s sales up while Nintendo worked on Smash Bros 4 and Zelda for the Wii U.

Well, those are my estimates for the games we’ll see at this year’s E3, what do you expect?  It’s well known that the Wii U will be shown there along with some of the early games for it, but I honestly expect big things as always from this year’s event.

Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers; More Screens and Information

There are some pretty interesting announcements in this set too, such as the point that the game has full voice acting.  Not sure how common that is on 3DS games at the moment, but generally it seems to be quite rare at the moment.

It’ll also have an opening anime to go with the game, some stills of which can be seen below.

The main characters are Spooky, voiced by Kazuya Nakai and Six, voiced by  Daisuke Ono.

Some more screens of the game:

Finally, a release date has been announced, and because of this the game will be out August 30th (in Japan, obviously).

This looks like a pretty interesting game, at the very least Atlus have put a lot of work into making it as good as it could be.  Does anyone on this site want to buy this game?