Your Review Sucks (SuperOld): Pokemon Snapped (IGN)

(NOTE: This is reposted from my VERY VERY OLD website “Fruity Jell-O Gaming”)

Original Review Source : http://cube.ign.com/articles/544/544508p1.html

IGN, Masters of Misinformation.

I go there one day to see if they had yet another mind numbingly bad review and I stumbled across an interesting thing on the front page, a news article about a Pokemon MMORPG that seemed to suggest they had the “first screens inside”!

Now, it doesn’t take a fucking genius to realize this is a good idea. Hell! I’d play the crap out of it myself! Pokemon Online? Fucking splendid idea! …but everyone knows that.

Well, seeing as this is IGN and I’m on friggin’ dial-up, I didn’t have the time to tackle the flood of ads that would come from viewing that article, so I put it on my list of thing to do. I was overjoyed and told tons of people about this, thinking it was gonna be the greatest thing ever.

Well, I finally get around to checking out that article and…well…

http://cube.ign.com/articles/544/544508p1.html

Pokemon has gone nowhere. The originals, Pokemon Red and Blue, came out in September of 1998. Two major Game Boy iterations and an assortment of console spin-offs later and you can count the significant upgrades on one hand. There have been tweaks, there have been variations, but the core experience has never been expanded upon in the fashion that the very nature of the franchise could allow.

…and so the guy goes on, blabbing about how much he hates Pokemon basically and how it’s not enough like the TV show. You know, COMPLETELY MISSING THE FUCKING POINT as usual. Apparently someone didn’t do their homework and found out that the games came long before the TV show (in Japan).

Instead of breaking free of the limitations found in Pokemon Red and Blue, the Gold/Silver and Ruby/Sapphire editions embraced them and made them part of the formula that defines the series. I had personally only played bits and pieces of the Pokemon games before Ruby and Sapphire had come out, and had made the conscious decision to wait until those versions were released to get into the franchise. Imagine my surprise when the game that I bought was nearly identical to the mere bits and pieces of the last two games that I had played. Pokemon seems to be suffering from the Mega Man syndrome…

Blah blah blah. Cry me a river. Only afew tweaks my ass. Yes, the games are very similar, but you can’t deny that they’ve been refined through the ages. HUGE amounts of minor additions in each Pokemon game greatly adds up to a further refined experience. Anyone who’s played alot of Pokemon can tell you that. Oh wait…

I had personally only played bits and pieces of the Pokemon games before Ruby and Sapphire had come out

Hey Mister! Wave bye-bye to your journalistic integrity! BYE-BYE!!! Dammit! Just get to the damn online game! He spends almost an entire page going on about how stale it all is and shit. Shut up and get to the news, fucker!

Now, I am fully aware that there is a sizable fan base that is perfectly pleased with the current state and direction of the Pokemon franchise. I won’t claim that you people are wrong in your preferences; you’re all entitled to your opinion. What I’m going to do in this article is explain what I, personally, think needs to be done with the series based upon my admittedly limited experience with it.

…wait. wait a second. wait a fucking second. You’re telling me that this 6 page article is all about how you’d like a Pokemon MMORPG?! 6 pages of stating the obvious?! THIS IS FRONT PAGE NEWS?! AND WHY THE FUCK WAS THE ARTICLE CALLED “POKEMON SNAPPED” WHEN IT WAS IN YOUR STUPID ASS MAGICAL FLASH ARTICLE SHOWER THING! WHAT THE HELL! I COULD’VE TOLD YOU THAT!

Adding insult to injury, let’s recap: This guy has admitted that he knows next to nothing about Pokemon and has only played Ruby&Sapphire. He knows that the real Pokemon fans are perfectly fucking happy, but he’s going to tell us why the whole fucking series need to be changed just for him. WHAT THE FUCK!?

I simply can’t help but notice how much unrealized potential the franchise holds, to the point where after thinking about it for mere minutes I find myself overflowing with ideas.

Litteral Translation: I played Pokemon for afew minutes and realized that it’s not like the TV show so I’m gonna spew out stupid ideas for 6 pages on how the series should be changed.

Allright, let’s be honest. MAYBE there will be afew good ideas, maybe this will have some good suggestions…

The “dream game” presented from hereon out can be assumed to be a GameCube game, though it could also probably work on the Nintendo DS (due to its online capability). I’d much prefer to see the game in glorious 3D, however, so I’ll run with the console idea for now.

…we are NOT off to a good start. (Might I remind you that it could be done in 3D on the DS too)

First things first. Pokemon needs to be a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game).

NEEDS to be? No. Fuck you.

Now mind you, a Pokemon MMORPG would be awesome, but not necessary at all. Pokemon isn’t REQUIRED to be an MMORPG. It would be NICE, but it’s just fine the way it is.

Imagine Animal Crossing, but dozens of times larger, and every townsperson is controlled by a human player logged onto the system. (That’s another franchise that desperately needs the MMORPG treatment, but that’s a different article entirely.)

Welcome to the world of stating the obvious and missing the point. I believe it was once said by one of the game’s creators that making Animal Crossing online would be completely missing the point of the game. Even still, there are plenty of Animal Crossing-esque online “games”. In all honesty the game wouldn’t be that interesting online.

If the game is a MMORPG, you can only play it online. Without an internet connection the world simply wouldn’t be accessible. That brings up the fairly realistic problem of audience-limiting. Pokemon games are so popular now that Nintendo probably wouldn’t be too keen on the idea of drastically limiting their audience to those with internet connections

…you know, because putting in a nice little offline mode isn’t an option. Or, you know, releasing Online as a compainion game to the others where you could upload your GBA Pokemon to the Online game.

, and likely even only to those with broadband connections.

WHAT?! Wait, where the HELL did you get BROADBAND ONLY out of POKEMON ONLINE?! Seriously, even PSO and FFXI can be played on Dial-Up, I can ASSURE YOU that Pokemon would be just fine on Dial-Up too if it’s not being programmed by brain-dead monkeys.

Nintendo has repeatedly expressed concern about this problem, and it is one of the key reasons they have yet to jump into the online marketplace. By the same token, however, we can assume that if Nintendo is even making an online Pokemon game in the first place, they have found a way around these hurdles. So, for the purposes of this article, let’s live in the magical world where Nintendo has produced the brilliant and cheap online service that they have dreamed of.

Ow. You just broke my fucking brain you stupid cock. So, while simulataneously slamming our face into the fact that you just made this whole Pokemon MMORPG shit up you’re also saying that the only solution is that Nintendo has their own Online Sevice?! THAT DOESN’T EVEN MAKE ANY FUCKING SENSE NOR WOULD IT WORK AND IT WOULD FURTHER LIMIT THEIR AUDIENCE!

I’m imagining a system where all gym leaders are played by Nintendo staff members, who additionally act as server moderators.

…while that would be NICE, I don’t think anyone has the TIME to do something like that. Couldn’t they just be, you know, computer controlled? Honestly I think that would be alot easier.

The pacing of the game would have to be significantly slowed, so you wouldn’t be able to rifle through the gyms or max out your Pokemon after a mere week of power-playing. Beating a gym leader would be a significant achievement, not merely a step on the ladder.

For balance reasons, there would be a level or ability cap at each gym. Basically, if you already trained a multitude of amazing Pokemon in the first season, you wouldn’t be able to use those same Pokemon in the beginning gyms for the next season. You could still use them later on in that season, but you’d have to train some fresh meat for the preliminary rounds. Those who would prefer to continue using their highly trained Pokemon, however, would be able to compete in other organized competitions throughout the season. Numerous clans and teams could be formed around a basic framework provided by Nintendo, so there would be plenty to do if you didn’t feel like competing in the standard tournament series. There would also still be the ever-enticing goal of catching ’em all.

I’ll give you credit, that’s actually a good idea. I felt like putting this in here to show that this person DID come up with afew good ideas. There’s more in the full article.

The next page then goes on about servers and the illusion of one big world. Overall it’s a decent idea except that travelling sounds like it might be a pain. Pokemon is all about adventuring far and wide, if someone can’t just scurry around all over the place, it’s not nearly as much fun. Looks like abit more thought might need to go into the server set-up, but having one big world made of multiple servers rather than having multiple copies of the same world sounds good to me…

…or we could just go with the other way and let Nintendo make up a crazy story about alternate dimensions or something. I’m sure they could make it work.

…moving back to brain rapeing stupidity vill…

One of the biggest problems with the Pokemon franchise right now, from my point of view at least, is a lack of variety. Pokemn are designed in every which way, but they all pull moves from the same general pool. You could have a dozen fire Pokemon, but odds are that they’ll end up learning (or being taught) the same general moves. The only reason to have multiple fire Pokemon, in most circumstances, is because they have different stats. Pokemon are effectively bundles of stats, which you end up teaching the same general powerful moves at high levels. You end up trying to “catch ’em all” solely for the sake of completion, not because you want to exploit some particular ability that a Pokemon has.

Nope…you can tell someone hasn’t played the games long enough. This is somewhat correct, but they seem to forget that some Pokemon DO have a specific ability or move that only they have.

With such a huge number of Pokemon, though, it would be exceedingly difficult to create a set of unique moves for every single monster. There’s nothing I’d like more than 400 Pokemon with completely individual moves, but I’m fully aware how unlikely that will be. One solution would be to drastically cut the number of Pokemon, maybe even down to the original 151. I will admit, however, that I like the fact that there are a lot of them. It gives the impression of a more diverse world, and I like the whole “catch ’em all” idea. I think a better idea would be to radically alter the method by which Pokemon learn moves, and battle in general.

…or we could just…you know…leave it the fuck alone. You’re goin’ into dangerous territory now.

If you catch a Pokemon in the wild (a relatively low-level one), it won’t know any moves. That is, it won’t know any of the typical TP-consuming type of moves that are the current standard in the Pokemon games. Many Pokemon are just squirrels and birds, things of that nature. They aren’t natural fighting machines. As such, they start out exactly like what they are – wild animals. All they’ll be able to do is scratch with their claws, peck with their beaks, etc. The most notable thing about all this, though, is the nature in which battles would be fought.

Which is, you know, exactly the way it is in a Pokemon game.

Imagine two CPU characters fighting each other in Super Smash Bros Melee. Or Tales of Symphonia with all characters on auto, and all techs disabled. Basically, you’ve got two opponents battling it out without any user-input, dependent solely on their inherent AI fighting routines. This would be the most basic form of battle in this new Pokemon game. You can’t expect a monster that you just captured to be a fighting genius. If you suddenly release it from a Pokball, it will fight wildly against its opponent based solely upon instinct. From a technical standpoint, this is its default AI routine. All Pokemon, when pitted against each other, will fight based upon an AI that you help cultivate throughout the course of the game.

So how do you develop this AI? Any activity that you involve a particular Pokemon in will help mold the way it acts.

Now this sounds good on paper, until you realize that you’ll have almost no control over your Pokemon. Personally I’d kinda like the AI developing system but…I don’t think that’s gonna work too well.

They then go on about how learning moves and levelling up should be more like Tales of Symphonia and NES FFII. On other words, more stuff that sounds great on paper but would suck in practice.

Your most basic job as a trainer would be to assist your Pokemon’s standard AI with vocal commands. If the enemy is sneaking up behind your Pokemon, yell “watch out!” to try and warn it. If you see a weakness in the enemy’s defense, order your Pokemon to quickly strike. Much like the ATB (Active Time Battle) system used in the PSX era Final Fantasy games, each Pokemon would have a time bar that denotes when they can use a special move. The speed at which the bar fills up would depend upon that Pokemon’s natural speed, and while the bar fills up the Pokemon would run around and fight with its natural abilities. Once the bar is full, the trainer decides when and how the special move is to be used. You can immediately call out to your Pokemon and order it to perform a technique, or wait with a full bar and have your Pokemon perform the move with particular timing based upon how the battle is playing out.

Okay, now we finally get to do something. Bascially you want it to be more like the TV show. Well I got bad news for ya’: That just isn’t gonna float with the long time Pokemon fans. Leave the battle system alone. Period.

Also…what the hell is up with this comment

Much like the ATB (Active Time Battle) system used in the PSX era Final Fantasy games

PSX era? Man, you’re one of the FFVII kids aren’t you. ATB has been around since FFVI or earlier (read: On SNES) and continues to be in FF games on PS2.

The whole idea here is that you aren’t just some guy who captures various monsters and forces them to fight each other. You legitimately take the role of a Pokemon trainer, and work with your team to win battles and become stronger. If you just sit back and watch your Pokemon fight, you’ll find yourself quickly bested by trainers and Pokemon that work as a team.

Making it more like the TV show. Once again, Good on paper, but I don’t think it would work as well in practice.

There’s also the fact that capturing Pokemon in the wild is the natural beginning of any Pokemon Trainer’s journey, but it is portrayed in a horribly barbaric fashion. The main pastime of the Pokemon universe’s occupants is the violent capture and enslavement of innocent forest creatures, which are then forced into mortal combat against their will. For such a cheerily portrayed world, the underlying truth behind these Pokemon’s cruel fates is callously disregarded.


What I’d like to propose is a system where Pokemon are no longer “captured,” but are instead “recruited” through non-violent means.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! WHY THE HELL DO YOU THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE LIKE THE SERIES?! You know what? You’re fired. I don’t care if I’m not your boss, you’re just fired.

Pokemon wouldn’t actually LIVE in the Pokeballs any more; they’d live in the wild where they were originally found. Using a Pokeball effectively teleports its linked Pokemon to your side.

No. Just no. You can’t suddenly change the entire structure of the Pokemon universe all of the sudden. No. Fuck you.

There could be some other methods of befriending Pokemon, using the prior system as a basis. Let’s say there’s a Nidoking desperately trying to save its children from a forest fire. If you whip out a water Pokemon and save the small Nidorans, the Nidoking would be indebted to you and form a Pokeball pact with you right then and there.

Pokeball Pact? No. No I’m sorry, that just doesn’t work. And while doing something like saving the Nidoking’s babies sounds good on paper, that would be HELL to program and get to work, especially in an MMORPG!

…I’m not sure how much more of this crap I can take.

Let’s be honest here. The plots in Pok駑on games have never been above the second-grade reading level. They exist solely to give your character a reason to travel around the continent.

No shit.

They then babble about “Plot Events” and shit which are good on paper, but would be hell to impliment. How exactly do you tell your Starmie to save the people in the burning building? What control do you have over the situation. Ect.

After writing this piece, I find myself being more depressed about the future of the Pokemon franchise than anything. The knowledge that Nintendo will likely never implement changes as radical as the preceding has probably ruined me for future iterations of the franchise that are made from the current mold. After all, every fully-fledged Pokemon game that has been released in the last six years, regardless of how cookie-cutter they all were, has sold in the kabillions. It seems that the buying public is perfectly happy with the current state of things.

…and it’s here that I say “No shit braniac. Fuck off.”

No one cares about your silly ideas to renovate a perfectly fine series.

…so can someone please tell me why this was front page news?

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