Monday, December 27, 2010

Pokemon: Pearl Version (DS) - Session 1

12/22/10, Gameplay: 33min

Experience with the franchise?
I did play the very first Pokemon games when they came out. I think I had the blue version - I remember choosing colors with my brother so that we would have companion versions. I don’t remember whether or not we actually traded Pokemon over our DSes though. There was a lot of hype, and I even created a book so that I could track Pokemon as I acquired them - I marked off all #150 pages, so that I could draw them into the book, along with their information. I don’t remember how long I played, I think maybe just 3-4 hours total? (but it’s really a guess)

What happened in this session?
Started up game - met with stark blue screen asking me if I’d played Pokemon before. Read it out of curiosity. Gameplay start - you are a normal kid (get to choose gender and name, and name of friend) who doesn’t have any Pokemon. It’s a pretty Pokemon centric world - it’s all anyone has on TV (every home in your 4 house village is talking about Pokemon). You meet your friend - he’s fast paced and tells you to go to the road to the lake and you’ll get a fine if you’re late (it’s that sort of friendship). You both end up acquiring Pokemon - you see the professor by the lake, who leaves his briefcase - when you go to get it, you get attacked - have to use the prof’s Pokeballs to protect yourself. You meet him, he says to keep them, and you are given an assignment to come into contact with as many Pokemon as possible. Adventure start! (This is where I stopped) Also I learned about Pokecenters, where I can heal Roshi (my Tortwig or something like that) and also connect online, and with friends.

What I liked:
- You are able to name your best friend in the game. This is surprisingly delightful, I think. He (will be she if you choose to be a boy in game probably?) has his own theme music, makes it really fun that you get to have a specific person in mind (in my case, I chose the name “Issam”) Your relationship with him is typical to anime - sort of a ‘tough love’ - ordering you around, ‘if you’re late you get fined’, etc. Small touches made this character fun.

- Concept overall of Pokemon. Seems sort of weird to talk about at this point, since.. it’s Pokemon... but who wouldn’t want a cute, battling monster as a friend? I think a lot of this is what makes girls follow the series as well as guys.

What I didn’t like:
- When game starts, opens with blue screen “have you played before” and it gives you combat and gameplay basics. Sort of odd and uninviting. If I hadn’t known what to do, I’m not sure I would have found it helpful. Also it seemed like the story would have explained this all pretty well on its own.

- Ramp up is super slow, but maybe good for someone that’s never played before? Thinking about what I said above...

- You can’t run at first, sort of annoying. Get the ability about 15min into the game. Not really sure why this was broken out. I guess to give the opportunity to say “press B to go faster” (in this case, you are given running shoes by your mother)

- Combat. Not far into it, but so far, it’s cumbersome to see the same animation each time you start. When they battle, there’s no real animation, just stills. So really it’s just a text battle, with some effects. Also you know you’re going to win for now, so it just feels like a waste of time. I guess they’re ramping me into it, but I don’t need to battle 10+ times to figure out how to press ‘attack’ and choose the only possible attack...

How do I feel about continuing?

I’m curious to see where it’s going, so picking it up again will not be a chore, but I’m definitely into the latter part of my patience.

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