When I started collecting vintage video games off eBay I briefly had an infatuation with Pokemon games. I bought up the N-64 versions of Stadium and I had copies of Pokemon Yellow and Pokemon Gold that I could play on them. I also had versions of the Gamecube era games including (but sadly not limited to) Pokemon Colosseum, Pokemon Ruby and Pokemon Emerald. I eventually reached a point in my life when I realized that you actually don’t have to catch them all. After a brief stint in Pokemon rehab I sold all my old vintage games and I stayed clean for a few years. Then one fateful day in February my kids got sick and I introduced them to Pokemon cartoons on Netflix (My wife was not pleased). The kids enjoyed Pokemon so much that I started thinking the latest generation of games might be something fun to play with them.
Over the years I’ve collected many rare Pokemon from various events, either at GameStop, Toys R Us or Online. I didn’t want to loose any of them, or the time I had invested into previous titles so I spent several days with two DS’s on my lap transferring Pokemon. Almost all Pokemon games have had some mechanism to transfer from previous generations of the game, if you’re willing to jump through several hoops. This generation requires the Pokemon Transport application, which is included with Pokemon Bank (which is a 3DS application available from the eShop and costs 5$ / year). Transport can transfer 30 Pokemon at a time but it only works with 5th generation games. Most of my Pokemon were still sitting in Pokemon Platinum which is a 4th generation game and is not compatible with the Pokemon Transport application. First I had to transfer all of my Pokemon from Platinum to the copy of Pokemon White I still had laying around, which is a much slower process and is limited to 6 Pokemon at a time. I spaced the transfer process out over the course of a week and while I didn’t keep detailed records I’m sure it took at least 4 hours. There is something seriously wrong with you game when you spent more time managing inventory than you spend actually playing the game.
Eventually everything was transferred and I was finally ready to start playing the game. Last year my third and final child (and my first daughter) was born. This is relevant because for the first time in Pokemon history I played as a female trainer and I named her after my daughter. I’ve named all the Pokemon trainers I’ve played since my first son was born after my children and now the trend has continued.
The game itself has gone through a visual upgrade but plays basically the same as it always has. You wander around catching Pokemon and forcing them to battle each other. Your goal is to collect 8 gym badges so that you can challenge the Pokemon League and become the ultimate champion. Along the way a ‘Team’ of bad guys is up to no good and you have to defeat them. The motivations of the ‘Team’ you face in these games has become progressively more insane over the last six generations. Team rocket started as a Pokemon stealing ring and now, 5 generations later, Team Flare wants to use the ULTIMATE WEAPON TO ELIMINATE ALL LIFE EXCEPT TEAM FLARE.
I’ve actually liked how the last few generations of Pokemon games have tried to portray a more complicated villain than the first few games. Each team functions as a cult – they feature a charismatic leader who gathers followers that want to improve the world in some way. They want to correct some perceived flaw in the world although they resort to extreme and illegal means to achieve their goals.
I thought my kids would enjoy watching me play the game as much as they enjoyed watching the show but they were only interested in small sub-sets of game play. They basically didn’t care what was going on in the game unless I was naming a recently captured Pokemon, catching a Legendary or involved in a Gym battle. The rest of the game didn’t hold their interest for very long.
I could talk more about new features such as the new Fairy type and Mega evolutions but these didn’t really do much to change the overall feeling of the game. If you’ve played, and enjoyed a previous Pokemon title then there will be no major surprises in this game.
- More New Pokemon
- New ‘Fairy’ type
- New ‘Mega’ evolutions
- Transfer process from previous generations sucks (and costs 5$)