Holding handsAlthough Pokémon has truly become a huge media franchise over the past two decades, games haven’t changed much every year. That seems to change with the latest games later this year.
who now pokemon sword or shield On the Nintendo Switch, you get a game very similar to the original Red and Blue on the Game Boy. You keep walking from town to town, hunting monsters, fighting pokemon trainers, and eventually becoming the new great hero.
Games have changed on small fronts, for example by adding additional genres and game mechanics. In addition, they are also becoming more beautiful every year. But the essence of the game has remained the same: the exploration of the world, the hunt for monsters and combat trainers has remained unchanged over the past 20 years.
Developer Game Freak has already tried episodic elements, and now the game maker is finally daring to do something completely different in its scarlet pokemon And the VioletTwo games will be released in November. We were able to try the games in the office at The Pokémon Company in London, where we were allowed to play for about two hours.
Where in previous Pokemon games you always had to go linearly from point A to point B, new games are much freer. You are introduced to a large and open world that you can go in any direction, and where you can follow three different events. One of them traditionally takes you from city to city to become a hero, the second fights mythical monsters, and the third fights a group of bullies.
The game leads you in a certain direction. Some opponents and monsters are of a much higher level, which means that you can only go their way when you become strong enough. This also means that there is still a bit of a path to clear for you, but you can easily go in another direction, for example, to catch this special monster.
This makes the game world more free: you have to think about the path you want to take. It’s more of a sandbox, as previous games were a linear roller coaster ride. Monsters run freely in the world as if they were animals in herds, for example. It makes the game feel alive, and less like an old-fashioned game as in previous titles.
Everything is faster
Battles are similar to old Pokemon games, but a lot has been done to make them feel faster. Less text is shown during those battles, while attacks are also shown before the full description is displayed.
This is also reflected in the world you explore. For example, if you now find something, you can immediately continue walking. Evolutions can be stopped, so that you can transform monsters yourself later. In this way, there are a lot of small changes that make a naturally slow Pokemon fast and smooth. You can also turn off all scenes so you can get to the end faster in a second play.
to explore together
Nice too: the new Pokémon games are completely playable with three other friends. You will then be placed in the same world together, where you can all go in the same direction.
Some of the things you can do cooperatively, like a mini-game where you make sandwiches that give extra rewards to your monsters. However, fighting against others is not an option: you can only watch how another person fights against someone. As a result, you don’t really feel like you’re going on an adventure with friends: you basically see what the other is doing.
Technically still shaky
Although the new Pokémon games are full of novelties and improvements, there is one major downside: the version we played was a bit shaky from a technical point of view. Characters walking in the distance sometimes seem to move at ten frames per second, turning them into a kind of stop-motion. And distant objects, like windmills, got stuck all the time and we had to wait a long time at some loading screens.
This is while it’s not supposed to be a giant heavy game. Visually the game looks less beautiful than The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Nintendo Switch, a game that ran smoothly on the same console five years ago.
The final product can be stronger; Obviously, the game we played is not over yet, and some monsters still have Japanese names. For example, if our beta is three months old, this gives the creators a total of four months to fix all bugs. But if the end product is as stable as this beta version, it’s a chain.
Fortunately, the game has never been unplayable despite the technical flaws. It didn’t look pretty, but the core of the game is very nice. It’s a Pokémon game that’s all about exploration and adventure – two themes that have been somewhat lost in the previous few games.
If manufacturers can build on this and build a comparable technically solid game, Pokémon will have a good time. Let’s hope so when we play the final match next month, which comes out on November 18 on the Nintendo Switch.
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