Pokemon is an interesting game, and I’ve covered part of it’s aspects in a a previous article, but today I want to look to the future.
Nintendo just announced Pokemon GO!, a smart-phone app that is basically what the 2014 April Fools Google/Pokemon team up. You take your smart-phone and go out into the weird and wild world of “Earth” and capture Pokemon. Find Rock types in caves,Water types in water, and Dark types in inner cities (ok I admit that was bad).
If you look at the official trailer, you find that it could be very interesting, with activities like trading and battling between friends. Even multi-player “raids” against Pokemon like Mewtwo.
And I hope it goes well, as it stands to be the one thing Nintendo has needed for some 12 years: a thing to compete with Pokemon battle simulators.
With sits like Pokemon Showdown, it’s increasingly easier to create a team and battle with people all over the world. No longer do you need to spend hundreds of hours breeding a team, only to replace a key member a few months later.
Having a widespread Pokemon game on smartphones opens up a whole new slew of potential Pokemon palyers that were otherwise restricted by the console. But, I do fear for this project screwing up the battles, as they have done with other side-games.
For example: In Super Smash Bros, Charizard is much slower than Pikachu, when in reality Charizard has base 100 speed vs Pikachu’s base 90. In Pokemon Rumble Arena they remove half of the stats and most of the moves. Hell, look at the anime and you can find dozens of Ground types being hurt by Electric moves, “Finish it off with False-Swipe” moments, and even a Grass type using a Bug move to defeat a Poison/Flying type in one hit.
So, what CAN Nintendo do to make Pokemon GO! actually worth the time to download it? Make it really easy to get into competitive Pokemon. Have the EVs/IVs in full view, offer Move Tutors for in-game currency/purchase, and make the battle system identical to the real games.
The only point of uncertainty comes from these “raid bosses” that were featured at the end of the trailer.
To put it simply, with the mechanics of Pokemon as it is, there is almost no way to make a singular “boss” Pokemon that can be fought like a raid. Even if you had to go up against a level 70 Mewtwo with a handful of level 20s, gimmicks like Trick Room, FEAR, Scarf Final Gambit, Sash Metal Burst, and even just Encore+Immunity would make anything like that nearly trivial to beat. If you had a boss that could get around those things (Mold Breaker, multi-hit moves, priority etc.) then it becomes nigh impossible to even get a hit in. And, if you allow players to get a hit in, then Endeavor will be the single most powerful move in the game.
At this point, I don’t even care if they include all sorts of Pay-2-Win mechanics, I just want the game to be faithful to the mainstream games. All I want Snorlax to take less damage from Psychic than Psyshock, have Mamoswine be weak to Bullet Punch and have Tauros be able to learn Thunder. Is that too much to ask?