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Jonathan Higgins posted a article in Individual ValuesWelcome to the eighty-ninth week of my PokÃ©mon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed last week's, check it out. Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Genesect is being distributed at GameStop until November 24th. Every single Mythical PokÃ©mon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- The Wait Is Over As you“re reading my final thoughts before sitting down to play PokÃ©mon Sun...I“m probably curled up somewhere, making my way through it. The rolled out this week, too. The end of it, which showed off a collection of all the â€œbig momentsâ€ as they were revealed to us since February, definitely made the cogs in my head turn a little. Over the next few weeks, my brain will shift from speculative to critical...since I“ll be reviewing the game. It“s been over 85 weeks since I started this Individual Values feature, on the cusp of Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire. Time and time again, Game Freak has made me think critically about this goofy series with psychic surfing, purple ghosts and Popplio...and where my life [and future wife] are now because of it. I“ve chronicled all my thoughts over tens of thousands of words, making sure to leave no stone unturned. We“ve been fed tiny trailer bits for almost nine months that all seem to indicate, â€œThings are different this time! Better than ever before! There“s so much to do, and so much to see.â€ They“ve had an unprecedented bolster in sales expectations, likely due to the success of PokÃ©mon GO—another thing I would have never seen coming, at the start of all this. All of Shigeru Ohmori“s proverbial [Psy]ducks are in a row. There“s never been a better opportunity to release a brand new PokÃ©mon game, especially one that mixes up long-established series conventions. And that“s why...I“m going to be among its harshest critics. I“ve been around and in love with the series for most of its major marketing shifts. The last time Game Freak tried to do something â€œdifferentâ€ was Black 2 & White 2—my least favorite games in the entire franchise. I know these are fundamentally different times and approaches. But rest assured, even if I never get around to properly elaborating on what exactly I dislike about B2&W2, I will not gush about Sun & Moon just because they're different. One thing I“ll note in particular, speaking of Unova. The Festival Plaza seems like a refresh of Join Avenue, from those games. Now that they“ve taken an entire generation to improve upon PokÃ©mon“s online communications, I“ll be interested to see just how much the basic concept has evolved since 2012. There are multiple parallels to be drawn from the franchise“s entire history...and I suppose that“s fitting, for the â€œmajor anniversary gamesâ€. I wonder how hard I“ll be fighting with myself to write a review that doesn“t sound like a glorified list of â€œsame vs. differentâ€. I suppose there“s not much left to say, other than that. Let“s all see and judge for ourselves, starting today! I“m not sure what the next few Individual Values pieces will focus on, but you can at least expect a full review, another â€œThe Year in PokÃ©monâ€, and...one heck of a send-off to PokÃ©mon“s 20th anniversary from me, at least.
Jonathan Higgins posted a article in Individual ValuesWelcome to the seventy-sixth week of my PokÃ©mon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed last week's, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Arceus will be available at participating GameStop stores until August 24th.You'll need to get a card with a serial code. Every single Mythical PokÃ©mon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- Paradigm Shift I think I“m finally beginning to understand why it took The PokÃ©mon Company so long to reveal Sun & Moon. After weeks of my focus being outside of the upcoming games, has given me way more than just new PokÃ©mon to talk about. Before I address the specific pieces and parts of the footage we got, let me open with this: Each region in the World of PokÃ©mon definitely has some unique characteristics and places to them. My Region Spotlights highlighted some cool sights to see in each region, as well as what I felt were the main â€œpointâ€s each game was trying to communicate through its locales. Regardless of how each region differs thematically, one of the biggest criticisms I“ve heard from people who left the series is that â€œPokÃ©mon is the same game over and over. Get eight badges in gyms, defeat the Big Bad, get the Legendary on the box, and win.â€ There isn“t really much defense you can offer towards this argument. With the exception of PokÃ©mon Black & White, every game ends with a Hall of Fame entry, after all. Gyms have long been what“s held the PokÃ©mon series back, in my opinion. No matter how distinguished a region is, or what lengths a game“s mechanics help to set them apart from the ones that came before it--it“s still â€œget 8 badges to winâ€. Omega Ruby made me happy when it gave me the National PokÃ©dex and said â€œokay, the world“s your oyster nowâ€ before I defeated the Elite 4 and became the League champ--that was a nice change of pace. ...But after seeing the new footage, watching what appears to be the first major paradigm shift in PokÃ©mon history since the Nintendo WFC was introduced to it back in 2007...I haven“t been This Freaking Excited for a new crop of PokÃ©mon games in a long while. BUT FIRST! Let“s talk about my precious little ice fox. I know the Internet seems far more attached to Exeggutor, but there“s a clear winner for â€œbest new Alola formeâ€ in my heart, and it“s not just because Vulpix is my fiancÃ©e“s favorite PokÃ©mon. Let“s briefly address what â€œregion-specific formesâ€ bring to mind. Will this new appearance and typing only affect Alolan Vulpixes you find in the wild, who have made this place their habitat for However Long? Or will there be some way to transform a Vulpix you caught in Kalos or elsewhere, once you“ve transferred them over using PokÃ©mon Bank? While there“s no conclusive evidence yet, I suspect it“s going to be the former. It gives folks who“ve already raised these critters a reason to raise another all over again. Might make a few folks angry? I“m indifferent either way. I also feel like Exeggutor, Vulpix/Ninetales, and Sandshrew/Sandslash are just the beginning. that explains why Marowak/Cubone could be getting an Alolan forme as well. But the biggest one missing for me personally is Tropius. The Alolan region and Exeggutor both boast tropicality -- Tropius kind of sticks out like a sore thumb now, doesn“t it? It really does feel like they“re going above and beyond to make the Alolan PokÃ©dex -- not just the region itself -- feel unique (Rotom, don“t forget!) and tropical, in nature. I haven“t run into a single design for the 7th Generation PokÃ©mon that I don“t like. Whether we“re talking critters that spawn a million Donald Trump memes, a PokÃ©mon that just wants to be loved like Pikachu, or a freaking meteorite with a brand new ability to distinguish itselfâ€¦ I“m truly happy with how the PokÃ©mon of this region are shaping up. The biggest change introduced to Sun & Moon so far was its new UI, which I went on about some time ago. With that, they addressed a pretty consistent criticism with the series, making things more accessible to newcomers who weren“t all that familiar with PokÃ©mon attacks and how they worked. The second huge criticism their addressing appears to be how to deal with HMs, as seen with "Riding PokÃ©mon". These allies will never become a part of your team, but they can be called upon whenever, to carry out properties similar to Surf, Rock Smash, Fly, and possibly more. While it“s not directly stated that these new buddies are going to be the replacement of HMs, so that you don“t need to bog down PokÃ©mon on your team with moves like Cut for the entire game, it“s certainly implied, from both the footage and the website. Huge deal! But the hugest deal of all is the Island Challenge. Without going into too much detail--new Trial Captains seem to offer many unique tasks that aren“t confined to the four walls of a gym anymore, allowing for much more varied tasks that aren“t always â€œbattle the trainers to get to the leader, then winâ€. Regardless of how the challenge is constructed, there definitely isn“t a Gym Leader at the end of it -- instead, they“ve introduced â€œTotem PokÃ©monâ€. These super strong foes fight you one-on-one... until you“re about to make them faint, then it becomes two-on-one, in what“s called an â€œS.O.S. Battleâ€. After you“ve defeated each island“s trial--there“s a Kahuna waiting at the end. I think it“s supposed to function like the â€œElite 4â€ of sorts, since there are four islands and four Kahunas [who also govern each island]. But you don“t save fighting them for the end of the game! So: for the first time in series history: there are no Gyms or Gym Leaders, so the game“s biggest challenges aren“t confined to small buildings in any given town. And -- there doesn“t appear to be an Elite 4 or PokÃ©mon League, outside of the Kahunas themselves... so I genuinely have no idea how this game is going to end. Even if I liked the idea behind gyms (I never have...not since after GSC, anyway), not knowing what“s going to happen next excites the heck out of me. I haven“t even gotten to Z-Moves or how this crazy thing ties into the PokÃ©mon Sun & Moon experience. Maybe I“ll devote an entire piece to them sometime, since they seem primarily focused on letting smaller PokÃ©mon like Pikachu pack a larger punch than previously conceivable, in battle. But: with the UI change, seemingly replacing HMs with Riding PokÃ©mon instead, and the removal of gyms -- we could be seeing the dawn of a new era in PokÃ©mon. What if no new regions going forward had gyms, and instead offered a unique narrative and challenges going forward that no â€œPokÃ©mon expatriateâ€ could call â€œmore of the sameâ€. I hope the concept of Island Trials--not Gyms--are carried into future main games, to help each and every new region going forward feel refreshing and new. We won“t be waiting long for new news, it seems, as The PokÃ©mon Company has promised even more stuff in less than a week. How do you all feel about some of the biggest changes to come to the series? If you“ve previously become disinterested in PokÃ©mon -- will some of these brand new elements bring you back?
Jonathan Higgins posted a article in Individual ValuesWelcome to the seventy-first week of my PokÃ©mon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. If you're reading this on the day it's published, Shaymin should be available via the Nintendo Network. It'll be live from July 1st through 24th. Every single Mythical PokÃ©mon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- Interface These past few weeks have been filled with all kinds of surprise twists. I“ll get to E3 2016 in a moment since just one aspect of is what I“ll be focusing on. But after I got back from Los Angeles, I caught one heck of a severe cold [hence my absence last week], and then... three PokÃ©mon Mystery Dungeon games were released on the Wii U Virtual Console. Europe already had Red & Blue Rescue Team, the first games in the series. But we got Explorers of Sky ahead of them -- you know, the one I said was the pinnacle of the series both in a previous IV and in my PokÃ©mon Super Mystery Dungeon review. Since I replayed the entirety of Sky“s main story and Special Episodes while I was in repair -- next week, I“ll talk about the PokÃ©mon Mystery Dungeon series quite a bit. For now, let“s go back to the main series. There are plenty of to talk about. Heck, they even revealed . And Battle Royale seems like it“s going to turn the competitive metagame on its head once again. But my biggest takeaway from the 45 minute â€œZelda distractionâ€ from Nintendo“s inaugural Treehouse Live stream for this year“s E3 is how welcoming and crazy-good the new UI feels in PokÃ©mon Sun & Moon. Barrel can attest, ”cause he watched it right along with me: I was over the moon about how cleaned up the menus looked in battle, and how much more accessible they“ve made attacks, typing and more. I will never not fight for making the games I love friendlier to newcomers. I“m the type to consider adding Easy Mode to Dark Souls and other â€œcontroversialâ€ fodder. Thankfully, though, PokÃ©mon“s barrier of entry is relatively tame. Key items like the Experience Share (current gen) have made the grind easier than it“s ever been, which helps more people finish what they start. Everything“s become rhythmical and increasingly easier to bear over time, because -- as the adage goes -- it“s always someone“s first ever PokÃ©mon game. Still, the PokÃ©mon series“ largest barrier is... that there are now over 721 PokÃ©mon. We might break 800 with every new critter Sun & Moon introduce! So let me be the first to say: it“s about dang time that they“ve rolled out a UI that accounts for things like what type an enemy PokÃ©mon is, what move that you select will be most effective against it, and even how your specific stats have been lowered by altering moves like â€œGrowlâ€ and Abilities like â€œIntimidateâ€. There“s no more uncertainty when it comes to that. If you“re the type, you can literally stack numbers against your opponent, to see who will come out on top! Gosh, it feels so utterly refreshing. I“ve been waiting for them to make cosmetic changes like this to the battle menu since at least Diamond & Pearl. The battle menus aren“t all that“s improved, though. Zeroing in on your character when a trainer is near will stop from being surprised when a battle initiates, and make for the younger crowd playing these games to have an easier time of it. Indeed, I“m quite interested in the narrative, for the Sun & Moon Legendaries, how Magearna factors in to all this, the QR code stuff, and more. But my single biggest takeaway from all the E3 news and footage is that PokÃ©mon as a whole just got a little more welcoming. The changes appear subtle to most people, but I for one am elated. It“s been a long time coming!