Pokémon is probably the most significant series of video games that I’ve never spent more than a few minutes with, but the few times I’ve stumbled into related discussions online it’s been like trying to follow a completely different language. I kind of filed the series into the same “requires WAY too much commitment” bucket as Eve Online or Street Fighter, and was comfortable leaving it there.
The thing is, though, I kept running into really cute fan art from the latest games, and I had a pair of long plane rides coming up, so I decided that I would give it a go anyway.
It’s for kids, right? Can’t be that bad.
I chose the “Moon” version of the “Sun/Moon” pair, because it had the more girly-looking beastie on the cover, and it turned out to have been a particularly good idea because of my odd work schedule. The clock in “Sun” follows the real-time clock on your 3DS, while the “Moon” version is shifted 12 hours. So, even though I work a swing shift and typically play games in the late evening / wee hours of the morning, it was always sunny and bright in Alola.
Anyway, roughly 25 hours of playtime later, I had become the First Ever Pokémon Trainer Champion for a thinly-disguised version of the Hawaiian Islands, and I’m still not entirely sure what I thought about the whole thing.
I think it’s mostly because there are at LEAST three things going on here. There’s the “A Plot”, which is “you are small child entrusted with the care and training of lethal animals, go fight your friends until you are the best at it”, there’s the “B plot” where you meet a girl who is in dire but not-terribly-specific danger, and then there’s the multiplayer aspect of the whole thing, which is what I’m given to understand is the actual game in the eyes of many of its fans.
I won’t touch the multiplayer (because I don’t want to get destroyed by 7-year old players who paid more attention to the mechanics), so I’ll only talk about the first two of those.
For the record, the “becoming the Pokémon champion” storyline was bloody dull and seemed to mostly be “go learn all of these mechanics so you can have a fart in a hurricane’s chance in the multiplayer”, but the B plot was really quite fun.
Unfortunately, the B plot is also pretty slow to get going and wraps up FAST once you actually get in to the meat of it. I don’t know if that’s typical for the series, or if the games even usually have multiple plotlines going on, but I could have spent a little more time with Lillie and Nebby.
Still, if I hit the end credits for any game – especially a JRPG – and am still wanting there to have been more of the game, that’s probably a good sign. So, 10 points to
Gryffindor Game Freak, and I even bought some of your damn merch because of it.