Like most nineties kids, I’ve been a Pokémon fan since generation one. Admittedly, I lost touch with the series after a while, but I can probably recite all 151 of the original Pokémon. When the trailer for Pokémon Go released last year, it rekindled my fond memories of Pokémon, and I was stoked.
When it came out a week ago, I downloaded it as soon as I could. As soon as I did, I just felt underwhelmed by the lack of features and gameplay. It felt like a hollow shell of a game. Everything that made Pokémon fun was gone. Catching them is nothing but flicking a ball at them and hoping they stay caught with no strategy involved. Training them is also boring since all it involves is catching duplicate Pokémon, sending those Pokémon to the professor for candy, and hitting the evolve button once you have enough candy.
Fighting, which can’t even be against friends and only done in gyms consists of tapping the screen repeatedly in hopes that the other Pokémon faints first. No trading and no battling with friends. Supposedly, this will be in a later update, but I’m talking about features in the present, not the future. Worst of all, it’s a freemium game where you spend real money on game items (though, considering the franchise stems at least partially from cards that people pay money for, I guess the whole thing has come full circle).
Servers are shoddy and barely work. Since this game can’t be played without an internet connection, that means you have to wait on its time. Pokémon are also not distributed well, and if you live in a low populated area, no Pokémon for you. Since the game is the equivalent to having your GPS on, you better have a really good dataplan for all those Pokewalks.
There’s no strategy in the game and there’s very little of what passes for gameplay. Since there’s no real moves in this game, there’s no benefit to having a Pokémon except to say you have it, so Pokémon are just kind of collected with no rhyme or reason.
Everything about this game screams crappy cellphone freemium game. The game isn’t all bad though. The game has a heavy social aspect to it, and can be great fun if you have a group of friends to play with. I admit, before deleting the app, I had good fun with my friends as we searched parking lots and Walmarts for Pokémon.
Many fans are starting to get defensive against any criticism, as if they themselves have just been insulted. Maybe it’s because this is from the childhood of most present day twenty somethings, but it feels like this game gets away with a lot of crap just because it’s Pokémon. Rarely do people say let everybody enjoy something, especially in the gaming community, which thrives on hating things for no real reason (console wars). Look, if you genuinely like the game, then like it. Nobody is stopping you from enjoying it. However, there will inevitably be people who disagree with you. Lots of people enjoy Call of Duty, yet few hesitate to shit on that series every time they release a game. Likewise, people also defend the game by saying more features will be out later. Don’t we hate EA for doing pretty much the exact same thing with releasing half a game to update it later?
In conclusion, look, if you enjoy the game, fine. I know a lot of people do, and it at least is getting people to exercise more and socialize. However, I found it to be boring as hell. Now that my Poke-nostalgia is up, it makes me want to play a real Pokémon game. Maybe I’ll hit up my local Gamestop.