Here Comes the Sun (or Moon)

(Editor’s Note: We’ve been meaning to do a Noob and Sons podcast on Pokemon since our old one got lost in a shuffle of computers. The crazy part is that it was Episode 2, just like the Episode 2 of 2 Guys Gaming with special guest Kevin was lost. But, we recorded yesterday and it should be live tomorrow.)

I haven’t seriously played a Pokemon game since Diamond. I’ve told that story enough times and repeated it in the podcast, so I won’t tell again how love is allowing your child to delete your Pokemon save game data with a legendary Pokemon on it. Oops, I suppose I just did. That’s okay, though, because Liam returned the love, took care of me, and he captured Dialga again. I guess we can call it even. I will put him back in the will.

Congratulations, Son. You get all of my nothing! And more! Or, maybe less!

He’s the single reason that I’m even playing this Pokemon game after so many years. I mentioned that I was excited about Sun and Moon and that I might want to pick up one of the games. I asked him which one he wanted and he told me Moon, so I settled on the fact that if I was going to get one, it would be Sun. I still wasn’t positive that I’d actually go through with it. Then, we started kicking around the ideas that we would reboot the podcast, ultimately for the new year. Also, Liam got Moon and he made the comment that if people want to get into or get back into Pokemon, this is a good time to do that.

I’ll let him tell you why in his own words in the podcast, but I will give you my perspective now. Having not played Pokemon for a few generations, this wasn’t geared as much to me, but there is an extensive tutorial mode in the game. Thankfully, Game Freak and Nintendo have done what Nintendo usually does and weaved the tutorial into the introduction story. That is the part of the game that I found most interesting. I both appreciated the story–always a welcome addition to any game, in my opinion–and I was surprised to see so many new and different (to me at least) Pokemon during that introduction. I still have no idea what they are or what they do, but I know that they exist and that’s enough in a world where “you gotta catch ’em all”.

So, the short version of it is this. If you’ve never played Pokemon before, you are given an extensive tutorial to familiarize yourself with the controls of the game. If you haven’t played in a while but still remember the ins and outs of the game, the tutorial is story driven enough that you won’t be (too) bored by having to run through things that you already know. Plus, some of the new Pokemon are eye catching enough that they will keep you moving through the sometimes tedious exercise. If you are an experienced player, like Liam, there isn’t much here to keep you engaged. You basically just have to power through it or hold on to the story to anchor you as you plow your way into the heart of the game.

At least they now have the technology in the games so they don’t have this interaction anymore. Professor. I’ve know you your whole life. Also, the professor: See above.

As for the rest of the game, I assume that it is mostly just more of the same with regards to Pokemon. I can’t say for sure because I haven’t played beyond the tutorial yet. However, other than adding color when that technology became available to their handhelds and continually adding new Pokemon to the games, not much has changed since the first game. One of the more recent advances, that has come as a result of the DS touch screen technology is that the moves can be operated by using the touch screen. I know that it seems like a small improvement, and it is, but it makes battling much more intuitive. If, when they finally implement trainer battles in Pokemon Go, they use the same technology on the phone, it will go a long way to bringing players back to that game.

I mentioned color in the previous paragraph. Not only has color made the game prettier, as it has with most games, but the moves list is also color coded. Along with the ability to use the touch screen to select moves, color coding them allows you to better match up against resistance and weakness because you can recognize the type of move by using its identifying color. Again, a minor improvement, but one that has a fairly big pay off. That’s only counting the normal campaign mode. It might be even more helpful when battling against other people. Quickness isn’t a prerequisite for Pokemon battles. Still, any advantage is one that is worth exploring and exploiting, if possible.

Did I seriously just say any advantage is worth exploring and exploiting? I think I might need to take a break from watching competitive Hearthstone streams. It’s affecting me in weird ways.

In closing, I can’t wait to play some more of the game. It is classic Pokemon gameplay and story with just enough updated to make it feel fresh and new. Pokemon hasn’t quite reached the pantheon of “need to buy that new console just because they’ve released a new game” like Mario, Zelda, and Metroid, but I might now be convinced to buy the new Pokemon games as they are released. This game has also inspired me to take a look back at some of the Pokemon games of the past.

I’ve loaded up Pokemon Red a few times because Liam and I had the idea to either do a stream or a Youtube series walking through the game. I realize that we are probably a bit behind the times since Twitch Plays Pokemon made the game popular 3 years ago, but that’s nothing new for us. We mostly just play the games that we like and put out content that we’d enjoy. Hopefully it ends up being something that you all enjoy, too.

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