Review #108

August 30, 2016

Pokemon Go is a game that you play on your phone and I use the term "game" loosely in the sense that there is nothing really entertaining about it. The actual interaction that takes place between you and the software is minimal at best. Pokemon Go is like an extremely bad pedometer that doesn't even tell you how many steps you've taken. Full disclosure, I'm not even going to open the app to verify a few things and I'm going to write this based purely off memory (don't worry I played this religiously enough to have a solid idea of how this game works). The second reason for this is that I just updated to Android 7 (Nougat) and it refused to open the app without crashing the whole SystemUI.

The idea behind the game is that you augment reality to put Pokemon inside our world. I think this is something we've all wanted since we first started playing the game on our gameboys as kids. I wanted to go on Pokemon Adventures! That was the dream to leave home and go on an adventure as a snot nosed 13 year old and make your way in the Pokemon universe making friends and training monsters along the way. Sounds exciting! Pokemon Go is almost the opposite of this. It starts out with the same high energy of LET'S GO CATCH ME SOME POKEMON AND BECOME A MASTER type of hype which is quickly diminished within seconds. This happens because if you're unfortunate enough to live outside of a city (like me), you're pretty much screwed. The first thing you do is you'll create your character and after all the introduction nonsense (this includes the MASSIVE LOAD TIMES) you're thrown into a world with a 3D rendered version of yourself (made with the few customization options available) and then you're smacked in the face with a sea of green and nothingness.

Where are all the Pokemon? They don't exist, kind of like your dreams. Actually they exist, they just don't show up unless you're from a highly populated area, also there are only the first 150 Pokemon because they want to release them over time, nice Niantic way to think ahead. The problem is that Niantic didn't consider what might happen if you live in the middle of nowhere or say a suburb or something like that. They probably just focused on what would happen in a major city and that's really tragic. That's really selfish and narrow minded. We're several months in and there is still no fix the spawn rates or locations or anything, I almost never bring the app up because I know I won't find anything. Well maybe new data as we continue to play the game will make the algorithm put more pokemon near me? No. No it won't, it's not that smart. This whole app is one giant bag of stupid.

So, now what? You travel. It's a Pokemon Adventure, right!? Okay, so assuming you're able to get around via a car or bike and if you can't you're fucked. You begin your journey and you might as well head to a park. Assuming you're lucky enough to live anywhere remotely close to a park or you're fucked, noticing a pattern yet? You whip your phone out and now you can finally get down to business if you match the aforementioned conditions. The fact this game relies heavily on the off-chance that people in your region have played Ingress to mark landmarks is completely bogus, no one played that game. They were working with Google, how come they couldn't just rip that sort of data from Google Maps instead? I'm sure they have more accurate maps of where shit is and doesn't rely on USER GENERATED CONTENT. I use Google Maps all the time and it knows where A LOT of stuff is, I'm pretty sure it knew where a Walmart was, that's not even a landmark, it's just a store (well they kinda double as campgrounds if their parking lots are big enough). There was like 3 portals in my hometown in Ingress which was the reason I had to stop playing, there was nothing to do! Pokemon Go is suffering the same fate. We drove from where I live and hit every single town on a highway for 45 minutes and we found nothing. That speaks volumes to how inconsistent the spawning is, it's like if you don't live in a downtown of a major city you might as well be walking through the desert hoping for rain.

It's not really effective...

The biggest mistake that they made in releasing this game was that they did it with zero polish. What makes a game really stand out is the polish that is put into a game. It creates those little moments that stir your heart and really get absorbed in what you're doing. It changes something from what you're doing to waste time to something that you look forward to doing in your spare time and what will make you schedule time to do it. Which isn't to say that Pokemon Go doesn't force you into develop time-management skills because you'll have to figure out when you can go (due to weather and meet up times with friends, hours spent since you've last eaten) but that is just an inherent part of the process of playing the game. After a while what goes from "I can't wait to get off work so I can go Pokemon hunting!" turns into "Do I really want to spend the few hours I have after work riding my bike to catch 3 pidgeys? Fuck that."

THIS GAME CRASHES CONSTANTLY. How brain-dead do you have to be to release an unstable game? (oh wait, developers do that shit all the time now). I wish I paid something for this game so I could return it and get my money back. Instead they just wasted my time and I can't get that back. The amount of times I have to constantly reset the game is out of this world. I would walk 20 steps and notice that the game froze. My phone isn't a piece of shit either, it's from this year. I would open the app wait 50 years for the load screen, another 20 years for the connection to establish, another 10 years to login and then another 5 years for the game to render and all that fun stuff. I fucking hate the initial screen, IT'S A BLANK WHITE SCREEN WITH A STUPID ASS LOGO ON IT, HOW BORING CAN YOU BE? IT JUST SCREAMS I HAVE ZERO IMAGINATION WHICH ISN'T A GOOD SIGN FOR A GAME FOR KIDS and that screen that says look where you're going? I've seen better fan-art. It's almost like they didn't plan any of this shit and just rolled with the first thing they got their hands on. Hey fam, here's something I made as a draft real quick in Illustrator. PUT IN THE FUCKING GAME MATE, IT'S BRILLIANT. No, no it's not.

Pokemon is a really stylistic game and their art assets have always been where it's shined. There isn't even a glimmer in this game. The whole game looks like shit, the menus, the font, the navigation, the buttons, the logo, the load screens, the progress bar, just everything about this game besides the Pokemon models which obviously wasn't Niantics’ intellectual property is absolute horse-shit. This game looks really really really really really bad. I hate the menus with a passion. You can just tell that whatever Niantic was in charge of in the game was done so half-assed because all the Pokemon related assets are great. If you want an idea of what I think this game should look/behave like, check out this article.

There aren't any legendaries? What the hell is up with that? Part of the grind in the Pokemon games is to get enough badges to tame the wild legendary Pokemon. None of them exist and the minute someone found one the devs ripped it from us. Way to be FUCKING KILLJOYS. Thanks for the complete lack of community involvement. It's like anytime anyone is caught enjoying this game or not spending money Niantic will find a way to fix that with a quick hit from a wiffle bat to the back of the skull. You there, no fun allowed. Pools closed. I award you zero points and in fact crash the game and reset your progress.

Why is the level cap 40? That seems like a really low level. You can level up your Pokemon to level 100 in the game and you expect my level as a trainer to be below 40? Are you insane? Why aren't there badges or something in this game? Where are the events? A progression system that makes sense? The UBER RARE items and shit! Come on! This is a fucking RPG and there are ZERO RPG ELEMENTS. WHY THE FUCK IS THERE NO CURRENCY SYSTEM TO BUY POKEBALLS INSTEAD OF THIS STUPID FUCKING BULLSHIT POKESTOP SHIT? THERE ARE LIKE 4 IN MY WHOLE TOWN, THAT SHIT ISN'T ENOUGH. THE FAMINE OF NECESSARY ITEMS IS INSANE.

They just want to sucker you into purchasing those items.

This game is a fucking shitty business that milked a lot of money from a lot of people and I'm not okay with that. I am ZERO PERCENT OKAY WITH THAT. You can't pull that sort of money from people and not deliver a decent product, this isn't fucking EA games. I refuse to support this game any further until there are some serious changes. They have to realize that setting the cap at 40 really hinders the game because it adds a really harsh spike in the fun of the game after you hit level 20 because the game slows to a crawl at that point. What is their plan for that? How are they going to correct that? They going to buff the cap when they add more Pokemon in 6 months? Probably not, it takes over 5 million XP to get to level 40. That is pretty much impossible given how the XP grind is really slow in this game. It's not feasible, again, another oversight. I realize they don't want you reaching the end of the game but you can have End Game even after you reach a level cap. Does Niantic not play anything? Most of the content in some games is directly after the level cap. Oh, sorry was I referring to RPGs again? My bad. It's not like Pokemon Go is an RPG or anything. oh, wait. It is.

The egg hatching is both the best and worst feature in this game at the same time. I have to applaud it for making me walk 10 (bike cough, cough) kilometers but at the same time I have to really question whether or not you should receive 10km eggs at such a low level. Here's where I really think they didn't plan this part of the game out enough. I had that egg and I willingly traveled that distance to obtain a pokemon that I thought would be worth the effort. The problem is that it really fucking wasn't. The Pokemon that hatched was a Snorlax, not a bad Pokemon by any means but it really didn't stack up against the Vaporeon that I had gotten several levels back and evolved from a low level Eevee. What I'm saying is that even though I was several trainer levels higher and hatched this egg, I had a Pokemon that was significantly weaker than a Pokemon I had evolved several levels sooner. What was the point of that egg? Aren't you supposed to get a really great Pokemon from these eggs? Wasn't that the point? WHAT IS THE POINT? TO WASTE MY FUCKING TIME? TO MAKE ME PAY FOR ANOTHER INCUBATOR TO FUCK ME OVER, YET AGAIN? Niantic you're a bunch of fucking dickheads. You obviously didn't think this shit through and yes I didn't have to buy the incubator, but I'm sure there are plenty of people who did and that's what really matters. People wasting money on bullshit (nothing). You might as well be robbing us. This is gambling. What they should have done is made it so that the eggs scale with your level, and yes that will make it harder to challenge gyms early on, but they should have taken that into consideration as well and done something about it. Instead they made gyms based on user's Pokemon and effectively alienated most of their users who can't fight against the juggernauts that sit and spam gyms all day. Wasn't the implication of this game in the beginning was that it was a casual mobile game for the whole family? You could argue that the "Try Hards" ruin everything but it shouldn't really affect any of the novices, they should be in separate divisions or something. YOU DON'T SEE FUCKING UBER GODS IN THE NOVICE AREA OF ANY OTHER RPG, THAT SHIT WOULD BE BORING FOR THEM. This game lacks any sense of game design at all. It's like the design team went on holiday and let the marketing department have a crack at it before launch.

Swiping to catch pokemon is fucking dumb. The RNG in Pokemon catching is already frustrating enough without this stupid ass swiping system adding to it. There is a million and one problems with it. There could be oils/sweat on my screen, I am walking around the park all fucking day, in the sun. I could have a Phone Case. SPEAKING OF PHONE CASES, THEY MADE STUPID ASS CASES TO HELP PEOPLE CATCH POKEMON, BECAUSE THIS SYSTEM IS FUCKING RETARDED TO THE POINT THAT ASSISTANCE IS REQUIRED OUTSIDE OF THE GAME. WHAT. THE. FUCK. The determining factor for whether or not I'm trying to throw a curveball is all fucked. There is really poor communication between the user and the software as to what is being done. There should be power gauges for your shots and other helpful things to kind of teach you to throw better or know you have enough power in your swipe to catch the pokemon, but there is none. This game does nothing to assist you in this ridiculous mini-game that isn't even fun. It's frustrating. HOW HARD IS IT TO CODE IN A BATTLE SYSTEM? THERE WAS NEVER A FUCKING MINI-GAME TO SEE IF I COULD SWIPE MY DICK ACROSS MY 3DS GOOD ENOUGH TO CATCH A POKEMON, IT’S A STUPID SHIT GIMMICK AND I THINK EVEN NINTENDO KNEW WHEN NOT TO USE TOUCH SCREENS FOR SUCH AN ESSENTIAL PART OF THE GAME. "We're using a phone, of course people like to swipe on them". I personally don't think anyone likes swiping games on their phones, we'll tap, but swiping is just stupid unless you're using that GODSEND of a keyboard Swype. IT'S INACCURATE AND NOT EVEN IMPLEMENTED WELL. I hate it, just make a way for me catch Pokemon that has a sliver of semblance to the actual game, please?

It's super effective!

I have to give this game some credit, It got me outside a lot more than I probably would have been without it. That's where this game shines, and that's not even a part of the software. The act of tricking me to be active with a game is some really tricky business. Which isn't to say that I'm not an active guy as it is, but this took the place of the motivation I usually reserve for Dance Dance Revolution or Rock Band drumming. Even those games will definitely work up a sweat they still fail to get you outside. That being said, it was pretty short lived.

I will also say that this game is better than Ingress. I will say that Ingress works better on almost all levels compared to the blunder that is Pokemon Go but just because it works doesn't make it any more "fun". Pretending to be a secret agent is cool and all but it got boring really fast. What's with all the fake cryptic bullshit anyways? It just seemed all really fake and vague and it had a really strong narrative but I couldn't get into putting effort into finding out more about the game and then reading it on my phone and all this annoying shit. I'm sure there was a website or something but it was all so convoluted and "mysterious". Which should be fun, but it isn't. Something was flawed in the execution. Something I can't put my finger on, almost like how I can't seem to find the lore of this damn game. That being said, even though this game is obviously more whimsical, it's only better in the most slightest way imaginable. I just like Pokemon and I really just want to catch them. I don't know why, just put them in something and I will struggle to catch every single one of those cute little bastards. Why do you make me love something I hate Pokemon, why, stop abusing me like this.

Probably the best part of Pokemon Go isn't the game itself but all the fan made software that has come out because of the release of Pokemon Go. I've seen some decent Pebble watch faces come about. Helper apps and websites that only mean to lend a helping hand or enhance your experience. It's just incredibly unfortunate that you need separate things to include them in your experience. When the tracking system proved faulty, the community stepped up and found a way around it. That's not a good thing, that's an insanely bad thing. That being said it wasn't long before good ol Niantic to step up and crush our community involvement once again and stop all the websites with a patch that ruined a lot of sites and broke their stupid tracking system at the same time. It's like they're punishing us for trying to fix their broken ass system. WE'LL FIX IT OURSELVES, YOU'LL SEE, FOR NOW SIT IN THE CORNER AND THINK OF WHAT YOU'VE DONE. I honestly am baffled by the level of petty bullshit we have to go through to try and play a game. You could argue that some of those sites were exploits but we wouldn't need an exploit if the fucking game worked like it's supposed to.

I thought it was cool how they pulled some elements from the Indigo League anime series and used that to help add some flavor to this game. However it's like adding a small dab of dressing to the overwhelming fucking rainforest of fuck ups this game is. It's cute that they decided to add a naming rhetoric for evolving Eevees based on the names of the trainers in the show who Ash meets first who own those Pokemon. That being said it's almost yet again another cheap gimmick to hide the fact that they didn't consider an effective way to add Element Stones in the game and I can't overlook that. I refuse to allow them to just tippy toe around important elements of the game just because it's not compatible with their bullshit Google Map overlay that they call a game. I honestly can't think of a single gameplay element that matches with the actual game. Literally nothing gameplay-wise is like the actual video games. How sad is that.

It hurt itself in confusion!

I'm really not sure how you fuck this up.

It should be a fucking slam dunk. It's Pokemon it practically sells itself and I guess we saw that with the amount of downloads it got but holy shit did they stumble. I can't say that Pokemon is the most exciting game to play but they took something that I find sort of boring and made it incredibly boring. Pokemon are cute and they should be exciting with the attacks that they have (have you seen the new X/Y season? That shit is crazy). Yet Niantic goes ahead and makes a game where you swipe a pokeball at 3D rendered pokemon that are poorly augmented on the screen. THEN IT TAKES A SNAPSHOT AND JUST CONTORTS IT IN A RETARDED WAY TO SIMULATE ZOOM? ARE YOU SHITTING ME? It looks like shit and I turned off that augmented shit as soon as I could. The pre-rendered backgrounds don't only look better but they increase the performance of the catching scene. Also since it was MADE for that sort of scene it doesn't look ridiculous. The augmented camera trick should have been optional and should have been defaulted off. IT'S A SHITTY GIMMICK, DON'T FORCE ME INTO YOUR STUPID SHIT THAT DOESN'T WORK GOOD FOR ONE AND LOOKS RETARDED SECOND.

There is zero optimization in this game which is really upsetting because this is a mobile game. We're not playing this on tablets or laptops or computers. We're playing it on Phones you should really respect that when you build the fucking app. It's like they played them on top-tier iPhones and Samsung devices and decided, well it works on that, they have huge batteries and the capacity to run this game, so fuck making it not drain the battery and throw the chipset into overdrive and their our phones into mini-lava containers. The amount of people I've encountered that bitch about their phones not being able to run the game well is unreal.

This game upsets me on a nostalgic level that I can't believe they went and exploited my childhood to make a quick buck. I'm insulted as a gamer that I had to suffer through this Pokeball swiping simulator and I still have to call it a game. I'm pissed off that the developers couldn't deliver on a single fucking thing they hinted towards. I'm annoyed at the several million oversights with this game and the really tedious and long timeframe for which fixes are scheduled to appear. I think that Nintendo should have really been more involved, but it's not their IP's it belongs to the Pokemon Company to which I have to also shame because they've put out some really bad games in the past but this one really takes the cake.

They should have named this game Pokemon Go Fuck Yourself.

Don't download this piece of shit, wait another 6 months at least.

clearskyy

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