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terminoob

Pokemon, bitch

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Since I've been done the game for a while and have squeezed most of what I can out of the post-game content by now, figured it was time for a jjs review for the most controversial Pokemon game to date. Going into this game was honestly fascinating given the intense discourse and divisiveness surrounding it.

The Good:

  • In general, this roster of new Pokemon is probably my favorite since Gen 5, there's so many new mons I love (Toxtricity, Barraskewda, Grimmsnarl, Frosmoth, Corviknight, Dubwool, Appletun, Boltund, Centiskorch, Sirfetch'd, Dragapult, Runerigus, etc). It really feels like we're getting quality over quantity now, but I prefer this roster much more than both Gen 6 and 7's combined honestly.
  • The game gets to the point much quicker than Gen 7 did (sorry, but three years later, and that first island is still unbearable).
  • The new UI is very slick and I dig it.
  • I'm glad we finally got an asshole rival again with Bede, and he was probably one of my favorite characters in the game. I honestly thought his dynamic was possibly even more interesting than Blue and Silver's, since I like how he still didn't become BFFs with you even after becoming the Fairy gym leader.
  • While it's clearly only a small step for a feature we'll see done better in Gen 9, The Wild area was fun and probably the strongest part of the game for me. 
  • We got regional variants for mons beyond Gen 1 which is lovely. I'm especially shocked at how much love Gen 5 mons got with the variants. Cross-gen evos returning using the variants was also well welcomed after so long without them. I really hope this concept keeps staying in future generations.
  • I loved how the gym battles were giant stadium spectacles this time around along with the general atmosphere surrounding them. It actually made fighting the leaders feel important again and that you were worthy of getting the badges.
  • The Elite 4 being replaced with an anime style tournament is something I lowkey wanted for ages, and I'm happy it finally happened here. I'm glad we at least get rematches too. I hope this concept is fleshed out further in future titles.
  • I admittedly had more fun making curry than I should've.
  • Mobile PC and overworld encounters are two Let's Go quality of life features I'm glad carried over. Because of this, I think they struck the perfect balance with how to handle overworld encounters in this game, since they still have a few surprise encounters for suspense.
  • We FINALLY got a Dark gym leader! And Piers is a bro on that note.
  • While the graphics may leave a lot to be desired in a few areas, several places like Ballonlea, Glimwood Tangle, Motostoke and Circhester look absolutely beautiful on the Switch.
  • I'm glad they finally had the third legendary involved in the main plot for once (so safe to say we're not getting Ultra Sword/Ultra Shield) and how both wolves helped you fight Eternatus. Not catching your box legendary until post-game was a neat subversion. 
  • Being able to change your mon's nature with the mints is another long overdue quality of life improvement.

The Indifferent:

  • Escape Rope being a Key Item was a nice idea, but kind of...pointless to do for these games given there were no large dungeons worth using them in (which will bring me to a negative).
  • Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing I'm still not sure how I feel about. I don't hate them, and they at least don't entirely feel like glorified nuke buttons in the major battles you do use them in, but I dunno, they still do have that same tedium Z-Moves had. A few Gigas like Kingler and Machamp's feel like they were unused Mega ideas and it just makes me wish Megas came back.
  • Bringing back one-use TMs as TRs was...odd? It may have been interesting as a throwback, and I get they are supposed to be the move tutor moves of this gen, but it didn't add much to the gameplay at all one way or the other. Especially since you can get most of them again from the Max Raids anyways, it makes you wonder why they didn't just make them TMs. Overall a strange choice for me.

The Bad:

  • Auto Exp. Share was very broken at times and I had to literally keep switching my party members out so I didn't get overleveled, which isn't very great game design. I really don't see what the harm was in keeping it optional.
  • No dungeons at all in the game, which does kill the exploration factor a lot, unfortunately. 
  • Max Raids can get really tedious and meandering at times.
  • The online is a pain in the ass to use (not as convoluted as Festival Plaza, but still a far cry from the PSS which is what I thought this would be more like). I can't even really fault the games for this though since that's more Nintendo's fault given their inability to do online properly.
  • Although I'm sure many are sick of the memes about it by now, I do think the graphics in a few places were wonky, especially in The Wild, and not as great as they could've been using the Switch's capabilities. I'm not as annoyed by the graphics as others are because I knew what we were getting.
  • Rose was honestly probably one of the worst villains (if you want to call him that) in the entire franchise, I did not like his plot with Eternatus at all. I get what they were going for, but the execution felt haphazardly thrown in last minute and his motivations needed more fleshing out. Even Lysandre felt slightly more fleshed out than Rose was. The part where you invade his tower and fight the Macro Cosmos employees was so jarring that I honestly thought I had missed a few scenes because it wasn't really built up at all, and Oleana going crazy also felt really out of the blue. That entire section needed to be rewritten from scratch because it's clear they needed more time on that. The post-game villains Sordward and Shielbert should've just been the antagonists from the start imo. While I'm talking about the villains, I'll add I wasn't too crazy on Team Yell either. They really were just a discount Team Skull, but without a lot of their charm, although I liked Piers. Overall, the villain plot was definitely a massive step down from Lusamine and Guzma for sure which is disappointing.
  • No big post-game again, which at this point, I've long accepted we're never getting HGSS/BW2 levels of post-game again. I suppose you could grind out some longevity from The Wild (which is what I plan to do) though, but not by much. 

Not gonna touch upon Dexit since everyone has said everything about that by now and I'm long over it. Overall, I had fun with the game but do acknowledge they have problems. I don't think it deserves standing ovations, but it also wasn't worth the past six months of vitriol and rapid hatred either since it really is a 6-7/10 game at worst. If you haven't liked the direction the series has been in since XY, you won't like these games very much, but if you have, then you will.

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