Pokemon Go – Android
Release Date: July 6th, 2016
Genre: Augmented Reality
Nerd Rating: 8.0 / 10
Reviewed by Rhutsczar
It is about time that Pokemon is making a comeback. Then again, Pokemon never really left did it? Millenials are squealing as they can have their own pocket monsters all in the comfort of their phone.
Now you may be asking, what the hell is the point of Pokemon Go? The game is designed to get gamers off of their asses and explore their towns and regions beyond, all for the sake of becoming the Pokemon master. While you are out and about, you will discover Pokemon in the wild that you can capture using many different tools at your disposal. You then move on to use these Pokemon to control gyms in your area and rule the city…with a team. I will get into that further down though. Sounds fun right? Grab your phone and tag along.
Let’s start with the worst feature of Pokemon Go, the tracking system. Initially designed to be a simple tool that the player could use to track individual nearby Pokemon, Niantic has made multiple changes to the tracking system since the game’s release. So far the most promising system we had was the one used in beta, where each Pokemon was listed as 50-150 meters away. Since then it has changed to the infamous “three step” system we had upon launch, then the removal of the system completely, and now we end up with a “Sightings” system that is pretty much garbage. Niantic is currently developing a new system that uses pictures to show loosely where the Pokemon are, but is currently being tested only in San Francisco, CA.
Now Rhuts, how do you get items to use in game? Well, welcome to the joy of micro-transactions! There are quite a few different ways to snag gold and buy that lure you desperately need to find Snorlax. If you have a solid team, you can try to take over and hold multiple gyms at a time and earn a “Defender Bonus”, or 10 coins and 500 stardust per defender. Each time you level up, you will receive a certain amount of items as a reward that actually helps out when you are in a jam. Last but not least, you can use real world money to purchase gold which can in turn be exchanged for items. Who would do that though? (Definitely not this guy).
While you are out dealing with your non- Pokemon Go filled life, you may come across a congregation of players out some focal points around your home town. Congratulations, there are probably gyms or pokestops nearby. Pokestops are typically points of interest or art that can be selected every five minutes for items. However gyms are set up at larger points of interest and churches (for some weird reason) to promote friendly competition between the different teams. Gym battles can become rather hectic when a fellow player snipes the gym placement after you worked so hard to clear it out, but that just gives you another reason to kick that Valor’s ass.
Now that you have been playing for a bit and have reached level 5, it is time to join a team! As a member of one of these teams, you can fight to take control of the previously mentioned gyms in your own home town. If you played the beta, the teams were based off of the first three games in the series: red, blue, and yellow. Now that the series has officially launched, the new teams are represented to the legendary birds of the first generation (Moltres, Articuno, and Zapdos) : Valor (red/scumbags), Mystic (blue), and Instinct (Yellow). As of this year’s comic con, Niantic also decided to have team leaders to add more personality to each team. Valor is lead by Candela, Mystic by Blanche, and Instinct by Sparky. Sparky is by far the most fun one, but I respect Blanche and Candela.
The main draw of Pokemon Go is its use of augmented reality, or simply AR. The idea this time around is that by turning on your camera while you catch Pokemon or battle at a gym, the Pokemon will overlay and appear in your field of vision…through your phone that is. While it is a rather interesting idea and it definitely works with Pokemon Go, it can be improved quite a bit. This is because most of the players I know actually play with the AR toggled off, as it is much easier to catch the Pokemon that way. They just stay mainly stationary in a field, but still attack and dodge the poke balls thrown at them. This is because when the AR is toggled on, the Pokemon tend to move around you in 360 degrees making it more realistic but rather difficult to catch before they run away.
As with any massive launch like this, Pokemon Go is littered with bugs. One of the first major bugs that I encountered in beta and upon initial launch is the infamous “1 HP Glitch”. Widely known in the beta community, the “1 HP Glitch” would cause Valor and Instinct gym defenders to become invincible once reaching one health point left, thus creating many problems for us Mystics. Since the tracking system was buggy as hell as well, some people say it was a good thing that Niantic removed it. While most of the bugs have been cleared out, the game will still occasionally crash for no reason. That’s just Pokemon Go for you.
As many people are catching on, Pokemon Go feels much like a beta 2.0 version of the final product. While many of the major bugs have been resolved, the app crashes consistently and still drains your battery rather quickly. While the tracking system and teams were the major changes I have seen since I snagged myself an early copy, it still feels like I am playing a beta. Luckily I am in one of the target markets to test a bunch of the new features, so I will keep everyone updated on those. Come on Niantic, get your act together and let’s make Pokemon Go great again!
Since the creation of the franchise, Pokemon has always been influential especially to millennials who grew up with the series and trading card game. However since the release of Pokemon Go, that influence has only skyrocketed and reached an entirely new generation of fans. While I am out poke-hunting or just downtown having a beer, I am constantly seeing players run around for their own imaginary digital monsters. As we had previously reported here, events for Pokemon Go have sprouted up and attracted thousands of people to casually hang out and converse. I have been to a few of these events (and am going to another once I am done here) and they really are a good time.
For the most part, it seems like Pokemon Go isn’t going anywhere. As they make new changes (not always good ones) to the game, many players will taper off. The loyal fan base will still exist and try to thrive as long as they can. I mean, there are enough players that supposedly more people are playing Pokemon Go than using Tinder or watching pornography. That is pretty damn crazy if you ask me. If you have a mobile device and are even remotely interested in augmented reality, Pokemon, or friendly competition, Pokemon Go is definitely a game you need to download. Join one of the over ten million players and dive head first into the Kanto region.
So what did you think of Pokemon Go? Since the number of players keep rising, which app will it surpass next? Feel free to leave a comment and share your experience, If we haven’t satisfied your Pokemon fix yet, check out some of our other Pokemon titles!
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