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Posts Tagged ‘Pokémon’

PokéWoW: Gotta Loot ‘Em All

Massively multiplayer online guru Blizzard has another expansion coming out for World of Warcraft. While the main new feature of the game, the new Pandaren race and continent, looks pretty fresh and exciting, I’m here today to talk about a different part of this package. Blizzard is certainly not shy about including homage here and there to other games, the new pet battle system takes it to the next level. Being a big fan of the Pokémon franchise, and always hoped for an online version of the series, they’ve certainly gotten my attention.

Ever since I started playing World of Warcraft I always collected the vanity pets, especially the rare ones, but never quite knew why. Enter the pet battle system included with Mists of Pandaria. With this new system in place, you can not only collect these pets, but enter into turn-based battles with them. Blizzard, never over-simplifying anything, has made sure the specifics of this system make for a complete, if not eerily familiar, experience.

Obtaining these battling vanity pets seems pretty easy. Any pets you already own are ready to go into battle and you can still earn them by completing quests or purchasing them. You can also craft a party of your pets, up to three at any time, and walk around with them. If you are walking in the wild, you can also encounter new pets in the wild. I know what you’re going to ask, but capturing them does not involve throwing a ball at them. All you have to do is defeat them with one of your equipped pets in battle and they’re yours to keep.

The pets, as you battle with your friends, will level up and gain new battle abilities. Your creature gets three individual slots for their abilities. There are also NPC characters littered throughout the world that can teach new attacks to your pets, but sometimes you have to have a pet battle with them first. They’re also introducing a queue system for your brawling pets, so you can get matched and battle quickly.

So, to sum up, you can travel around the world, training and leveling up your creature by battling other trainers and capturing wild creatures. Aside from a lack of creature evolution, that’s more than just a passing resemblance to Pokémon. To be honest, I’m actually pretty excited to see how well this gets pulled off. Blizzard never ceases to surprise me with the new layers they can add to a seven-year-old game and make it seem fresh and new. Bear in mind that this is simply one feature being added to the already robust list of features for the new expansion.

Pokémon TCG Online: I Choose You

When I was growing up, I needed braces.  This was all well and good, but I still had a few loose baby teeth that needed to come out before I could go through with it.  Instead of having them pulled by the dentist, which I was vehemently not in favor of, my parents offered me an alternative.  For every tooth I managed to pull out myself, they got me one pack of Pokémon Cards.  I’m not ashamed to tell you, well maybe a little, that I pulled each of those teeth out myself and got some decent cards in those packs.  Thankfully, I don’t have to pull out any teeth to play the new free Pokémon Trading Card Game Online.

Free online games have come a long way over the years, but I still wasn’t expecting anything much when I saw the Pokémon Card Game was getting a web-based game.  I am thrilled to say that I am flabbergasted as how much I underestimated this game.  It launches straight into letting you create your own avatar.  Now, I’ll be honest, the choices aren’t extremely robust, but this is easily forgiven as you start the single-player mode called the Trainer Challenge.

 

Right off the bat, you can choose from three basic decks: fire, grass and water.  If this is sounding familiar to any pokéfans out there, I’m not surprised.  From there you have the opportunity to take part in a twelve match tournament with different rewards for each opponent you beat.  You can also go through and beat each set of opponents with the different decks for even more bonuses.

 

As you progress, there are seven more decks beyond the first three that can be unlocked.  There are also three different Leagues that you can compete in for even more unlockables.  On top of all that, there are achievements that you can unlock, such as evolving your monster twice or knocking out another player’s creature in one blow.  As if that wasn’t enough, I haven’t even gotten to the part where the game is multiplayer.

 

Once you’ve brushed up a bit on how this crazy game works, it’s time to play against some real people.  The game is still in beta, so there are a few features not available yet, like the ability to trade cards, but the multiplayer falls under two categories right now: practice matches and ranked matches.  As you can imagine, a practice match still involves playing against real people, but the stakes are not as high.  When you get into the ranked match, they start tracking your stats and putting you up, for good or bad, on the leaderboards.

 

Hard to believe this game is completely free, right?  Well, there are a few aspects that you can put some money into.  You can purchase some better clothes for your avatar to wear and some packs of new virtual cards, but that’s all I’ve found to blow your dough on.  Whether you’re a fan of the card game, or have been curious about it, this is a fantastic way to get in on the action without lightening your wallet.  The best thing about it in my opinion?  If you can’t see the six-year-old that’s trouncing you, you can pretend that they’re a poker champion.

 

Pokémon Trading Card Game Online

Catch ‘Em All in the Big City

There is a pattern that has emerged which can predict how I will behave during the launch of a brand new Pokemon game.  First, I will be slightly interested and watch a couple of videos.  Second, I will decide that it’s not different enough from the previous entry and I will swear up and down that I’m not getting it.  Finally, about a week or two after its release, I will go and buy it anyways and still love it.  This has happened for the last three games in this series for me and will likely continue on, but since I’ve gotten the chance to play it, I thought I’d share how I feel about this latest entry into Nintendo’s biggest portable franchise.

From the very first time I pooped my copy of Pokemon Red into my Gameboy Color, I’ve loved this series.  Simply, the formula they’ve created works and if you compare Pokemon Black and White to their predecessors, you’ll notice that to its core, not much has changed.  You are still a rookie trainer who is just starting their journey to become a master trainer and has to collect gym badges while occasionally dealing with a group with “team” in their name that has some nefarious intention.  The thing that really makes getting into a new one of these games worth it, is the little changes that can really make a difference.

One of the best new subtle differences in these new titles are the dynamic camera angles.  Believe me, I know this sounds particularly trivial, but it really makes a huge difference.  Not only does it give a whole new life to the battles by zooming and panning around the screen while your pocket monsters do battle, but even in the environments you walk around in outside of battle are even more impressive because of this feature.  Speaking of battles, the sprites of your monsters, which were typically motionless when they weren’t attacking all now have an idle animation, which helps add character to the various creatures and make them seem a bit more real.

This next thing could easily be misconstrued as a bad thing, but has been quite enjoyable.  In the main part of your quest, the beginning until you defeat the elite four, there are nothing but brand spanking new Pokemon.  Once you complete the main quest, you can of course access a new area with familiar creatures and import ones from past games, but until then you get to have an experience much like that first game where every Pokemon you ran into is new.  As a fan who has been playing these game for years, I really appreciated this feature.

A new feature which I’m sure will give this game some legs is seasons.  The game is currently set to be in autumn, but each month we will be treated to a brand new season which will change the environment and give us access to new locations, items and Pokemon.  Paired with the time of day feature, this really makes the game world feel like a living breathing world that changes.  As well, this game takes place in a new region, the Unova region, which unlike most of the other games has a lot more of an urban feel to it.  With the dynamic camera you get to see everything from large skyscrapers, to giant highways which in and of itself gives this game an inherently different feel from the others.  The online features, though very similar to those of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, have been made a bit more convenient and they’ve even included video chatting for those of us who have a DSi.

In short, this game has a lot of reasons to write it off, but you will be doing yourself a disservice if you do so.  If you enjoy the addictive gameplay of the series, which I logged over 100 hours into Pokemon Pearl, then you will continue to enjoy it here.  If you think there’s not enough different about it, then give it a try, because the subtle changes may surprise you with how much they positively effect the games.  If you like Pokemon, you will enjoy this game, pure and simple.  If you haven’t gotten into it yet, go for it!  It’s a great series that is a lot of fun and can last you for quite a while.  You should definitely buy this game, it’s worth it.

Keep your eyes open next week as I will be standing in a line on saturday night so I can get my hands on the Nintendo 3DS.  I’ll be bringing you my impressions of the system on tuesday as well as launch day updates via Twitter as I stand in line on saturday night, so don’t miss it!  See you then, in three glorious dimensions!

Episode LVIII: Cocaine Does Not Make A Prius Look Any Cooler

The Bastards make sure those other guys don’t have the cojones to take over their show!

This week the B3 crew discuss the week in sports, the new movie The Other Guys and the video games Snoopy Flying Ace, Try Not To Fart and Pokémon HeartGold Version. Plus the gang tries their hardest to bring back a childhood classic…