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Pokemon Ranger is without a doubt one of the worst games i have ever played in my life, if it wasn't for DOTA i think Pokemon Ranger would actually qualify as the worst game i heve ever played in my entire life. So what exactly is Pokemon Ranger aside from being a pile of shit? Basically take any pokemon game, tear out everything fun about the series, add tonnes of frustrating elements and to top it off a scratched ds screen. That my friends is Pokemon Ranger, the second worst game i have ever played in my entire life.
Now you're probably thinking but it's Pokemon... how bad could it possibly be? How bad? How fucking bad? Bad is not good enough to describe how awful this game is. In any case lets get straight to the point and explain the game's concept to you. Basically Pokemon Ranger is a test of patience and reflexes, there really is nothing else to it. Any form of substance thrown in is almost completely meaningless, in fact this game didn't even need to be called Pokemon Ranger, if you took away the Pokemon from the game, it wouldn't be much differrent, in fact it would likely be a lot less tedious. Just call it Ring Drawing Simulator and you wouldn't be far from wrong though it's more of a sequences of challenge milestones that are hidden within the Pokemon themselves. Think Portal is it was an action game with little thought requirement needed and that's Pokemon Ranger. Lets face it, though the atmosphere was captured well enough, Portal would have been an incredibly dull game if it wasn't for the puzzles (though it was a dull game for me anyways since i don't really like puzzles at all). You move from 1 area to the next capturing pokemon temporarily only to have them do something trivial such as cutting down a tree. Sure Pokemon do play a minor part in the gameplay but is is barely enough to aqknowledge their existance, especially in some battles.
The worst part of Pokemon Ranger is... wait no, this is far from being the worst part, that is how bad this game is, this part is so bad yet it's nothing compared with what's to come, i'm just getting started with this piece of dogshit. The first think you'll notice about Pokemon Ranger is that you can only keep 1 pokemon for the entire game. This means that all the efforts you go towards catching the damn things are completely wasted as you let them roam free. It's as if PETA came to Game Freak's office with a gun pointing to Junichi Matsuda's head saying that if he doesn't stop his cruelty to pokemon, they'll kill off his family as well as his pet dog... and himself. And so Game Freak contacted Nintendo who got excited over the massive amounts of money that would be comming their way and so they began development of one of the worst games ever made. Pokemon PETA edition... oh i'm sorry, Pokemon Ranger. Oh and you still get to use your Pokemon in battles, like i said but their abilities are near useless. In any case, you're still harming other pokemon... humanely so really it doesn't make a speck of differrence. You are still hunting Pokemon down for no reason other than to put them to work, essentially making them your slaves for about 2 minutes. Game Freak must have forgotten that the main satisfaction of catching pokemon would be to use them in future battles and train them up to be part of your dream team. Sadly Pokemon Ranger scraps this.
Oh but thats not the only problem with this game, the second issue is evident once you reach about an hour into the game... or perhaps more. Now one of the things that attatched me to the pokemon games as a kid was it's sense of freedom, the ability to roam the world freely using fly or just walking back like a boss (i actually walked all the way back after beating Mt Battle's 100th trainer in Pokemon Collosseum just to give the other trainers a smug grin as i walk past their sorry asses that i kicked, just thought you should know...). In fact i spent quite a while exploring the Pokemon world, you'll know the details if you read my last blog. In any case, Pokemon was my Skyrim, my adventure. I made the adventure myself, i became champion and explored the world at my leisure. Pokemon Ranger on the other hand decided to completely boycott backtracking altogether, in fact if you even dare to step back, your ranger partner will block your way and say "where the hell do you think you're going? You're not allowed to explore! Sure this sort of practice has happened in many other games such as Grandia 2 but unlike Pokemon Ranger, at least Grandia 2 had a good story to back it up. Sadly although i never finished Pokemon Ranger, i don't even think i needed to. The story was pretty much the introduction of Legend Of Heroes: Trails In The Sky but without the interesting character archtypes to keep you playing. Basically you are sent to do missions and stuff by the Pokemon Ranger branch and these missions are story related and can usually be quite menial. The story does seem like it was picking up but man does it drag, at least as far as i got to which wasn't far. In all honesty i don't think a good story could have saved this game anyways as it is just so bad that a good story would have been like painting graffiti on a nazi properganda poster.
Now to the real issue with Pokemon Ranger... the actual battles flat out suck my ass. Serioulsy if you're looking for a frustrating gameplay experience with very little substance then you've found the right game. All you do, i repeat, all you do in this game is draw circles around Pokemon... sounds easy right? Well no. You have to draw a consecutive number of circles which is easy at first as you only need to draw 2-5 circles to capture Pokemon but later on in the game you have to draw 20-40 circles which si a nightmare. Oh and by the way if a Pokemon touches that circle... it breaks. If a Pokemon attacks the circle, it breaks and you take damage. Now you're probably wondering where my stopping point was. My stopping point was on the Salamence boss battle. It is simply put a chore to capture, it's like playing F-zero gx chapter 1 on very hard difficulty but nowhere near as fun. You have to draw about 20 consecutive circles around him without taking a break as he walks around breaking them every now and again forcing you to restart. Seriously it's a lot harder than it sounds. Salamence will attack every half of a second so it requires a ridiculous amount of luck and speed to capture him as you have to hope that your circle isn't within his line of sight when he uses Hyper Beam, plus if you take too long he will use an attack which will instantly break the ring by hitting the entire screen so you have to do it extremely fast before his pattern ends, predicting the exact moments where he uses Hyper Beam and making sure part of your circle doesn't get hit by it. Put simply, it is a nightmare and from what i've gathered, the bosses get worse and worse.
So what are you left with? A shitty Pokemon spin off with no exploration, pointless Pokemon and a damaged DS screen, as a result i sold the game a few days after purchase, one of my biggest regrets ever and back then i didn't used to sell games unless they were really bad. Nowadays i have been seeling a lot of games that i picked up and barely play sinply because i cannot fit it on my shelf and i barely play it anyways. I hate Pokemon Ranger and i hate how Game Freak made a series of those stupid games, by far the worst Pokemon spin off ever... yes even worse than Hey You Pikachu.
Don't bother trying to tell me to give this game a second chance, i don't want another damaged DS screen nor to i want to be frustrated at capturing Salamance again. All copies on Pokemon Ranger should be burned... period, ET needs a cellmate anyways. In fact, having Pokemon Ranger as your cellmate pretty much guarentees that you'll get prison raped so sorry ET but Pokemon Ranger will have to join you...
As always with these types on blogs, theres no images, i just don't see the point in putting them up when it's just me ranting abotu something which was really fucking shit. I hope i haven't ruined anyones day by talking about this heinous game.
Oh come on, you already know what my favourite game is so i'm not going to say it again. If you don't, check my blog. You should also know my second favourite game. So what is my third favourite game? My third favourite game, unlike my second and first favourite game is a game which i spent hours of my childhood playing. It's pretty obvious what it is, of course i'm talking about Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal (and yes i've owned them all at some point).
For my favourite game of all time, read this: My real favourite game
So why is it my third favourite game of all time? Thats easy... nostalgia. We all have that one game that brings back memories. In fact i wish there was a game which could top it in such a catagory. Put simply, Pokemon was a huge game for me especially considering Pokemon Yellow was my first game. It was an RPG, a game which led me deeper into the genre. In fact many of my videogame tastes were built up from Pokemon. Eventually i played other games only to find that they weren't as deep as Pokemon. There was something about it that stood apart from other games.
That something was the fact that it was an RPG... or so i soon gradually learned. RPG's are my favourite genre and always will be... despite my love for them is beginning to deteriorate these days, i will never forget my love for the genre. Pokemon was an adventure, to me, Pokemon was pretty much the Skyrim of videogames, sure i could only visit areas in a linear fashion... but i could backtrack, talk to people, fnd secret areas, catch secret legendary pokemon. I thought that i was th master of finding secrets in Pokemon... until i realized that many others already knew. Of course, Pokemon didn't come close to matching the scale of Skyrim but for me it had the same effect, beign able to fly to any town and just explore the routes, fighting wild pokemon and trainers, it felt like an adventure, your adventure.
This image leaves a lot to the imagination... what could that red haired kid be doing? Is it a boy or a girl? (well it's a boy) is he attatching a bomb to the side of the building? Is he fixing a fuse box on the side of the building? Is he masterbating whilst watching Professor Elm do naughty things to himelf? Nobody knows... i'm sorry i brought this up.
Now this could go for just about any game, i think pretty much everyones first RPG experience was the same, RPG's are an adventure and offer limited freedom, though limited it may be, i can easily say that RPG's offer more freedom than any other genre and as a kid, freedom was a luxuary especially considering the fact that i live in the middle of nowhere and couldn't play with other kids. Pokemon kinda gave me something to do. It was pretty much my life away from school. So essentially when i say that Pokemon Gold and Silver was my childhood, i meant it in the literal sense. To be honest i did kinda wish i had friends but considering i got into Pokemon after moving from home to a new place which was barely a neighborhood, nor a hamlet, it was pretty much my life. Despite this, the many hours i spent playing were not productive. Even after beating the game and becomming champion, my adventure continued. I journeyed around the world, making my own story. In a way i was kind of role playing, something which most games don't let you do. The dynamic real time clock bolstered this immersion. I was literally living in the game world, catching pokemon, beating trainers, being champion really meant a lot back then, it really amazes me looking back now how absorbed i was into the game.
Uh dude... shouldn't you be in bed at this time? Why are you still? *sigh* i'm not even going to ask that question.
Another feature was the ability to share phone numbers with other trainers so that they could ring me up occasionally to tell me their life story which i mostly did not care about but despite this, it was still an amazing feature which greatly immersed me into the game. Put simply, Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal are the most immersive games i have ever played to this day. Now thats not to say that it is the most immersive game out there, i'm pretty sure if games such as Skyrim existed back then, i would be just as immersed with it as i was with Pokemon but let face it, Pokemon was my Skyrim and nobody could take that away, it was the sole game that managed to immerse me. Though i did play other jrpg's, i always felt like an outcast (besides maybe Baten Kaitos) as if i didn't belong, it was their story, not mine but Pokemon on the other hand... that WAS my story. Pokemon offered so much immersion that i couldn't have asked for more, it was already a part of me, a part of me that i couldn't simply let go, looking back i laugh at myself for how stupidly attatched i was to a piece of what would now be considered "lackluster coding" and looking back on the Pokemon games as well as playing the new games in the series, i see that it they were pretty simple games which could probably be easily remade today with the right scripts. Heck pretty much anybody could remake the map of Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal in RPG Maker with minimal effort and essentially create the pokemon experience all over again (though it may be difficult to code the actual "Pokemon" into the game and the catching. In fact, there are already many Pokemon fan games on there.
It just feels silly how the Pokemon games are so... basic. It feels as if gaming has evolved ridiculously fast and that Pokemon is a shadow of it's former self. As such, this is why i feel like recent Pokemon titles feel significantly lacking. Sure back in the day, Pokemon was an original concept, simple as it may have been, it did have a lot of immersion and the concept was very well executed allowing it to stand on it's own two feet and extort millions from us unsuspecting youungsters pockets... or our parents. Nowadays there are simply put a lot of better games out there for youngsters to enjoy, games like Skyrim are huge, bigger than anything Pokemon could pull off, it's easy to see how kids can be absorbed by such games and not Pokemon.
And this is where Game Freak are going wrong by not realizing it. With games as immersive as Skyrim, it's time for Game Freak to take a step back and look at what the series is up against and reshape it to adapt to the current generation of gaming. So much more can be done with Pokemon and though it will never have the same amount of immersion as the other games in the series, it could still offer something differrent whilst keeping the same premise of the original titles. One thing they could do is have us create a character and have us make our own story, kind of like a sandbox, make gyms completely optional basically Gothic 3 but with Pokemon. Just imagine it. The game starts off with your custom character on a ship about to land on a huge island of adventure and excitement where you're free to do as you wish and the world changes around you as you play. That sort of thing can be done now, just look at games like Skyrim where people remember the feats you have achieved. I won't go into this too mch because it would be boring to read but put simply, if i was to develop any game out there, it would be Pokemon, i'd know exactly what i want for a new Pokemon game. I have it all in my head, the ideas are all there, jsut waiting to come out and believe me, it's something differrent from the conventional pokemon games. Perhaps i'm not the only one who has ideas, their image of a Pokemon adventure, if so, feel free to share it with me.
It would have less door puzzles that's for sure >.>.
Of course how could i forget to mention the core aspect of Pokemon... the actual Pokemon. As a kid, the bond shared between pokemon and trainer was real, nowadays the bond between trainers and pokemon are nonexistant, in fact most pokemon are jsut thrown away due to the fact that they don't have "perfect IV's" just imagine if Pokemon was real life for a minute, people would be throwing pokemon into incinerators, there would be factories producing and disposing of pokemon. Thats what Pokemon feels like now, a factory. In fact it feels little more than real life dogfighting where the losing dog gets thrown in a cage forever but of course it's just a videogame, we aren't supposed to care about data, i mean since when was data so important that it deserved a place in our lives?
I really hope nobody is playing through Star Ocean Till The End Of Time right now, i'm sorry if i ruined 30 hours of your life by putting this here but it was inevitable.
Put simply, my perception of the Pokemon games has changed dramatically, it's highly likely that i have grown out of it's formula but that's not to say that i have completely given up on the series, games such as Pokemon XD and Colosseum reignited that spark. They were given a story with a completely differrent world and a completely new experiance. The style of those games felt surreal... as if they didn't belong in the pokemon universe, yet at the same time they felt completely refreshing, it was a whole new Pokemon series in the making that seemed to be cut off with Pokemon XD leaving a semi-cliffhanger which would suggest a sequal. I mean Wes' journey was one of coolness, it wasn't about being the very best that no one ever was... you already achieved that. Pokemon Colosseum was there for the players who already beat the elite four and the champion and as a reward they were given a head start with a trainer who already has experience as a trainer and is tasked not with being the very best but with stopping evil from using Pokemon.
Who needs to be a Pokemon Master when you have one of these?
Michael's journey was similar although he didn't have much of a head start, his ambitions were far mor greater than any other pokemon protagonist, surpassing even Wes' efforts, he wasn't a pokemon master, he was a hero who stopped Cipher from wreaking havoc with shadow Lugia. Now what other Pokemon games could you consider the protagonists to be a hero? Stopping team rocket? Maybe, but in truth you were merely meddling, you convinced them to give up and surrender.
But he's not quite on the same level as Wes...
The purpose of the enemy teams was to symbolized that as a trainer, you had grown strong enough to influence a change of heart for the villains, at least in the first game where Giovvani loses in an honorable duel and surrenders. As for the other games sure you did play the hero role occasionally... but it felt more of a sub plot. Sure the stakes were higher but you ultimately saw them as a mere stepping stone and despite your efforts and ultimately they felt quite silly but maing them a main plot focus in Pokemon XD and Colosseum felt interesting, it was a step in the right direction at least to what could have been a much deeper plot than the other games and lets face it, Wes could have annihilated pretty much every other trainer with his experience, he was even accepted by Hooh himself unlike Gold who had to prove himself by catching him, Hooh joined Wes on his own accord because he knew that he was a trainer worthy of his prescence.
I saved the world before it was cool.... oh wait i merely stopped a pointless radio broadcast? Aww...
Ultimately i will always see Wes as the strongest trainer, even compared with Red. Lets face it, Red may have been the league champion at some point but he still had a long way to go and he knew that, thats why he went to Mt silver and continued his training. Wes could have been League champion ages ago, he proved himself in Mt battle which proved to be a far greater feat than Red ever achieved. In fact it's probably certain that Wes could have thrashed the elite four but that wasn't his goal, he was already the best and he knew it, he fought in the deep colosseum, a place where only the greatest trainers gathered. Wes was a pokemon master and he knew it which is why he didn't waste time proving it. Red on the other hand discovered that becomming champion was a meaningless title and that he had a logn way to go to become stronger and thus he went to Mt silver to train.
Why am i saying all this? Because i'm trying to explain the message of Pokemon, being champion is meaningless, it's just a tile that amounts to nothing. What matters is the bond between you and your Pokemon and the adventures you had, not your goals, theyw ere jsut the driving force which ended up being ultimately meaningless. What would have happened if red didn't go to become a champion? He would have probably chosen to travel around the world with his pokemon and probably become just as stronga as he was as a champion. It just goes to show that ambitions are not everything and that it is experiences that matter. Pokemon taught me that and as a result i never really see the point in competitive gaming or being the best which back in the day, i did because i was so absorbed into the game.
So remember, if you are playing a game, it's the experience that matters, not how high of a level you are. This goes for games such as Diablo 2 as well. Getting better loot isn't exactly going to provide you with a better experience, it's not the legendary sword that matters nor the data, it's the experence playing the game and we all need to realize this. So if you are one of these people who tries to be be best at a game and find the experience is getting tedious as a result, just give it up. It's not worth practicing/leveling up if you're not enjoying it and the end result is meaningless anyways as it's just a game and most people don't care. Pokemon taught me this, after years of grinding my pokemon to level 100 after losing my data countless times only to realize that my pokemon weren't as strong as they could have been due to EV's/IV's. I gave up and now i laugh about how much time i wasted doing such tedious grinding, in fact i felt the same with World Of Warcraft after my account got hacked but the experiences weren't all tedious and most of it was very enjoyable and those are the things that i will always remember and cherish.
Good times ;)
All in all, Pokemon was a huge game that made me the gamer i am today, being an rpg and all, it helped me look up other RPG's, i believe the first traditional RPG i played was Legend Of Dragoon on a Playstation demo disk and i loved it alot because it was just like pokemon but with a story however due to the fact that the game was rare as hell i never picked it up until way later. I picked up Final Fantasy 7 instead... how generic, but thats another story for another time of "how i got into JRPG's" and i swear the story is probably the same for 70% of JRPG fans.
Sorry, i kinda joined the fad this time... at least it's nothing to do with any of this industry journalism drama. Besides i promised to do a blog about this game a while back so here it is.