Pokémon: Let’s Go!

Oh boy, you know it’s good when I’m writing game reviews again. Not that I haven’t been playing lately, but after Breath of the Wild it’s hard to be really captivated by a game to the point where I feel the need to tell people about it. That is, until I heard that my twenty-six year old self was about to be playing Pokémon again.

I was a diehard first generation fan. My sister played Pokémon Red, I played Pokémon Blue, and then we both had copies of Yellow. I also played Crystal. After that, not much. Chalk it up to getting older and busier, but I felt attached to the first generation after watching the anime, and it was hard to keep up with the generations that followed. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that the franchise keeps evolving for new generations of players and the original 151 is now accompanied by so many more Pokémon, but I didn’t personally get into it.

I wasn’t a huge Game Boy player. I could do it for awhile, but it was always much easier for me to park my ass in front of a TV and stay there for hours with a controller in my hand than to stare down at a tiny screen and log the same amount of time. Pokémon: Let’s Go got my attention because it was being released for the Nintendo Switch. Then I heard it was the OG first generation, and I was like “I know what I’m doing this weekend,”

I went with the Eevee version. I love Pikachu, but I love Eevee more. Sue me.

I had a brief moment of being annoyed when I discovered that I can’t use my pro controller with this game. The same thing happened to me when I downloaded Mario Party. What the fuck do you mean I can only use ONE joy-con? I have adult size hands, I can’t do this.

However, it’s not that bad. And last night I THOROUGHLY enjoyed being able to play Pokémon with my right hand and hold my wine glass with my left. It was great.

Let’s get to the real question though,

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Yes. Yes, it is. I don’t think I’ve ever played a Pokémon game for this long before. It’s so comfortable to play on the TV. I’m really into it. The graphics are beautiful, I actually squealed in delight when I saw how ADORABLE my Eevee is, and the battle graphics are fun and fresh. It all feels so new and exciting while still being classic. It’s amazing.

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Since I haven’t been a diehard Pokémon player over the years, forgive me if any of the features I’m about to talk about were added in later generation games. To me, this is the first time I’m experiencing them, or I completely forgot that it was like that.

I LOVE that you can actually see what wild Pokémon are around you. I’m so used to just being interrupted while exploring to find Pokémon, and in this game, you can see them. You can avoid them. It’s fantastic.

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If you want to bump into the Zubat, Geodude, or Clefairy and catch them, you can. If you don’t, you can avoid them and keep walking. Although I will point out that I finally discovered that catching Pokémon is a great way to level up your team. You don’t battle them, just catch them, but your entire equipped team earns EXP. I’ve always hated having duplicates in my PokéBox, so I’d usually avoid catching more than one. Then I realized it was a great way to level my team so I probably have about twenty Venonats now.

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There are some wonderfully familiar faces.

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Fighting both Jessie and James at the same time was really exciting to me for some reason. You decide your attacks, obviously, and can decide which one to attack as well.

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I’m really enjoying this game so far. While it was downloading on my Switch I also discovered that I still know the entire anime theme song by heart, which I’m not sure if I should be proud or ashamed of that. I don’t remember half the shit I learned in college but I can still sing the Pokémon theme song.

And now for some screenshots, and then I’m going back to Kanto.

I WANNA BE THE VERY BEST…

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LIKE NO ONE EVER WAAAAAS…

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TO CATCH THEM IS MY REAL TEST…

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TO TRAIN THEM IS MY CAUUUUUSE…

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I WILL TRAVEL ACROSS THE LAND…

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SEARCHING FAR AND WIIIIIDE…

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TEACH POKÉMON TO UNDERSTAND…

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THE POWER THAT’S INSIIIIDE…

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Alright, I’m done. About to board the S.S. Anne!

10/10 would recommend. I’m having way too much fun playing this game.

Gotta catch ’em all!

Ghosts and Military Conspiracies: What more do you need?

Okay! So I am officially fed up with finding new ways to discuss and analyze my past, so we’re moving forward. One of my favorite blog posts to write was my Nintendo Switch review last March after I’d jumped down the rabbit hole head first on launch day.

I am a diehard Nintendo fan, and have never been able to bring myself to purchase another console, although I’m sure at some point it’ll happen just because I really love gaming.

I feel like at this point, Nintendo should give me a discount code because I’ve talked a decent amount of people into buying a Switch.

It’s been over a year since I preordered the Switch along with Breath of the Wild. I’ve logged over 175 hours on BotW, which I’m equally ashamed and proud of. That game is as good as everyone says it is.

Skyrim has also become a favorite of mine, although I do tend to get bored with it and ignore it for awhile. It’s still good.

Mario Kart is a blast, and I’ve recently started playing online with friends who live out of town.

Over the last couple of months I’ve started exploring the Nintendo eshop and finding some real gems in the $20 game price range.

Night in the Woods was the first one I tried out, and certain parts of dialogue had me in tears over how real the depression commentary was. Highly recommend.

This weekend I discovered Oxenfree.

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I am a suspense/horror junkie. My first favorite author that I discovered on my own (as a younger sibling, I would usually read/play/watch whatever my sister did) was Stephen King, and he’s still a favorite of mine. I love suspenseful storylines. Oxenfree has everything I enjoy: ghosts, government conspiracy, demonic possession, and a few jump scares that actually got me.

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You play as Alex, a teenage girl who accidentally opens a rift to another dimension with her friends and they all have to deal with some pissed off ghosties who would very much like to come back to life. I’ve always loved the communicating-with-ghosts-via-radio trope, so I was happy to see that in this game.

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It’s creepy and suspenseful without being overly scary, in my opinion. So if you’re not really into super scary stuff, I think you would still enjoy playing it. You’re not fighting ghosts, it’s all conversation led storytelling, and it’s pretty damn good.

I will say, I was playing pretty late last night and had all the lights off, and my 100-year-old house decided to creak, as it usually does, and I about jumped off my couch. I enjoy that sort of thing though. I think things are actually scary or suspenseful when it translates into your real life as well. If you walk out of a horror movie and aren’t glancing over your shoulder every once in awhile, then it probably wasn’t that creepy.

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There are also multiple ways the story can pan out, based on the conversation choices that you make. I went the righteous route on my first play through, but saw some choices along the way where I made a mental note of, “Oooh, I’m definitely doing that next time just to see what happens.”

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The use of camera was really well done. It’s obviously third person, but occasionally while you were exploring it would slowly pan out to reveal something creepy at the edge of the map, or coming up in your path.  There are a few jump scares, enough that you learn to expect them, but not so many that you’re just like, “Oh for fuck’s sake, ENOUGH ALREADY!”

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Also a light touch of commentary that anger can completely consume your existence, but done through the use of pissed off ghosts who are angry that they are no longer living, which I’m sure that most are.

I highly recommend turning subtitles on. I am not typically someone who uses subtitles, I just crank up the volume and tell the other people in the room to stfu, but it makes it easier to understand what’s being said. In the beginning the music was almost louder than the dialogue, so turning up the volume on my TV didn’t really help. Subtitles also guarantee that you actually understand when the distorted pissed off ghost voices are threatening your life. I got about halfway through the game, annoyed that I couldn’t understand some dialogue before I remembered that subtitles are typically an option and turned them on.

10/10. I like that you can play it multiple times and have different experiences based on the choices that you make. It was a fun way to kill some time this weekend.

What are you playing nowadays that you’re really digging?

 

Switch things I’m excited for:

Donkey Kong

SUPER SMASH BROS omg

 

That’s all for now. I’m sure I’ll be back soon with more gaming posts, because that’s like a solid 50% of my free time these days.

 

 

 

Thoughts on the Nintendo Switch & The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Alright, so I’ve been trying to figure out what platform I wanted to create this review for, since you know, I dabble in all aspects of the interwebs, but I decided that this was probably the best and fastest way to get it done.  YouTube would be good if I had gameplay footage, but I don’t, and the amount of editing that would have to go into using enough screenshots would take way more time than I’m willing to spend not actually playing this game.

So, without further ado, I present to you,

MY THOUGHTS ON THE NINTENDO SWITCH

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            We’re gonna start with the console and just get it out of the way, and then I’ll get to some general thoughts/fangirling over Breath of the Wild.

I preordered the Nintendo Switch, along with Breath of the Wild, about 24 hours after preorders went live.  It took some scrambling, because they went FAST, but I managed to snag the Special Edition bundle of BotW from Best Buy, and the actual console from GameStop.  Then I just had to wait.  They both arrived by UPS on March 3rd (release date) around 5 pm, and I dove head first down the rabbit hole.

The console has potential.  I’m not exactly someone who is big on portable gaming, so that aspect wasn’t a huge selling point for me, and to be completely honest, if Breath of the Wild hadn’t been the launch title, I wouldn’t have preordered.  But it was, so here I am, and my bank account hates me, again.

I played on the tablet for a bit because the Joy-Cons weren’t charged out of the box, but the tablet had a partial charge. When the Joy-Cons are attached to the tablet, they charge, so I did that for a while.  Eventually, the console started warning about low battery, and I switched (lol) to the TV.  After a little bit, the Joy-Cons were almost drained, because they hadn’t fully charged, so I wound up taking a break to make dinner and give my dog some attention. After about 45 minutes, the Joy-Cons were fully charged and I got back to exploring Hyrule.

I did not preorder the pro controller.  I went hunting for one on launch day and failed to find one at Walmart, Target, GameStop, Best Buy, or Toys R Us.  Basically all they had left were some screen protectors and some amiibos.  I managed to find one online at Walmart.com.  It arrived on Monday, March 6th.  So for the entire first weekend, I played with the Joy-Cons attached to the grip that comes with the console.

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I also want to throw out there really quickly, that the charging grip that you can order is completely unnecessary. Once the Joy-Cons are fully charged, reviewers have said that they’re good for 20 hours or so.  To be completely honest, I was logging about 15-18 hours/day (yes, I’m a piece of shit human being) and they weren’t even halfway drained by the time I finally decided my brain needed sleep.

The Joy-Cons are…different.  They are absolutely tiny.  I have decently large hands for a woman, and I felt like I was holding a child’s toy.  The grip does help, but it’s still an awkward setup, with buttons directly above or below the control sticks.  I wish the grip had more depth to the part you hold on to, because towards the end of my gaming sessions, my hands were actually cramping.

I did experience the lagging from the left Joy-Con that other reviewers have mentioned. It wasn’t full disconnection; it was usually just a lag.  Link would continue to run even when I had stopped moving the analog stick for another second or two, and then he would stop.  This was especially annoying on cliffs because he would run right off to his death. It usually occurred when I had made my way into an interesting position on the couch as an attempt to be comfortable despite spending my entire day sitting, or when I had my feet propped up on the coffee table with my legs being physically between the Joy-Cons and the console.  So we’re talking some sort of Bluetooth issue. Not entirely sure why it’s happening, I’m not that big of a tech person to try and speculate and figure it out, I’ll sound like an idiot, but it’s a thing that a lot of people have brought to the attention of Nintendo, and hopefully a patch will fix it.  Maybe hold off on purchasing extra Joy-Con sets for multiplayer games, in case it is a hardware problem.

I feel like the Joy-Cons have potential, and will probably be more relevant for titles being released sometime in the future, but for extensively long gaming sessions of Breath of the Wild, the pro controller is where it’s at.

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My pro controller arrived yesterday.  I played for a few hours after my work shift with it, and all I can say is, BUY IT.  I know it’s a hefty price tag ($70), but like I already said, it’s just so much more comfortable to play with.   I did not experience any lagging/disconnecting/Bluetooth issues with it whatsoever.  Also the layout of it just makes it more convenient to use.

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I have not experienced any blue or orange screens of death. *knocks on wood* Thank god.  I would probably cry.

All in all, I think it’s a cool console.  I’m really looking forward to see what else comes out for it. I’m stoked for Super Mario Odyssey.  I watched an interview with Miyamoto where he mentioned that they were going back to Super Mario 64/Super Mario Sunshine gameplay style for Odyssey, and that makes me so excited because both of those games are bomb.  Also looking forward to a new Smash Bros, Mario Kart, and I even think Mario Party could be really fun on this.

As a lifelong Nintendo fan, it makes me so happy to see them making a comeback.

Now, on to the good shit.

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If you’re a purist and don’t want to hear ANYTHING WHATSOEVER about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, turn back now!  I’m not going to disclose any main quest plot spoilers, but I am going to talk about some of my favorite aspects of this game so far, and might do a second post with plot spoilers because I NEED TO DISCUSS THEM WITH SOMEONE AND NONE OF MY FRIENDS WHO HAVE THIS GAME ARE AS FAR AS I AM.

I’m going to try and keep this as general as possible.  This is the main reason why I decided to blog this, because I can just keep editing it.  I tend to ramble in my podcasts, and I just post them completely unedited, so I feel like this is the best way to not only keep my thoughts on track, but to also not piss anybody off.

Brief background of my love for Zelda:

            The first game I played was Ocarina of Time for N64. It was released in 1998, I was six years old.  That’s actually a good starter game because it gives you most of the history and background and is just a solid starting point for the world of Zelda.  I fell in love. I played the rest as they came out: Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword.  Eventually I found the original NES title and I played that as well.  I have not played the Gameboy Zelda titles.  [As I mentioned earlier, I’ve never really been big on portable gaming.  Pokemon Blue, Yellow, and Crystal are about the only games I’ve really gotten into on a Gameboy.  There have been others, and I distinctly remember how exciting it was to get a GameBoy Color (we also have the original grey GameBoy that’s an actual brick), but I’ve pretty much always been a main console kind of person.  It’s more comfortable for one, I’d rather stare straight ahead at a TV than stare downwards and screw my neck up.] I’ve played all the main console games multiple times, while sober, while drunk, while trying to see how fast I can beat them (Ocarina: 18 hours w/o massive skipping of cut scenes or hacking). Anyway, I’m a die-hard Zelda fan. I love the stories, the characters, and the lore.  So as soon as I heard Breath of the Wild was the launch title for the Nintendo Switch, I immediately knew I was ordering a new gaming console.  There wasn’t even anything to think about.  It was happening.

IMG_2737Size comparison.  No need for a giant case when the cartridge is tiny.

Open your eyes.

This game is a masterpiece.  And I do not say that lightly.  As someone who has played each 3D Zelda multiple times, I have a lot of opinions.  There are things I like, there are things I don’t like.  Things that are annoying, things that make me squeal in delight at how magnificent they are.  This is why I don’t really have a favorite Zelda game, because there are things I love and dislike about all of them. (Yes, even Ocarina, sue me.)  Breath of the Wild is magnificent.  This game is everything I have wanted a Zelda game to be since I first picked up that N64 controller back in 1998 and beat Ganon for the first time.

The open world is absolutely massive and I’ve spent so much time exploring. Just when I think I’ve checked an area out completely, I look at my map and I’ve only explored a quarter of that particular province.  It’s incredible.  Hyrule truly feels like a massive country with diverse areas and people.  Some familiar places exist: Gerudo Desert, Zora’s Domain, The Lost Woods, Kakariko Village, Death Mountain, and Goron City, just to name a few, as well as countless new villages and areas.  Provinces that were introduced in Twilight Princess (Eldin, Faron, Lanayru) combined with classic towns and areas create a version of Hyrule where the entire timeline makes sense.  It’s incredible.

This game is challenging.  I think it was Polygon’s review that said something along the lines of how this is a product of creators taking their audience’s intelligence seriously.  I don’t feel babied along. There are no tutorials, and very few explanations.  You figure it out by trial and error, and it’s so satisfying when you stare at a situation for so long and are completely dumbfounded by how to make it work, and then you finally figure it out.

The dungeons (not exaaaactly dungeons, but I’m not touching the plot in this post, so we’ll just go with dungeons) are clever as hell.  They are not your traditional make your way through, find keys, fight a mini boss, get an item, find the boss key, fight the boss-type dungeons.  They’re giant puzzles that eventually lead you to EPIC bosses.  The downside of this is that if you’re not entirely sure if you’re strong enough to be there, you don’t really find out until you get to the boss and one hit kills you. Then you’re like, oh hey, maybe I shouldn’t be here yet.

The good news is you can easily warp to the dungeons. If you realize that you’re not strong enough to fight the boss, you can go get stronger and then come back.  And it’s not like the boss is buried deep within the dungeon, like previous designs have been.  They’re pretty much waiting for you right at the front once you’ve unlocked them. So far, I’ve completed one dungeon that I’m pretty sure is the one you’re supposed to start with, just because I made it through the boss battle with it being difficult, but not totally impossible.  But I have another that I made it to the boss, and one hit was leaving me with about a quarter of a heart. So I’ve been hunting heart containers, and wound up starting another dungeon, that I’m realizing is probably the one you’re supposed to do second.  The non-linear quest thing really keeps you on your toes.

I’m going to try and wrap this up, because I realize this is getting really long.

A few final thoughts:

I really love the cooking/survival aspects of the game.  It makes it more realistic and requires more thought to go into what you’re doing and the decisions that you’re making.

THE WEATHER AFFECTS YOU. Oh my god, I love this.  If it’s raining, it’s reeeeally hard to climb mountains. Duh.  And you can get struck by lightning if you’re carrying metal weapons during a thunderstorm! I love it.

Your horse can die. This freaks me out so much. It shouldn’t, because it’s a game, but it does.  But you basically have an endless supply of wild horses to catch so it’s not the end of the world if you lose one.

The fact that your weapons can break is really frustrating, but again, makes it more of a challenge.  The Master Sword does exist though, because it HAS to, this is Zelda after all, and I just recently found it. Haven’t acquired it yet, but I’m assuming it doesn’t break. So I’m really trying to get it just because I’m so sick of my weapons breaking.

I think that’s about all I have for now without getting into the plot/pissing people off.

This game is really magical.  It’s hands down the best thing I’ve ever played.  It’s not a traditional Zelda game, and I know that’s making it a very tempting purchase for people who haven’t been into these games in the past.  If you’re on the fence about it, let me make it easy for you:

You need this game in your life.

Alright, that is all. If I think of more things, I might make a part 2, and I also might do more plot-related thoughts, because again, THE STORY IS SO GOOD.

Peace out.