AU Diary: I'm A Novice Pokemon Trainer

pokemon-platinum-artOne of the perks of this job is being sent copies of games I'd never otherwise consider playing. Like Pokémon Platinum, for example.

I have clearly not spent enough time running through long grass, as my encounters with Pokémon over the years have been minimal. From memory, I'm pretty sure I played the Ruby/Sapphire versions five or six years ago while I worked on a short-lived Game Boy Advance magazine.

So vague is my recollection, however, that if you were to ask me what the game was like, I might be able to tell you there was some turn-based combat, some walking around between towns, not much of a story, and, well... that's about it.

I've just started playing Pokémon Platinum - due for release next week on Nintendo DS - and so far it all feels very familiar. So I've got a few questions for the Pokémon fans out there:

- How have the Pokémon games changed over the years?

- Do you enjoy the world, the story and the characters?

- Or is it really just all about collecting and levelling up your Pokémon?

- Any starting tips for a novice trainer?


    - How have the Pokémon games changed over the years?

    They haven't really. Same basic format in new areas. There's been some features added to reflect the advances in hardware such as the day night system and multiplayer 'baking' games but its generally been the same

    - Do you enjoy the world, the story and the characters?

    The recent worlds have been dull, Gold and Silver (and crystal) were fantastic as it included a whole new world and all of Red and Blue at the same time. So much to do.. so long and some of the most interesting pokemon. They've been stretched for ideas since.
    I wish the storylines would be more interesting though. They get typical anime epic and fizzle out quick after a certain point.

    - Or is it really just all about collecting and levelling up your Pokémon?

    I generally stop playing soon after playing the storyline so I guess I'm not too fussed about hitting 100 or catching them all so I don't think its fair to comment for me. I just like visiting new towns and exploring new areas :)

    - Any starting tips for a novice trainer?
    Always start with water. Saves having to search ages for a decent surf user. Although in the latest game fire is a good option simply because (at least in pearl) there were no good options for fire pre-legendaries :(

    "gotta catch 'em all"

    that, and it's a light-hearted "pet rpg"

    The changes have been minimal, in terms of graphics and the addition of new monsters, but improvements in the metagame have been tremendous and I think that's a very successful feature of the current gen pokemon games. It draws players who first started the game when they were very young back in the fold with its depth and 'hardcore'ness, so to speak.

    Just have fun as a novice, catch whatever monster you feel looks cool and ease through the game, before you know it, you'll be sucked in and it'll all feel very natural after awhile.

    The main difference is more Pokeymans to choose from and a bigger emphasis on statistics. I think the addictiveness of trying to "catch 'em all" sucks some people in (and what a great feeling it is to complete that Pokedex), but there is a massive community of people dedicated to raising that perfect team to battle with. The fact that things such as what other Pokemon you battled and the nature of your own Pokemon have an effect on it's stats means that there are people who will spend a lot of time trying to get that perfect team.
    Honestly, I don't care much for the competitive scene, I just like the purdy colours of the Pokemon.

    Pokemon games have changed over the years?

    The characters, story and the world were interesting in 151. There are far too many Pokemon these days, so they don't really feel unique. It also doesn't help this fact when there isn't much of a variety in moves or attacks. Each move is pretty damn similar to the next.

    You could probably get away with having about 10 different species of Pokemon, with a much larger amount of attacks, skills and abilities, and then have each species with varying looks, sizes, maybe even sub-species with slightly different attributes.

    I guess I'm suggesting some depth would be nice, instead of 300+ (or whatever number it is) boring clones that can do about 15 or so different attacks that pretty much do the same thing.

    Then there's the part about not being able to even see the Pokemon animated, the battle scenes in particular, what's with that? It's like every Pokemon I've ever caught had a case of rigamortis.

    Tips for a novice? Grind :)

    Don't listen to Trent :P

    The games have remained almost unchanged in terms of graphics, sound and basic plot, but the mechanics have been tweaked and upgraded, with hundereds of new pokemon, dozens of new moves and abilities. I'd definately call your "lack of depth" as the exact opposite to what Pokemon has. You have over 400 of the buggers with an incredibly complex array of moves, abilities and elemental types at your command. Play the game thinking merely "Fire beats Grass" and you'll have a bit of a tough time.

    The sheer fact is that Diamond, Pearl and Platinum has the worst overworld and story\adventure of any pokemon game yet, but hey that's not a great issue considering the game exists almost soley for the meta-game. Working out your dream pokemon team and trading\battling them after you've "beaten" the game is where it's all at. If you're playing Pokemon soley for the singleplayer experience, then as they say; ur doin it wrong

      I dunno about doing it wrong if you just play for the SP campaign. Thats the Halo 3 argument (admittedly Multi made it fun but still, SP shoudl have been better).

      I only know one other dude that plays Pokemon.. we're in our 20's.. we don't talk about it. Pokemon is our secret shame =x
      Play the campaign in full (including post Elite 4 content) and then wait for the next one...

      Trent has some good points but the excessive negativity detracts from them. The new pokemon do feel a bit stretched to me in terms of creativity but statswise they're different enough for competitive players. However things aren't anyway near as watered down as Trent makes it out to be.
      Also, you don't need to Grind in pokemon unless you're going for level 100. You can level pokemon just by exploring and going from town to town - unless you love skipping content like *some people*

      But fully agree that, given how many releases they've made into the core pokemon franchise, the battle animations could be MUCH better.

      Yeah don't listen to me, I'm bitter :)

      The problem with multiplayer though is each Pokemon game has had the ability (bug) to clone your Pokemon, so multiplayer becomes pretty unfair.

    God you're such a boob.

    For me, what I enjoyed most about Pokemon Red and Blue was that a lot of it mirrored the cartoon show on Cheez TV at the time, so, being a massive fan of the show and knowing all the Pokemon, there was a certain satisfaction to rediscovering it all in a game. It really fired up my childish imagination.

    I remember how I excited I was when I first arrived in Cerulean City and fought Misty and her Starfish Pokemon because, omg, it was Misty! And I was actually fighting her! It actually felt like I was going through the Pokemon league proper, which was a pretty big deal! I don't get that excitement anymore with the newer Pokemon games because the characters are all different and there are about a bajillion new Pokemon with retarded names like Bidoof.

    Tips for a novice? Go and play Pokemon Blue while watching the old cartoons. I've got them all recorded on VHS. Let me know if you want to borrow them.

      Funny that's the exact opposite of my experience, having played the games first and only seen 'most' of the first season of the cartoons. This was probably due to living in a country town and not getting cheez tv :(

      This was still a thrill seeing all the trainers and characters I'd never used (starmie, bulbasaur, onyx, what a joke! :P) animated.

      Unrelated, there is an interesting pokethread over at Whirlpool for people like myself who are rediscovering their 'secret shame' in the form of Platinum;

    Almost all of these people should be shot...and who the hell is playing Pokemon for the world/story/character? It's all about end game baby! Getting your epic EV'd team of 6 brutal brawlers to whomp some arse in a greater feeling!

      What is Pokemon without the world/story/characters? A sloppy TBS that can be easily outdone by most TBSs currently out on the market. Get an imagination.

    Pokemon games have gone to shit after the advance. I'm so disappointed with the news ones, I can't stand playing them at all.

      Strangely, I thought the advance series took a step back. They offered nothing remotely new in terms of game mechanics. The current gen ones however took the game online amongst other things, how can you be dissapointed in such a giant leap like that?

      Sure the system is not perfect and friend codes only serve to get in the way, but I'm quite optimistic about how GameFreak will take the franchise next now that they crossed the online gaming threshold.

    I played Diamond back when it came out, mostly because my friends who played DS were also getting it, and the last time we all had the same game for full multiplayer experience was Metroid Hunters (I have Tetris DS too, but they were just sore losers about multiplayer modes) but I was disappointed by how slow the game felt compared to the sprite designed games. Even walking around towns felt like it took forever and a day.

    To avoid making the game hard on yourself, plan ahead for a final team from the get go. There are almost NO fire pokemon in this game, so if you don't have the fire starter you may want a Ponyta. I'm a flying poke nut and Starly is prob the best flying poke since the original Pidgey family (its evolved form learns powerful fighting type moves). Water or grass types are a dime a dozen so pick whichever looks cool to you. Psychic pokes are always a nice overpowered treat, so make sure you have one of those. If you must have a 6th poke, the electric pokemon in the early routes (I forget its name) is quite nice.

    When it comes to levels, I always try to go 5 levels between each badge for my entire party (level 10 for the first badge, 15 for second, 20 for third.etc). It can make for a major grind fest later on before you find high level poke to train against, but when you are against the Elite 4 you will be happy to have such a strong team.

    Yup thats pretty much all I can remember from what I did. Might need to put the game back into my Lite for a bit more poke hunting.

    Main point for a novice - replace every single defensive or status-inducing move with an attack.

    can i have your copy of platinum ?

    Make sure you check out the online trading/battle center in the big city (sorry I've forgotten it's name). It's a great way to get pokemon that are unavailable to your version, or you don't know their location.

    Also, 1 strong pokemon always beats having a team of average pokemon

    It may be harder when you start, but usually all it takes it a few ethers, pp-ups and he can single handedly take on the elite 4.

    You just use weak/legendary pokemon as HP buffers, so you can revive/use a potion on your main pokemon.

    My partner and I both picked up a copy of Diamond/Pearl a while back, and we had fairly different experiences. I'd played one or two versions of each generation of pokemon games previously, and was hoping for something a little different to Ruby/Sapphire on the GBA, which I found them to be a bit of a step back. My partner, however, hadn't played a pokemon game since Pokemon Yellow, and went in with no expectations.

    I made my way through all the towns and gyms using a team I'd crafted to work off the advantages and disadvantages of the other pokemon in it, and then started to put together a legendary-catching team before The World Ends With You pulled me away. My partner really got into the world that Diamond/Pearl presented, mucked around with some of the optional stuff like the contests, and just recently managed to brute force her way through to the Elite Four, which she found frustrating getting to because she doesn't enjoy levelling and uses pokemon she likes rather than pokemon that complement each other.

    Both of us got very different experiences from the same game, but both were just as enjoyable. The pokemon games, from my experiences, are really games that you can play how you want to play (restricted by the boundaries of the game, of course).

    After hearing that Platinum is out this week, my partner has decided that she's picking up a copy for herself and grabbing one for me as well, so we can play through together again. She's excited about the slightly different storyline and graphical changes, I'm more interested in the opportunity to catch Giritina. ^^

    On a semi-related note, I would suggest saving just before any Legendary battle if you want to catch it. Legendaries generally can only be fought once, and if you knock it out accidentally instead of catching it, you won't get another chance.

    Also, you'll get a particular poke-ball (trying to avoid spoilers here) that will catch any pokemon without fail, but you will only ever get one. As such, I wouldn't waste it on anything lower than a Legendary, and even then only if you're extremely desperate to catch it. No Legendary requires you to catch it with this poke-ball however.

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