Category Archives: Video games

This E3, Nintendo pretty much won. Here is my opinion of what’s coming for Switch.

The Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) is easily the biggest video game industry trade show of the year. The big console manufacturers and software publishers save some of their finest to collectively show that the future of gaming is bright.

As usual, a curious eye is on the Japanese company that only grudgingly participates, preferring to do things their own way. Even though Nintendo would rather do things on their own time, that doesn’t mean that they don’t take E3 seriously.

It’s been years since Nintendo adopted a hybrid system approach, but it still comes off as weird to me that they have only one main system to present upcoming software. But with what we’ve seen this year, it’s still going to be quite the system.

Considering this, I’ve decided to do less of an analysis and more of a trash-post about my opinions of software coming for Switch. After all, what would a person come to my blog for rather than my opinion? To regurgitate the observations that the news sites are making would be boring.

(Note: Not all these titles may have been shown at E3 this year)

Metroid Dread

This years surprise of the show is the long-thought-cancelled Metroid Dread, AKA Metroid 5! It’s welcome news that Metroid is returning to its 2D platforming roots. The trailer showed a suspenseful scene in which Samus encountered a robot that was immune to her weapons, leaving the hunter powerless to do anything about it but run.

The gameplay showed a chase scene reminiscent of the SA-X scenes in Metroid Fusion. I’ll be honest, I’m not too jazzed about this, as those were my least favorite parts of Fusion. But if Dread allows for plenty of exploration and sequence breaking, it’ll be interesting to see the playstyles that develop when people start speed-running this one.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 (tentative title)

A new trailer showed that the upcoming BotW sequel will have a heavy emphasis on being airborne, with travel to landmasses suspended in the air. It’s reasonable to suspect that this game would sell millions of copies if all it did was provide the same basic experience as BotW, but with a new scenario, so it’s great that they’re willing to go beyond. The trailer concluded with Hyrule Castle being lifted up by dark tendrils, reminiscent of Ganon’s malice.

The trailer showed a release date of 2022, which is still potentially a while away. Have you beaten Ganon on BotW’s Master Mode, yet?

Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp

If all they did with this one was a couple straight ports of the GBA originals, that would have sufficed for me. Not only that, it’d be great to see one of my favorite strategy games getting some attention for the first time in years. But that in itself wouldn’t justify a $60 price tag.

So, they updated the visuals. And, to be honest, I’m not really that impressed. IMO, I think the anime portraits would have been just fine if they just presented sharper, less aliased versions of the originals. But I find how campy the new portraits look to be a bit distracting.

Oh, please.

There’s a lot to Advance Wars to love, but $60 is a lot to ask for a graphically-souped-up bundle of two GBA games.

Metroid Prime 4

We still don’t have anything to show for this one besides its logo. I know Nintendo likes to throw out the assets and restart development on games that stall, with only the ideas of the game developers to go off of (a practice colloquially referred to as “flipping the table”). I’m suspicious that that’s what happened with this one, and it’s difficult to tell when we might see more of it.

Pokemon D+P Remakes, and Legends: Arceus

I’m still looking forward to the upcoming Pokemon offerings. Because of course. Even at it’s weakest, Pokemon is still fun to play.

As much as I’ve criticized the artistic direction of the D+P remakes, they’d be what I’m looking forward to. Having said that, they definitely could use outlining and cel-shading, so they’d look like the anime-style games that they are.

Splatoon 3

I passed on the first Splatoon, but when I broke down and decided to try its sequel, I found out I was missing out. Splatoon has the potential to rival Mario Kart as the Nintendo party game. But more people need to give it a chance.

And why not? If you bought a Nintendo system, why would something that’s weird and different be off the table?

Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny

I’ve already given an opinion on this one, but I’m a bit more open-minded about it now. The gameplay system doesn’t seem like it will change much, which is to be expected. But by the looks of it, you’d have far better animated character models to look at while engaging in hours of repetitive grinding to stand a chance against Tyrant Baal.

Why wouldn’t it be that guy again?

Axiom Verge 2

Thomas Happ is a total badass, and I recommend playing the original before the sequel drops. It’s been delayed multiple times, but I’m still looking forward to the sequel to one of the all-time best indie games.

Happ has pointed out that, if players desire, they could play the sequel first and still enjoy the first when they get around to it. Early material was vague as to whether the second game is in fact a sequel, or a prequel. With how clever Happ has proven himself to be, it’s reasonable to expect something special.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

This game is already out, so why the mention? Because they’re still releasing fighters for it (this time, Kazuya from Tekken). Also, believe it or not, I still haven’t gotten it. Even though they made my dream come true and brought Sephiroth to the fray. Maybe I need more money.

Guardians of the Galaxy

This multiplatform game is also coming to Switch. A noteworthy thing about it is that it will be a streaming game, like something you’d play on Stadia. Personally, I’m not that fond of that idea, as I’d prefer to have a version to play offline, and the knowledge that I’d have a copy of the game that survives the server that hosted the original.

I’m normally somewhat suspicious of licensed games, but I liked the movies, so I might find something endearing, here. Even if just for the duo of Rocket and Groot.

I doubt I’d buy all these games. To play through them all would be a tall order. Sometimes, you gotta choose, and the choice is not easy.

Why I’m Not Looking Forward to Disgaea 6 (or If Madden Were a JRPG)

Sometimes, you come to be known as that guy that likes something obscure. I’ve picked up a few obscure likes, and one of them has been a JRPG series known as Disgaea.

Disgaea is a strategy RPG developed by Nippon Ichi Software (NIS). While most strategy RPGs have exquisite political stories and intricate mechanics, Disgaea deconstructs those by starring bratty characters and by embracing imbalance and over-the-top complexity.

The main characters of the first installment (Disgaea: Hour of Darkness) are motivated by things like money and power (except the foil character, Flonne), but there is a certain morality at play that isn’t immediately evident, and though many of the characters claim to be demons, the true nature of what they are becomes apparent as the game progresses, and factors well into a subtle lesson about how good and evil aren’t necessarily evident by aesthetics.

The main characters of Disgaea: Hour of Darkness: Laharl (center), Flonne (left), and Etna (right)

However, Disgaea isn’t for everyone. Some people might be lured in by the stylistic charm, but quickly be turned off by the over-the-top complexity that quickly becomes evident just on the surface. What’s more, the pacing might be a little slow, even for what basically rewards power-leveling and gaming the system.

I’ve played most of the games, and of them, my favorite is Disgaea 3 (the one that takes place in a college). That one does the best job of catching the charm of the originals, while at the same time doing the most to bring the series forward.

Sadly, by the time of Disgaea 4, things started to go downhill, and I wasn’t the only one who thought so. It’s main draw was that the sprite art was redone for HD. However, that was the only positive thing about the fourth one, as the game system hasn’t changed much compared to the previous installment. Mechanically speaking, each of the more recent games have resembled the third, which means that they haven’t really done much to justify making new installments besides making up new characters and new stories to go with them.

Disgaea 5 held up pretty well (by sticking to the formula), but the writing early on was so cringe that I found myself glad that I had the option of skipping the cutscenes and going straight for the stages. I feel like I’ve enjoyed the game more for it, and I still don’t have any idea what motivates any of the main characters in Disgaea 5 (aside from that Usalia and Majorita can’t stand each other).

Overwhelming to most, but series veterans will feel at home.

So, what do we have to look forward to in Disgaea 6, as far as gameplay mechanics go? By the looks of it, it’s pretty much more of the same. On the one hand, one can point out that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. On the other, one can also point out that if an identical game already exists, then it becomes hard to justify spending an additional $60 on what is basically the same experience.

Then there’s the DLC abuse. If NIS weren’t such an obscure game company, it wouldn’t do such a great job of avoiding the criticism it should be getting for its DLC practices.

If you’re familiar with the Disgaea series up to this point, you know that it’s almost certain that most main characters from previous games will be present in Disgaea 6. The only question is, which characters will be available in the base game, and which ones will be withheld for release as DLC? At this point, we already know that Mao, Rasberyl, Usalia, and other characters are already being planned for DLC, even though the game hasn’t been released yet, which looks suspiciously like they’re being arbitrarily used to further drive up the profitability of the game.

If the characters weren’t complete in time for launch, that would be understandable. But when it seems like a game company knows just what they intend to release as DLC, that’s suspicious. But hey, Disgaea is supposed to be a deconstruction of Strategy RPGs, so maybe a pretense of DLC abuse is part of the humor, and when gamers buy the DLC, they’re participating in the joke.

Pleinair is the mascot of character designer Takehito Harada, and is frequently featured as DLC.

Another reason I’m not looking forward to Disgaea 6 is because my taste in games has changed quite a bit since I was first introduced to the series.

When I first played Disgaea, I was a poor guy. I don’t mean the kind of poor guy who collects hand-outs while at the same time could somehow afford all three major game systems and an enormous screen with which to play them. I mean the kind of poor where you work at a grocery store, and actually attempt to live off what you make. I had little flexibility in my budget, so when I did buy a game, I had to make my choice carefully. So I sought out games with high replay value for the price of admission.

At the time, Disgaea was just the kind of game I was looking for. I liked my games complicated, and with tons of replay value, even if that replay value was artificially inflated by hours of repetitive grinding.

Since then, my budget has been much kinder to me. Not only that, I feel as though my taste in video games is shifting towards the experiential and somewhat away from the strategic. I still enjoy strategy games, but I enjoy them in a different way; not out of a desire to extract as much replay value out of them as I can, but for the fun of exercising my judgement in intricate game systems.

For one thing, it’s great that NIS has discovered that people with Nintendo systems are actually interested in their games. It took them a really, really long time to figure it out, and it wasn’t much help that they tested the waters with droll stuff like Phantom Brave for Wii. It’s kind of ironic, considering that NIS is about as prolific as Nintendo when it comes to sequels, remasters, and generally playing it safe.

However, I would’ve been more excited about it a decade ago. As it is now, I don’t feel much excitement for a game series that I was once really into. While that might sound depressing in a sense, I don’t think so. Sometimes, change is an opportunity to discover something new. And the way it’s looking, Disgaea 6 doesn’t look like it will be doing much of anything new.

Also, it stars a zombie. And I don’t like those.

Fan Trailer Shows What the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Remakes Would Look Like With a Huge Boost in Quality

When the trailer dropped for the upcoming Pokémon remakes, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, just about everyone was underwhelmed.

(blank stare)

The Pokémon fandom is pretty awesome, and one among them decided to produce a fan trailer for the upcoming D&P remakes. The result looks like what one might expect from the single highest-grossing intellectual property of all time, if produced by a company so rich that they don’t need to turn to a bank to finance their own projects:

The trailer looks like it’s for a video game that would be worth $60. That’s pretty impressive, considering that it was made within days of the official trailer.

Isn’t it something special that one fan could pull off in days what a team of professional game developers with years of experience did not?

In fact, it makes one wonder why the professionals didn’t even bother. In light of this, I’ve come up with a theory: What if the official trailer for Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl is actually showing us Cyrus’ world?

Cyrus (pictured above) is the antagonist of the original Sinnoh games. His ambition was to reshape the universe to eliminate concepts like human emotion, which he viewed to be flawed and incomplete.

In Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Giovanni formed a group called Team Rainbow Rocket, which was composed of leaders from other teams which were taken from grimdark parallel universes where those team leaders actually succeeded.

If the official trailer for Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl showed us what the world would look like if Cyrus succeeded, it would go a long way in explaining why the humans in that interpretation of the Sinnoh games look so unimaginative and unexpressive.

(blank stare)

Somewhere out there, someone let their save file for Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, or Platinum sit for like ten years, without beating Team Galactic. Therefore, Cyrus seized the opportunity to bring his vision of a world of Nendoroids to life.

That’s why you beat your video games, kids.

(halp)

ILCA, the Developers of the Upcoming Pokémon D&P Remakes, Made a Miku AR App

You may have already heard of ILCA, the company collaborating with GameFreak to make the upcoming Pokémon remakes, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. The artistic direction of these games, still in development, has gotten to be rather controversial in the Pokémon community.

Understandably.

You may have already been aware that the company was involved with some big-name games, such as Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and Dragon Quest XI.

But what you might not be aware of is that ILCA is the company behind an AR (Augmented Reality) app that was part of a collab between Hatsune Miku and Domino’s Pizza in Japan.

If you’ve never heard of Hatsune Miku, welcome to current year, things must have been pretty dull beneath that rock. But if the name is unfamiliar, there’s a strong likelihood you’ll have at least seen the character herself in the back of Suncoast or wherever. She looks like this:

As part of the promotion, Domino’s Pizza produced a special pizza box in Japan. This box, when scanned by the app, would reveal a 3D model of Miku, who would then proceed to sing and dance.

Miku is no stranger to Pokémon, as she had previously been involved in a collab with the media franchise, as shown in the following promotional material:

Here’s the advert of the Domino’s promotion, as presented by none other than the president of Domino’s, himself. I don’t suggest skipping over this one if you haven’t watched it already, as it’s one of the most hilarious and cringe-inducing things out there:

You know what? That app is a marvel of technology. Now that I’ve seen what ILCA can do, I think they deserve a chance with the D&P remakes.

It’s clear that these guys are brilliant.

Do the Upcoming Pokémon D&P Remakes Spoil a Future Nendoroid Line?

Considering that our freedoms are being screwed over along with whatever solutions that could make things any better, I’ve been dwelling on the graphical style of the upcoming Pokémon remakes quite a bit.

But after a while, I came to notice that the overworld models in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl look kinda reminiscent of something: Nendoroids.

If you’re wondering what a Nendoroid is, it’s a figurine line that originated in Japan. It’s basically like Funcopops, except Nendoroids make Funcopops look like smoldering crap. They are massively more expressive, and usually come with accessories like faceplates and exchangeable limbs for posing.

Here’s an example:

There are already Nendoroid figures of Pokémon trainers, such as this familiar character:

Even the champion from Diamond and Pearl, Cynthia, has been featured:

Could it be that the upcoming D&P remakes are providing strong hints of an upcoming line of Nendoroids? If so, perhaps ILCA are brilliant marketers, after all.

GameFreak must be well aware that most of the revenue that the Pokémon IP generates comes from merchandise. By making a game’s characters look like the merchandise, the interesting aspects of the franchise are being integrated in an intelligent way.

What a brilliant move.

The Pokémon DP Remake Art Style Needs to Improve

When I first saw the art style for the upcoming Pokémon games, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, I was warm to it. But since then, the artistic direction hasn’t been sitting well with me.

If you’re wondering what I mean, check out the character model in this picture:

I think that would look awesome on a keychain (Etsy artists, you’re probably well ahead of me). But for a core Pokémon title released in the year 2021? It kinda seems like the Nintendo Switch isn’t being pushed to its limits.

I know that GameFreak could do better. But this time, it wasn’t them. The company has delegated work on the D&P remakes to ILCA, which is short for I Love Computer Art.

Among their accomplishments include Metal Gear Rising: Revengence:

Yakuza 0:

Dragon Quest XI:

NieR: Sutomata:

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown:

And now Pokémon: Brilliant Chibi and Shining Smol:

They may “love computer art”, but it’s plain to see when they’re not putting their hearts into it. Unless you can look at this battle scene and really think this is current gen:

So, who gets the blame: GameFreak or ILCA?

The answer is both. Whether it’s GameFreak for delegating work on their most beloved IP or ILCA for not taking it seriously, both are at fault for apparently not caring much, in spite of the fact that the games in question are ones that gamers have wanted to see for years.

Looking at the art for the D&P remakes, it’s obvious what little more could be done to make the games presentable: outlines and cel shading. And Pokémon fans are well ahead of the game in providing examples:

Just the outlines alone would do it. But check out what cel shading could do for, you know, an anime-style game:

And as if that weren’t enough, here’s more simple outlining at work:

Oh, hold on… That screen was from a Pokémon game released back in 2013. My mistake.

Still, they’re excellent examples of what you can do when you actually love computer art.

On top of the lazy look, there’s the fact that the remakes are made out to be faithful to the originals. Depending on how true that is, there might not be much point to them. After all, we already have the original Diamond and Pearl games. Other Pokémon remakes justified their existences with the presence of additional content, and it would be sensible if the D&P remakes did the same.

Comparisons have already been made between the D&P remakes and the recent Link’s Awakening remake for Switch. While a nostalgia trip could potentially justify that game’s purchase, the original is already available to play on 3DS. There didn’t seem like there was much new to it to justify the $60 tag when money was tight, so I didn’t purchase it.

That brings up a question that’s likely making more than a few Pokémon hardcores a bit uncomfortable: “Do I really need either of the upcoming Diamond or Pearl remakes as part of the core experience?”

This isn’t just a spin-off we’re talking about here, it’s a core installment for the single highest-grossing intellectual property of all time. If GameFreak wanted to, they could produce a polygon-pusher of immense scale. It’s hard to imagine that budget would be a limiting factor, especially considering that they work with Nintendo, a company that’s so rich that they could finance their own projects without turning to a lender.

But instead, they outsource their big game to a different company, and accept their half-baked effort to present to the world as part of their big presentation. Those don’t seem like the actions of a company that strongly cares.

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about Pokémon Legends: Arceus. That’s evidence that GameFreak is capable of making a great-looking game. It’s obvious that that’s the one that GameFreak was more passionate about.

Whether it’s GameFreak or ILCA, it’s obvious that they can do better.

The Right Way to Play Pokemon Diamond and Pearl

This guide is intended to help decide the best pokemon you could choose for a playthrough of Pokemon Diamond or Pearl.

This isn’t like a speedrun, which takes advantage of exploits, nor is it a competitive team-building guide. This guide’s team is intended to be the best selection of pokemon that players can reasonably be asked to assemble to get them though the game with a reasonable playtime, and with little to no grinding for levels.

Many players have attempted guides like this, but usually make mistakes like including competitive builds, which aren’t reasonable for simple playthroughs, or they forget to include HM users, leaving anyone who attempts them to backtrack and find for themselves the pokemon that can get them past roadblocks.

A word of advice, before continuing: Pokémon Diamond and Pearl have caves in them, including Mt. Coronet. These places are pretty cool, but not everyone likes them because it’s in caves that wild Pokémon could interrupt your progress every few steps. Here is what you can do about that:

Buy Repels, and Super Repels. When you enter a cave, activate one. If your lead Pokémon is higher in level than wild Pokémon in that area, they won’t interrupt your progress until you’ve traveled the distance it takes for the Repel to wear off. Repels are cheap, so don’t be afraid to spend a little bit on them to save you some aggravation.

With that explained, on to the team selections:

Any of the three Sinnoh starters are a great choice, and picking between one to compliment this team was hard. But the nod goes to Turtwig, which eventually evolves to Torterra. Torterra takes care of the Ground types that can give this team trouble, particularly Bertha’s Quagsire and Whiscash, which are only weak to Grass. Torterra does great against the first and last gym, but is especially notable in that it’s the only fully-evolved Sinnoh starter that isn’t weak to anything Cynthia’s Garchomp can do.

There’s a couple catches, and that’s that Torterra doesn’t handle Ice, Flying, or Fire-types very well. Worse, these are often fast enough to score the first hit on it. If this is enough for you to consider another starter, none of the other two are a bad choice. Just know that fully-evolved forms of the other two might result in Ground types giving this team problems.

Starly becomes an excellent attacker, and it’s available on Route 202. The first time it evolves at level 14, it gains the super-useful Intimidate ability. If you let it evolve at level 34, it gets the opportunity to learn Close Combat, and it gets great Flying moves throughout its moveset, including Brave Bird at level 49. Even better yet, it gets great Speed and Attack stats, with which to use those attacks.

Staraptor works surprisingly well against Candice, the Ice gym leader, because of the secondary typing of her pokemon. But because Staraptor is weak to Ice, it’s a risky play.

Besides its attack moves, Staraptor has room for a couple HMs, namely, Fly and Defog.

You can also catch Shinx on Route 202. You’ll want one with the Intimidate ability. You’ll know that it has it because it will activate as soon as it appears. Having two pokemon with Intimidate is great, because it makes it so it’s hard for the many physical attackers you’ll encounter to do anything to your pokemon.

Shinx evolves to Luxio at level 15, and again to Luxray at level 30. It’s a powerful physical attacker that gets strong Electric and Dark moves, giving you an answer to Crasher Wake and Lucian.

Bidoof is also available on Route 202. It’s not going to be a battler for your team, it’s instead there to give you mobility with the HMs it learns, keeping moves free for your primary battlers. The HM moves that Bidoof learns are Cut and Rock Smash.

Bibarel is available later on, at Route 208. Its purpose on your team is similar to Bidoof, except Bibarel can learn four HMs that Bidoof can’t, which are Surf, Strength, Waterfall, and Rock Climb.

You meet one of the two cover legendaries as part of a scripted event, and they are Dialga (Diamond Version) or Palkia (Pearl Version). You encounter one of these two on the summit of Mt. Coronet, late in the game. The catch rate is low, so you might want to save the game before attempting to battle it (Palkia, being a Water type, is easier to catch in a Net Ball than an Ultra Ball). They may be a few levels behind your team’s battlers, but leveling them up isn’t much trouble, and their stats, typing, and movepool more than make up for it.

Dialga’s typing lends it many resistances, and it’s only weak to Fighting and Ground. The idea of a move that requires recharging might not sound appealing, until you consider that Roar of Time comes off Dialga’s super-high Sp.Atk stat!

Palkia’s typing means it’s not weak to any type in particular, except to Dragon (remember that in the DP days, Fairy wasn’t a type yet). Palkia’s signature Spacial Rend is very spammable, but strong Water type moves aren’t a bad thing to have!

Once you have the Beacon Badge, you’ll be able to find the Adamant Orb and Lustrous Orb in a room in Mt. Coronet, with the help of a pokemon with Waterfall. Waterfall can be obtained from Jasmine in Sunyshore City after beating Volkner. By the way, is something going on between those two?

How to beat Cynthia’s Garchomp

Cynthia is considered by many to be the hardest champion in any Pokemon game (though Iris seems to be a handful). Cynthia has a diverse team of top tier pokemon, among the most problematic of which are her lead pokemon, Spiritomb, which doesn’t have a weakness (pre-Fairy type), and Milotic, which can use Mirror Coat to retaliate double for Special attacks.

But the hardest pokemon on her team, by far, is Garchomp. This has left many players scrambling to add a fast, hard-hitting Ice type to their teams.

Except you don’t really have to, because of what this team can do.

When Cynthia sends out Garchomp, shift to Luxray (if your battle style is set to Shift, which it should be). “But, Luxray is weak to Garchomp, so why?” you might be asking. This seems crazy, but it’s actually not. When Luxray is sent out, Intimidate activates, lowering Garchomp’s Attack stat. Garchomp is a physical attacker, so this makes the battle much easier. Then, switch Luxray out for Staraptor immediately. Staraptor’s Intimidate goes off as well, and if Garchomp is (predictably) going for Earthquake, it wouldn’t work on Staraptor.

The idea is to swap between Luxray and Staraptor for as long as you can get away with it, or until Intimidate has activated 6 times, bottoming out Garchomp’s Attack stat. At that point, there won’t be much that Garchomp could do to you. Go after Garchomp with strong attacks, and if things go well, that should finish it. Then, you’ll have beaten a pokemon that’s been a nightmare for many, many trainers by being clever.

But what about…

There are a few pokemon that some might have wanted to see on this team, but for some reason, weren’t. Here are a few of them:

Piplup or Chimchar are both great starters. The choice between these was very close. For this team, the choice was made for Turtwig because it rounds this team out just a bit better.

Abra and/or Azelf are both hard hitting and fast Psychic types, but it’s not a great defensive typing, and becomes especially glaring considering their low defensive stats. What’s more, Abra needs trading to fully evolve, so if you go with Kadabra, eventually replacing it with Azelf might not be a bad choice.

Gible can be found at Wayward Cave, but in Diamond and Pearl, the area you find it in requires Strength to access. By the time you can get it, it’s somewhat late in the game for a pokemon at that low of a level.

So, what do you think? Can you think of some ways to improve this team? Are you thinking of trying it for yourself? Or are you looking for some team ideas for the upcoming remakes? If it turns out that a different team might work better for the remakes for some reason, I might make a separate guide for those.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus: First Impressions

I liked the Diamond and Pearl remake announcement. But I get the idea that Pokémon Legends: Arceus has Pokémon players really stoked.

I’m not even trying to avoid the obvious comparison: Pokémon Legends looks like Breath of the Wild. Not that that’s a bad thing.

Pokémon Legends takes place in a feudal Japanese setting (remember that Sinnoh is based on Hokkaido). The game shows a young boy or girl (your choice), likely in their teens, as they journey out with a starter Pokémon (Rowlett, Cyndaquil, or Oshawott), with no evident boundaries as far as travel goes.

The Wild Area in Sword and Shield were merely a taste, as there doesn’t seem to be any on-the-rails elements to Pokémon Legends, so far.

The movement of the protagonists seems to have leveled up, as the trailer shows a trainer diving into a roll. Pretty sweet!

Not only that, the trailer shows the main character stealth-catching a distant Pokémon while hidden in grass, like some kind of ninja. Awesome!

The mythical Pokémon Arceus is to be featured in the game somehow, though in what way remains to be seen.

Pokémon Legends looks great, but there is a catch: you have to wait for it. The game is scheduled to be released in 2022. Before then, we’ll have those Sinnoh remakes we’ve been waiting a long time for.

I wonder whether those are Lucas’ and Dawn’s ancestors.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl: First Impressions

Today’s Pokémon Direct has revealed upcoming Pokémon games, and it’s Sinnoh confirmed!

The new Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl versions are heading to Nintendo Switch this fall.

The overworld art features the characters in a chibi style reminiscent of the characters in the original versions.

While this was a surprise, it grew on me pretty quick. In a sense, it’s kind of like Link’s Awakening for Switch, in that its style isn’t dissimilar from the original. It’s a heartwarming look.

However, once the scene shifts to battles, the style more closely resembles recent Pokémon games.

The wild battles seem as though they’ll resemble the traditional wild battles, rather than the Let’s Go style that was featured in the Yellow Version remakes.

Until we see otherwise, it seems safe to assume that the upcoming remakes will be similar to the originals. There would be some understandable differences in terms of battle mechanics, which have changed slightly since the originals.

They seem to be bringing back the underground, which was a feature a lot of players liked. Perhaps this time around, it will be much easier to meet up with other players. Or perhaps it will be implemented differently, allowing you to play with other players online.

Diamond and Pearl were the first games in the series that used the system’s wi-fi to implement internet connection features for battling and trading. Perhaps they’ll implement the GTS as an in-game feature as it was in the originals, rather than implement it externally through an app like Pokémon Home.

Another neat feature that was in the originals was the Pokétch, which shows that Pokémon was really, really early to the smart watch dealie.

Obviously, they’re bringing back the character of Hikari/Dawn, who is a well-admired character. But you might have already known.

It’s a tad obscure, but I remember a special Manaphy egg as part of my early Pokémon Diamond experience. The Manaphy egg has a distinct appearance, and when it hatches, out comes the mythical Pokémon, Manaphy, at only level 1.

How or whether this special egg would be implemented, I don’t know. But it was a special part of my Diamond version experience.

My first ever import game was a copy of Pokémon Pearl from Japan. I was able to beat the game, despite it being in a language I didn’t know at the time. Considering this, I’m considering learning a bit more Japanese and playing one of the upcoming games with a Japanese-language setting.

I’m looking forward to Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, though I’m still not sure which version to get. Are you looking forward to them, too?

Lawmaker Targets Games Like GTA Because of Real-Life Carjackings

I don’t know why it is that the anti-free-speech crowd insists on fighting the same battle, over and over again, regardless of the fact that they’ve lost it, every single time.

And what do you know, it’s the same group of people who are obsessed with the idea of entertainment media as influence, and are intent on reining it in when they perceive that it might influence people in a way they don’t like.

Chicago lawmaker Marcus C. Evans Jr. has called for a ban on games like Grand Theft Auto in light of an increase in carjackings in the city of Chicago. In Chicago, carjackings have increased 135% last year.

You know what else happened last year? The government lockdowns over COVID. Did it occur to Evans that when people lost their jobs in great numbers, they might turn to crime to make ends meet? Because there’s a lot of precedent for it. When manufacturing left Camden, it wasn’t a pretty sight.

Evans also seems unaware that a lot has happened since the nineties. Video games have long-since gone mainstream, and there are no longer as many people who misunderstand video games, whose ignorance he can prey upon.

Or there’s his own ignorance of the studies that found that video games don’t cause violent behavior.

Considering all that must be overlooked in order for Marcus to arrive at his non-sequitor, one would wonder whether there’s an ulterior motive, or if he’s really that ignorant.

As things are, the United States protects expression as a right. Because of this, efforts to snipe video games have never worked. Considering the relative lack of the number of people who view video games as “weird” or “strange” (as compared to the nineties), it’s unlikely that any legislation targeting them would get very far.

Because it’s axiomatic at this point, it doesn’t seem like it needs to be said, but some people are so far behind that they’d be surprised to learn it: people don’t play GTA to learn to steal cars, they play it because it’s escapism.

Normal people are aware that most video games are fantasy, and with the exception of educational games, aren’t intended to inform a person’s perspective of reality. Most abnormal people are aware of this, too. In the rare case that a person acts out what they see in a video game, the game itself is not held accountable, it being an object without agency, intended for entertainment.

It’s so obvious, that when a lawmaker proposes a ban on certain video games, I wonder what’s really going on. Could a Chicago lawmaker be do dense that he has no idea that mass unemployment due to government lockdowns is the cause of a spike in automobile thefts?

Or is it about control? With these kinds, it usually is.