Friday, May 27, 2011

The Ridiculousness of Pokemon, Part II


I'll get to the cross-media discrepancies soon enough...
Continuing on the note of connectivity, how hard would it have really been to allow Entralink access through WiFi (a feature of Black and White)? As it stands, it’s only a local wireless feature and one that determines pretty damn stringently how well developed the player’s exclusive city (Black City/White Forest) are. If the player isn’t diligent enough to participate in battles and chat up redundant NPC every single day, not only will those NPCs vanish, but the population will as well (this includes buildings selling rare items and wild rare Pokemon in the area). This in-game quota wouldn’t be as bad in the U.S. if the feature was able to be used through Nintendo’s WiFi connection.

Pretty much what you have to relent
on when playing these...
And yes, I get the nationality argument that runs along the lines of the game being native to Japan and pointedly-marketed to the small and tightly-networked nation  but I also know that the Western World makes a significant chunk of the franchise’s money too. So, wouldn’t it be logical (or I should say---SENSIBLE) to say that other Western nations would be prioritized in some fashion as well? I’ve had Black and White for almost three months now and I’ve yet to come across another person who has the game as well. Of course I live in a rural Southern U.S. state (meaning I’m on an extreme end of the spectrum), but the point is that most of the country isn’t New York City (which judging from Black and White superficial setting, this is pretty much what any other country overseas thinks we are, that or Texas…). Most people that I DO know with the game do not live in densely populated areas so a major feature of the game is pretty much wasted on them. Given that the entire bottom touch screen is dedicated to the C-Gear (the in-game device that allows use of the all the game’s networking capabilities), I may as well be playing a fucking Game Boy Advance title (i.e. the bottom screen is essentially fucking worthless in a 2011 game).

Exploring the game’s ‘online’ features even further will lead the player across the Pokemon Global Link, where they can seemingly upload their save file to the internet and eke out the game experience even further. However, all that awaits them is about three or four extremely lame flash games and about 15-30 minutes sucked out of their day ‘clicksploring’ a sparse and bland interface. This is all to get Pokemon with differing abilities which range from ‘okay to admirable game-changers (a popular one is the Vulpix with the ability ‘Drought’). Now if there was say---a plethora of shitty flash games to play and a server that didn’t spasm every time someone blew on it, I’d be much less critical of it. I’ve also heard the defense that this shouldn’t be held against Nintendo with the recent Tsunami that took place in Japan, but I’m also aware of a few sensible points that were made to me making that particular natural disaster almost entirely irrelevant to the Global Link’s operating quality. Regardless, the Dream World feature is a completely worthless addon that didn’t need to make the player go to a computer to access the games features further (the DS itself could have done that damn crap much better).

I was also under the impression (which I admit was rather foolish) that the game somehow allow the uploading of their save file serve as a more tangible version of their backup. This is not the case as far as I know, as the game just barely logs the stats for the file itself, so not even a record of your game-log/achievements/location is available (and I’m only referring to game time outside of competitive battling). For someone like me who has poured almost 700 hours into the series in just the past year alone, it would be a nice gesture to offer me some security for my wasted time. All I’m left with is the ‘hidden’ backup save that the game secures automatically and I’m supposedly just meant to rely on that (which I have no immediate control over on just a DS).

This entry's detour into Black and White specific faults is emphasized by the fact it's not even three months old and it's still riddled with problems that would only be plausibly forgivable in the early-mid 2000's era title.