It's been awhile since I blogged. I know I have a lot of things to talk about, mainly my look on the many Zelda games I beat the past month or so. If you haven't guessed already, I have decided to end my Zelda marathon. Not that it mattered too much, the remaining games I had to finish I had finished previously. Going through Spirit Tracks a second time, just after a few months after I beat the game wasn't exactly fun in my mind. And so because of Spirit Tracks, you could say the Zelda journey stops there (ironic).
But enough about Zelda, you guys have been hearing me talk about Zelda for a long long time. So I'll keep this short:
Ocarina of Time - Playing the game recently originally made me think I'd dislike it a lot. On the contrary the game is still a blast to play even by today's standards, sure the graphics are ugly and it bears a lot of similarities to Link to the Past, but it's still a fantastic game. Best game of all time? Probably not, one of the best Zelda games? Probably.
Majora's Mask - When I first played Majora's Mask, I thought it was lame, the 3 day limit, the 4 dungeons and weird way of saving. But after awhile, I fell in love, the depressingly dark story, the people, the sidequests, it wasn't about just finishing a bunch of dungeons, it was about saving the world, seeing the same people over and over again repeat their routine, and you, hoping to find some way to break free of all that. Did I mention BEN? Overall Majora's Mask is my favorite Zelda game in the whole series, not many would agree since it's radically different from Ocarina of Time but hey, people always clamor for change right?
Oracle of Seasons/Ages - I missed playing this when I was younger, when I wasn't too into Zelda. Oracle of Seasons is easily the better of the Zelda handheld games, while Link's Awakening DX set the bold standard, Oracle of Seasons added the ability to change the seasons, while Oracle of Ages added the ability to travel through time. While Seasons was more action oriented and Ages was more puzzle oriented, they both came together to create an epic adventure. Whether you fight the General Onox or the Sorcess Veran, beating both allowed you to once more fight Ganon. A great handheld game that should not be missed.
Windwaker - I know a lot didn't like the game for the sailing, and I didn't either. In fact, I hated the sailing, but I still loved the game. Many didn't like the big fetch quest at the end, neither did I. But I still loved the game. It has a lot of charm and a great art sty|e that I love. A few changes to the combat allowed Link to do more moves and it was a lot of fun. The game's setting is vastly different, and there is still a ton of things to do even if many of it requires a ton of mundane sailing.
The Minish Cap - Didn't like it, least favorite Zelda. Why? Because it just felt...boring. I didn't like the dungeons, the dungeon items were lame, the dungeon bosses were meh and while the kinstones were optional, they were so tediously bad and annoying. Changing size was...alright I suppose but after awhile got annoying. I literally forced myself to beat it, it's just...ugh
Twilight Princess - Not sure what to make of this game really I only beat it once, like a long time ago. I suppose it was fun and I liked the darker theme. The combat was decent though I was disappointed that it was really just waggle, hopefully Skyward Sword changes that. I don't have much to say about Twilight Princess, I found it to be good, but it wasn't as great as I was hoping it'd be.
Phantom Hourglass - I detest whoever invented the Temple of the Ocean King, seriously. Whoever made that should go throw themselves in a fire because it is the ONE and ONLY thing I hate about Phantom Hourglass. Other than that, I thought it was pretty solid, the combat and controls are great and they reverted back to the Windwaker sty|e. A good game ruined by a silly temple with a time limit.
Spirit Tracks - I like this a little more than Phantom Hourglass, while the Tower of Spirits is just a copy of the Temple of Ocean King, it doesn't have a time limit not to mention Zelda joins you on your quest! The puzzles are fun and can be challenging. The dungeons are great and some of the items are fairly new to the series.
Phew, a quick rundown, I hope that's good enough :P
On to the impression!
So I JUST finished the game today. My thoughts? Freaking. Awesome. There is still a ton of more content to go through once I'm done but I'll tackle that and talk about it when the time comes. So...I bet many of you are asking, how does it differ from the older games?
Well firstly, you won't find any of the older Pokemon from previous generations until after you beat the game. This means all the Pokemon you'll encounter are new, this makes the adventure feel a lot more fresh and exciting, many times have I purposely wandered in grass just to see what I could find. Honestly it's an exciting feeling not knowing what awaits you.
Secondly, the game has more of an emphasis on story. Yes this sounds weird, but a Pokemon game where it's about...story. Whether this story is good or not aside, it really makes you feel involved. Before, the story felt like an aftermath, oh look Team Rocket doing this, oh Team Galatic doing that, blah blah blah. They were really an after thought as the gym badges were your main goal. However in this, Team Plasma is really dishing it out and making your journey a whole lot difficult, intervening when they can, really...putting themselves forward in your way. Perhaps it's hard to explain..but in short, story has a stronger emphasis. I won't say much about Team Plasma's intention, but it has more of a conflicting idea rather than the typical take over the world. The gym leaders in this game have more of a role and are actively a part of your adventure, it's certainly different and it feels like a good transition.
Changes to the combat have been minimal, it's still addicting however. The introduction of 3 vs 3 is great, and they differ depending on the version you get. Black seems to have this rotation method, whereas White has a full 3 on 3. Basically in Black, you have 3 Pokemon, only the center Pokemon can attack, however you can rotate them around and chose who should attack, basically, 1 Pokemon attacks per turn. In White, the left most Pokemon can attack in front, and center, the center Pokemon can attack all 3, while the right most can only attack in front and the center. So it makes it a little tricky since you can easily just gang up on the center Pokemon.
Another thing about combat is that it feels...faster. I can't really figure out the reason, but I haven't turned off battle animations. Perhaps the animations are shorter and the HP doesn't go down slowly like molasses. There's also of course, a slew of new moves, many of which I find to be a lot more useful.
A little detail to combat are the sprites, if you don't already know, they move now! Well they won't animate according to the move, but at least they move. I do like the little details they did however, if a Pokemon is asleep, the sprite will close it's eyes, if their paralyzed, they'll have a slight hint of yellow to them and etc. It's these little details that might be hard to miss for many. It's not much, but it's def a step forward.
Another thing I have to address is the encounter rate, it's a little...ridiculous. I understand that finding new Pokemon is exciting, but don't make it so every 1-2 steps I'll find some Pokemon. It's just annoying, especially in the beginning of the game were all you see are those chipmunks, that dog and something else like a thousand times. Course you'd probably want to defeat them all to really grind up your levels. Why? Because the game can get a little difficult if you're not careful, the AI seems to be a tad smarter, switching out when they can, even choosing type advantage moves against you. (One of the Elite 4's had a fighting move, to combat my dark type and even had another Pokemon with a grass move to combat my water) Course, they can still be beaten fairly easily and still don't compare to the competitive scene.
The graphics, they're great. The little 3D effects are neat and are pretty awesome, did I mention cutscenes? Yup, there are a few cutscenes and they look just fantastic. Phone calls (though rare) have anime drawn portraits for the characters, and overall the game world just looks a lot better. The seasons affect how the weather fairs, and things like rain are done pretty well. It's unfortunate that the seasons don't really affect the Pokemon aside from one, that deer. A lot more detail could've gone into every Pokemon from seasonal change and it feels like it's a minimal feature that doesn't do much to be honest.
There a ton more features, mainly the wireless features that I haven't even tried yet (Mainly because there's no one else I know who has Pokemon Black/White...), the WiFi features are plentiful, even adding this DreamWorld feature which I can't test yet. As such, I don't have a FC yet...so sorry guys, won't be battling online anytime soon :P
Overall, Pokemon White addresses the main thing that people have been asking for, and that's change. While they're not grand changes, they're def a step forward in the series. So for those looking forward to Pokemon White/Black next year, I have to say you're in for one hell of a game.
Of course if you guys have any questions about the game, I'll do my best to address them.
(Hope I'm not forgetting anything)