Asked by lightraize
Oh god, do you really want these opinions? They’re going to be hella unpopular ¬_¬;;;;;;;
I think Pokemon is not a well-designed game. It doesn’t really matter particularly because it’s a game for small children and incredibly easy to win, and before somebody jumps up about that, Twitch plays Pokemon effectively proves that you can win at Pokemon by blindly mashing buttons, and I have heard several stories from friends that go like “I left my gameboy on and my little five year old sister picked it up and she’d somehow got to lavender town and caught a ghastly with no idea what she was doing because she can barely read!”
Pokemon is not a game about serious gameplay challenges. It has way too many random aspects like completely overpowered critical hits, high chances for attacks to miss, attacks that do pretty much random damage or even random effects etc. to really be about player skill. There is no real skill aspect to it. Your best tactic to dominate the game is to make a team of the most overpowered pokemon (Mewtwo etc) and grind til they’re high level, maybe use some overpowered TMs etc. But you can still win the game with a party of Pokemon that aren’t powerful by grinding anyway. There is no such thing as a game over; Total Party Wipes are merely a temporary inconvenience, they don’t even cost XP or anything, they just teleport you away (and yet people who go on and on about how great Pokemon is will condemn FF13 for allowing you to retry a battle immediately…wow, yeah, being able to retry but I have to waste five minutes retracing my steps is soo much better */INTENSE SARCASM* (especially because FF13 limits grinding so winning battles requires actual skill at party building and swift tactical decisions, while Pokemon…mainly is about grinding and luck).¬_¬
There are too many THINGS in Pokemon to make it a balanced or clever game. Like, there are items I can use, items my pokemon can use, there are like a bajillion party members who aren’t equal in ability at all, there are how many different elements? EIGHTEEN!? Eighteen are you kidding me!? And like… those aren’t balanced at all either; some are effective against way more other types, some types have a lot more Pokemon belonging to them, some are much more common to meet randomly in the field, plus you know pretty much what types will be prevalent at a particular gym because it SAYS ON THE DOOR, but it’s moot anyway because you can always just grind your way to victory if you’re determined to win with a particular team of favourites and the game is designed so that you can; the anime even hammers this home; Ash is determined to keep his Pikachu as a Pikachu instead of evolving it to a stronger Raichu, but because he works hard, it doesn’t prevent him from progressing! The game is designed so that a small child can win with the Pokemon they think are coolest. Everyone’s a winner! You’re special. just like everybody else and you won with YOUR team of Pokemon! Well done! Have a sticker!
And just as an aside, people rave about the graphics in the new games because “OMG 3d!!!!1!!!” and I’m like… they’re really low poly with next to no anti-aliasing, no lighting, no shaders, no normal mapping, just a diffuse map and…I’m meant to be impressed by that? There are phone games with better graphics at this point!
The world setting is utterly baffling too. Pokemon are friends and they like to serve humans but they attack people on sight. They are sentient beings with feelings but the lack of mundane animals in the world presumably means people…eat them? They’re living beings but some of them are clearly based on inanimate objects rather than animals. The number one passtime in this world is making animals hit each other until they faint and I’m supposed to condone this because it’s “about friendship” WTF. All conflicts are resolved through fighting with Pokemon to the point that a kid can fight a national crime syndicate head-on and win because not one of these adults thinks to just punch the kid. See, it’s made for kids. You’re not supposed to think about it in-depth, but…some things made for kids have really well thought out settings and stories (like Avatar! Adventure Time! Steven Universe! Bucky O’Hare! HELL, DIGIMON had a way better setting and plot than Pokemon, actually!) and personally I would NEVER allow myself to be so lazy as to just go “Eh, it’ll do, the kids are too dumb to question the logic of this universe anyway”.
Like, okay, cool, if you like it, you like it. There’s probably some nostalgic attachment there; some of the designs are cute, the artstyle is cute and there’s appeal in choosing a group of critters who reflect your personal style and personality, so I can see why people do things like coming up with what their favourite fictional characters teams would be like etc. But for me, as a designer, I can’t conscience saying Pokemon is a well-designed game from my perspective as an academic qualified in the subject. =_=