Discussion Lessons from Generation 8

catwithnojob

The coolest Mod ever
Moderator
Posts
5
#1
It's been a while since Pokemon Sword and Shield release. Enough for people to complete the game and make thoughts about it. Let's discuss the pros and cons of Gen 8! What features should a Pokemon game keep/discard? What about the story and characters? The presentation? What do you think is the best and worst thing about Gen 8 that can be useful for us to learn? Don't forget to mark the major spoilers!
 

HollowGap

How am I still alive
Member
Posts
38
#2
I haven't played Sword and Shield but from what I've seen from some playthrough videos, I think they got the presentation really well (aside from, you know, the animation complaints).

New Pokemon are very interesting. A lot of them went viral over the internet. The starters, Wooloo, Snom, Hattrem/Hattrena, for example. I've seen a lot of fanart and more importantly, memes about them. I think they finally understand how to make Pokemon with traits so unique and bizarre, you just can't help but like them.

Sadly I think people don't really care about Eternatus due to how poor the story is handled.

Story-wise, I think the short answer is: Characters? Great. Villain plot? Hell no.
 

Brom

Crobat Appreciator
Member
Posts
23
#3
The plot wasn't very eventful except for the end, but it looked a lot more hands off than Gen 7, for better or worse (also coming from someone watching and not playing). It seemed decent overall though.
 

Ouroboro

Eternal Idiot
Member
Posts
25
#4
I was 100% deadset on skipping this game (like a lot of people) due to a mix of controversy and disdain for certain aspects of modern Pokemon games. For reference, Gen 6 is my least played title to date and I dropped Gen 7 around the 3rd island. I wasn't sure if I was growing out of the games or if they weren't for me anymore. It's a big reason I picked up fan-games (although nowadays less so, i've come to appreciate all Pokemon games after suffering with my own works).

however, i was given Pokemon Shield as a gift a couple days after release and honestly? It actually blew me away. i absolutely loved it. I like it more than Gen 5 even, which i love to death for its great experimentation with the formula. In fact, it's probably my favorite Generation of all time. I'll replay for years to come even.

Before I go any further, I'd like anyone reading to go in understanding that my greatest impression comes from Gamefreak truly improving and laying down extremely powerful roots that will grow into greater things as time passes and new games go on.

Is every feature perfect? Is this Pokemon's BOTW? Absolutely not. This is still an average Pokemon game.

But I've seen what they're experimenting with in this game I'm very confident they're going into a direction that can only be good.

I'll put it into points. I know its unpopular to think so highly of a modern game compared the old games which were jam-packed with content (see, I'm not even denying it) but here's what I loved:

- A fantastic Region theme/Presentation

Making the Gym Challenge more of a like a huge competition and sporting event is an incredible concept and executed very well. As someone who travels a lot for video game competitions around the country it actually immersed with me so well.

The stages, music coordination, art direction, the slow build up when entering the main stage, the CROWD CHANTING WITH THE MUSIC, coupled with incredible and expressive Gym Leaders (BEST they've ever been imo) is perfect. A lot of people like to wish Pokemon was real, but this gen MADE ME WISH POKEMON WAS ACTUALLY REAL.

I've never enjoyed a Pokemon journey as much as this one. Using such an old boring formula and then making it make sense with the region to create such a unique experience is unbelievable to me. They've given us the expectation of making the game's events feel much more alive, with so much expression with the main events of the game that I'm very excited to see in the future.

- Pokemon Variety

This is a bit subjective and more of a pet peeve than anything. Pokemon is a game about catching and adventuring with wittle creatures and so, I love the variety one can have in each playthrough.

What I don't like is when the first 2 routes only have so many Pokemon and thus everyone's team at that point are exactly the same. Replaying a game is kind of boring with so little variety to pick from. Like, I don't want the rodent and I don't want the bird, so my only choice is like...wingull and that's it. It's really lame. Of course, the Galar region destroys that entire concept by having so many new mons before the first gym, and therefore just...fun. A game about collecting creatures is fun when you can collect a lot of them at every point of the game? Crazy I guess???

I had an entire full team before the first gym with so many unique mons and favorites and...it was super fun. I loved it. Even WITHOUT the wild area there was so many unique overworld mons in the routes. I'd estimate an near infinite amount of team combinations before the 4th gym as that's when you'll have enough power to venture the rest of the wild area. Combined with the exp.share (WHICH I ALWAYS HATED UNTIL NOW), raising pokemon is super super fun.The variety is super crazy and leads into great replayability.

- The start of competitive PvE content

I hate PvP. Okay, maybe I don't, but in long sessions, competition gets frustrating and "JUST PLAY COMPETITIVE" has been the go-to for hard-core players who love Pokemon and competition at the same. With Raids, they finally issue out challenging and thoughtful end-game content that doesn't involve facing off against someone else. It potentially brings in a HUGE variety of new viable mons (For example, I already use Support Prankster Meowstic set with Light Screen, Reflect, Thunder Wave, and Helping hand) and overall is an excellent addition to the series. Of course, Raids aren't perfect, but they're a great ground-work for whats to come and what CAN come. I spent so much time in the Wild Area just helping friends out having a hard time surviving through 5* Dragapult Raids and other crazy crazy combos.

Not to mention, Gamefreak actually thought out raids. The 5* Raid Pokemon actually have strategies. The cool thing about raids is that they have crafted movesets for each boss mon. Malamar raid has a strategy of Swagger and Foul Play for example, and G-Max Hatterene confuses the entire party, and then double Calm Mind Dazzling Gleams to whittle everyone down at once. It's just really cool to see Gamefreak intentionally designing challenging content for once.

- Characters/Story

lmao this is such a hot take and i know it, but i need to be honest. i loved the characters in this game. Hop is probably my favorite rival of all time. Is his dialogue too much and annoying? Yes. But I still think he's a fantastic character concept and the most relatable rival in the games so far. Of course, the game's story is CLEARLY rushed, but the parts they wanted to tell were told very well.

Like...a lot of people in competitive scenes (especially fighting games where I frequent) are Hop. A lot of people are actually really good at what they do and lose themselves trying to chase glory because they aren't good enough. This is coupled with a lot of subtle character expressions/moments
(like when he benches his starter after underperfoming??? I did this EXACT thing when I super active in Smogon OU years back, where I benched my favorites for meta picks and but never improved)

and of course when he loses to you in the semi-finals. he's clearly happy that his friend made it all the way, but the moment of silence before then reveals that he wanted to win so much more than you. I also noticed that it's a trait in Leon as well when he's visibly upset every time he loses to you (except, he's an adult and knows he just has to take it).

I also loved Bede and Marnie's character developments as well, but they were of course clearly rushed and could've been better. But again, the idea of what they're doing to this game is really really great. They're nailing of these concepts and just need more time to experiment. I'm seriously all for it.

I don't even hate
Chairman Rose's arc in the story. I think the impeding end of the world thing is a super interesting take and his arc was just really rushed. Honestly, the entry animation is the only great thing about him.
I will say regarding that, i like the direction they're going with characters and the story and think they can only improve with it. in terms of narrative, i like the direction with these characters more than any other pokemon game and the epilogue is one of the most wholesome things I've ever experienced (on-par with Mystery Dungeon) in pokemon related media. i love how everyone has found their direction and it's just really nice

like i understand people are disappointed and this game was not as incredible as expected. but all the things they've built and set-up are really great cursors to whats to come. i feel like they're actually improving and no longer just doing things because they can.

things i didn't like, and i disliked them not because i dislike them, but because I don't think they'll get better:

hey

- i don't like the routes/maps. they're very pretty, but they almost exclusively connect to another city and that's it. it's kind of lame when 3rd gen was brimming was so much extra ground to cover and that's not even including after you get surf and you can now get to all the neat stuff on the shores.

-there's a large lack of optional exploration and dungeons. stuff like shoal cave or like any of the stuff in 4th gen (gible cave for ex but there's a lot more). and there's a lot of point A to Point B. The Wild Area is rather impressive to explore and is endlessly replayable, but you'll eventually run out of course. I think it could be better and it falls off a lot without online. I think some caves or waterfalls in the Wild Area would be perfect to mix things up.

-i love the story but it's clearly rushed. like my first playthrough i 100% noticed when things got way faster.

- The Overworld is lame tbh. There's SO MUCH EXPRESSION IN THE CHARACTERS and battles but the overworld itself is disappointing comparably. This kind of ties in with the 1st point with exploration. there's a lack of meaninful interactables and stuff

- Exp.share is balanced but it stops around mid-game, where everyone slowly gets overleveled if you aren't careful. The Gym Leaders levels stay at level 36-42 for 3 whole gyms which i assume is a consequence of trying to balance the pokemon you get from the wild area. The wild area pokemon i caught were right on that range and thus i didn't even need to train them. do note in my playthrough i had to reset my entire gym every time i beat a gym.

ok im done

i got this game for free like i said so i'm not just saying this because i have the game
 
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Aki

Starry eyed
Member
#5
I caught myself writing notes so I'm taking that as a sign that it's time to make a post.

I've gotta lay a couple biases out of the way first; I'm not inherently impressed by 3D and still think that Pokemon hasn't completely hit their stride with it. There's a lot of stuff I personally take issue with that's just really petty but it's completely caused by the move to 3D.

The Wild Area is such a in the right direction for the 3D games, because we finally have full camera control and the whole expanse just adds such a great level of scale to the game and region. My issue though, is I don't feel that the mapping is...great. It's okay, but the camera gets weird if it's too close to the edge of a cliff, even if it's a cliff over water, which isn't an out of bounds area. Also speaking of edges, when running around those looking for items (those random regenerating drops are a good thing, I like finding those) I've noticed there are quite a few nooks and crannies that are just...there. Some of them have an item or can generate an item in them but most of the time they feel like an awkward mapping leftover.

The thing is, I think Pokemon maps are still pretty good and the 3D movement isn't bad, but they're using the 3D too much for visual spectacle (which they are good at!) and it makes me want more than the games are giving. A simple thing is, in Pokemon X/Y you could sit on benches and this actually had a purpose sometimes! The camera would move to a new angle to let the player enjoy a cinematic new view, often showing off scenery that's not visible in normal play. If Pokemon Sword has any cinematic bench views, please tell me because I couldn't find them.

Anyway, there weren't any nice bench views, but I did see a lot of nice backgrounds. Backgrounds that are honestly too nice, as in, I wanted to go and explore those cool looking areas, but they were only put there for looks instead of actually being mapped and explorable. The routes and cities are pretty good but I really want to be able to just go the distance over to where that even cooler thing is! Game Freak can make some good visuals, but as a player I want depth and to interact more with this pretty world they've made.

Specific examples of what I'm talking about:
On your way to Professor Magnolia's house you can see another building just a little farther down the lake, it's even visible when you're pretty far away while walking on the hill of Route 2. I gave up on this being a decoration pretty quickly, but got excited about it again after getting the bike which can travel over water. There's even an island and another strip of land across the lake that you can travel to! You can get so close to that building! But still can't get in.
On Route 3 you encounter Sonia and there's a cutscene where she specifically points out a cool thing in the background, some kind of factory building owned by Chairman Rose. Outside of the cutscene you can still see that building, and from the normal camera angle it even looks like the path goes straight there and you're only being stopped by the fence in your way. I was at the time accepting of this and assumed the factory would be a later area of the game that's accessed from a different angle, but nah.
This one is actually pretty forgivable but I'm adding it anyway because it's my list and I'm trying to establish that there's a pattern. Near the end of the Galar Mine you cross a wooden bridge, and from certain spots the camera will let you see that this bridge isn't too high up. You can actually make out more tracks on the ground below, and in the air around the bridge there are often Pokemon like Woobat flying around. When you're walking on the bridge there's even a small railing along the edges, but there are noticeably areas where the railing is missing, why can't I jump down in those spots? Or at least travel through the cave and eventualy pass through this room again, just under the bridge? (I think one answer is the camera wouldn't do well in the tight space)
Turffield is a nice city actually and while I'm writing about it I wanna give a shoutout to that small riddle puzzle where you have to check out the stones in the correct order, I love that. On topic though, There's a bunch of Stonehenge-esque rock formations and standing stones in this city, but they're really only along the boarders. There's not really an open area where you get to explore in and around those, the route before the town has a couple big fallen over rocks but it's main aesthetic is being an autumnal field. I'll throw in a quick mention of the giant geoglyph too, but what I really want to point out is that Turffield has like 5+ houses, but the only real buildings are the Pokemon Center and the Stadium. Everything else is set dressing. There is one house that you can approach, but it's like a berry shop with a merchant out front, so you can't go in. Also this shop doesn't sell anything, it's not a shop. But wait! Just like at Magnolia's house, you can use the bike to cross water and get right up to a couple background houses! Aand there's two that have a path between them but are disconnected from the other background houses, and it looks like I could walk right in (if there weren't this fence gate here, HECK)!
Hulbury is pretty nice, it's just that this town has a lighthouse and if the Johto region taught me anything it's that lighthouses and other tower-like buildings are to be climbed. This lighthouse even has a door and a set of stairs leading up to it, but they're roped off instead of like, not having those in a place where I can clearly see and walk up to them. I am mocked further by there being an NPC up top with a Wingull, how dare they go where I can't
Hammerlocke has a cinematic when you first visit, showing off the castle from a different camera angle before you even enter the city. Once in the city, the camera has a close up of the center castle, then shows a third angle of the castle from over the player character's shoulder. We do get to go in that castle but honestly the most notable feature of that castle are the huge staggered towers on each side! I want to go in those! The camera also sweeps over to the Vault showing that it has a huge dragon head on top, but we never get to the top there either! The tapestry room we visit has more stairs (outside) to the right of it that are fenced off.
Stow-on-Side is where I really noticed this pattern and got annoyed. Just before this town, on Route 6, there's a temple with huge Diglett statues in front of it! Why can't I get anywhere close to that cool structure?! The actual City of Stow-on-Side has some cool movement on roofs and climbing with ladders, and it's doing the same thing on a smaller scale in a way that's convinced me there must be a puzzle or secret just out of my reach; just follow me on this. In Stow-on-Side, In the middle of town there's some kids playing with a Bronzong, and beside one of the kids is a Diglett. If you climb the ladder and get on the buildings beside the Pokemon Center, you'll be able to see behind those buildings are 2 Diglett that can't be reached. Off to the left behind some houses, there's 3 Diglett with no people around they're just having a Diglett conversation. THERE ARE GROUPS OF 1 2 AND 3 DIGLETT YOU'VE GOTTA LET ME TALK TO THEM IN NUMERICAL ORDER FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE THEY'RE RIGHT NEXT TO A GIANT DIGLETT LANDMARK WHICH IS ON A ROUTE THAT DOESN'T EVEN HAVE WILD DIGLETT THIS HAS TO BE A SECRET PUZZLE!!

I wanna be where the Farlinks are. That's all I just wanna go inside and explore more of these ruins than the parts that are outside.
 
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