Editorial

My Pokemon Dream Team

I recently saw people discussing who their dream team of 6 would be in Pokemon. I figured that was a fun thing to think about so I went through all of the Pokemon and eventually settled on a top 6. It was a really tough endeavor and to make things fair I didn’t count mythical or legendary Pokemon in this. Only the average Pokemon you could hope to find out in the wild. Getting the list down to my favorite 18-19 was easy enough, but from there it was extremely difficult. First up lets look at the runner ups.

Runner Ups

Electivire
Infernape
Typhlosion
Pikachu
Alakazam
Vaporeon
Umbreon
Jolteon
Charizard
Sceptile
Tyranitar

These guys are all pretty awesome and any one of them would make for a great substitute on my team. Alas, I can’t go over 6 so I had to let these guys hang out on the sidelines this time. Pikachu’s a great Pokemon and he was probably the closest to the top 6, but I just couldn’t think of anyone to drop out. Charizard and Umbreon also just barely didn’t make the cut as a similar style Pokemon beat them out.

So lets now look at my 6. These are my 6 favorite Pokemon and while they may not make for the most balanced team possible, I do think they cover for each other’s weaknesses pretty well.

6. Machamp

This guy’s design is just amazing. You can tell that he is a true fighter and even to this day I consider him to be one of the strongest fighting types out there. He would be a great addition to the squad and a solid Pokemon to lead out with to scope out the competition.
5. Scizor

Easily the coolest steel type in all of Pokemon and probably the best design improvement from a base form Pokemon. I like his speed and power, Scizor is just a very well rounded Pokemon who I believe would especially excel in Doubles where he can keep striking at the opposing fighters to support his teammate.
4. Lucario

Lucario is one of those Pokemon who really caught my eye thanks to Super Smash Bros. His incredible aura abilities and Mega Lucario mode help to make him one of the coolest Pokemon. At times he feels like a Shounen hero with how many abilities he has and this Pokemon could go up against legendaries if needed.
3. Espeon

Espeon is my favorite Eevee evolution just barely beating out Umbreon. A case could be made for Umbreon being in the top 6 and I was super close to putting him in as well. Espeon’s design is just really sound and it’s very easy for her to dodge attacks thanks to her speed. She may not be the strongest fighter in the group, but her attacks will definitely still deal a good amount of damage.
2. Feraligatr

Feraligatr was my favorite Pokemon at one point. He eventually fell to second place and a little further if we count legendaries. Still, I love this guy’s design and it’s one of the fiercest in all of Pokemon. His power and speed are definitely top tier. In a 1 on 1 fight there aren’t too many Pokemon who can beat this guy. He fights hard til the end.
1. Blaziken

Finally we’ve got Blaziken, my all time favorite Pokemon. He just has a super cool design and I was first impressed with him when he beat Charizard in the Pokemon anime. The Pokemon looks like a street fighter and he’s a fire type. That’s a dynamite combo right from the start. Then I got to see him again in Pokken which was really cool. This is the guy I trust to have my back when it’s crunch time.

So those are my 6 favorite Pokemon! If you could choose a top 6 from all the ones available who would make your squad? New Pokemon keep getting added year after year so we’ll see if anyone is able to break into this team one of these days.

Game Records

Pokemon Sword Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 25h 53m

Pokedex: Pokemon Caught/Seen 156/279

Pokemon Stats

Togetic Level 71
Cinderace Level 75
Beartic Level 70
Machoke Level 70
Abomasnow Level 68
Zacian Level 73
Roselia Level 16
Wingull Level 8
Wooloo Level 8
Skwovet Level 10
Magikarp Level 10
Yamper Level 10
Nickit Level 11
Oddish Level 15
Bunnelby Level 10
Pancham Level 12
Rookidee Level 13
Chewtle Level 13
Meowth Level 13
Stufful Level 17
Snorunt Level 10
Purrloin Level 15
Tympole Level 12
Barboach Level 17
Munna Level 15
Seedot Level 15
Mudbray Level 13
Gloom Level 60
Pidove Level 10
Vanillite Level 8
Blipbug Level 4
Delibird Level 13
Hoothoot Level 15
Snover Level 15
Nuzleaf Level 15
Sizzlipede Level 25
Litwick Level 25
Maractus Level 30
Xatu Level 34
Wobbuffet Level 31
Pumpkaboo Level 29
Boldore Level 33
Vulpix Level 26
Swirlix Level 36
Impidimp Level 36
rufflet Level 40
Cubchoo Level 47
Unfezant Level 49
Snom Level 45
Mr Mime Level 48
Butterfree Level 47
Gurdurr Level 41
Indeedee Level 37
Kingler Level 50
Zigzagoon Level 7
Arrokude Level 40
Drednaw Level 50
Barraskewda Level 40
Bewear Level 34
Claydoll Level 36
Crustle Level 34
Baltoy Level 7
Tyrogue Level 7
Onix Level 26
Woobat Level 28
Haunter Level 34
Drifloon Level 26
Dusclops Level 40
Pangoro Level 34
Budew Level 8
Goldeen Level 12
Mudsdale Level 31
Garbodor Level 36
Liepard Level 28
Frillish Level 42
Gyrados Level 56
Stunky Level 15
Glalie Level 46
Bronzor Level 38
Klink Level 26
Shellder Level 40
Pelliper Level 46
Grapploct Level 56
Jellicent Level 46
Axew Level 39
Corviknight Level 60
Eternatus Level 62
Charmander Level 5
Diggersby Level 60
Orbeetle Level 65
Vileplume Level 60
Wooper Level 60
Krabby Level 60
Quagsire Level 60
Seaking Level 60
Cramorant Level 65
Haxorus Level 60
Lucario Level 60
Whiscash Level 60
Lapras Level 60
Thievul Level 65
Galvantula Level 60
Remoraid Level 60
Duraludon Level 65
Rhydon Level 60
Bisharp Level 60
Cutiefly Level 60
Clefairy Level 60
Sigilyph Level 60
Espurr Level 60
Corvisquire Level 60
Conkeldurr Level 60
Basculin Level 60
Wailmer Level 60
Eldegoss Level 65
Qwilfish Level 60
Gallade Level 60
Gossifleur Level 10
Rolycoly Level 13
Trubbish Level 13
Timburr Level 12
Carkol Level 12
Diglett Level 12
Milcery Level 14
Electrike Level 14
Pikachu Level 14
Joltik Level 15
Wimpod Level 23
Shellos Level 22
Scraggy Level 21
Toxel Level 1
Farfetch’d Level 19
Dottler Level 16
Candyfloss Level 23
Noibat Level 24
Shuckle Level 22
Stunfisk Level 25
Gastrodon Level 50
Binacle Level 22
Sudowoodo Level 24
Koffing Level 25
Hatenna Level 22
Pawniard Level 21
Noctowl Level 26

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pokemon Sword Review


It’s time to take a look at the latest Pokemon main game. We’ve been waiting for a true Pokemon home console game for many, many years. It’s finally here and that alone is a great milestone. It’s definitely a lot of fun and a great game. Pokemon’s always just a blast. Game Freak did their best to sabotage the hype with their surprising lack of effort here though. I’ll go more into that later on, but cashed in or not, it’s just great to finally be able to play a Pokemon game on the big screen.

The game starts you off with getting your first Pokemon as always. Your rival is a kid named Hop who is the younger brother of the undefeated champion Leon. Naturally there is a lot of pressure on him as a result, but he is eager to make a name for himself. The two of you decide to conquer all of the gyms in the hopes of entering the Pokemon league and becoming the new champion. It’ll be tough, but the kids are ready to give this their all and won’t give up.

The gameplay is top notch as always. One of the reasons why Pokemon pulls off the gameplay so well is how fast everything loads. It’s something that the series had trouble with with XD and Colosseum as everything took a while to load but this one gives you the option to turn off animations. Once you do then the game is on full speed. It’s always a lot of fun to switch up your roster and figure out which attacks are best. A quality of life update here is that you can see how much damage and how much accuracy an attack has right away. It takes the guesswork out of the match. The hub world is solid and all of the mechanics are explained well. You won’t have to worry about missing out on something and this is why the game series still can’t be beat here.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the Pokemon games are the opening hours. That’s where you get to catch your first few Pokemon and slowly begin building up the team that you will be sticking with. It’s unlikely that you will keep the first 6 that you catch but eventually you’ll have a pretty solid roster. Typically you’ll be ahead of the wild Pokemon curve although there were a few I bumped into who were stronger than members of my party so I would ultimately make room for them.

This was probably my least balanced roster from all the games at least from a competitive standpoint. I had my fire starter, 3-4 birds and 2 ice types. Basically if I fought a thunder type things would get a little tricky. Still, these 6 were a blast and they all got their moments to shine. Scorbunny handled most of the foes and matches up well with Hop’s team. I don’t know if this was intentional but all 6 of Hop’s fighters are weak against Scorbunny’s attacks. Togetic came in clutch during one of the final battles as well though. Every game will typically have you running a different squad so it’s always nice to see how they changed. One day I should dig up my older games and compare my top 6 of each one.

The levels here definitely look really good. Everything is bright and vibrant. While the graphics are in the same style as the 3DS games, you can definitely see the improvements. This may not quite be Odyssey, but I’d give the animations a thumbs up. Everything is clear as it should be and it all looks high quality. The game makes the tournament feel grand and likewise for the big battles with the loud audience in the background and through the solid tunes. Naturally you’ve got the soundtrack which is really good. It’s a little too bad that they added chanting to the best theme in the game, but Youtube still has the pre-release version in case you ever need to give it a listen. Even without that this game’s soundtrack is great. Pokemon never disappoints with that.

Then we’ve got the characters. Hop is one of the weaker rivals since he doesn’t have the edge that the older ones have got. He beats Hau, but I couldn’t really give him much more credit than that. That being said, he gets a lot of character development and has improved considerably by the end of the game. His Pokemon roster is also pretty solid, I can’t think of another rival having a team with Level 70 Pokemon at the ready from previous titles. Hop may lose most of the battles he is in, but he always does manage to get back up.

Hop isn’t the only rival this time though as we’ve also got Bede. He’s more of a traditional rival who is very confident in his abilities. He’s the best rival of the 3 I’d say even if his character arc doesn’t have the greatest end. He does have a good fight in the post game story though which does help him restore part of his rep. It was just nice to have a more ruthless character to deal with. The third and final rival was Marnie. She gets the smallest role out of the 3 though and surprisingly misses out on the whole post game content. She has some pretty good abilities like the other two and had the potential to be the best rival if she had gotten more screen time. Maybe Marnie will get more appearances in the future or through DLC because it does feel like there is a lot more left to her story.

Then we’ve got the professor in training for the region Sonia. Sonia’s a good character, but like most professors she is just here to slow down the story. The story is a weak point of the game which I will get to in a moment. This is mainly due to Sonia as every time she stops the game to talk about the legends you wait for her to go so you can go back to catching Pokemon. Catching the Pokemon is still the most enjoyable part of the game along with fighting trainers after all and the lore is fairly generic so it never feels like something you’ve just got to know.

We can’t forget about Leon. He’s definitely a solid champion and does a good job of making a name for himself amidst a stacked roster. Naturally he won’t be overcoming Steven, Lance, Blue, Cynthia, or Iris anytime soon, but he’s probably the next best as he is an upgrade over Wallace, Alder, and Diantha. The fact that he is undefeated is also crazy because not losing a single fight is really unheard of. He also isn’t afraid to keep reminding that fact to everyone and the way he just casually tells the main character that he will be crushed is great. You can’t go wrong with having a Charizard either. He doesn’t have the air of mystery or thrill that the top champs have, but he does have the skills.

Finally we’ve also got the two villains from the post game story. I won’t say much about them here, but they do have the best cutscene in the game. It was a great way to introduce a threat to the game even if it came at the very end. When you see their designs you probably won’t be able to take them too seriously but it can’t be denied that their skills are the real deal. As they are post game bosses their Pokemon stats are through the roof. They’re actually incredibly powerful and it was pretty unexpected which is why it worked out so well.

Lets talk about the story now. That is the main weak point of the game as it is by far the worst story in all of Pokemon. There’s never been a main game with a worse story and naturally most of the spinoffs win as well. There isn’t an actual villain group this time. Team Rocket may not be the most serious group at times, but at least they do raise the stakes a bit. This group is only about cheering on their leader and aren’t actually criminals. Most of the game doesn’t truly have a plot beyond the whole “Get all the Gym badges” arc. It seems like the game traded having a real plot for giving Hop a big character arc. Most of the game’s plot happens off screen with the characters checking things out as you fight.

This may be for the best in a sense since the plot that we did have wasn’t all that interesting. Whenever the characters would look at another mural I felt like the game was repeating itself. So those parts are good to keep off screen. I think we should have had some real villains though. Even the villains we did get didn’t feel too genuine as they changed quite a lot immediately after fighting them. I also have to say that the plan didn’t make any sense even as far as villain plans go. The villain plot is so short that the game stalls by having you fight the same guy 4-5 times in a row. That really felt like the game was pushing it.

The story is at its best when you are fighting one of the 3 rivals. There may not be any stakes but at least they have some attitude on them. You are also defending Hop’s honor in some of these fights so that also makes it a little personal at least. Terry (The main character) definitely isn’t the type to back down. It’s interesting that they give you some options on what he says at times. We know that he is talking, but of course his personality will be way different depending on how you answer.

Now the big topic, how Game Freak did their best to sabotage this game. First off, it’s Pokemon so no matter what this was always going to sell amazingly well. The game is smashing records left and right. It’s just a shame that we didn’t get everything here as this could have been what Ultimate was to Super Smash. Lets quickly look at what Game Freak took away and discuss which ones were important. Game Freak cut out around 400 Pokemon, They cut off a large chunk of moves so there is less variety now, fewer attack animations, the over world map is one of the smaller ones in recent memory, there’s a very short post game selection, caves are basically extinct, and EXP share is on by default and can’t be turned off.

For the EXP share part, I understand why people are upset by that one even though it doesn’t affect me. Pretty much all RPGs have this feature on by default and with no option to turn off. Pokemon was unique in not having it and I’m extremely glad that it’s here. It’s way more of a hassle to train everyone up one by one even if it does make the game more strategic. That being said, there should always be an option to toggle this on and off considering how easy it would be. The attack animations being limited is a non factor to me. I turn those off almost immediately when booting up the game anyway. They make each battle take way too long. Likewise there are already a ton of attack moves in the game so I don’t need the extra ones.

The post game being so short is a little iffy. The main story part only takes around 2 hours and that’s pretty much it for the story section. After that you can tackle the Battle Tower and catch all of the Pokemon. Make no mistake, this will take a very long time, but it’d be nice if there was a bit more to do. The normal game takes around 20 hours and the post game is 2 so all in all 22 hours is a great length for any title. There’s not a lot of complaints from me on the length. Sure, it can be longer but you can say the same for any game. The map being super small is pretty noticeable though. I remember having caves with multiple floors and having fun driving around the world map. This game’s map just feels tiny with less areas to check out. Part of that could be just being younger when the other games came out and minus the caves the layouts could be similar. This one does feel a lot smaller though and that’s even with the bike moving way slower than it used to.

The absolute biggest mistake here was definitely getting rid of 400 Pokemon though. This is not something that should have happened. The developers proudly stated not too long ago that they future proofed all of the models so it would be easy to keep on porting them each time. They tried some damage control in recent interviews about how they re-did all the models, but Reddit quickly disproved that. The developers have been spinning a lot of yarns lately but the long and short of it is that they didn’t want to do the extra work. Perhaps there was a time crunch, but they should have been up front about it. It’s also odd that no other part of the game got big improvements as a result. With the time saved from copy and pasting 400 Pokemon you’d expect some new features, but there are none. Part of their explanation was that this way they could bring a fresh experience to the users, but that didn’t happen.

Pokemon Sword is effectively a portable game brought to the Switch. You could play this on the 3DS and aside from the improved graphics you wouldn’t notice anything different. If anything it has less features and content than some of the portables. I believe Pokemon Sun has virtually the same amount of Pokemon as Sword if not more and that was a portable game. This one definitely feels like it was rushed in some areas. Another hint to this is how broken the raid battle system is. It’s very hard to find anyone to join you in a fight which is crazy considering how new the game is and how many people are playing. There’s no way there aren’t 3 other players online at the same time. This seems to be a tech issue with the stamp system the game is using.

All right, lets wrap things up here. The main issue really boils down to the fact that Game Freak owns the Pokemon license and it seems like Nintendo can’t really do anything about it. As a result they don’t actually have to do all that much each time because the franchise is already legendary. In a sense they are like EA in that they give the game a fresh coat of paint and bring it back out to market. As this is the first home console release and there was some whispering during the initial announcement that it was originally planned for 3DS we can cut the company a tine bit of slack. A great game is a great game even if it was given a far lower amount of effort than such a big IP deserved. I just want a proper Pokemon game that has all of the Pokemon available in it though. A true Pokemon Master title where all of the Pokemon are available and we get a solid story and gym battles. That would be awesome.

One thing I’d like to see from the next big Pokemon game is some voice acting though. That’s something that basically all big RPG titles have nowadays. It was also weird to have a Gym Leader whose whole thing is that he’s a singer yet you can’t hear him. You have cutscenes of him silently singing. Voice acting would be a big change to the series, but I think that it’s absolutely worth it. It’s just the kind of thing that will really take the title to the next level.

You’ll definitely appreciate the difficulty level in this game though. While I did not drop a single fight, the computers were always at a very close level. If not for doing a lot of grinding in between gyms then definitely could have taken the edge at some point. This is one game where you will need to do some extra battles as you go through the story or you will end up tasting the sting of defeat. It may be the most difficult Pokemon game if anything as I can’t recall any others where the enemy trainers were always so close in level.

I almost forgot to talk about the game’s new gimmick, Dynamaxing. There’s also Gigantomaxing but it’s basically the same thing. The idea is that it turns your Pokemon huge and then you get to use big attacks. It’s a fun enough gimmick although it’d be nice if you could turn the animations for these off as well. It’s definitely not as good as Mega evolutions which are still the best, but I’ll take it over the Z moves. The best Dynamax Pokemon are the ones who actually get a new design like Charizard. The form just looks cool as a result and feels like a proper super form.

This game definitely gave me some good ideas for future editorials that are Pokemon related. Best champions, rivals, etc. In the meantime though here’s a list of the Pokemon main games from best to worse. I won’t be able to count the Pokemon Johto games or Black/White because those are the only 2 I have yet to play. Pokemon Ruby is definitely still my favorite with that game being perfect in every way. Second is Pokemon Fire Red, just a great game that takes you back to the basics. It was a nostalgia title done right. Third would be Pokemon Y which did a good job of bringing together a modern Pokemon game that took bits and pieces from all the others. Fourth is Pokemon Diamond. It didn’t really do anything unique, but it was just fundamentally sound. Fifth place is Pokemon Sword. A great all around game introducing the series to new audiences. Finally at 6th is Pokemon Sun. Still a great game but I did miss the classic Gym setting and the island angle didn’t really do the trick for me. Although that one did end up with the higher score due to the impressive story. In terms of pure gameplay and aesthetic it couldn’t catch Sword though.

Overall, Pokemon Sword is a great game. After waiting for 20+ years it’s superb to finally be able to play this game on the big screen. Pokemon is perfect for on the go, but it’s also perfect for the couch experience. It’s still the king of the turn based combat formula and by putting it on a big console hopefully people who’ve never had a chance to try it out before can also get in on the action. If you don’t have this game yet then you’ve definitely gotta shell out the cash and pick it up. You don’t want to miss out on the latest installment in the series. It’ll likely be quite a few years until the next one so you’ll want to enjoy it now.

Overall 8/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Pokemon The Power of Us: Zeraora’s Story Review


Time to look at another Pokemon one shot manga. This one’s a lot more recent than the Giratina one I checked out last time. It’s also a lot thinner as this is basically a mini manga so it goes by in a flash. That being said, it’s actually considerably better and one of the best one shot Pokemon manga that I’ve read. Surprisingly it beats Giratina in every aspect. I also have to give this volume some kudos in the art. The simple style actually ended up working really well for the fights.

The volume starts off with Ash running into town and bumping into the mayor’s daughter. The two of them head over to the nearby lab and put on some VR goggles so they can learn about Zeraora’s origin. It seems like the Pokemon was born out of a thunder storm and then he decided to protect all the nearby Pokemon. Unfortunately poachers show up so Zeraora has to stay sharp and keep on fighting. It feels like people are always trying to fight this guy. You can see how the volume is pretty short though because the whole volume is basically the professor showing them the story and then they go home. Interestingly the manga ends with a preview which basically recaps the first few pages almost word for word but with a few changes.

Back to the volume though, Zeraora is a fun Pokemon. He clearly loves to fight as seen by his smirk after being attacked. I’m also glad to see him actually take a hit and keep on going. It’s always sad when a Legendary Pokemon gets wrecked by random poachers or gets caught in a cage. None of that was happening to Zeraora. He took down all challengers and I dare say that he had the upper hand against Lugia as well. That fight was the highlight of the volume, but admittedly it was Zeraora’s fault. Lugia just came in to get rid of the fire. Zeraora blamed him for not coming sooner, but that’s hardly Lugia’s fault. The Pokemon can’t be everywhere and at least he saved some people.

It would have not been good if Elekid had perished, but fortunately the manga didn’t go down that route. That would have gotten a bit dicey if you ask me. With Elekid safe then we could really enjoy the fight. This is where I have to go back and talk about the art. The fights are very smooth here. It actually seems like a similar style to Bleach where you feel the impact beyond every hit. The characters may look a bit chibi at times, but it’s worth it for the action scenes. It’s really going for the opposite of Pokemon Adventures. That series has a ton of detail and epic fights. It works really well, but the same can be said for the flip side where this one is really focusing on the hits. This doesn’t feel like a cash-in level of art, but that of a real title.

If there are any negatives here it’s just in how short the volume is. Hopefully the going price would be a little lower to compensate. So long as that is the case then there are really no negatives to be found here. The manga has a direct plot and goes about it with no delays or distractions. You don’t need to stretch out the volume just to pad out the pages. This one just gets right down to business and it’s also probably Lugia’s best showing. It may be a little sad that we don’t get to see Ash fight, but he got his match in the actual movie. This is really Zeraora’s time to impress us and he was quite impressive. I’d take him over quite a few Legendaries. He may not be as intimidating as some of them, but his speed and power are still forces to be reckoned with.

Overall, If this had been the plot of the actual movie then things would have been quite different. This would make for an excellent TV special so I hope it is animated in some way or form. If you watched the movie then this is a must read to really see more of Zeraora’s character. He may be a little too quick to jump into a fight and doesn’t have the cool head that you’d want your ally to have, but his heart’s in the right place. At least he’s actively protecting Pokemon from poachers since the Officer Jenny’s of the world don’t seem to be around when you need them. It’s still really something to see how many poachers exist in the Pokemon world. Throw in Team Rocket and all the other teams and the world is actually quite dangerous. Hopefully Ash and friends are ready for them, but with Pikachu at his side I suppose I don’t even need to wonder. I hope that whoever the artist of this was gets another chance at more Pokemon manga in the future.

Overall 8/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Pokemon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior Review


It’s time to look at a manga based on one of the older Pokemon films. It’s a little weird calling this one old since it feels so recent, but technically there have been a bunch that came out after this one. These manga adaptions are basically 1-1 so it’s not as if things have really changed all that much, but it’s still fun to re-live the adventure in a different format. It’s a solid story, but one where I did want a little more action.

Ash and friends were trying to have a normal day when a Pokemon known as Shaymin shows up. He’s currently being hunted by a guy called Zero as well as Giratina. Ash decides to help this guy find his family and escape the threat, but it won’t be easy. Shaymin allowed Dialga to escape Giratina and Zero wants him so that he can rule the reverse world. The whole concept of the Reverse world is actually pretty good and pretty ambitious for the series. Can Ash help make things right here?

First off you may wonder why Dialga would trap Giratina inside that world to begin with. Well, you can hardly blame him. From his point of view Giratina picked a fight and then tried to eliminate him. Dialga saw the guy as a threat and promptly locked him up. Dialga’s always been one of the cooler Pokemon and you have to admit that this was a real power move. It’s not like it’s easy to take down Giratina like that. To this day I’m still surprised that Palkia didn’t show up at all. He’s at least half responsible for all the stuff getting thrown into Giratina’s world. I suppose the dragon didn’t want to fight both at once which is understandable.

Zero is one of the better movie villains. The guy has a cool design and actually makes for a serious threat. His robots capturing Giratina is cool for him although it does hurt the Pokemon’s hype./ I also liked that he had a Magnezone since that Pokemon rarely gets to show his stuff. I suppose his personality isn’t all that deep, but he’s not comic relief which is already an important first step towards getting me to take him seriously. I really didn’t have any big qualms with him and should I ever make a list of all Pokemon movie villains, this guy would likely crack top 5.

As I mentioned Giratina did lose here so he lost some hype, but I like him otherwise. He’s a pretty reasonable guy and the fact that he was trying to manipulate Shaymin’s portals takes a lot of intellect. He’s likely one of the smarter Pokemon just with that feat. I didn’t like Shaymin quite as much. He’s your typical rebel Pokemon who talks tough but can’t really back it up. In his sky form at least he can fight a bit, but even then he’s not going to be winning very many fights. He’s an upgrade over Celebi and Jirachi, but isn’t at the level of the bigger Pokemon.

Surprisingly Ash and Pikachu get less to do here. They do more than Brock and Dawn of course, but Pikachu really doesn’t get to take anyone down. It doesn’t help that Magnezone is pretty resistant to electric attacks after all. Ash still tries his hardest and is pretty determined here though. That’s the kind of Ash I want to see and he feels like his older self here. I hope to see more of that in the new Go season coming up.

As far as the art goes, you can tell that this is a movie tie-in manga. It’s higher quality than some that I’ve read, but it’s not exactly going to be known as one of the best looking manga titles. That just was never in the cards for Giratina. Some close ups look really good like Ash gritting his teeth and his hair is drawn more spiky than usual like Megaman EXE’s. the action scenes are solid and you can always follow what’s happening so bravo on that.

I do have to question the existence of the Reverse world just a bit though. So apparently everything that happens in the real world mirrors over to this one so destruction and the like go there. With how often the real world is being attacked I feel like this should be a huge issue. Maybe it was specifically because Dialga and Palkia were messing with time and space, but I feel like the concept is a bit too grand and needs more of an explanation. I don’t blame Giratina for being upset, but it may be more reasonable to just move into the real world if the reverse one is always going to be getting wrecked in the meantime. Maybe Giratina can make a barrier of sorts.

Overall, This manga will definitely breeze by as you read through it. It’s a quality adventure and I have no issues with it. I’d recommend just watching the movie, but if that isn’t an option then this is a very good substitute. All adaptions have to try and fit in the important parts while cutting out the fluff and this one does a good job. You don’t really feel like anything is missing and it hits all the right beats as in the film. If anything it may feel more exciting at times since you get to add in your own music as you go through the adventure. I’ve got another Pokemon movie adaption coming up so I’ll be checking that one out pretty soon. This one’s less of an adaption and more of a tie-in though.

Overall 7/10

Game Records

Pokemon Masters Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 15h 59m (Phone shows up to the last 10 days so this isn’t totally accurate but close enough)

Missions
General 28/56
Launch Celebration 30/30
Reach for the Top 8/15
Pokemon Trainers 47/66
Trainer Levels
Rosa 82
Brock 64
Roxanne 58
Marley 53
Pryce 45
Marion 45
Maylene 45
Shauntal 43
Olivia 85
Cheren 85
Nanu 80
Misty 75
Kris 70
WHitney 65
Hau 65
Terry 60
Barry 60
Candice 60
Clay 60
Flannery 60
Skyla 60
Brandon 55
Wilkstrom 50
Gardenia 50
Sophocles 50
Noland 50
Siebold 50
Blaine 50
Claire 50
Flint 50
Viola 50
Koga 50
Tate 45
Erica 45
Iris 45
Norman 45
Brock (Gym mode) 45
Bugsy 45
Korrina 45
Hapu 45
Roark 45
Janine 45
Cheryl 45
Liza 45
Brycen 45
Wulfric 30

8 Star Games, App Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pokemon Masters Review


It’s time to look at Nintendo’s latest mobile adventure. Pokémon is one of those series that can really sell well so it makes sense to jump into the market. Just look at Pokémon Go after all. Unfortunately, this one does make some errors along the way which prevent it from being the ultimate title it could be. Still, it’s a great experience and one you may find yourself sticking with for a long time.

The basic plot of the game is that a big tournament has been announced which is called the PML. It is a 3 on 3 tournament with each trainer choosing one buddy Pokémon to team with in this grand adventure. The main character is a new trainer who has been steadily improving his skills. He quickly impressed gym leaders and elite four members and is one of the favorites to win the tournament. Of course to qualify he must first get all of the gym badges and then it’s off to the races.

The story is pretty good. I am glad that the game already covers grabbing all of the badges and the tournament has even begun. I am wondering how the game will stretch this story out for years like the other mobile games. Either we will keep fighting old teams who jump ship or Team Break will interrupt the tournament at some point. One thing that the game could have made clearer are the rules for the tournament though. Originally as it is a 3 on 3 tournament you assume that losing knocks a team out as you proceed. Instead when you beat a team their members are allowed to join you. That means you’re stuck in a lengthy loop if everyone keeps rejoining teams. I feel like once you have lost you should be eliminated from the tournament. By the end of the current campaign the main team may have up to 60+ teams which is pretty insane. This tournament definitely doesn’t seem all that balanced.

The characters also bring up a valid point about how the tournament organizer’s plan doesn’t make sense. He doesn’t believe in friendship or bonds so why did he make a tournament where it’s mandatory to have both of those? It just seems a little odd to be honest. Maybe it’s just his chance to beat all the opponents and prove that the bonds were fake, but it’s a pretty roundabout strategy.

Now when it comes to the soundtrack this game is top notch. It’s comprised of a bunch of awesome remixes for previous battle themes from games of all previous generations. Not a single one is left out and they are all quite catchy. I dare say that the soundtrack is one of the best parts of the game. I ended up turning off the special effect sounds and voices so I could focus on the music. A lot of these remixes even beat the originals. Then you’ve got the graphics which are quite incredible. This does not look like a mobile game and could hold its own with the mainline titles. The character models are on point and there is some actual voice acting so the game did get a good amount of effort out behind it.

I haven’t spoken about the gameplay much yet. It’s a turn based style similar to the main games only you’ve got a meter that lets you know when you can attack again. This way you are more focused on coordinating your attack strategies quickly instead of waiting for the opponent to make a move. Weak moves only take one bar of energy while the stronger ones take 3. Usually anything weaker than 3 is not worth using. Support abilities are crucial though so definitely bring those into play. The gameplay is easy to get the hang of so you should be fine.

There is a lot of content in the game aside from the story. (and the story is fairly long as it is) Every day you get 3 extra levels with 3 difficulties that you can play 3 times each for a lot of items which are used to raise your level cap. You’ve also got the permanent ones which you can play all day to further stockpile your materials. Each character you recruit comes with an extra mission that is basically a long cutscene. Leveling up each character is quick, but they’ve got multiple caps which can only be broken with a considerable amount of materials. Once you have to get the gym notes you are really going to be stuck for a while since you have to beat incredibly hard levels. These levels cannot be beaten on your own so you’ll have to jump into the online content which the game seems to be heavily pushing.

Unfortunately the online is the weakest part of the game so it’s too bad that it’s effectively mandatory. The online matches take forever because the speed is set to 1. I always have it set to 4 to make the matches go a lot quicker so by comparison 1 feels like we are moving at turtle speed. Even then the gym notes aren’t guaranteed so you’re starting to see the grind. This game definitely has a ton of grinding within it if you want to go far. I played for well over 15 hours and didn’t even get a single gym note. You need around 3-5 just to unlock the cap again.

The good news is that there is no energy meter so you can really play the game for as long as you want. Some speculate that this is why there is so much grinding and I suppose that makes sense. Still, I think the game overdoes it with the grinding. After you’ve beaten the main story up to the current update then it becomes really apparent just how much grinding you are expected to do. So, it’s definitely a tradeoff.

It’s still an addicting game of course, but one that could use more of an end game. It does feel noticeably emptier once you have beaten the main story and I know that I would never be all that thrilled about the multiplayer stuff. I like fighting other players but the co-op option won’t work if the speed is stuck to 1. Maybe that will change down the road. I imagine that this is the kind of game that will only get better and better as it goes on so there is a lot to be hopeful about here.

Overall, Pokemon Masters is definitely a great game. It’s got some flaws, but they are not enough to overcome the smooth gameplay and top tier music/graphics. This is a game that big Pokemon fans will get a kick out of for the story as well. It’s nice to see all of the classic characters again and in particular the team up with the Black & White main characters was really nice. I’m sure that when Red shows up that will be a powerful moment as well. This game will probably last years so maybe in a decade or so I’ll check back in and see how far the story has gone.

Overall 8/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pokemon Battle Revolution Review


Technically, I played through this game many years ago, but my Wii broke before I could grab the review. We got a new Wii shortly afterwards but never really got around to replaying this game. I figured now was as good a time as any so I booted it up and went through a few tournies. I grabbed my team from Pokémon Diamond which included fighters from Pokémon Ruby. With Groudon and Blaziken at the ready I was prepared to take names. Unfortunately this game still doesn’t hold up as a spiritual successor to Pokémon Stadium.

When you start the game you are introduced to your limited amount of modes. The main one is to jump right into the Colosseums as you try to conquer them all. Every time you defeat an arena you get some money which you can use in the local shop to buy some clothes. The idea is that your character will look fancier and fancier as you win tournaments and by the end you will look like the champ. There’s not a ton of outfits to buy at the moment so it seems easy to get them all, but I’m guessing that you unlock more outfits as you progress during the game. It’s a quick but nice way to add replay value I suppose. Hopefully you enjoy this because that’s really the extent of the replay value.

For the Colosseums the game makes the odd decision to add a lot of luck and chance to the equation. Before I get ahead of myself though you may be wondering how you get Pokémon. Well, you start the game off with a “rental pass” which gives you access to 6 Pokemon that the game chooses for you. You can also connect one of your portable Pokemon games to bring over a real team which I highly recommend. Once you’ve done that, you enter the colosseums which all have different rules. There is the standard 1 vs 1 battles with 3 Pokémon each and the doubles battles with 4. These are classic and work well.

Then the game decides to get sneaky and introduces the Neon tournament. This one throws in a wheel of fortune and the gimmick here is that your Pokémon as well as your opponent’s are thrown into the wheel and both of you throw darts at it. Whoever it lands on is the Pokémon you will use and each of you do that until you have a full team at the ready. Of course the computer got my Groudon right away…. I don’t see the point of putting this level of luck into the game. Part of the point of Pokémon is to fight alongside the Pokémon you’ve trained up, not some random ones.

Another problem with this one is the colosseum length which makes losing pretty punishing. The tournaments are mainly 7 rounds and you have to win them all back to back. You can do a quick save to take a break from the game but if you lose any of the 7 matches then you have to start the tournament all over again. That means for the luck based one you have to be fortunate many times in a row. That’s not really something you want to bank on. Personally I would have either shortened the tournaments to 3-4 battles or I would have just made it so you continue from where you lost. Either option makes for a much more enjoyable gameplay experience. As it stands the colosseums are too punishing and not rewarding enough.

The game also suffers from how long the matches take which is something that affects most of the big console Pokémon games to be fair. There are a lot of animations in the battles and they can’t be turned off so you have to watch each attack. Even Pokémon Colosseum was affected by this so I’m guessing it is difficult to speed up the games. The portables do it though so there’s got to be an answer. That’s actually one of the things I’m hoping Pokémon Sword can fix. If any Pokémon game can get around this it would be the latest installment in the main series. I’ll give the developers of Battle Revolution props for adding so many unique effects to all of the characters since I’m sure it was visually challenging. There should just be a way to toggle it on and off. Graphics is one of the strongest points of the game and they aged very well. All of the character models are on point and stages look quite solid. The soundtrack is also pretty iconic at this point. As soon as I turned on the game I was hit with the nostalgic tunes. Battle Revolution did a good job of creating its own soundtrack and it holds up quite well. It does lot have the scope and variety of the main games but is still a solid collection in its own right.

I think another part that hurts the game is that aside from having no story you don’t even have the classic Gym Leaders to help out. We do have Colosseum leaders, but none of them are particularly noteworthy and since you have to make it past a full gauntlet to see them you won’t really get to savor the experience for long. There’s no real hook beyond the fact that this is a Pokemon game and that’s not enough to carry a title for very long.

Overall, Pokémon Battle Revolution is one of those games that should have been much better than it actually was. I feel like it’s hard to mess up with a Pokémon game but this one threw away a bunch of opportunities through its Colosseum format. I really don’t understand why the game did that. Pokemon Stadium already created a very nice format for how you would handle a home console Pokemon game. Battle Revolution should have focused on that rather than trying to re-invent the wheel. That was their big mistake and while they may have been trying to be innovative it completely backfired. It’s still entertaining, but only in small batches and you could always be playing a better Pokemon title.

Overall 6/10

Game Records

Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 15h 2m
Styler Level 38
Pokemon Browser 178/257
Steps 17587
Conversations 56
Targets Checked 219
Saves 83
Pokemon Rides 24
Quests 1/60
Pokemon Captures 445
Best Partner Pachirisu
Abandoned attempts 19
Pokemon Assists 102
Capture Line Length 312893 feet
Loops 9657

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia Review


It’s been many years since I played the original Pokémon Ranger so it’s nice to finally be checking out the sequel. Shadows of Almia takes you through the full experience of being a ranger and does a great job of giving you a lot of content. It’s a very solid all around game with no real weak points. The level up system is solid and it delivers on everything it sets out to do.

The plot follows a kid who is in ranger school and learning to be one. As time goes by he actually does join the rangers and quickly begins to rise up the ranks. However, it isn’t all fun and games as a villain organization known as Dim Sun shows up and begins mind controlling Pokémon. The ranger must now find a way to save the Pokémon and stop this villain group once and for all. He doesn’t have enough power on his own but if the lead can capture enough Pokémon for temporary duties then he has a shot.

Right away I can say that the gameplay plays a big role in why this game is so much fun. It revolves around making circles around the Pokémon to weaken it until you eventually have trapped it which counts as a catch. You only keep the Pokémon until you’ve used it once so be sure to wait for the right opportunity. You can then use that Pokemon to help you catch others down the road. You can’t stockpile a whole lot of Pokémon so it’s best to be using the abilities here and there. Usually if you see a big Pokémon it is there for a good reason like an obstacle or something so keep an eye out for that and don’t use the Pokémon too soon.

It’s a very quick paced gameplay and one that feels like it has a lot of rewards. You get level ups pretty quickly and it does give you a noticeable boost in power. As a result you can really feel yourself getting stronger as you progress through the game which is great. Personally I think level ups should always matter so it should never feel like you are basically the same. Running around the large hub world is never tedious because you learn how to fly later on and the first half isn’t so large that it would take forever. The directions are always clear and there are no forced encounters so that’s a recipe for a leisurely time.

As for which Pokemon abilities you will want to use, I recommend the thunder shock the most. Hopefully you chose Pachirisu when the game first starts as his ability is the best if you ask me. The opponent is frozen for 2 seconds so you get to spin a lot of loops around the Pokemon. You’re gonna need to go very quickly to pull this off, but the more you play the game the easier that’ll be. It can be tough when a Pokemon goes to the edge of the screen, but you’ll always find a way. You don’t even really need the abilities as the upgrades to your base pointer are good enough, but the abilities definitely make things easier. You can also skip Pokemon encounters, but I don’t recommend doing this since the EXP is very important and you’re gonna want it down the stretch.

As far as the graphics go it all looks pretty solid to me. The sprites hold up well and I do like the victory pose that the lead uses whenever he takes a win. The soundtrack is also pretty solid although it does feel very limited. For example you are going to hear the Dim Sun theme more times than you can count. Fortunately it is catchy so that works out. I’d say that the best theme in the game is the boss theme. It gives those fights a good level of importance.

The story’s definitely a lot of fun and one of the villains here definitely ranks as a top tier character even among the main games. His name is Ice and he is one of the big members of Dim Sun. This guy’s actually very intelligent and is able to keep up with the main genius in the game. He’s got a cool personality and always hits the dab. For a while all of the members were your standard grunts so when the 3 big villains were introduced I was pretty thrilled. They come into the game fairly late, but leave an impression. In general the game turns the story up a few notches towards the end as the villains invade your base and a lot of chaos ensues.

The heroes are also fun, but definitely less useful. Typically it’s up to you to save them time and time again. While the others are supposed to be your equals that rarely feels like it’s the case. The lead is just really good at being a ranger and the others inevitably become second fiddle in comparison. There’s no shame in that though and the important thing is that they can keep up at least a little. Sven is one of the pros here and that guy holds his own. He certainly does better than Keith who takes a whole lot of Ls throughout the game. Then you’ve got the scientist but he’s suckered pretty easily so he didn’t quite rank. At least he didn’t go into full traitor mode unlike a certain other character. Granted, that character was evil from the start so maybe calling him a traitor is uncalled for.

In terms of replay value there is quite a lot here. The main story took me around 15 hours and that’s considering that I didn’t really do any of the side quests. If I had then you could jump that number up quite a bit since there are many extra quests. You get a lot of bang for your buck with this installment that’s for sure. I can’t stress the enough the importance of having a good hub world. I’m not talking purely about size of location, a good hub world means your character should move quickly enough so you can get through it. There should be minimal distractions and the exits should be clearly labeled so you don’t have to use much memory on it. Pokemon Ranger does a solid job of everything above.

Overall, Shadows of Almia is a great game and one that I highly recommend checking out. It continues to do justice to the Pokémon brand as even the spinoffs tend to be quite well rounded. The length is pretty good and the plot/gameplay are enjoyable. As I mentioned there really aren’t any negatives to be found here so as soon as you see this game in stores you’re gonna want to snag it. Now I look forward to getting the final game on the Ranger series at some point.

Overall 8/10