Pokémon: Hisuian Snow Review

It’s time to take a look at a fairly quick mini series. This one only had 3 episodes and combined they’re only about the length of one normal one so it’s over pretty quick. I’m always up for more Pokemon animations though so it’s good to have it and hopefully we get some more in the future. This adventure takes place in the far past to tie in to the recent Pokemon Arceus game. The setting may not be quite as interesting as the modern areas but it’s been a while since we got a snow adventure.

The story follows a kid named Alec who had always been fond of Pokemon. Unfortunately he was born into an era where people don’t get along with them. Humanity is afraid of these powerful creatures and think that it is best to just leave them alone. Keep a safe distance and then they won’t bother you. Humanity even build up walls around their village to ensure that no Pokemon gets close but one day while outside, Alec gets separated from his father. He injures his knee but is helped by a Zorua. Now he has to find his way back to the village with his Pokemon companion but will he be taken in with open arms?

The story also jumps to the present with Alec returning to the village in time for another Pokemon incident. The humans definitely are never too accommodating here and it does make them look a little ungrateful. Especially the father who is quick to be antagonistic to Zorua despite the Pokemon saving his kid’s life. That was definitely a shame but at least Alec was able to settle things later on. Ultimately Zorua was a true friend who helped out even if no gratitude was guaranteed. That’s the kind of Pokemon that you want to have your back without a doubt.

Alec wasn’t bad for a kid either. At least he did try to help the Pokemon out. In the present he even became a bit of a doctor and really went out of his way to be a good person. He’s someone who learned the right lesson from his experiences. The rest of the humans are not impressive at all though and don’t really stack up. The next best character would definitely be Zorua for being a good pal. The special shows that the Pokemon at the end of the day are always the most heroic ones.

In the final episode we even see two Abomisnow’s defend Alec as he tries to heal their injured partner while the humans just stand around. We get a pretty decent fight scene there too although it’s very short. Action isn’t really the main genre of this special after all, it’s really more of a full time adventure. I always enjoy the action when we can get it though. The animation pops out when Pokemon use their special attacks. I wouldn’t say it’s anything super high end but it does look nice and works well for what it’s going for.

The soundtrack is more on the forgettable side. With quality writing and good pacing, this is a miniseries that you could recommend to anyone. It’s still too bad that it was only 3 episodes as I think you really could have turned this into a much longer adventure. Give more time for Alex and Zorua bonding by having them get lost deeper into the forest. With the outside world not being explored all that much, it would be reasonable for the humans not to be able to find them for a while and so a few episodes could just be them walking around and trying to survive.

It doesn’t quite hurt the show that it’s so short but it does mean that it’ll be a little less memorable. Down the road when talking about the various Pokemon titles and all, it would be very easy to just forget this one entirely. Maybe one day they can bring the characters back at least but it seems like they are having more fun just experimenting with a bunch of different characters so I would be surprised to see them again.

Overall, Hisuian Snow is a good episode’s worth of content. It may not be action packed but the story is interesting enough and it’s good to see Zorua getting his hype. The Pokemon always end up taking the high road even when the humans don’t. The world has certainly come a long way since these days as in the present even little kids play with Pokemon. You could say that the Pokemon world got something close to world peace by the end. Sure, you’ve got Team Rocket and friends but by and large it’s a very peaceful world. I still would have liked a formal apology from Alec’s father and the rest of the village by the end though.

Overall 7/10

The Alain vs Leon fight should have gone very differently

It goes without saying that this will have spoilers for the currently ongoing World Coronation Series in the Pokemon anime. If you haven’t gotten caught up yet then you’ll want to skip this one. I’m going to be talking in depth about the biggest tragedy since Ash vs Alain back in the Kalos league where Ash should have absolutely taken the win but in losing it made this fight impossible to buy into.

It’s time for a quick discussion on why Alain should have defeated Leon. Right now for context the Pokemon anime is currently in the middle of the World Coronation saga. Easily the most epic tournament since the Johto league. It consists of the top 8 trainers in the entire planet. That’s right, Ash has now made it to truly elite company as it should be. I always thought he had more potential than constantly losing in every league. (Sure, he beat some kids in Aloha but nobody counts that) Well, now is his chance to win it all. It’s been a pretty hype adventure all around but nothing’s going to top this part of the arc.

That said, as soon as the brackets came out, I think we all had a sneaking suspicion on what was going to happen to Alain. I can’t say that I’m crazy about the matchups at all since it takes away a lot of potential. The first round battles were Alain vs Leon, Ash vs Steven, Iris vs Cynthia, and Lance vs Diantha. It’s fair to say that you already suspect who will win in most of these battles but that’s fine since usually you can piece it together really quickly based on the narrative. That’s why everyone was dismayed at Alain having to go up against Leon. Leon is the #1 ranked fighter and so it is extremely likely that he will be fighting Ash in the finals. (Ash better make it there this time!)

So Leon is no slouch in combat and I definitely want to underscore that before getting into this. He is #1 for a reason and at least within his region he is seen as unstoppable. If I were to rank the Top 8 fighters in terms of power, he would be pretty high.

1. Prime Ash
2. Kalos Ash
3. Alain
4. Current Ash
5. Johto Ash
6. Leon
7. Cynthia
8. Sinnoh Ash
9. Hoenn Ash
10. Lance
11. Kanto Ash
12. Iris
13. Steven
14th Diantha
15th “I only need Pikachu!” Ash

So Leon is the 3rd strongest fighter in this current competition and I dare say he should give the other two a spectacular fight. This guy really knows how to rumble and he has a lot of experience. I would still go to Alain winning this one. Not only has he taken down numerous mega level Pokemon in the past but he’s always shown an excellent level of tactical awareness. Just look at his fight with Ash back in Kalos. Now, it is impressive that he happens to now have been in 2 of the most controversial Pokemon battles of all time on both the winning and losing end. It shows that Alain is always in the mix and everyone is invested in the guy.

That’s why it just doesn’t make sense for him to have been done so dirty here. To recap the fight, Alain immediately called his Charizard back to his Pokeball when Leon took out his. What? Does Alain really think his would lose in a battle of skill? Alain’s Charizard is canonically the strongest in the verse, just look at his feats in all of the previous battles. His Charizard is absolutely insane and even has thunder type abilities. He would not be losing this battle so just trust in your starter.

Instead Alain brings out some jellyfish that immediately gets one shotted as if this is One Punch Man and just wasted a turn. Reminded me of Goodra choking in the Kalos finals for Ash. If Ash somehow loses to Leon I’ll definitely be watching closely to see which Pokemon to blame this time.

All right, so Alain is effectively fighting 3 vs 2. Now the next issue comes down to earlier in the fight. Both of them use their grass type Pokemon and I was actually completely cool with this one. It was a really nice fight with a lot of back and forth. Nothing to really dislike here and both trainers showed their expertise and why they are ready to fight at this level. It was a great fight and while Alain was on the losing end, that’s cool. If the whole fight was like this I probably wouldn’t have had much complaints…..but if we look at this a little deeper than Alain should have won the first fight as well.

What you have to realize is that Leon’s Pokemon used his gigantomax…and did absolutely nothing with it. He was too large and too slow so Alain’s guy was running rings around him. How did this suddenly get flipped when it wore off? Unless you’re telling me that Gigantomax actually just makes you weaker then I’ve got some big questions here. So yeah I was cool with it because it was a good back and forth fight but this is definitely one that Alain should have won as well.

Still the biggest issue is with the Charizard battle. So long story short, Leon wins without his Charizard even having to use his gigantomax. His base form beats Alain’s mega mode with a single good shot. There are numerous things to point out here about how that’s crazy. You’re really telling me that Leon’s base Charizard is that powerful when Ash already pushed him to have to Gigantomax in their fight? The power scaling is shot to pieces at this point and it just doesn’t add up. I’m all for giving Ash hype because he’s great but the gap in power cannot be that huge. There’s just no way.

Alain’s Charizard is shown to be significantly weaker in this fight with almost no durability at all. He’s a glass cannon that shatters after being hit. That doesn’t track though, not at all. Alain’s Charizard is still very experienced and has been through his share of fights. I can accept him losing in a hard fought battle to Leon’s Charizard as both were at around full strength but not after he mega evolves. Leon should only be able to possibly win if he does the Gigantomax but not in base mode.

Also, in the games you can only Gigantomax once per battle. I don’t know if the anime follows the same rules but if it does that explains why they had Leon win in base. Because if that were the case then he couldn’t transform and by all accounts Alain should have absolutely clobbered him here. You can’t underestimate how incredible the stat boosts are by mega evolving. It makes you a whole new beast in combat and it’s still my favorite mechanic for that reason. Forget Gigantomax and Z moves, Mega evolution is still the most powerful form of combat.

On a narrative level I’m also surprised we didn’t get to see a mega vs gigantomax fight here. It would have made a lot of sense and a big part of the hype in the tournament is seeing all of these different gameplay mechanics and strategies going up against each other. It felt like the fight was just way too rushed and should have absolutely been given a grander feel. Again, I do think Alain is stronger than Leon and should have won their fight but I at least could have accepted his loss a little easier if it was a really hard fought battle. Leon also absolutely had to transform his Charizard because otherwise I can’t buy a mega losing to a non mega. Additionally Leon didn’t even need to use his third Pokemon which was like extra disrespect being thrown in.

I suspect that Alain was dumpstered here as an apology of sorts for having him beat Ash in Kalos. There was a lot of deserved backlash for doing that but in trying to correct this they went too far in the other way. Like it or not, he beat Ash that time so he doesn’t just lose that strength overnight. In theory he should be even stronger now than he was then and should have had a fight to show that. It was a rough start for the tournament but of course I’m still hyped to see how the rest of the battles go out. With Alain out of the picture I’m riding with Ash all the way. In terms of how I would like the matches to go, ignoring who will likely win each set, I’d like Ash, Cynthia, and Lance to advance as well. Then we’ll see how the second round goes. Who knows, maybe they can throw Tobias in as the secret champion to go up against.

Maybe Alain will get another fight someday but this feels like it’s probably it for him. It’s hard to picture the anime doing another world championship ever again as this is usually more of a one time deal. If they do a second year like Beyblade to defend the title or something that’d be awesome though. This time I’d like to see more of the big shots appearing though like Gary, Paul, Ritchie, and the whole gang. Instead of an 8 man bracket, make it a traditional 32 character tournament. It makes for a lot more interesting theories and analysis on how the tournament will go down since there are so many more variables.

Check out this cool fan edit in the twitter link below which has a much better structure on how the fight should have gone. Again, if Alain was going to lose then it should have been after pulling out all of the stops like this. The Charizard vs Charizard fight was what everyone came to see after all.

So, what do you think? Was Alain losing to Leon acceptable? How about the way he lost? Mega losing to base and Leon not even needing a third Pokemon? You know my thoughts on this and I’ll be ready with more Pokemon editorials as needed although I don’t think there is any that would warrant a big post on this unless Ash somehow loses…..he better not!

Pokemon Go Update

It took about 7-8 months but I have now made it to Level 49! That means just one more level up and I will have made it all the way. It’s kind of emotional to think about but I can nearly say that I have completed the game. Not that it ends there or anything but I’ll definitely take a long break from the mass evolution runs for a while until they announce more levels. This has definitely been an app game that has withstood the test of time.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 22h 28m
Star Rank 6/10
Pokedex 147 Seen 107 Caught

Pokemon Stats

Heatran Level 78
Cresselia Level 78
Dialga Level 80
Scizor Level 7
Goodra Level 75
Palkia Level 78
Drapion Level 45
Tangela Level 27
Azelf Level 73
Toxicroak Level 46
Blissey Level 62
Uxie Level 70
Luxray Level 58
Regigigas Level72
Typhlosion Level 57
Mespirit Level 70

Pokemon Legends: Arceus Review

This game got a ton of hype when it was first announced. After all, Pokemon was finally entering the open world genre! That’s a really huge deal no matter how you slice it. I was definitely excited to see how this would go and I would say the game absolutely succeeds. I think there are a few small things that keep me from putting this at a 9 but either way it’s a big success and I want to see a sequel at some point. There’s just so much that you can do with this game.

The adventure starts off with Terry falling out of a portal and landing in Hsui. In this land, people are scared of Pokemon. There are two main factions, Diamond and Pearl. They both worship the all mighty Sinnoh but disagree on if that being is all about space or time. Terry ends up joining the Galactic Patrol which is a group that has recently moved into Hsui and doesn’t want to anger either group. As a result they do their best to help out whenever possible and now Terry will assist in this mission. Still, why has Terry arrived here? Is it possible that he’s a villain just here to stir up trouble for everyone? He will have to prove himself by completing missions which will raise his star rank. If he raises it enough then good things may happen.

There is a good deal of story here which is nice. I wouldn’t say it’s the most ambitious Pokemon story as that has to be Pokemon Black but a great deal of effort was put into this one without a doubt. For starters, there is a lot of good world building in Hsui and it all ties up nicely at the end. The supporting cast is also solid. Most of them may turn chicken at the end when the going gets tough but they’re all entertaining enough. A few characters get off real easy by the end though. So trust nobody and just keep developing your skills because not all of these guys are Terry’s allies. The game has quite a few twists and turns within it. Some you will likely see coming and others you won’t. There’s a good balance of things happening here and so you’re always kept on guard.

Arceus is also one of the more challenging Pokemon games by the end. You’re not necessarily playing Pokemon for the challenge but it does make the whole climax feel that much more rewarding since you really need to earn it. There are effectively 3 endings to the game here. The base ending, the post game ending, and then the true ending. I went for the first two and may go for the third at some point. The last one isn’t so much difficult as it is very time consuming. Although it’s fair to say that this is difficult in its own way since it’s hard to make up that much time.

The post game ending will put you through your paces though. I had to grind for a few hours to get my guys strong enough for the challenge and let me tell you…grinding is not exactly normal for a Pokemon game. It is very rare indeed that you will ever have to do it. This game embraces its RPG roots though as there are multiple phases to the final boss. I was rather impressed. I didn’t beat the boss in one shot but I certainly gave it a good shot right from the jump.

Now going back to the gameplay, there’s a lot to it here. For the free roam part, you run around the map with your items and Pokemon. You can throw Pokeballs at Pokemon before they spot you to try and catch them. Most Pokemon can be caught straight up like this. For the ones that are higher leveled and keep breaking out, you can throw your Pokemon out to weaken them and then throw your Pokeball. You can also use berries to get their guard down. Sometimes you’ll even want to beat Pokemon instead of catching them to improve your Pokedex.

See, there is a big difference here compared to other Pokemon games. Catching a Pokemon doesn’t end their Pokedex entry. You have to complete 10 tasks relating to a Pokemon to get it to completed status within your Pokedex. This will include tasks that range from catching that Pokemon to beating it, to feeding it, or even watching a move. Each Pokemon seems to have close to 50 tasks so choosing 10 out of those isn’t so bar. Of course 10 for each Pokemon means that you will have to complete over 2300 tasks. If you want a truly complete Pokedex (Not necessary for the true ending) then the number will be over 10,000. Quite the journey eh?

I don’t expect you will get very far in completing the Dex by the time you complete the game. That said, it is always fun to add a few more entries to your list. You can examine Pokemon from afar to see the status of all their missions so you know right away if engaging them is even worth it. Catching or defeating a Pokemon will always give EXP but in the latter parts of the game it is low enough where you’ll probably want to skip them if you’ve already completed the entry. The best place to farm exp is certainly by beating a wild Blissey over and over again. Nothing else is even close if you ask me.

You can also go around completing missions and finding lost items. The lost items seem to be infinite so you may not want to bother with that one. It increases your “merit” score though but I’m not even sure what that does. I got our score to over 1000 but didn’t notice any changes within the game. Completing missions is always a good idea though as it can help generate new missions plus there is a finite amount of these. So once you finish all of the missions that’s it. They give really good rewards too like rare candy. I managed to beat a good chunk of the missions, I want to say over half but if not, it was close to that amount. Some of the missions are simple like catching a Pokemon while others will require a lot of leg work.

As the game goes on you will be able to fly and swim in the water which are really handy. The sections of the world are rather big after all. Then you have the combat gameplay which is a bit weaker than the average Pokemon game. I suspect this is because most of the budget went into the open world part and this was just the bonus. It still works and the rules are pretty much the same but it feels like almost every attack takes the other out in one hit thanks to the new strong style feature. So if my opponent goes first then I lose a fighter and if I go first then I take one out. It feels like the attacks are just a bit too overpowered here.

I do appreciate how switching Pokemon doesn’t cost you a turn though. That is incredibly useful in the final battles as those could have been difficult without that feature. This way it’s like you get a free turn every now and again. You’ve also got crafting which is a way to build items out of resources. It’s a handy little feature but I never really used it much. In the early parts of the game you don’t have enough materials and by late game it’s easier to just buy whatever you need. I highly recommend completing the shop side quests whenever possible so you can upgrade his wares. Once you do this 3-4 times he will start selling Ultra Balls and Max Revives which are absolutely necessary. Earning money can be difficult here until you’re in the end game but then beating Blissey will get you a good amount of money through the item drops.

Now I do have some issues with the game. Mainly they are quality of life features or lack thereof which is what keeps this from being a 9. First off, the bag is way too small. You’ll get constant messages that your bag is full when you try to pick something up. I even went to the one guy who gives you more bag space and bought a ton of slots but it’s not enough. (Also it’s crazy how you’re charged big money for a single slot) There are way more kinds of items in the game than item spots to grab. The issue here is that you then have to throw stuff out which could be handy later on.

I didn’t think it was necessary to make the bag so small. Also, going back to the money angle, since it’s hard to earn money at times, that means you will often be running low on Pokeballs which can be a bit annoying when you are trying to catch a lot of Pokemon. You’ve then got to leave and return. There is no way to leave and then quick travel to a different location either. You always have to go back to home base and then set out again. It’s a small thing but that mans you have to click through the various text boxes every time you want to switch areas which adds up.

It’s little areas like that which feel like they could have been more polished. A few more months may have helped the game with a few of these features. Some missions give the compass some trouble and things like that. Still, these are all what I would consider minor quality of life improvements. The important thing here is that you will still be having fun the whole time. I could barely put the game down as I played through the whole campaign. The game’s length is also pretty good at around 20-22 hours. That’s a solid length and of course there is a ton of replay value.

I don’t see how you can catch all of the Pokemon to unlock the true ending in under 30-40 hours. If you want to complete all tasks for all Pokemon then that’s probably even longer. So you’re not going to run out of content here, that’s for sure. I still consider this to be a Pokemon spinoff game and not the next in the main line series but it’s got enough content to be one, that’s for sure. You can play this for a very long time and with all the missions around as well, you’re likely looking at 50-60 hours total.

The graphics were a big deal leading up to the game since everyone pointed out how they don’t look so great. Yes, it’s true that this doesn’t compare to any of the big Switch games. It’s GameFreak though and they’re known for being as cheap as possible while still coming out with the game. I can’t say that I’m surprised they did not spend the extra budget to make this title look amazing. Even with that being said, this is still a good looking game. Just because it’s not top tier doesn’t mean that it is bad. There are a lot of nice sceneries and effects thrown in here.

Trust me when I say that you won’t have any issues when playing through the game. It still looks good and I would play a sequel that looks just like this one in a heartbeat. The soundtrack is quite good though. I like all of the remixes here. The wild Pokemon theme and the trainer theme are both a lot of fun. The absolute best theme in the game is definitely the Giratina remix though. The most powerful moment in the whole game and the theme is very fitting. It really fills you with energy and after beating the game this was the first track from the title that I looked up. It’ll be hard to go back to the normal tune after this.

Overall, Pokemon Legends: Arceus is a very solid game. I think the lack of Arceus in a game named after him can be disappointing for some but I’m not particularly a big fan of his so I was cool with that. The game is great and I liked the story around it. We got some real villains here and a ton of lore. All of the final scenes are really serious and make you feel the danger surrounding the characters. Some quality of life updates would be greatly appreciated so maybe they could put in some free DLC. Like trying to find Pokemon when you have to deal with the usuals each time can be a bit tedious. If there was a way to filter out Pokemon that you have mastered the entry for, that would be awesome. With some Pokemon only showing up at night or in the day, I’m glad you can change the time at any camp but that also takes some time. With a little more polish this game would be near perfect but either way I would recommend picking it up right away. There’s just to much to do here that you almost don’t know where to start when talking about it. There’s plenty of stuff I haven’t even touched upon myself in this review so when you start the game you’ll be in for some surprises!

Overall 8/10

Pokémon Evolutions Review

Pokemon has had quite a few mini series so far. They all tend to be pretty solid. Some are more action based while others follow the story more. They’re always a glimpse at some fun concepts for an ongoing story but at the end of the day they can sometimes just make you wish that it was a title that you could pick up and watch for 20+ episodes. Well, Evolutions is the strongest show to date. It may also make you wish that they could just adapt all of the games like this already but each episode does still manage to have a complete story within so it doesn’t feel like you’re missing everything. There are 8 episodes contained within and each region gets an episode. I’ll break them all down below.

The first episode is almost a somber one to an extent as the champion Leon recalls the big battle against Chairman Rose’s legendary monster. Even Leon’s Charizard wasn’t quite a match for this powerful Pokemon. They got to show their strong bond here though as Charizard never gave up and Leon gets his swagger back by the end of the episode. Leon’s always been a fun character since his whole thing is that he is incredibly powerful. While I wouldn’t say he is the strongest Pokemon Trainer out there, he has earned a very solid reputation for himself. If we get to see him take on some more powerful trainers and continue to win in the main anime that could change things. Either way this was a good episode to start things off with. It’s not one of the most intense ones but with the action scene we did get and the solid animation, it was a good omen of things to come.

Episode 2 brings in the Sun and Moon cast as Necrozma shows up and starts dishing out the damage. Lunala has to fight against him and it’s nice to actually see Lunala fighting with great animation like this. Lunala has rarely gotten the spotlight compared to some of the other legendaries so this was a good chance to change things. That being said, Necrozma is not a Pokemon that goes down easily and is even one of the stronger Pokemon legendaries I would say. This one really ends with a lot of momentum on the villain’s side. The fight is one of the best in the series and you can feel the tension. It was an excellent way to continue on from the first episode.

In the third episode we get Lysandre making his speech about why he’s actually the good guy. We see his past and also how he originally had good intentions that just started getting more and more extreme until he was completely the villain. It’s a much weaker episode than the first two. Not a bad one but I think the issue is that he just isn’t a very convincing villain. See, someone like N I could understand. I think you can make some valid points for why Pokemon should not be fighting and he just made sense. There’s just no part during Lysandre’s pitch where you actually think he’s in the right, especially not when he’s strapped to a giant machine and fighting off the other Pokemon. A villain with a strong goal is always at least interesting though so while this episode couldn’t compete with the first two, it still kept a high amount of energy.

Following up that episode has N appear which is quite fitting since he was a good comparison in the last one. It’s from Ghetis’ point of view for the most part though as we see how he orchestrated all of these events. He was at the front of the situation from the very beginning and it turns out that he really was a tactical genius. I was never a big Ghetis fan but his plan was sound. N is really the one doing all the work though as we see him take down the Champion and get ready to fight the main character. It’s another reason why I always found N so fascinating. Defeating a champion is pretty much unheard of except for the main character and rival. A villain taking down the champion has never really happened before. This episode didn’t have any really long action scenes but it was really hype throughout.

Episode 5 is certainly more of an upbeat one. We get a glimpse into Barry’s life as he lost to Team Galactic initially and then pressed forward until he gained the skills needed to stand up to them. It’s one of the more emotional episodes. He may not be as strong as the main character yet, but he’s giving it his best effort. I always like how stoic the main character of the relevant Pokemon game is in these episodes but more on that later. It was a bit more low key than the last episode but still a fun adventure and it ended up covering quite a lot.

Episode 6 is my favorite episode in the series. We get to see the ceremony with Zinnia as she explains the prophecy of her people to Ruby. They climb up the tower as May tries to get the stone back before they make it to the top where the summoning begins. This was a really powerful moment in the manga with how Zinnia lived her whole life for this moment only to find out that she wasn’t the right person. It’s definitely tough because she did everything that she possibly could and yet it was not enough. That’s the kind of thing that’s hard to really get any silver lining out of. Still, she makes the hero call and lets May be the one to summon Rayquaza and save the world. She at least gets to have her fight at the end though. It’s a dynamite episode from start to finish, Zinnie continues to show why she is one of the best Pokemon characters and we still do get some action in this episode even if that isn’t the main focus this time around.

It’s fitting that episode 7 is my least favorite for the ultimate whiplash. Episode 7 has a few girls telling a story about Ho-Oh and Lugia. If it sounds familiar it’s because we also got a story for the Johto portion in one of the previous Pokemon miniseries when we learn how the dog trio were created. Is Johto just not good enough to get the big action treatment like the others? I guess the most interesting thing here is seeing how the Pokemon contribute to the show. It’s like real life special effects in this verse but at the same time there was just no big hook and to me that’s what held this episode back. The whole time you’re waiting for some kind of fight or something but it never comes. The artistic style here was a big step down from the other episodes as well. Ultimately it was just not a very engaging episode.

Finally we end with Kanto so you know things are going to get hype. Green is searching for the final Pokemon in the Pokedex: Mewtwo. Unfortunately another trainer is already in the cave so now it’s a race to the finish. That said, both trainers have a good amount of chivalry so there isn’t any cheating or things like that. They both want to win in a clean fashion. At first I didn’t recognize Green since it appears more like her new design. I actually thought that it was the Let’s Go main characters at first and then Red and the others would get their cameos. Red and Blue do get a quick cameo at the end but this was in fact Green. (Don’t know the names of the Let’s Go crew assuming that they have new names) This was a great way to end the series though. It doesn’t quite defeat the Zinnia episode, however it had the longest action scenes. Not necessarily in a fighting context but with all the acrobatics and running around in the cave. We also got to see a fun look at how some of the gameplay mechanics would work out like how a fight is initiated when two characters meet each other’s gaze. Of course the guy chickened out the first time though.

There you have it, those are the 8 episodes of Pokemon Evolutions. The animation throughout the series is really solid. The battles are on point and the character designs are smooth. I dare say that the animation here could hold up with the main series and the battles in particular probably beat some of the main title fights as well. Of course I imagine it’s easier to make the fights look spectacular when it isn’t weekly 20+ minute episodes. The soundtrack also deserves a lot of respect here with how many solid tunes and remixes we get.

Pokemon Evolutions succeeds in all areas and just makes for a really fun experience. As mentioned, it feels more self contained and complete compared to the other Pokemon titles. I would say this is the best one. Yes, the episodes still tend to have cliffhangers but we got to see the fights before that happened as opposed to the battles being left to your imagination. That’s a big difference. Also, this series covered more of the big events. You’ll likely remember all of these scenes from when you played through the video games and that’s a lot of fun since now you get to see it happen in real time.

Additionally, the video game main characters all look really hype. You have Ruby who gets to prove that she is the chosen one to go and fight with Rayquaza. Then you have the main character of the Diamond and Pearl games who is holding his own against Jupiter and the others. Green gets to show her persistence in combat and Red/Blue appear to be pros as always. The fact that they are all silent for the most part just increases their mysterious aura. Not all of them are silent though like Green has a lot to say but for the most part they silently dare their opponent to make a move. Their unlimited confidence makes it easy to see how they would end up becoming the champions.

Now that we’ve gotten to explore all of the regions a bit, I’d really like to have a crossover at some point. Pokemon Adventures did this so why not a show right? Red interacting with Black or Green meeting up with Platinum would be a lot of fun. If they can keep this big animation budget as well then you could also splurge on some really big fights. Of course the best way would be to have a full TV show for this but even if the episodes were shorts, you could still do a lot. Maybe go back to the series’ roots and make it a big tournament anime. The possibilities are really endless although my money would be on Red to go all the way of course. You couldn’t rule any of the other characters out though as they all became champions by the end of their journies.

Overall, Pokemon Evolutions is a really solid title. It’s a short one so you’ll definitely be done with it in a blast but it should help to inspire you to go back to the games or read some of the manga. If you’re a Pokemon fan then you will definitely have a major blast with this one and even if you don’t know Pokemon (Somehow) you should still be able to enjoy the quality writing and pacing of the episodes. Given that you can easily complete the whole series in less time than it takes to watch a movie, there’s no reason not to watch this one. Hopefully at some point this leads to a full movie or show but in the meantime I’ll be satisfied with getting another mini series as well.

Overall 8/10

Pokémon HeartGold SoulSilver: Go! Go! Pokéathlon Review

Pokémon’s certainly had a lot of different titles over the years. Pokémon Adventures is easily the most well known one but there are countless stories you can tell through manga and we have seen a nice variety. You have action titles like Reburst, heists, comedies, trading card manga, etc. Well, this one is a sports one shot and the premise is good enough where you wish it could have been a true ongoing. There’s a whole lot you could do with Pokemon and sports after all. It would end up being one of the big time Pokemon manga titles.

The story follows a kid named Takashi who is really excited to enter the Pokémon Triathalon. He just barely makes it in time but knows that this should be a complete win on his part. He has Onyx, Chikorita, and Pigeotto. His childhood friend Lyra warns him that this competition won’t be easy and he should think things through. Unfortunately that’s not Takashi’s strong point so things start to go south. Takashi has to question if he really stands a shot here. Can he make a comeback or is time to go back to being just an ordinary Pokemon trainer?

The story is only about 20 pages so there isn’t a whole lot of time for events, but we do get to see 3. The first is the hurdles where you have to jump over the stick like in the Olympics. Chikorita would probably be the best pick here right? Well Takashi doesn’t seem to think so and he decides to go with Onyx. I can tell you that at this point I was starting to get a little concerned. Still, maybe he just didn’t think it through… It was a rough loss but you really can’t blame him, I don’t see how you can expect the guy to jump a large distance like that. It’s just not the Onyx way.

Takashi keeps making questionable choices to the point where a bully shows up to mock him. Problem is, Lyra points out that even the bully is taking this more seriously and has put himself in a position to win. He brought berries and drinks for his Pokémon. Takashi admits that he forgot. Now this is already bad but the next scene is easily Takashi’s worst. Lyra says she thought this might happen and so she brought him a Poke smoothie from home. All right, this should give him the edge right? Wrong! As Takashi is walking to the arena he forgets why he is holding a smoothie in the first place and ends up drinking it himself. The guy either has the memory of a goldfish or he just really wanted a smoothie. Either way, it’s an awful look and he doesn’t really deserve to win now. That said, the only other competitor is the bully and we don’t want him to win either so that makes this a tough proposition.

Well, the final event is a classic Pokémon battle only there is a ring out feature this time. The first team to have all of their Pokémon knocked out loses. This event goes really fast which makes sense since the story was ending. I’ll give it kudos for having a decent way for Takashi to compete here even if the Pokémon did all the work. The bully is redeemed and we get a happy ending to end off with. It’s a solid ending and that wraps up our journey.

This was a fun story although I think it was a bit exaggerated with how bad Takashi was. It gets to the point where you seriously can’t root for him. He massively squanders every possible opportunity. The smoothie scene was certainly inexcusable. He’s a nice kid but ultimately I can’t say I liked Takashi. If you’re going to enter a tournament I expect your best. Whether you win or lose doesn’t matter as long as I know you tried your best. Takashi didn’t seem to be trying his best though which is a bit much.

Lyra did her best at least. She came prepared after all but I would have liked to have seen her in more events since if seems like she did enter. I suppose she just happened to be in different events most of the time which is reasonable. It seems like a big enough event where you had a lot of different sports going on at the same time so you couldn’t enter all of them. Even as the story ends we’re not done with the triathlon and more events are to come. I never got to try any Triathlons in the games since I don’t own HeartGold yet, but it sounds fun enough. Sort of like minigames so if the controls are on point this could be really solid.

The artwork is on point as well too. The pages are very clear and you can always tell what is happening. It makes for an easy read and you’ll be blasting through the chapter. The writing’s good and it’s just a pleasant light hearted adventure to read through. It’s probably not going to be a super memorable one that you go back to every few years or anything like that but it’s a good read. If you enjoy it enough perhaps it will even convince you to buy HeartGold so you can try it out for yourself. Now that would be a real win for the story.

Overall, There’s certainly nothing really negative to say about the manga. It’d be nice to have had some more pages so we could really enjoy the actual events though. Here it’s more like we see the start and end but don’t get a whole lot beyond that. With another 10-15 pages I think we would have gotten a whole lot more action which would have worked out really well. Pokemon will continue to get more and more manga though so I look forward to seeing which one shows up next. The franchise is vast and I doubt we’ll ever run out of new ideas to create manga for. The series just has too much potential.

Overall 7/10

Pokemon Unite Review

Pokemon Unite is the latest free to play Pokemon title out there. It’s loaded with all the microtransactions you want though so you can buy just about anything if you want to give some money to the gam. There was some potential to be had here for sure but ultimately I don’t think Unite quite lived up to it. The main issue with the game is how long each battle takes so I feel like you need a complete overhaul of the gameplay mechanics in order to go farther.

When you first start the game you get a pretty nice cinematic. The graphics are really on point and you can tell that you’re about to jump into the crazy world of Pokemon. I allowed my hopes to jump up as I told myself that this would be one of the greatest Pokemon spinoffs of all time. Then you’re taken to the main menu where you learn about the game. There’s a lot to the gameplay so it’s tricky to explain but here’s the basic rundown.

Unite is a 5 on 5 Pokemon battle that uses a real time overhead view. The goal is to knock out wild Pokemon or opposing team members to store up some energy. You then go to one of the opponent’s cores and use the energy to take it over. When you have accumulated enough energy to do so, you slam the energy down in a Basketball slam dunk of sorts and take over the area. Rinse and repeat until the time limit is up and the match is over.

Each match is around 10 or more minutes so that’s a lot of time to run around and explore. You will want to try and coordinate with your teammates but that isn’t easy in an online lobby. I’m not sure if you are able to connect your microphone but if you can then that is probably your best bet to get everyone on the same page. You can send generic orders using the control pad as well though.

Whether you run straight at the enemy or try and protect your own bases initially, it’s your call. There’s no best strategy I’d say, it’s really about how you execute it. Each Pokemon has their normal attack, two special moves, and a final smash. Yo want to master each ability so you’re ready for action. Of course, when the match is starting everyone has to scramble to choose which Pokemon they want to play so the odds of you getting to play the same one a lot is pretty rare. Unless you like playing as Slowbro or something since nobody seems to want to play as him.

Charizard is probably the best Pokemon from the ones that I played. Note that you start out as the Pokemon’s rookie form and gradually move up by defeating opponents. Eventually you will level up during the match and then you repeat the process for future rounds. So this all sounds pretty decent right?

Well, the gameplay is good in theory but it just didn’t really mesh with me. The time limit is too long for starters, I’d prefer a stock ruleset as opposed to time. Maybe do it by score instead but the problem with time though is that you will probably know if you are going to win or lose by the middle of the match. So you can either quit and live to fight another day or just stick it through. I’m not sure if you keep the EXP if you quit so keep that in mind. I didn’t put that to the test here.

The battles also feel repetitive very quickly. You don’t feel any real weight behind the blows. I think a 1 vs 1 battle or 2 vs 2 would have worked better than 5 v 5. This is really aiming more at the World of Warcraft/League of Legends crowd with the widespread battles. I can’t speak to those titles since I haven’t played them but for Pokemon it hasn’t yet worked. The game is a little too limiting.

So even though it’s free I don’t see you sticking with this one for very long. Ultimately it’s a fun game to bide your time with but that’s about it. Eventually you’ll be ready for the next thing. Still, I will say that the graphics are good even after the opening cinematic. The Pokemon character models are on point. Additionally, I’d say that the soundtrack is pretty solid as well. You get some classic Pokemon themes. Maybe nothing too exciting but it’s good enough as background music to keep you going.

Ultimately to move up this game just needs more content. Whether they add in a 1 vs 1 mode or maybe even a story mode, that would help immensely. You need that here to give the game an extra kick. Something to help it stand out in a crowd and give you reason to play it. Otherwise there are just too many good alternatives out there and you don’t want to miss any of those.

Overall, Pokemon Unite may not have lived up to the hype for me but it was fun to give it a shot. The game may appear very greedy with how it wants money for everything but it is still a true free to play in the sense that you don’t need to buy anything. Stick on the free path and you will still have every option available to you. Now that’s a good bargain if I’ve ever seen one right? What we need now is a free to play Pokemon runner game. Now that would have lots of potential.

Overall 5/10