Pokemon Go: The verdict

Pokemon go icon

Nerve Online’s Jay Hammerton takes a look at the latest addition to the Pokemon franchise, judging whether Pikachu has a spot on the mobile marketplace…

Ever since Pokemon was released on the Gameboy back in 1996, it has been a series of games that has been going strong ever since, so much so that we are currently on the 7th generation of Pokemon games with a roster boasting 721 Pokemon!

The latest game to come out of the woodwork however is Pokemon Go!, a new take on the Pokemon franchise where you yourself can go out and explore the world and catch all 151 original Pokemon (Sadly MissingNo didn’t make the cut) and become a Pokemon master!

This iPhone/Android game uses a GPS to track your position and reveal Pokemon when you get into its range, and once in its range you can attempt to catch it by throwing Pokeballs at the little beast, in a fashion similar to paper toss games.

Pokemon Go GPS picture

(GPS tracks your position)

By this point I’m sure you’re thinking “That sounds great, but where do I get these Pokeballs from?”, well currently there are three methods on how to grab some Pokeballs amongst other items (Which we will cover later). The first is simply by leveling up, which you do by catching Pokemon and winning battles at the Gyms, second we have PokeStops which are points of interest in a city where you can get Pokeballs as well as other goodies if you’re lucky! The final way is one most people will have a problem with… the dreaded micro transaction.

Now hear me out before you dismiss this game as a money grab or another Pay-to-win game which are common place in app games. While you can buy Pokeballs and other items using your hard earned student finance it doesn’t give you an edge at all, this game is in fact not Pay-to-Win but instead Pay-to-Skip. There is nothing you can buy that you can’t find out in the world and the only thing your money will do is speed up your PokePoaching.

Pokestops: time to stock up before you catch em all!!!

With that bump out the way, let’s talk about PokeStops. As I said before PokeStops are points of interest in cities like churches and monuments, even police stations are included which has led to multiple people walking in to cash in on the PokeStop, which seems like a good way to get in the way and get some strange looks so let’s keep it outside, alright boys and girls? The brilliant thing about this feature is that you can go to a new city practically anywhere and instantly be shown some interesting sightseeing spots all while cashing in on the rewards (Best reason to go sightseeing!).

Gyms: How to become the best Pokemon Go player… like no one ever was!

So by this point you’ve been playing for a little while, hit level 5 and assembled a nice little team of Pokemon, but what’s that over the hill there? That would be a Gym, time to see if you’re strong enough to challenge your local gym! When you hit level 5 Gyms will become open to you and you can pick a side to fight for Team Instinct (the yellow team), Team Mystic (the blue team) or Team Valor (the red team). The color you pick shows what gyms you need to fight against, and the gyms you can ally with to strengthen. The team you pick doesn’t seem to have any advantages beyond simply picking a color, at least for right now. To claim a Gym it must either already be claimed however if it has not the Gyms will be Silver in colour.

The Gyms all have a prestige level which increases the more the Gym wins against opponents and if the Gym leaders are defeated then the prestige will lower. When the prestige hits 0, the Gym leader is forced out and the winning trainer can set themselves up as the new leader. Gyms also have another level type, which will allow more people on your team to put Pokemon in the gym to help defend it and make it harder for challengers to take the gym over.

Now for the most interesting aspect of the game; gym battles! When engaging a gym leader you can take up to six Pokemon with you for the battle, and while the fight will be a bit different from normal Pokemon games, make sure to pick your strongest team. To attack, you simply tap on the enemy Pokemon which will cause your Pokemon to do its basic move. A second move will be getting charged up over the course of the fight, which automatically unleashes once the charge is full. Keep in mind that when the enemy Pokemon attacks, you can swipe to the side and try to dodge the incoming blows.

The Snorlax issues!

Currently, there are a few technical issues which will hopefully be addressed soon. The notable ones include the occasional GPS losses, the camera used to view Pokemon in the real world having problems being used (at least on a Samsung J5 I had problems) and an issue which needs to be addressed which is the respawn rates of the PokeStops.

At this point in time the PokeStop are respawning their goods in literally five minutes making it ridiculous at certain locations. There is a landmark near where I live that has roughly 11 or 12 PokeStops which is great, but by the time I reach the fourth stop the first has respawned again, which results in players walking small circuits. The whole point of the system seemed to be to explore and discover new places that maybe you didn’t realise where there, but it seems it’s just been overtaken by the possibility of walking the same small circuit for the maximum rewards.

Looking at the game overall I think it’s fair to award Pokemon Go an 8.5/10. The game as a whole is fairly well made and there are no massive problems that seem to have appeared after its release. The models for your trainer and the Pokemon themselves are all very nicely done for a game you would find on a phone, and the music is perfectly done by GAME FREAK’s Junichi Masuda who worked on the Pokemon games since the very beginning and has composed many of the classic and memorable songs that at age twenty, you can still remember. When the small bugs and balance issues are fixed then it could be awarded a higher score, but currently the game is set to be a hit across the world and is my new favourite smartphone game to date! Victory to Team Valor!