Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Heart Gold-Stopping Design Insanity (or: "How The PokeGear Ruined Everything")

Now that I've had a chance to dive further into Heart Gold/Soul Silver (13 badges at the time of this writing, looking for Chanseys due to my mild OCD about getting everything at the first opportunity), I've noticed some things that are driving me batty during the playthrough.

First of all, among the buyable TMs are Return, Dark Pulse, Taunt... and STEALTH ROCK. Yes, for the low low price of $2,000, you too can have the move solely responsible for preventing me from using entire types of Pokemon in PvP!

Now, I realize that this isn't going to stop most people from using it, since anyone who needs mass quantities of TM76 could've played through the first badge on a second game and traded it over, or is playing on a simulator. Still, at least that prevented casual use until now. This is probably the nastiest purchasable TM since Double Team was available (for $1000, by the way) in the halcyon days of RBY.

 Next is the new (or old) Itemfinder. In trying to chase down the Machine Part, the thing was bloody useless - maybe the instructions will make more sense when I can read them in something other than Japanese, but I eventually had to resort to running around the Cerulean gym like an idiot jabbing A. At least with the Dowsing Machine, you can eliminate a lot of space in one touch if the item doesn't appear.

But probably the most irritating thing is everything that goes in the Pokegear. The radio was functionally useless in the originals except for catching Snorlax, so I can understand adding something to it. And they did, in the form of the Hoenn and Sinnoh sound stations. A good idea and probably better than the Poke Radar, which I've gone on record as wanting to break a developer's legs over. But why restrict it to a day of the week for each? I'd rather not waste an appointment space on my phone's calendar that says "Catch Bidoof today", and I doubt anyone else would either. Make them each post-National stations and I'd be a little happier at using the radio to charm a Pokemon. (Or build the GB Player and this into a "pPod" item and kill two birds with one stone.)

I also prefered the Poketch Marking Map to using the PokeGear Town Map for legendary Gerbil and Lati tracking. Sure, it's just two additional button presses, but it's a lot easier to just have the map there and have it auto-update than hit the menu every time. Of course, it appears that these games are tech demos for the 5th gen engine, so we'll probably be stuck with this for the forseeable future. (Of course, they could just not have roaming Pokemon, but what do I know?)

The thing that really grinds my gears, however, is the return to the phone system instead of using the Vs. Seeker for rematches. Look Bug Catcher Wade, I don't give a flying fadoo that you beat a Bellsprout... I just want to know when you bothered to level up your stupid Caterpie so I can KO them while grinding my Mareep. (yeah.... stupid Bellsprout.) Although getting the calls from Mom that she bought me type-resisting berries - thanks to her, I've got enough Yache Berries for an entire platoon of Garchomp - and other hold items, it'd be just as easy to have the guy in the Poke Mart when I walk in.

Again, this is something that may be remedied after the localization - and unlike the originals, you can ignore the call by going into the menu. But if I need to grind at the endgame, I'd like to be the one who controls the timing for the rematches. Emerald was sorely missing this feature, and these games are going to feel the same way.

Other quick hits:

- I never realized how much Mareep relied on the elemental punches until now, especially Fire Punch. I finally had to get rid of it for Magnemite around Ecruteak City because if something's going to take up a slot in my party with its only usable attack being Thundershock, it can at least have a boatload of resistances.

- The relative hatred of Fire-types continues unabated. Houndour still is Kanto-exclusive pending a nightime visit to the new Safari Zone, Typhlosion is going to have the same problems Mareep did (not learning anything beyond its own type until high levels) and I couldn't find a Magmarizer anywhere. And Flareon's still a comedy option, before you ask (especially when it comes at L5 now).

- Miltank has Scrappy, which means it's still going to put a dent in Giratina with STAB attacks. Next time I get a chance, I'm using Dialga for native Stomp/Rollout resistance and Attract immunity.

- Lance broke out Pokesav again - LEVEL 40 DRAGONITE. At least Rock Slide is legal on Aerodactyl this time.

- I brought home a massive haul in a 2+ hour run to the Safari Zone - among previously unattainable-in-Johto Pokemon were Murkrow, Misdreavus, Mr. Mime, and Larvitar. I really hope someone goes into detail as to what can be done with the customization, since it may throw the concept of a version exclusive out the window.

- Modest Ho-oh on the 3rd Poke Ball. Hells yeah.

1 comment:

  1. "Next is the new (or old) Itemfinder."

    Follow the blinking dot? I found it much easier to use than the DPPt one.

    I completely agree with you on the "Vs. Seeker is gone" issue though; I'm a heavy level grinder and having to resort to wild Pokémon gets really frustrating when you can't control what appears. Plus no loads of money for me :(


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