BLOGTEMBER DAY 25: Pokémon Go Review

Sunday, September 25th: Review something! A place, a book, a service, a product. Anything at all!

After posting my first impressions of Pokémon Go I wanted to do a bit of a recap after having played the game for awhile so initially this post was going to be “My First Month With Pokémon Go”… but then I saw the Blogtember prompts and decided that this would be a bit of an unexpected way to interpret it, while simultaneously getting to use the blog post notes I had anyway.

I started playing on July 8th. We’ll just casually let it slide that the app wasn’t technically available in Canada until about ten days later. It’s now September 25th so I’ve had a good amount of time to play and get a feel for the game (in it’s current form up to this point) as well as be able to point out some pretty basic flaws and some great features.

Overall I still really like playing Pokemon Go. It seems like they’ve fixed the server issues that plagued the game for the first couple weeks so that’s definitely a great change from the first post I did!

First, I think the hype has died down pretty substantially. Now don’t get me wrong, tonnes of people are still playing (obviously) but not as many. This may be why the servers aren’t crashing anymore. I think a big part of this is that instead of ADDING features right off the bat, Niantic took several features away. The “three step” tracking feature was removed, leaving the game without any sort of viable way to track down the Pokémon that appear on the radar. Another thing they removed was a sort of geotag map that would appear showing where each Pokémon was caught. They added this feature back in the last update, but isn’t that kind of like regifting? I think they need to start listening to suggestions to keep players using the app, as well as reattract people who have left out of frustration or boredom. The recently added “Buddy” feature, however, is awesome and I definitely applaud them for that. Good move, Niantic/ Nintendo. Good move.

I haven’t been playing too heavily. On day two or three of the official Canadian release I was talking with a bunch of people in one of my classes and one girl was level three and I was level 15. Two weeks later we actually had a lecture on Pokémon Go and the same girl was level 20 and I was level 19. So I am definitely not as hardcore as some people. This is likely to do with the fact that I live in the suburbs and she lives relatively close to downtown Vancouver. This is definitely one thing I think they should adjust within the game, as I totally get having more PokéStops in more urban, populated areas but there really needs to be some sort of consolation for us lowly folk out in suburbia and in more rural areas.

I am now level 24 (and a half) and mostly play on my commute. Sitting on the bus/ train/ passenger side of a car is great because you can just flick all the Pokestops as you pass them and catch Pokemon as they pass by. My trick used to be to use a lucky egg and incense at the same time and evolve all the Pidgeys and Weedles I had but they made it so you can’t do that anymore (almost all the Pokémon escape and run away) which totally sucks.

The one thing to note is the game is KILLER on battery. My phone is an iPhone 5s and the battery isn’t great to begin with but this game has just wrecked it. I have to carry around my portable charger and my regular charging cord, as well as leaving car chargers in every vehicle. My battery will be 100% when I leave my house to about 10% at the halfway point to school. I’ll put in the portable charger and will charge by the time I get to class where I’ll plug in my phone and external charger to the wall outlet at school so I’d have some battery for the way home. In one of my classes I even brought my laptop so I could plug my phone in and play during lecture. (It was a 4 hour lecture on dance theory… ). The app isn’t too hard on data but I have gone over my 2GB limit.

One great thing about Pokémon Go is with the different aspects of the game there truly is something for everyone. You can fight gyms, explore for Pokestops, try and fill your PokeDex, get as many medals as possible… As so on! Personally I lean more to the filling my Pokédex… Gotta catch ’em all, as they say. I really wish that you got awarded XP for unlocking the different medals because if that was the case, that would definitely be my favourite element of the game but as of now the whole medal thing is pretty pointless other than looking cool.

Going off the medal issue, it would be cool to have quests or some other similar way to get XP. I’m not a competitive person so the gym battles aren’t really my thing but the thought of having little missions would be really fun and add another level to the game, especially out in the suburbs where the PokéStops are a little sparse and there are only so many Pidgeys and Rattatas one wants to catch.

Even though it was initially really exciting to get a starter, it was essentially pointless other than getting to cross off a relatively rare Pokémon from your Pokédex. It is CP 10 and thus is pretty useless after a certain point that comes relatively early. In the original games your starter is like your ride or die BFF secret weapon that you pull out to kick serious butt. In Pokémon Go as soon as I caught a higher CP (I always say level instead of CP so I apologize if I accidentally put that in this post) Squirtle I traded in my starter to get a candy in hopes of evolving the stronger guy into a Wartortle at some point. I felt like a heartless witch. But…. What else should I have done? Now that there’s a buddy system this is a bit of a softer blow, but it would be great to have some kind of feature that makes your starter stronger as you level up as a trainer, therefore growing together and continuing that bond that is so crucial to the rest of the franchise.

When trading in Pokemon for candies, I feel like you should get more based on what evolutionary stage the Pokemon is at. For example, one candy for Pidgey, two for Pidgeotto and three for Pigeot. It seems kind of counterintuitive to get the same reward for a commonplace Pidgey than a big/tough/somewhat uncommon Pigeot. An extension of this would be to get different amounts of candy based on the Pokémon’s CP. Personally I am indifferent with that suggestion, but it’s worth considering.

I also think it would be a good choice to add the ability to change teams. Even if it’s just once and you have to do some sort of task(s) to unlock this option, I feel a lot of people would  benefit from it. As I mentioned in my first impressions post, my brother was working out of town for the summer so when I finally saw him … he was Blue Team. Meanwhile myself, both my parents, my other brother who doesn’t live at home, as well as five people we hang out with regularly were all Yellow Team. So while he really wanted to be on Mystic to have Articuno as his team logo, it has led to him feeling pretty excluded, even if we’re playing together.

Lastly, I’m still hoping for some PvP battling and trading. I think being able to battle friends for XP would make it a lot easier to level up out in the suburbs and would add a whole new level to the game that would potentially bring a lot of people back to playing.

It’s definitely been an experience!

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Overall I really enjoy playing Pokémon Go still. Admittedly a big portion of that is because my family is REALLY into it. My parents started playing mid-August and are already levels 22 and 23. Like my parents MAKE my brother and I go and play it with them. They went out and bought heavy duty external chargers and enough car adapters to support a small country. My dad paid for us to get roaming data on our phones so we could play in Seattle (well, technically for me to get roaming data and everyone to tether their phones to mine). But it’s been really fun and definitely a point of bonding for us.

I do 100% recommend playing Pokémon Go. Like I said in the previous post, it’s all a matter of how you see it. I admit I never got into FarmVille or Candy Crush, but I am definitely making up for lost time with Pokémon and am determined to fill that PokéDex!

Thanks so much for reading this post! Have you been playing Pokémon Go? How many “critters” (as my parents call them) have you caught? I’d love to hear from you!

 

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