Wow, I didn’t think I would be touching the topic of Pokemon GO again, especially after I “beat” the original game way back when. Well, the folks over at Niantic have finally rolled out the Gen 2 Pokemon, and I took a look to see what all had happened.
Previously, I was not very happy with how the game was being managed initially. I really enjoyed the game when I first downloaded it, really enjoyed that there were people all over joining in, and that Pokemon was getting a second wind.
However, Niantic did not handle all the popularity well. There were rampant server problems (forgivable), removal of features (you did what?), and blatant attempts to further monetize the game (death knell?). Besides the constant calls of difficulty in finding specific Pokemon, the base game lacked any great gameplay elements.
Once I had completed my Pokedex, I breathed a sigh of relief that I could finally let the game rest. My last catch, a Porygon, was hailed as a savior as I shut the game off and got back to my backlog pile.
I was a decently high level at the time (30ish) and had the Pokedex full. I had some good gym defenders and attackers as well. Problem was, I just didn’t care much anymore. The initial hype was gone, so it lost some of its social appeal to play with friends. I had no motivation to hunt down rare Pokemon. Levels meant nothing and were basically a grind at that point.
The gym system was broken in my area. I could drive around and try to grab a few coins before the bots would swarm in and gobble everything up. Most human players in my area were Blue and Red, so Yellow’s Instinct was full of bots with names appended 1 through 9 to take and hold every gym in the area. Not exactly fun, and again, back to a basic grind.
I kept up on some minor updates they added to the game, saw the seasonal events, the introduction of Ditto. They seemed to add some quality of life updates, but also made changes folks weren’t happy about (like reducing 10k eggs).
I kept wondering, what would be enough to bring someone like me back? I played daily during the Fall, I spent money on space upgrades, I walked and ran everywhere to get candies and hatch eggs.
I’ve said it before on this blog, my favorite Pokemon game in the series is Gold and Silver. It brought so many great changes, and was riding the hype I had after the originals had released. To this day its still my favorite “ecosystem” of Pokemon. Could this be the key to getting someone like me back in the game?
It’s an interesting proposition because there are several factors to balance. Pokemon GO has been bleeding users for awhile, as would be expected. It’s just a mobile game after all, and those games only have so much life.
However, Pokemon is an IP near and dear to many. On the other hand, most people are generally familiar with the Charizard and Mewtwo’s of the first generation, and were not die hard fans of the series that stuck through to Gen 2 (although many still did).
It’s also been winter in the Northern Hemisphere, which is not conducive to a game promoting getting out and about. The Gen 2 release had to battle to bring back the more casual fans, while also accounting for weather to drive a resurgence.
So Niantic went in. They have now released Gen 2 unto the world. It’s still February, which means its pretty cold in most places. Is it the right spark?
Well, at this point, I have reopened the game and caught a few things. I have not volunteered to go anywhere outside my humble abode to catch anything, just opening the app to see whats new. I caught a Spinarak and a Sentret. Not exactly flashy, but it was cool seeing the Gen 2 Pokemon in the game.
However, I don’t think it will be enough of a spark. I think the game has run out of its initial surge. Just hoping to find a Pokemon and then throwing increasingly difficult to accumulate pokeballs hoping it works an X% of the time is just not very engaging gameplay.
And this is coming from someone who was an absolute fanatic for the base game. I would drive long distances when I saw local postings of potential nests. I would go places late at night because there were rumors that the spawns timed to be in the middle of the night. I only evolved under the egg method. I posted often here describing the optimal strategies.
I think I had always been hoping they would push life into the game given the massive reception. That Gen 2 could quickly be integrated, maybe trading (I still have multiple regionals to trade for their counterparts), and a deeper combat system. How about battling friends?
As it stands, Pokemon Go touts its main appeal as the journey – travel to new spots and see what you can find. Problem is, once that majesty has washed away the game loses appeal. There’s nothing to fall back on – no solid gameplay, no story, no side strategy. Not to mention that the game has been analyzed to death, reducing it to percentages in many cases.
Basically, I’m sad to see that Pokemon Go, a game with which I thought had great potential, come up so short in my own opinion. There was so much promise of a deeper experience, and with the release of my favorite brand of new Pokemon not reigniting my interest, I think this missed potential is the real lackluster putoff for me.
Maybe I’ll come around someday. I’ll definitely be taking a look at Super Mario Run and the new Fire Emblem mobile game, which I initially avoided to avoid similar disappointment. I’ve read through a lot of the great bloggers around here’s reviews and I’m gonna give them a shot. For now though, Pokemon Go has not managed redemption in my eyes.
What are your thoughts on the new updates? Have you continued to keep playing? Is this a good spark? Comment below!