Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Pokemon Sun and Moon Review

Holy goddamn crap, people. Pokemon Sun and Moon. It's been a little over three years since we last received a fresh new Pokemon experience for the DS family, and at long last the seventh generation of Pokemon has arrived and it has absolutely blown my mind.
There is a lot to like about Pokemon Sun and Moon, and most of these things are new developments for the now 20-year-old series. I'll do what I can to cover every incredible aspect of the game, but the main focus will, of course, be on the big new additions.

First off, the biggest and boldest change to the Pokemon series is the absence of gyms. Rather, in Alola, the region where Pokemon Sun and Moon take place, trainers take on the Island Challenge. Rather than moving through the region and defeating eight gyms and their leaders, trainers now progress through the islands and must complete various tasks required for the trial. These tasks range from gathering cooking ingredients to snapping pictures of Pokemon to spotting the difference in a dance routine. After completing these tasks, often a Totem Pokemon will face the trainer, followed by the Trial Leader. The thing about the Alola Island Challenge is that it is actually integrated with exploring the island and it helps you to familiarize with the people who inhabit them. This new take on the old formula really livens up the adventure and makes moving through the region feel like more of an adventure than with the gym format.
But, of course, there is always the ultimate challenge of the Pokemon League. Of course Pokemon couldn't ditch that staple, so you actually get to witness the birth of the Alolan Pokemon League and compete to be the first ever champion of Alola.

Now, for the bad guys. The Pokemon "bad guy" teams throughout the years tend to stay pretty much the same. They dress alike, have badass battle music, and have some sinister intentions. Team Skull is no different in this case, but the thing that really gets me about Team Skull is the comic relief that they provide to the game. Every move of a Team Skull grunt is over exaggerated in a style that you can't help but laugh at them and their uselessness. As for the part they play in the story, I very much liked the way that Team Skull, the Aether Foundation, and Gladion all interacted with each other. Three separate entities all working towards one goal that is very similar. Overall, Team Skull is a laughably bad team that I very much enjoyed defeating.

The Pokemon, of course. There are very few of them. Only 80 new Pokemon made it into this generation, and this number is padded by the new additions of Alolan forms. First generation Pokemon that have adapted to the Alolan climate and have thus changed their typing and looks, yet are still the same Pokemon. Notable Alolan forms include Persian, Golem, and of course, Exeggutor. The Pokemon design for the Alolan forms is pretty cool, and although some would say that these retyped and redesigned Pokemon is a way for Pokemon to stop thinking creatively for new Pokemon, I would say its a happy medium. As for the new seventh generation Pokemon, they are overall well designed. An overall nicely designed generation. The legendary Pokemon look great, as do the starters, and there aren't any really, really horrible ones. A good victory altogether.

Now, for some odds and ends. The Pokedex this generation is actually a Rotom that has inhabited a Pokedex and is thus dubbed the RotomDex. This new take on the Pokedex is so hilariously awesome in so many different ways. I love the phrases he says when you catch a Pokemon, like "hot diggity you're on fire, partner" or some other crazy shit.
The characters are pretty cool and I absolutely love your "rival" Hau to pieces. He's not some snobby douche who you've known for years and chooses the type that is super effective to your starter. He instead goes for the type that is not very effective to your partner. Props, Hau. The Trial Leader and Kahunas are all pretty badass, and I want to stress again how awesome the whole trials system is, getting to meet all of these people and battle them and mature throughout the process. That's really cool to me.
Pokemon Amie is gone, kind of, for Pokemon Refresh. It's pretty much the same system as before, you can pet your Pokemon and feed them little snacks, but now you can also heal them of status conditions after battle which is really convenient and wicked cool.
Poke Pelago is by far and away the coolest new addition to the series. Poke Pelago is a series of islands that the Pokemon of your PC inhabit so they can perform various tasks. For example, while I am out adventuring, I can throw my Golbat and Munchlax into Poke Pelago to raise their friendship level with me. Really cool.
Another welcome feature is the Festival Plaza, which I kind of see as almost like the mall in Pokemon Black and White. People arrive in it either via local wireless or by internet, and there are shops there that provide services from raising friendship to lottery to various other services. My favorite part of the Plaza are the missions. Any player with plaza tickets can host their own mission with friends, but also available are massive global missions, the first of which is to catch 100 million Pokemon as a global Pokemon community. This is so cool to me because it's awesome to think that the whole world is working together for one common goal. That's so damn neat.

Overall, there is a lot going on in Pokemon Sun and Moon, and that is absolutely not a bad thing. The one point that bothered me a little bit was the overload of nostalgia the game tried to shove down the player's throat. And this is partly thanks to every single Alolan form Pokemon being from the first 150, but also just the Pokemon in the region are overloaded with Kantoan Pokemon. I did what I always did in Pokemon games, the first Pokemon I encountered with different typing, I added to my team in order to defeat the Elite Four. Well after getting to the end of the game and looking back at my team, I was a little disappointing to only see one generation seven Pokemon there: my starter. My team at the end of the game consisted of:
Decidueye (gen7)
Snorlax (gen1)
Arcanine (gen1)
Slowbro (gen1)
Magnezone (gen4)
And yeah, I only had five Pokemon, I was saving the last slot for Alolan Exeggutor but it didn't work out. That's okay. But seriously, at one point in my journey, I was traveling with four of the first 150. It's not a huge takeaway, but I would have loved to see the earlier routes more densely populated with seventh generation Pokemon rather than Growlithes and Slowpokes. But seriously, that is my only only only complaint about this gem of a game. (Might come back later for more, stay posted, updates will come in at the top)

9.5 - A must have

Pokemon Sun and Moon represent the culmination of the Pokemon series and the finest offering to date. Everyone who owns a 3DS should absolutely give this game a try, and if you haven't played Pokemon for a while, all the more power to you, as the game is heavy on the nostalgia.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Drought Breaker

Hello all, kcduckling here. Just thought I'd shoot out a quick post to break up the drought here. Yes, missing last week's update was planned as Pokemon Moon has devoured my time. I am in the midst of both composing my Pokemon Moon review and also composing my first video for my brand new YouTube channel: some gameplay for Civ VI. Stay frosty and I'll see you soon. Love you all and kcduckling out.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Weekly Update e.13

Another week has gone by and this week is all about the preparation for the release of the seventh generation of Pokemon: Pokemon Sun and Moon.

Pokemon Sun and Moon release on Friday

I would have a countdown timer on the side, but Blogger isn't participating with my dorm WiFi so instead you will have to do it like they did in the olden days: count down using some simple math. The game comes out Friday so the release is in.. 3 days-ish.

More Ultra Beasts revealed

And boy do they look different from anything ever shown in a Pokemon game before. Check these suckers out

Those are UB03 and UB05, respectively. Still no deets on how exactly they will play into the game, but we can all find out this weekend.

Even more exclusive Z-Moves

Now the starter's final evolutions too have received exclusive Z-Moves for Pokemon Sun and Moon. Since the reveal of Z-Moves, I still don't know exactly how sold I am on them. They look a little time consuming and I can't really imagine that one of the status Z-Moves would be of much use, but hey, I haven't played it yet, so who knows? Maybe I'll like it.

kcduckling, when are you going to start making videos?

Great question. Due to me being sort of busy in college and also me having people around where I live, it can be difficult to find a good time to sit down and do some good ole commentary and talk about my favorite games. I am not moving away from this idea, but the time has got to be right. I still plan on streaming flash games with commentary because dammit, flash games are underrated. Until then, I've come up with an in-between. I'm going to start doing some videos with just game noise and gameplay. No voice, no me. Just you watching a video game. Some people are into that, so I hope you are.

Well, with this week being both the release of Pokemon Sun and Moon and also my fall break, don't get your hopes to high for a weekly update or videos. Just kick back, relax, play some Pokemon, and I'll see you next time. Until then, kcduckling out.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Weekly Update e.12

Another week, another close miss on the deadline for the Sunday post. Hey, it's college, stuff happens. Without further ado...

COD Infinite Warfare came out... who cares?

I dunno, not a lot of people I guess because although the game has received some okay reviews, the servers are just hilariously underused. The simple fact is COD is going somewhere where it shouldn't be: the future/space. Just stay out man, that's Halo's turf. And you don't want beef with the Master Chief.

A new hero for Overwatch

Sombra, I hear is what they call her. I don't really know much about her (because Overwatch is a dumb game, in my humble opinion), but for you Overwatch fans, eat it up! Here are the deets: https://playoverwatch.com/en-us/heroes/sombra/

A rather unexciting week. Pokemon crawls closer as does that good ole January Nintendo Switch date. As for the YouTube channel and some hot vids, once again I will ask you to hold your horses. Progress has been made, I have the ingredients, I just need a little time to get cooking. But, I think that I've figured out that I'm gonna stream flash games mostly because those are the games that no one really talks about, and there are some damn good ones out there. Until next time, kcduckling out.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Weekly Update e.11

It's  been more than a week since the release of Civilization VI and Battlefield One, and time goes on. This week was a surprisingly packed week for Nintendo fans, including a very desired Nintendo Switch related date. Let's dive on in.

Nintendo Switch Announcements

We have already received the first look at Nintendo's next console, but there is actually quite a bit that we still don't know about it, including specs, price, and what games the system will have at launch. Nintendo's January 12 presentation seeks to clarify all of these burning questions. Until then, well I guess we'll have to keep hearing rumors and wait.

Pokemon Sun and Moon... again

The Pokemon Company has been releasing trailer after trailer after trailer trying to get Pokemon fans hyped for the seventh generation of Pokemon, and it certainly is working. Yet another Pokemon Sun and Moon trailer has released this week, detailing even more new features to the game and showing off a few new Pokemon as well. I won't go too much into this one, but the trailer includes the final evolution for the starter 'mons, the guardian deity for all four islands, and a new post-champion battle challenge that includes some Pokemon Trainer legends. Pokemon Sun and Moon are now only 18 days away.

Because why not? A Volcanion code!

GameStop had an event this month were you could go into their store and pick up a special code for a Volcanion in your OmegaRuby or AlphaSapphire Pokemon game, and I happened to come across an extra, so if you still need a code for this event-only Pokemon, here she is:


Enjoy your badass Volcanion, courtesy of GameStop and kcduckling.

I'm still looking to post some Civ VI gameplay hopefully soon, but school will be school, so probably I'll have to wait for the weekend. Until then kcduckling out.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Mic in Today

My mic just arrived in the mail today, so you can expect the kcduckling of the future to have a lot more impressions and reviews via microphone, a real treat for you loyal fans to finally experience my silky smooth voice into your ears. I'll come back soon with some Nintendo Switch impressions and hopefully my first Civ VI Let's Play

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Weekly Update e.10

Back at it again with the weekly update, its me. And boy howdy was this a hell of a week for us gamers, with the release of Battlefield One, Civilization VI, a Pokemon Sun demo, AND the freaking goddamn Nintendo NX was revealed as the Nintendo Switch. Pretty cool stuff. Let's get into the details, shall we?

Battlefield One

I already touched on this a tad bit the other day, I've only played a few hours of the online multiplayer, and it was pretty damn excellent. Seriously good looking and pretty fun to play, it's worth checking out.

Pokemon Sun Demo

A very overshadowed little fella, the Pokemon Sun demo also came out earlier this week on Tuesday. It is an incredibly short demo that was very, very, very disappointing. I know it's just a demo, but seriously, put at least a little substance in it. The demo is literally you walk around in a city and then go to a trial and take a few pics and battle about 6 Pokemon with your type disadvantaged Greninja. After that, you unlock a Tauros for your PokeRide service and can do a few more things, but seriously, a really quick demo that offers a tiny taste of the game. Overall though, the game still is shaping up to be the biggest entry in the series to date, so look forward to its release come this November 18th.

Civilization VI

Seriously, wow man. Civilization V had dominated my play time on Steam and was easily my most played game in my whole library, so I was looking very much forward to its follower, Civilization VI. When it finally unlocked for me Thursday night at 11pm, I immediately jumped into the game and was not at all disappointed. As of now, the game has been out for 71 hours and Steam tells me that I have played for 35 of those, so I'm pretty hooked. My time has pretty evenly been distributed between a single player game as Gandhi and a multiplayer game as Montezuma. I've got about 300 turns in both and there are some really big things that jump out at me.
  • The incredible aggressiveness of the barbarians seems to be so much more powerful than in Civ V. In my multiplayer game, I foolishly expanded too far out of my reach and put a new city up on the same landmass as a barbarian encampment and for my first time in Civ history, the barbarians took my city from me and burned it to the ground. Pretty rude, if I do say so myself.
  • The updated civics and tech trees are incredibly helpful and the integration into the game is incredible. Every tech and civic comes with a "Eureka moment" to speed its research, a feature that rewards players for playing the game with wit and really thinking through their moves.
  • The unstacked cities too offer a fresh take on the Civilization gameplay that demands city planning, which tiles will become districts and which tiles will be saved for food and housing.
  • Civ AI leaders definitely have not changed much from my experience. Even though leaders all have agendas now that should allow you to please them, they still make some pretty outlandish claims sometimes, like my multiplayer game where Gilgamesh of Sumeria denounced me because of my treasury size when I had 5,000 gold and he only had 195. Hypocritical much?
I'm thinking perhaps sometime this next week or weekend, I'll finally get that YouTube channel I've dreamed about up and running. For sure I'll try to stream a little Civ this upcoming week, we'll just have to see.

I feel like there was something else. I can't quite remember what it was, what was I thinking of? Oh, right.

A freaking new Nintendo console is on the way and not only does it look pretty freakin sweet, it also teased a new 3D Mario game for it which is enough to get that hype train rolling down the tracks. I'll come back later for some more detailed Nintendo NX impressions, but until then have a good week and kcduckling out.