Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are coming out this holiday season neck and neck with Star Wars Battlefront II aka “We’re Sorry: The Game,” which has a beta that will get a detailed impressions article next week.
This week, I'd like to examine why Pokemon doesn't excite me the way it used to, and it all boils down to lingering gripes I've been having with how Pokemon doesn't flow very well, compared to games like Persona 5, a game that throws around the same kinds of variables that Pokemon does, but in a much more immediate fashion.
When I said that both games throw around the same variables, I meant it. Damage, healing, weaknesses, resistances, status effects, stat buffs and debuffs, charged attacks and once per battle nuke attacks. For the main character in Persona 5, he can even swap his equipped Persona much the same as tagging in a new Pokemon except that it doesn't eat up a whole turn.
Both use a system where one to three good attacks can take out an opponent in most ordinary encounters, and the player must be both aggressive and careful in guarding their weaknesses.
The difference between the two, other than the fact that Pokemon has always accommodated PvP, is in presentation. Persona 5’s random battles go fast if you know what you're doing, while the same could not be said about Pokemon’s fights.
The latter series has presented battles in almost exactly the same way since its inception. Pokeball throwing animations before every fight, text boxes declaring every status effect, super effective hit, somewhat ponderous move animations, and so on. Heck, the health bar going down happens after the move animation and not during it. In Persona 5, the animations, status effects, damage and weakness information is all conveyed in a very short amount of time.
All of this might have been acceptable back even as far back as the X and Y days, but now this is starting to wear a tad thin. And it’s not even a hardware issue, because Persona did a somewhat more fluid combat system with Persona Q: Shadow of The Labyrinth on the 3DS. It didn’t quite flow as much as 5 did, mostly because it was combining Persona with the methodical Etrian Odyssey series, but certainly better than Persona Q’s incoming sequel on the 3DS, as little as we know about it, seems likely to make the venerable series look like it’s walking through molasses.
My primary wish list for the Switch’s Pokemon game is topped primarily with “make fights flow much better” right before “make the game much prettier” and “can I please play as an adult this time?” Of course, they should always have a purist toggle for those who enjoy getting blocked from having fun by every Zubat in a ten mile radius. I don’t know about you, but I want to spend more time having fun with the combat and less time mashing the A button.
Logan Graham is a senior studying media arts with a focus in games and animation at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. How do you feel about these two acclaimed series? Let Logan know by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.