THOUGHTS: Pokémon Go

Let’s be honest: we’re all playing it. And if I try and say that’s not partly the reason I stopped posting for a while then I’m a big fat liar.

Yes! Pokémon Go finally came to phones July 6th 2016. Being a UK resident I didn’t get the app officially until the 13th. That doesn’t mean to say I didn’t play it before then…

Me? Play something illegally? Gasp! No way!

What is Pokémon Go?

For the people out there who may not have heard of this game:

Title: Pokémon Go
Genre: Location-Based, Augmented Reality, Mobile Game
Release Date: July 6th 2016 (Initially)
Publisher: The Pokémon Company
Developer: Niantic

In other words: You go outside, wild Pokémon will appear on your mobile phone screen and you can catch them (level them up, evolve them etc.). Locations that have points of interest will normally become a “Pokéstop” where players can restock on items like Pokéballs, potions etc. or even a gym where players must fight the leading Pokémon to then become the leader of that gym. Players decide to join a team (Instinct, Mystic or Valor) once they reach level 5 which plays into the gym aspect of the game and has on other meaning thus far.

So what do I think of it..?

It is literally the most ridiculous app I have ever become addicted to.

Why do I think it is ridiciulous? Well let me think… I have never been more motivated to go outside and walk 10k in my life. All because I get to throw a ball at a virtual rat.

The premise of the game is so simple and easy to understand and yet I still can’t help but feel enraged when a CP10 Charmander has the audacity to escape and run away from me. Why? Because it’s a CHARMANDER!

pokemonfeature
Source: unstoppablegamer.com

Honestly, the app itself isn’t that great. My particular one crashes every time I put the damn thing in battery saver mode or catch a Pokémon after it has been open for more then 5 minutes.Servers go down on a regular basis and sometimes you can’t even log in. Schrodinger’s Pokéball has become a running meme as the app tends to crash once the Pokémon is in the ball and the game has to be restarted but did you or did you not catch the Pidgey? Who knows?! Find out if you can ever get the game to load again. Using lucky eggs and incense to lure creatures towards you is a risky move at any time because the server may die on you mid-use and you’ve wasted it. And if you want to get another one, you have to pay for it…with real money.

Also, the battling system where you just punch the phone screen? That needs work but I can cope with that.

But Kirsten? If the app is so terrible, why is everyone playing it 24/7?

Because it’s Pokémon.

Majority of 90s kids are reliving their childhoods right now and I am one of them. The feeling you get when you catch your favourite is something you can’t explain.

As much as I hate to say it: this app is bringing people together more than any social network has. Having 12-year-olds walk past me on the street and then immediately hearing, “wait, are you playing? What have you found?” is now a common occurence. And I love it!

Right now this is the in-thing and after a while, yes, people will probably stop playing it and give up “catching them all” because after all they’re not real. But right now I’m seeing so many people outside gathering and talking and making friends and honestly, it’s a beautiful sight.

pokemon-go-05
Source: pokémon.com

It sounds stupid to think that, after all this time, for millennials and younger to appreciate the beauty of nature they just needed to have virtual animals to follow around.

(That isn’t true but it’s what a lot of the older generation are thinking. My parents and grandparents included.)

I have a love-hate relationship with this app but I can’t wait for updates to come for trading and real battling with other players and so much more.

Likewise, this app is great for natural selection…

I mean, c’mon, who is stupid enough to run into a highway or off a cliff? Seriously? 

Be safe, trainers.

pokemon-go-logo

THOUGHTS: Resident Evil 7 Demo

I disappeared for a while. Real life got a bit too real. I’m hoping to be back now for at least a while.

Considering last week was E3, I feel in the post-convention depression I should talk about at least one of the games we got something out of. This won’t be so much a review as it will be just a discussion of my thoughts on it.

Anyway! The basics of the complete game are:

Title: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Genre: Survival horror
Release Date: 24th January 2017 (supposedly)
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom

The gameplay demo for RE7 was released just after or during Sony’s press conference at E3 and PlayStation Plus players could play it immediately. I’m going to stop here to have a disclaimer: I have not played the demo but have watched a fair few YouTubers play it, for different endings and different play styles.

Let’s get the elephant out of the room here and acknowledge that this demo was clearly inspired by PT. Heavily inspired. Capcom saw how well it did and sat around a table and said, “Why don’t we do this but…with weapons?!” and they all clapped and cheered over how great the idea was.

I’m not saying that that’s bad. A lot of horror creators have taken inspiration from PT because if we’re all honest with ourselves: it was scary. You didn’t want to go through the next door because even though you knew it was going to be the same, you didn’t want to risk it being different. The voices and writings appearing at random intervals, Lisa slamming the bathroom door, an aborted fetus in the sink. All of these things were little details that made that demo scary.

But I’m sorry to say that Resident Evil 7’s demo is not scary. There is no fear factor wandering around that house.

The people I watched playing it, yes, had certain moments of breathlessness but not outright fear. There was nobody sat in the chair saying “I do not want to go through that door” or “I don’t want to go up that staircase“. They all continued moving through the house and most wanted to continue exploring.

I mean there had to be a reason for that dummy finger… Right?

One video I watched, the player ignored the moaning/grumbling from behind the TV room door and just talked over it. Moments that should have been chilling just weren’t.

e3-2016-resident-evil-7-teaser-demo-not-part-of-the-main-gam_xmvh-640
Source: ign.com

Maybe this is psychological and it’s because as a series Resident Evil went downhill very quickly, and after the abomination of a game that was Resident Evil 6, fans aren’t frightened of this series anymore. It’s like a small child dressing up as a zombie and telling “BOO!”, you might jump or have a small step backwards but underneath the make up you know that they’re just another third person shooter trying to play horror.

I’m glad that Capcom have finally decided to go back to the horror basics but they can’t be too disappointed that fans are sceptical especially when their demo idea has already been done…in the past year.

Moving on as I don’t want to dwell on the not scary thing.

Gameplay looks solid. The inventory system looks similar to that of older RE games, especially the briefcase from RE4. I liked the addition of assigning items to buttons as nothing was worse (to me) than in older RE games when you were fighting an enemy and you might as well have said to them “hang on I just have to rearrange my pockets because I’m out of ammo!“.

The first person perspective is obviously very new to main-game Resident Evil and maybe it will be a nice change. Though there is a nagging sense in the back of my mind that Capcom have only decided on first person so that they can take advantage of VR.

That then begs the question of: is the HUD going to look similar to that of Umbrella and Darkside Chronicles or will they have an entirely different appearance ready for us?

Overall, I liked the demo.

There are a lot of questions that I want to ask but in time they will be answered: Are the enemies zombies? Is Umbrella coming back and not a knock-off company? Why is none of the demo content or characters going to be in the main game? Are they relevant? Will we see any old faces? How is the VR going to work? And what is the deal with that creepy girl who pops up at every corner of the demo?

resident-evil-7-ghost-girl-692x389-optimal
Source: gamerant.com

As a long-term fan of Resident Evil I’m excited and nervous to see where this new road takes us but Capcom seem confident that this won’t be a repeat of 6. And hey! No quick-time events either!

I say, roll on January 24th. Let’s make Resident Evil great again.

Just please don’t make us jump out of the way of any trains again…