Gathering my reactions.
by, 9th January 2013 at 04:20 AM (1826 Views)
Alright, I stayed up all night to catch the Nintendo direct live with everyone else on the Ustream. I have to say, it was worth it, and it knocked me out delerious for the whole day.
After 22 hours of blinding excitement, it's time to collect some comprehensive thoughts of mine for the trailer:
Firstly, the graphical presentation:
I really like how this game looks overall. The overworld design appears to easily rival that of the BW2 gyms, and the trainers still keep their "chibi" charm very well. In battle, however, is the part that really impresses me. Looking closely, one can see the wind blow across the fields, and the grass wave back and forth (like BW2's subtle edits); we've got less abstract backgrounds too (although not Pokestar-Studios-level of detail unfortunately; I hope they eventually get to that point). The best part is that the shader they applied on the Pokemon themselves makes them look almost exactly like the style of their Sugimori art.
That kind of shading is very subtle but extremely signature of the Pokemon style, and I'm thankful at how it was conserved in the model. I have no regrets leaving sprites, although it will always be wonderful to see what the fanbase will cook up in the official devs' stead.
The attack animations are all pretty convincing. There's a real lot of impact going on everywhere from Chespin firing his death ray at defenseless floundering magikarp, to Litwick burning the literal hell out of Psyduck with its Inferno, to Froakie doing whatever that sneaky dash move was on the Patrat. I am really left wondering how many animations these guys have to express. Meinfoo's execution of Aura Sphere and Froakie's sneak attack didn't look like something overly generic that was applicable to any attack; at least not of their category.
I do hope, however, that they properly snap the action points to the proper places on the Pokemon.
You may also note a mismatched shadow in Chespin's arena picture. They're missing the little things that add a little extra consistency to the battle scene. I'm pretty sure this was all covered since Stadium, so I hope they clean this kind of stuff up!
Game Freak have been known to play things pretty safe when it came to design and hardware use, and the graphics aren't necessarily a technical feat. That being said, however, they do seem to know very well where to direct their resources to: the art style. I think that their leap into full 3D finally being this generation may not only be influenced by their conservativeness, but also that 3-D wasn't really ready to be used to properly fulfill the vision they had in mind for it. I am very glad at how it finally turned out, and hope it improves at the end of October.
Secondly, the characters...
The main protagonist is alright for me. More of the same character style, for both genders, it's all good. He does have that french feel to him though... or maybe that's just his expression somehow to me. Character customization would be nice, and those shots that expose the glasses as detachable meshes from the character certainly give it a hint of credibility. I'm not holding my breath, though.
All 3 of the starters get my approval. None of that "time to warm up", or "five stages of pokemon introduction grief" stuff. I thought they were at least B-grade "neat" after seeing each and every one of them for the first time. I'm sure Fennekin will appeal to the widest amount of audience that expect Pokemon to be animals (I'm already seeing more fan art of it than others, especially anthropomorphizations such as gijinka), while Chespin will make those who adore cutesy things squeal with a delight not seen since Pachirisu. Meanwhile, Froakie will capture the hearts of all who enjoy the unusual and quirky. He certainly does have a charm that takes a different approach from direct cuteness, as opposed to the others... That being said, I am going to have a seriously hard time deciding who to pick this gen. Leaning a bit towards Chespin right now ever so slightly.
And then, legendaries. I think they're both alright. Looked a bit strange to me at first, but I was no doubt impressed. And more so after all of the X and Y motifs behind their design (especially the "horizontal and vertical axis" part) were pointed out. The deer gives me Princess Mononoke vibes, although not enough so for me to say it was ripped from it directly. Both legendaries look very original, and it looks like at least one of them won't be Dragon as per (the apparently forming) tradition.
Lastly, the par that did it for me...
This might be a little weird, but the single part I liked most about the trailer was when they revealed the starter names. Not the starters, but the names. And not just the names, but how they revealed them.
I don't know about you guys, but something just clicked for me when each Pokemon was revealed with every regional name given all in a row like that. It made me feel all warm inside knowing how the rest of the world was right there with me seeing the same new Pokemon. English? Japanese? Italian? It doesn't matter what region you live in or what language you speak; Chespin, Ferrekin, and Froakie are here to meet all of you today.
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