goldenrod underground

ochoapa  asked:

I'd be interested in having a discussion with you about the difficulty of Pokémon games as in "what makes a Pokémon game difficult?" and why that could be a good or bad thing. Like, if it's just based on how difficult your opponents' stats are, that kind of just requires more grinding. If you make a bigger emphasis on Type advantage then it lessens the value of stats as a whole. Do you think you could make a video talking about this topic or maybe just discuss it on a live stream?

I’m not sure I agree with the notion that a harder Pokemon game = more grinding. You haven’t really needed to grind since Gen 1 and 2 (and barely there), and games in the series have still been challenging enough to be enjoyable. Distilling it down to stats is kind of a myopic way of thinking about difficulty. There are all kinds of ways to challenge the player in a Pokemon game. 

What are some of the more memorable parts of Gen 2 for example? The puzzles! There were so many puzzles, boulder puzzles like in Ice Pass, switch puzzles in the Goldenrod Underground, even chasing that Farfetch’d around in Ilex Forest. In Gen 3, the most memorable battles weren’t ones with the highest level difference, but ones like Wattson where Steel/Electric was just a really difficult typing to prepare for with the few Pokemon that you had available, or Tate and Liza’s gym with the huge number of trainers and multiple rooms you had to pass through. Gen 4 even succeeded at challenging the player outside of just a level jump with things like fog, and thats part of why it’s so frustrating to play (imo, they went too far the other direction in that case). 

ORAS removes the challenge to the point that it doesn’t even want you to travel from town to town on your own. It doesn’t want you to get stuck in long or difficult battles regardless of where your Pokemon are, so it not only a)lowers the levels but b)shortens the battles by mandating that no trainer has more than 3 Pokemon. It doesn’t want you to have to solve any sort of puzzle that takes a minute to think about so it made all the gym puzzles easier (walk from point a to point b is as difficult as Tate and Liza’s became, when it was originally one of the most complicated gym puzzles in the series). 

Even having to think about what move to use against a Pokemon can be thought of as a challenge. Each battle is a unique puzzle to solve, where you have to use your available players and items in the correct way to come out victorious. If you don’t have to think about it, if you don’t need to come up with a solution to any perceivable problem at any point, then the game is too easy. I can’t think of any point in ORAS where I genuinely had to think about what I was doing or there was the possibility that I wouldn’t have my desired outcome. And this is with as many self imposed difficulty “settings” as possible.

The biggest problem I have with the lack of difficulty is just that without any kind of restrictions, the game is less fun. It doesn’t change from playthrough to playthrough, you don’t get to approach problems in different ways if there are no problems. I don’t even want an especially hard Pokemon game, I just want a game that makes me use my brain a little bit. It becomes bland and unmemorable otherwise.