Thursday, May 5, 2016

Pokemon TCG Online - Better than trying to play the real thing but...



Well I downloaded this cause I figured why not. Let's see what this game has to offer. I mean the last time I played an online TCG or really an online collectible game, those experiences were not favorable.

Magic the Gathering Online didn't allow you to use cards you already owned physically in the game except the ones that came with it. Not to mention if you lost your CD Key or bought the game used the customer service would just be like well guess you're SoL (Which SoL meaning you use is up to you).

Yugioh Online had an unofficial one but it was a crap shoot. If you're too good at the game you got reported and banned. If you sucked then you sucked. And everyone seemed to judge you based on the character avatar you used.  Then there was the official Yugioh Online that had so much online purchasing you might as well just play the real game and spend all your money that way.  The ones on PS3/PS4/XBone/360 had bad netcode and just as many angry players as the unofficial one that would rage quit.

Bakugan online shut down its servers practically a year after its debut. Pretty much screwing everyone that bought Bakugan for online play.

Chaotic Online good luck finding anyone that played. Good luck actually knowing how to play there was no tutorial. Very few players. And it's servers shut down after the series was done.

Online TCGs just don't seem to work.  Well now were on Pokemon TCG which has been out for quite awhile. I decided to try it out. I mean I'm not that big a fan of Hearthstone. There's not a lot there that has me attached to the game. Pokemon at least has something I can be satisfied with.


Downloading Was a Chore


First off the download off the official site didn't work at all. I kept trying to download it only to find nothing worked. I thought it was one of those famous Ad Blocker BS crap. You know where the website refuses to do anything for you cause you happen to have Ad Blocker running and they tell you to turn it off or you're not viewing the website. So I turned off Ad Blocker. Nope still couldn't download it. Every time I clicked to try and download the game. It just refreshed the window.  So I had to run through google and find a place that wasn't an obvious virus filled site to download an old installer to play the game.

After installing I go to register. I thought I had to register since it didn't seem related to the pokemon site itself. So when I registered....nope. It didn't accept my username or password. I even copy/paste my username and password and it wouldn't accept it.  What the heck is going on here? Turns out that since I was already registered with Pokemon.com. I didn't have to register for this game. -_-


Music


I wanna knock this out already. This is a huge turn off for me. There is a serious lack of music. I mean its there. But the volume is low. The sound effects pretty much drown it out. And the music is boring anyway. You're better off playing some of your own tunes in the background.

Graphics


The only real graphics are on the cards themselves. I honestly want some of these cards as wallpaper or my Smart Phone Lock Screen. The rest of the graphics are childish...Even Neopets looks better. You character is the avatar you made on Pokemon.com. Your cards try to do some sort of fancy animation while attacking but considering all the other TCG I've played. They do it better. I know this is online. But there could be some effort in this. I guess it doesn't really matter since people that really play this game will not even pay attention to stuff like that.


Playing The Game




So you start out with an annoying tutorial.  It's rather annoying cause the stuff they teach you is obvious to most people familiar with Pokemon. They even forget to explain some of the rules or the game chooses to bring up the rule when the situation happens. Like I couldn't evolve my Pokemon on the same turn I happen to draw the card and put its pre-evolution out. I have to wait a turn. The game didn't bother to tell me that. I also couldn't play certain cards till a turn later.

Whenever I got hit with a status effect the game would conveniently tell me at that point what it does. This is pretty much exactly how the latest Tales of Games do you. Instead of telling you before a situation that involves a new mechanic happens. They wait till it actually happens to tell you about it. That's annoying in so many ways. However Pokemon TCG Online. They'll tell you about it every time it occurs. Thankfully you can shut it off.

I'm also disappointed I don't get to pick what kind of starter deck I would like to use. They just stuck me with this Pikachu one. It's not bad but I would like some choices. Or maybe its after I get out of all these battles?

So I'm breezing through what seems to be test AI battles. But about 45 minutes in. The game hangs. I played a card and instead of allowing that card to do what its supposed to. I'm stuck in limbo. I tried clicking everything I could. But nothing happened. I even tried to forfeit. Nothing happened. I was left with no choice but to close the game. I got rather fed up with it at this point. I mean I was against an AI opponent that had really good cards that would pretty much destroy me. Barely getting lucky. Then the game just decides to freeze.

If its one thing that does bother me about games is when the game becomes truly unplayable. I don't mean the game like some lame reasoning that I see other people make like, "Oh the game's too hard. I shouldn't have to grind." "Game overs are a failure of the game designer", "The AI is too cheap". "the AI knows my moves before I make them." No that's just BS reasoning cause you don't want to admit that you're currently sucking at the game and you need to improve.  What I'm talking about is things that render the game unplayable.

And what happened here is an example of that. I can only think of 2 other games that have done this to me.

Legend of Kay - Many glitches that cause you to lose important key items or access to areas where you can no longer advance the game.

Capcom Vs SNK 2: Card Fighters DS - A glitch that after you acquire a specific card the game locks up.

Now theses can be avoided. But at the same time. You can come across these in normal play unknowingly. You don't trigger these to happen through experimentation like the many glitches in Sonic 06 (seriously who the hell would think of clipping there self out of bounds on purpose just to get thrown into outer space?). I'm talking about glitches stop you from playing/progressing the game that you unknowingly came across. (I know old school Sierra games did this on purpose but those aren't glitches or bad design. That just how those games are.)

That's what ended up turning me off from this game.

I might come back and try this again.  But I doubt it. I have a feeling that once I start playing that online against actual players. Things will get rather messy.