I’ve got a lot of games to talk about for this journal entry – regulars like Super Smash Bros. and Pokemon Shuffle, and new games like Pokemon Battle Trozei and Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson.
Prior to this week’s Pokemon Shuffle update, I checked on our standing for the Mega Charizard Y event. There was some fuss about cheaters making their way to the top of the standings for this event and I’m glad to see that they were removed from the official standings, freeing up spots for those of us who are legitimately playing the game. Now if you think we’re being too quick to judge these people for cheating, there’s actual proof that they got their high ranks through hacks – the top five had Pokemon that weren’t available yet, like Ditto and what looked like some sort of evolved Kyogre. They’re in the game but can only be accessed by hacking, so yes, they were cheating.
I also checked on the notifications for last week’s update and noticed that the developers ran the Mew special event again. Normally, I wouldn’t pay this any mind but I saw that they also offered a Jewel as a reward for beating Mew’s stage. I’ll share something that’s not known by anyone – whenever special stages are offered again, the game sometimes “resets” its records and “thinks” that you haven’t beaten the stage yet even though you already did. You’ll know that the game will “think” this way if it doesn’t show your rank for that stage. So I went and beat the stage and earned myself another Jewel. Right now, I’ve earned 13 Jewels on the New 3DS XL and 19 Jewels on the 2DS – all without spending any real world money.
This week’s update had two things for us – we placed high enough and earned ourselves Mega Stones for Charizard on both our devices. I’ve yet to see whether Mega Charizard Y is going to be any good, but I’m happy to have it. The second is another round of Escalation battles, this time for a Pokemon that I actually know, Latias. In Pokemon Shuffle, Latias is a Dragon type, so now I get to train my Dragon types while going through these Escalation battles.
One flaw I want to point out about Pokemon Shuffle is the lack of balance when it comes to Pokemon types. Some types are quite useful because they are strong against multiple other types. Some types, like Dragon and Ghost types, aren’t as useful because they’re only strong against one or two other types. I actually like Dragon types like Rayquaza but I don’t get to use them a lot because of this. A minor flaw that isn’t game-breaking but I think would be an improvement to the game if addressed.
There was a time when my girlfriend liked Pokemon Shuffle so much but because the game is restricted to a certain number of plays, she wasn’t able to play it as much as she wanted to. So I bought her a copy of Pokemon Battle Trozei as an alternative but she never really got into it. Since I wasn’t focused on any one video game at the time, I played Pokemon Battle Trozei myself to see how different it is from Pokemon Shuffle.
Pokemon Shuffle is actually based off of Pokemon Battle Trozei, with its core gameplay mechanic and a lot of its assets coming from the later title. After a couple of plays, I figured out why my girlfriend didn’t like it as much. The first big difference is in the core puzzle mechanics. Pokemon Battle Trozei is a little more complicated – sure, you still have to do matches of three or more Pokemon, but in Pokemon Battle Trozei there’s a specific way of doing attacks and combos. First, you need to make a match which represents your attack. You then have a short window wherein you can follow up your initial match by doing more matches, but the attack will still be based on your first match.
This actually means something because the damage that attacks will do is completely depended on the type of the Pokemon you’re facing and the Pokemon that you matched initially. Here’s an example of something that happened quite often to me – I’m facing a Grass type Pokemon and so I’m trying to make a match of Fire type Pokemon in order to do a stronger attack. But if I accidentally (and it’s quite easy to make this mistake) make a match of other Pokemon, then my attack will be based on that Pokemon’s type. I’ll end up needing to wait for that attack to resolve before I can try my hand at another Fire type attack. I’m not even getting into Scatter attacks and Trozei chances and yet I feel as if what I just described is already quite complicated.
Another difference is how Pokemon are encountered and captured. Unlike Pokemon Shuffle wherein you fight a specific Pokemon in each stage, you get to face several different Pokemon in each of the stages. Some of these Pokemon will only appear if you meet certain conditions, usually by beating the Pokemon before it in a certain way. The game doesn’t tell you exactly how, so you’ll have to play some stages multiple times just to see which attacks will get you that encounter. As for capturing, it’s as easy as beating the said Pokemon. Very different from how it’s done in Pokemon Shuffle, wherein your success at capturing your target will depend on how efficient (or lucky) you were in beating it.
The only thing that Pokemon Battle Trozei going for it, at least in my opinion, is that everything is already in the game and you have no play restrictions. But I find Pokemon Shuffle to be more accessible and easier to get into. Does that mean Pokemon Battle Trozei is a bad game? Not necessarily. We just prefer the free-to-play Pokemon Shuffle over it.
I’ve been talking about this five character tournament for Super Smash Bros. and we had an opportunity to do it this Sunday but due to several reasons, we didn’t push through. Still, we played a lot of Smash which was great for me because finally, I’m aware of two major flaws in my game that I’ll need to address if I want to become competitive.
My first problem is that I’m highly vulnerable to edge-guarding. Winning in Super Smash Bros. involves doing enough damage to your opponent and then knocking them out of the stage. This is what normal people would do anyway. More experienced players can earn wins faster by knocking opponents off the platform of the stage, then doing an aerial attack to prevent their opponent from getting back on the stage. This technique is called edge-guarding. An even faster way is to do certain aerial attacks that would “spike” the opponent – KOing them by sending them straight down insead of away. My second problem is I’m very vulnerable to dash-grabs, which leads to combos.
Both these vulnerabilities can be addressed by working on my reaction time and learning how to dodge properly. There are two dodge types that I need to practice, the first of which are aerial dodges which I’m already doing but for some reason, I don’t do it enough against edge-guarding. The second are spot-dodges, and admittedly I never considered needing to learn this move until recently.
It’s really good to fight against highly skilled human opponents and better if they’re willing to give you some pointers on what you’re doing wrong. At my present state, I would just get creamed if I join Super Smash Bros. tournaments. Thank goodness that I’m friends with someone who is willing to share tips for this game because at least I have a clear idea on what I should be working on to improve.
I finally got a copy of Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson. This game made me worry a lot – first about actually being able to get a physical copy because this was supposed to be a limited physical release. And when local stores actually got their hands on copies, I became worried that this might actually be a bad purchase.
There are two reasons why I wanted Senran Kagura 2 to be in my collection – I’ve been wanting to play a good beat ’em up game and I wanted something with a little fanservice in my library. When I bought 3D Streets of Rage 2 (one of the best beat ’em up games of all time), I worried about Senran Kagura 2 being redundant. After playing the latter for several hours, I’m glad to say that it’s different enough from 3D Streets of Rage 2 to justify its place in my collection.
As for the fanservice, I think I’m actually biting off more than I can chew with this game. Senran Kagura 2 has an entire game mode that’s specifically for providing a lot of fanservice. Not that I’m complaining – I just wasn’t expecting the fanservice in this game to be this much. I’ll talk more about Senran Kagura 2 next time after I’ve played it some more but for now, the best way I can describe my experience with this game is that it’s like watching Ikkitousen but playing through its episodes rather than just watching it passively.
And that’s it for this week. Until next time!