With each game we learn something new about the Pokemon universe, but previous accepted information is now changing with the new free-to-play game.
Pokemon Unite was released for the Nintendo Switch console on July 21, 2021. The MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) is free-to-play and features a unique 5v5 multiplayer battle opposite the two-player match seen previously in core games. However, one feature is breaking everything we thought we knew about the Pokemon universe.
Welcome to the World of Pokemon
If you have been living under a rock like Patrick, Pokemon has been around since the late ’90s. The series features adorable monsters, most of whom have terrifying powers should they actually be real.
You play as the trainer in games and go on adventures battling and catching these creatures while, of course, tackling evil gangs and corporations. I’m looking at you, Team Rocket! There are also games where you play as the Pokemon themselves, but that’s a different topic.
Pokemon Unite features the standard battle idea in a whole new way. In traditional games, you had up to six Pokemon on a team, and you battled one at a time or sometimes double battles.
On the new Aeos Island, trainers team up for the 5v5 fighting, and whoever gets the most points within the allotted time wins. It sounds simple, but you must defeat wild Pokemon and opponent Pokemon to collect the energy or points.
However, there is a twist. The teaming up is with other players and forces you to all work together. You know that thing we all dreaded in school. It becomes a team project with people you may or may not know.
Since its first trailer was released back in June, fans have been disappointed and critical about the new concept in the franchise. Within 24 hours of posting the video, it quickly became the most disliked video for the Pokemon YouTube channel, with over 170,000 dislikes in under the 24 hours of its launching. The second most disliked video of their channel was also about this game.
Being a hard-core Pokemon fan, I have to say I didn’t rush to download it, nor was I too excited about the idea of teaming up and going through timed areas. Like most others, I had been hoping for a new addition in the core series or the rumors of a Johto addition to the Pokemon Let’s Go games.
The “strategic team-based battle game” acts more like an Arena of Valor copy in the Pokemon universe. This is no surprise due to the collaboration between The Pokemon Company and Tencent’s TiMi Studios, who worked on Arena of Valor. Despite my love for tactical RPG games, arena games are not my forte nor of too much interest. However, after realizing it had launched, I downloaded the Pokemon Unite game on my Switch.
All Fandoms in One
After preparing myself for my childhood to be dead and ruined, I started the game. After watching the opening video, I realized there was a fatal flaw that tears apart the core ideas of Pokemon. Unlike Digimon, Pokemon evolve, and that’s it.
They are not capable of returning to the previous form unless it is a Gigantamax or Mega evolution. However, this intro video completely shatters that concept and the proud notion I once had that I knew a good bit about Pokemon.
After going through some slightly better than Pokemon X character customization, I was greeted by the new professor, Professor Phorus of the Aeos Research Institute.
She researches the mysterious Aeos energy found on the Aeos Island, or more accurately, Aeos stadium. You are handed off to someone else to explain how Unite battles work and the strange new energy that causes this phenomenon. Like most research institutes, they show you the experimental lab mouse, which will be used to practice.
During the tutorial, you are shown how to attack and defeat enemy Pokemon on the field. Combat s now in real-time and removes previous turn-based concepts know to the franchise. You collect energy in the Unite Ball, which is then scored in the opponent’s goal zones and counts for your points.
The team with the most points at the end of the timer is the winner. And, of course, you must make a slam dunk like a pro NBA player, which takes time and leaves you open for the enemy team to block your dunk.
Pokemon Company is Holding Amulet Coin
After the tutorial, you are given a chance to pick your Pokemon to start with. They are in the form of cards called licenses, adding a Yu-Gi-Oh feel to the franchise. However, the Pokemon you really want are locked behind a large coin wall. This coin wall blocks access to fan favorites like Lucario, Gengar, and Cinderace.
Now, you can earn coins, but it will take a while, and there is a cap per week on how much you can earn. At the time of writing this, the cap is a weekly limit of 2,100 Aeos Coins and 1,400 Aeos Energy. The Pokemon licenses range from 6,000 Aeos Coins to 10,000 Coins. The 10,000-price tag includes favorites like Absol, Garchomp, and the recently added Gardevoir.
All in all, the game isn’t horribly bad, but fans have voiced their complaints on Twitter about these caps and the apparent pay-to-win issues. I plan to play a bit more and get a feel for it but probably won’t play long if these issues aren’t fixed. With no real story or anything other than battle going on, it just isn’t my cup of tea.
Written by Mina Presley