So, I have been working on this damn game for weeks and I am going to be honest, I am tired of waiting. I was able to pick up Pokemon Uranium, a fan made game based on the Game Freak license, and have been having a good time playing it since I got it. Seriously, for anyone out there who likes Pokemon, please go find a friend who has it so you can get the files from them. As far as fan made games are concerned, this thing is at least worth a once over. But after becoming stuck for the umpteenth time grinding, I have decided to go ahead and write the review of this game while I am still most of the way complete. So I’m going to ask you to keep that fact in mind as I go into detail here.
So our story begins like any other Pokemon game. You are a fresh faced youngster who is ready to explore the region of Tandor and learn a thing or two about Pokemon and friendship. After a Nuclear Powerplant goes critical and your mother is caught in the explosion… Wait… Yeah, this is going to be a much more adult centered game. Well still a Pokemon game but with some more risque stuff. So after your dad becomes an unemotional dillhole and leaves you with your aunt, you are recruited by Dr. Bamb’o to explore Tandor and become a Pokemon Master. As you explore more fucking nuclear fallout happens to the point that there is now Nuclear Type Pokemon around, ready to fuck you up.
It Captures a Unique and more Adult Feel to Pokemon
The one thing that always kind of irked me about the Pokemon games is the fact that it is, first and foremost, a kid’s game. Don’t get me wrong! It is and should stay a children’s game. I’m not trying to take that away from them. However, there are just a few things that the game isn’t allowed to do for fear of angering the parents who are typically buying the sodding things for them. Things such as a gambling machine, the concept of death being explicitly stated as something that could happen to one of the characters in the game. The use of a curse word or two. I’m not saying that we need to have Pokemon die or have some kid get killed. I’m not that fucking weird. It is the little things, the more clandestine parts of human society that give a world like Pokemon a more natural feel. Pokemon Uranium, not being a Game Freak Game, has the power to lose that barrier.
It is little things such as your mom, supposedly, dying in the reactor core. The idea of Pokemon being affected by Uranium. A person saying “Damn! I lost!” after losing. These are just little things that conservative mothers everywhere would shit their knickers in a regular Pokemon game that can be inserted organically here. The game is truly a real world Pokemon experience. There are threats to this world besides the Team Rocket flavor of the week fucking shit up, people live their lives, and Pokemon happen to be thrown into the mix. It is a good and more complete world not pushed through a ratings filter.
The game looks so authentic that Tandor and the Tandor Pokedex feel as if they have been inserted into the canon as a region and a collection of Pokemon in the world. It is truly amazing.
The New Pokemon Are Great
I fucking love the Tandor Pokedex. There is a lot of care and precision that went into it as well as giving players type combinations that aren’t typically seen in the traditional Pokedex. Granted there are some interesting ones and there is a large amount of Dragon type which is to be expected.
They also add in a few of the traditional Pokemon which are… Interesting. The Eeveelutions are pretty well standard. But other Pokemon include Dunsparce, the Mankey Line, the Ekans Line, the Magikarp/Gyarados evolution line, and so forth. Not exactly the first Pokemon I would choose, but it gives the game a more authentic feeling by adding traditional Pokemon with the new concepts the game presents.
Nuclear Type is the Worst Kind of Glass Cannon
So… Let’s get this out of the way. One of the “cool” features about Pokemon Uranium is Nuclear Pokemon. These are Pokemon who have been effected by the fallout and now have a nuclear type. Most of them are irradiated which means that they are unstable nuclear types like Nuclear Gyarados, Nuclear Corsella, and so forth. They even added a wonderful Nuclear eeveelution known as Nucleon. There is just one problem though with Nuclear types. While they are super effective to just about every type of Pokemon to hit… All types are also super effective against them. Which makes Nuclear Type Pokemon the biggest glass cannons in existence. If you have a Nuclear Pokemon, you better hope that fucker gets off an attack first, because if they don’t, and the Pokemon are on even footing, your Nuclear type is going to get one hit KOed most of the damn time.
Now obviously there are items in the game that can reduce this pain in the ass, but what this really shows is a lack of understanding the balance of a type. I don’t fault the creators too much. They went out and made one hell of a game. But this is one of the areas that shows their amateur style. Nuclear types just aren’t good. If they are able to get a shot off they are fine, but if they get hit, they are fucked. Glass cannons have their place and all, but you should be able to at least give the glass cannon some protection in case someone fires a fucking BB and breaks it before you can get a cannonball off. While the Nuclear pokemon look cool… They tragically just aren’t cool when it comes to combat.
Clear Amateur Creator Errors Comes Out in Surprising Ways
While the game itself is great and tightly made, there are just a few moments in the game that you can clearly see that this was a fan made experience. They aren’t glaring or troublesome. Mainly they are just little things that you kind of roll your eyes at or realize this isn’t the best type of mechanic or dialogue, but you roll with it because you know this is an amateur giving it their all.
The aforementioned Nuclear Type is one of those problems. Enough has already been said on that one, but let’s just go through a few problems that I noticed playing through the game up until this point.
One of my biggest complaints has stemmed from the jump in levels with each completed city. There is a reason that I have not finished this game after close to several weeks of playing on a fairly consistent basis and that is because of the hike in levels after each gym you beat. Game Freak has made it an art to recognize how to keep the game flowing well while still making it challenging for players. Theoretically, you should be able to go from town A to town B, beating the various people you encounter on the road and be sufficient enough to at least give the gym leader in the next town a run for their money. Grinding is certainly a thing, but you shouldn’t need to do excessive levels of grinding in order to keep pushing on the story. This was clearly made by a person who enjoyed the grind because the jump in levels is insane. It certainly gets worse once you learn to surf and travel to Venesi Town and Snowbank Town (two COOL FUCKING CONCEPTS) but even at the beginning, I felt the need to grind for at least an hour before I could even be considered competitive. It took me two days of grinding before I was able to luck into defeating the leader in the Snowbank Gym. That is two fucking days of wandering in the forest beating up ice types until I could luck one out and push forward. While this is just the bread and butter of a grinder, casual players aren’t into hours or days upon work just to progress the story. Also, please don’t give me “Real gamers, challenge, back in my day, blah, blah, blah.” I lived during the early years and I can tell you that it sucked then too. While I’m not for a hand holding experience in a video game, I do admit that video games have evolved and now need to have equal parts fun casual play and hardcore grinding.
Beyond gameplay, the story itself also feels a little… Amateur as well. Two of the plot points in the game, Vinoville City and the protagonist’s father. Vinoville City is just an absolute mess of a story and I’m not entirely sure what type of message the creators are going for. When you first come in to Vinoville City, you hear people ripping into this town. They call them religious nut jobs and backwards hicks. These people tear them a new asshole. I’m expecting, after listening to this, to walk in on the Jim Jones special complete with Kool-Aid and snake handling. Then when you get there, everything is sunshine and flowers. The church is fine and quite tolerant. Aside from the urge to spread their religion far and wide, they are quite benign and pleasant. But then you have other characters continue to rip on them and eventually, after the nuclear shit hits the fan, the gym leader, who says he hates the place, tears up and says that he loves it secretly for years for its small town charm. I’m confused about what message you are trying to send here. Are you saying small town life is actually good and religion can be good to? That is all well and fine but keep in mind that the majority of your client base for this are the people who may have had a bad experience with that life and now you are tearing into them and making them look like cooks. But is the message that these people are cooks and the nerds are right? If so, then you did a poor job of that. The religion is quite pleasant, the town is quite pleasant. Are they both right and this is just a matter of people coming to terms with how they perceive their surroundings? IF that is the case you need to extrapolate on that. Truly sell the experience, don’t gloss over it. Engage the people seeing the story!
But this, relatively minor part of the game, is nothing compared to your father. I’ll just say this right now. Your father is a disgusting, deplorable, sub human being. After your mother apparently dies in the nuclear meltdown, your father becomes distant and delves into his life as a Pokemon Ranger. This fuck stick abandons you with your aunt for years as he works as, what is the equivalent, of a fucking beat cop two cities down the fucking road. Then, whenever you two are together, he is all sunshine and roses and asks you if you could deliver a message to the irradiated island where your mother fucking died! Like it is nothing. Now, it is clear that your father is a fucking ass. But the writing for the father just doesn’t work on a number of reasons. Number one, I can’t tell this little shitball to piss right the fuck off. I don’t want to do work for him, I don’t want to deliver a message. This fucker abandoned me after my mother died. Which says to me that he wasn’t exactly a great human being to begin with. I don’t want to fight beside him when the Nuclear Pokemon strike, I want to feed them to the Nuclear Pokemon and then I’ll deal with the situation on my own as they are feasting on his corpse. Something so horrid as leaving your kid after his mother passes away because you cannot handle life should not be something that can just be brushed away with a “I’m sorry son.” But the icing on the cake with your father is the fact that you cannot interact with him. One of the problems with Pokemon is the fact that the protagonist doesn’t “speak” in the sense that there are three ellipses to insert the generic statement that the person you are “talking to” is going to repeat for the players. As such, I cannot engage this man. I cannot “talk to him,” I cannot tell him how much he can go suck on a fucking nuclear railroad spike so that he dies of fucking throat cancer. This man is the human form of Garbodor and I cannot tell him that. Instead I have to have the game speak for me in generic language. The protagonist’s dad just isn’t well written. MAJOR flaws are passed off as minor flaws that only need a “I’m sorry” and “I love you” to fix.
These are just a few of the major issues. There are several minor ones as well which includes some ham fisted dialogue, painfully introduced jokes and nods to the regular games, withholding certain items to buy at the store, giving powerful items early, and so forth. It is a good game, but it isn’t immune to amateur mistakes.
Even though I had a lot to say in the cons section, do not let this take away from the fact that this video game is excellent. Fan made games can be hit or miss. In this case, it was a fucking bull’s eye. The game is a true Pokemon representation and while some of the writing and amateur creation can be seen, they are quickly overshadowed by great Pokemon designs, a tightly made game, and a great experience.
Final Score 3.5/5
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