Friday, March 19, 2010

It's all about the grind

Why do I love the Pokémon games so much? It is not that the monsters are cute or that I want to catch them all. For me its all about the grind, Pokémon offers some of the most satisfying grinding in the RPG genre. The reasons for this can be found in what sets Pokémon apart from other RPG's.

First of all your monsters evolve, when they reach a certain level they change in to a whole new form. This works as a huge payoff giving you an incentive to keep on grinding, giving you something to aim for. I want my silly looking Wartortle to turn in to a massive Blastoise.

You can only use one Pokémon at a time, in RPG speech this means that you can only level up one part member at a time. This multiplies the grinding, you have to grind with everyone of those little suckers. But since only one Pokémon gets experience at a time this also means that they level up faster, giving you constant satisfaction. You can have a weaker Pokémon climb a few levels in minutes.

No simple attack command, no MP and you are limited to four attacks. Every Pokémon is different and has a different combination of attacks, meaning you get to switch things up, its not as simple as holding down the A button hitting attack over and over again. Since your Pokémon can only handle four attacks at once you keep switching out attacks, changing the way you do battle as your Pokemon grows stronger. Also there is no universal MP, each attack has its own limited Power Points, so you can't just keep using the same attack over and over again.

No armor and no weapons, the only way to make your monsters stronger is to keep grinding. Since no stats boosts are given from things like armor the game is free to give bigger payoffs from level increases, making grinding more rewarding.

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