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Have there been points where you sat down and questioned if rejuvenation was a pokemon game?


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So I reached the end of chapter 12 of rejuvenation. Browsing the discord, it was clear changes were made in how certain elements were presented and all that. Afterwards I sat down and took stock of the story and events and asked "is this still a Pokemon game?" I don't mean this in an insulting way but so much has been done to expand and work with the limitations and basics of a Pokemon game that it feels right now I'm playing a creature catcher game that happens to have Pokemon. One example for a major distinction is they're just magic people in Avieum. They're magic people in the Pokemon world yes, but the deeper you go into rejuvenation the more its clear that most major players in the setting are some form of mystic or scifi thing. It gets to a point where I wonder why Pokemon battles are a thing for these people when they have other more dangerous means/efficient means of dealing with people. Even taking the story aside there is also the vast difference in mechanic philosophy that rejuvenation and Pokemon have. On normal mode, a mode which I assume the game is meant to be experienced and is balanced around there are major distinctions in difficulty from the Pokemon the main series. You can't over level, you can't really overcome the hurdles with a consistent team of six needing to have effectively a whole box of mons to deal with so many scenarios. Allof this is great, but it isn't how I conceptually think of pokemon as a game series and the appeal of it. I was wondering if anyone ever feels the same thing?

 

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I remember reading a while back that in X and Y they originally wanted people from the moon to be a plot element, which kinda gets reused as the ultra dimension.

 

Regarding difficulty, casual is suppose to reflect the difficulty of the main stream pokemon games 

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I think for me it was by the end of episode 12, involving time travel for Melia to fight Melia (Melanie) while 99.99999% Melia (Madame X) watches while there's this sudden shift in focus to Venam and Melia loving each other that it finally hit me this isn't a Pokemon game. There were also plenty of opportunities for Pokemon to fill in the roles in the plot that just.. weren't. Spacea and Tiempa being superpowered people instead of Dialga and Palkia, the whole dreamworld not involving Cresselia or Darkrai, multiple wizard duels (Karen/Karrina), multiple robot fights (Ren suddenly turning into combat mode against super Gardevoir instead of, you know, sending out his Pokemon as well). Hell, its even pointed out during the part Madelis and Melia are captured by the Amandabot that they've completely forgotten that they have superpowered loyal pets to fight the robot in front of them, and they wasted their time watching a robot fight just before that. 

 

So many things could have been avoided just by people remembering they have Pokemon. Remember Melia getting kidnapped at the volcano after you WIN the fight against the Xen admins? We know Pokemon can come out of their balls on their own, do Melia's Pokemon hate her that much?

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I have asked myself this question multiple times before, and I don't think it has a clear cut answer. You'd first have to ask yourself: What exactly are the intrinsic characteristics of a pokemon game? Is it mostly story or gameplay related?

 

OP states that the mechanic philosophy might distance it enough from a pokemon game; and sure, Rejuvenation has level caps, raid styled bosses, lots of double battles with a partner, forced losses, harder battles, etc. But other games such as Radical Red also deviate from the established official pokemon formula. So gamplay-wise, Rejuvenation is undoubtedly a pokemon game.

 

When it comes to the story, Rejuvenation is certainly more ambitious and takes more artistic liberties than you would normally see in an official pokemon game. And while the execution can be cringey and stupid at times, I don't think the concepts themselves are too outlandish in the context of the pokemon universe. For instance, in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire a bunch of guys inexplicably fuse together to create Mr. Bonding. There are numerous Psychics and Ghosts running around in the games too. If you include the anime, Ash gets turned into a pikachu by a Witch in one episode. And if you take the Pokedex seriously, then the Ninetales's entry mentions a legend concerning wizards; Kadabra's entry mentions that a psychic boy transformed into it; and Golurk's entry states that it was created by ancient civilization. In summary: the plot would work a lot better if the characters acknowledged that pokemon exist outside of battles. That is the primary issue that the game has yet to address. The outlandishness is not something new to rejuvenation.

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I have always said that if you replaced the Pokemon in this game with like superpowers you have to train to use, nothing much would change in the story.  Like for example, Dragon Ball Z esque Ki martial arts.

 

 

This is basically the Dev team's original fiction with the Pokemon brand. And I say this as both a compliment and a criticism if that makes sense. 

 

Yeah, super powered people who fill roles that belong to Pokemon, robots fighting, and people forgetting they have superpowered loyal pets in important scenes is a peeve I've come to accept in this game's plot.

 

I do think that scene of Geara kicking us in the lava field despite us winning the fight is a severe narrative problem. Like it's basically telling you that Pokemon fights don't matter, and despite having super powered pets, humans can still over power you.

 

Reborn at least keeps the Pokemon focus, Lin feels like a Pokemon villain, Madam X feels like she walked out of a Shonen martial arts anime.  Hell, take a look at how Reborn and Rejuvenation handle their Big Bad previews:
 

 

Even if you win against Solaris's Garchomp, you are still fundamentally at a disadvantage, he clearly has more Pokemon he can use, and both you and him know it, that's why he can end the fight like he won, since even aside from the fight, he still has the Pulse Pokemon endangering the dojo.  He doesn't press his advantage at all and it at least feels like you got a minor victory.

 

 

By contrast, Madam X pulls a laser out of her ass, and pretends that she still has the advantage despite not having any Pokemon. The scene undermines your victory and forces you to lose because the writers say so in contrast to Solaris's clear advantages even after losing his Garchomp. 

 

 

But we're already in too deep, this patch alone has crazy plot twists that don't really fit the Pokemon universe. Even though supposedly the canon games have happened in this game's universe.  

 

 

 

Like how is Giratina the embodiment of antimatter and sole occupant of it's own dimension AND a dead queen turned into an abomination and worshipped being of Goldenleaf? 

 

 

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I thought that with v12 and now with v13 even more, this game its so big it doesnt feel like pokemon anymore (not a bad thing i want to clear out).

 

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Like we literally fighting things that are not pokemon in the last version, we fighting the Puppet Master, that basically was a human all along

 

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In v13, Chapter 4 or w/e where you're in Blacksteeple Prison? That's the moment for me. In this version, they update just how Madame X kills your mom. After you miraculously defeat Yvetal, she just pulls out a sword and chases the protagonists away. They don't think to use their pokemon here, they just run. Your mom, clearly one of the strongest trainers there, gets struck with fear and withdraws her ace pokemon after Madame X breaks the barrier with sheer physical strength. How does that work? Anyway, she chases and impales your mom while Hapi is watching and Hapi at no point decided to fly to your mom or attack Madame X, since apparently Madame X is a level 120 pokemon. Gotta love our big bad haha. 

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The story of rejuv is a thorough mess. But is it still a Pokémon game? On the mechanical side of things, I'd say yes.

 

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That's mostly because I'm working on the development of my own game on and off, and I decided to expand on the truancy mechanics. Long story short, pokemon truancy is not based on its levels vs your badges, but players have 5 moral character traits (which change based on overworld/dialogue choices you make) vs the sorts of "virtues & vices" a species of pokemon likes in its trainer (I call this preference). (Badges vs levels and many other things also influence truancy, but their effect is to "expand" or "narrow" down the basic preference range of a pokemon - similar to how natures influence stats, but way more dynamic.) Mechanically this makes such a fundamental difference to especially level caps and team building strategies - not to mention a talking protagonist - that my game is no longer a pokemon game, but a game with pokemon in it. (Which is exacerbated by the civil war setting of the story.) With that point of reference, yes,

 

Rejuv is definitely a pokemon game mechanically - just heavily ornamented.

 

On the story side though - Rejuv has many great assets (like the maps and the art work and the help centre sorts of things) and many problems (like cheating AI on top of hellishly hard battles). But its story is by far its worst aspect, and I'm not even talking about its disregard of pokemon and battles - I completely agree with everything said above. The plot is all over the place - I find it really hard to follow (and this is coming from someone whose fav book series is the Malazan Book of the Fallen). The characters are also thoroughly psychopathic, one and all - especially the main characters that are our "friends" and are "the good guys." Who cares if 4 thousand people die if the rainbow of freidnship prevails among our main characters? So many different sets of "overbearing parent cages adolescent in" its tiring. The morality of the story is more inconsistent than the most propagandistic of hollywood films (at least rejuv isn't propagandistic...). Whether it is a pokemon game or not, the story is simply badly written. I can't go into details because I've forgotten the story since V12, and I'm only at the Goldenwood episode now. But of all the fan games I've played - heck, all stories I've engaged with - Rejuv takes the cake for the worst story.

 

One redeeming quality of its story is that the ups and downs and the beats of the story work very well - when it comes to the ... emotional structure? of the story, it works like music. The pacing works fine too (unless, of course, an impossible battle stomps you mid track). But the lyrics are just cringe lvl over 9000.

 

Rejuv isn't a game you play for its story. I'm playing it to see gen 8 and other new mons and I like a big world. But if and when (and I'm pretty certain it is a matter when) I get stuck in a hard battle, I have a hunch I'll drop the game for the last time. Its a contest between how much new material keeps me engaged and how much the story and unnecessarily hard battles push me away.

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