Hot Take: Pokémon Go VS Battles Are Garbage

Pokémon Go multiplayer battles are straight up garbage. I'm sure it has been said by others, however I feel the need to air my grievances. I want to start off by saying I enjoy Pokémon Go overall. The game has, since its release, done a great job of getting me out walking. I play it most on my lunch break since I work in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. Lucky for me, I happen to work somewhere where pokémon spawns are plentiful and so are pokéstops. I also added four pokéstops to the museum I work for so even on rainy days I can walk around inside and find items and pokémon.

Pokémon Go is great for shinies at least.

Also, thanks to the connectivity added through Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu (and Eevee) as well as Pokémon Home, I can use the app like a PokéWalker. Most of the pokémon I catch can now be sent to the main games if I choose, including shiny pokémon. I can even get items for Let's Go as well as Pokémon Sword (and Shield) by using the Pokéball Plus. I've been known to put my phone on my charger in my office and connect the Pokéball Plus and set it to just spin stops. It really helps when I need to replenish items after Community Day or some other event. All and all, as a single player spin-off game, I think it's tops and probably the best spin-off game (or app) released with direct impact on the main series games. (The high transfer cost to Home aside... I'll talk about that later.)

Recently, I have been working toward leveling up to level 44 and I was reminded what I hate about Pokémon Go: battling. I hate the versus battle system with the heated fury of a thousand ranging Magcargo. (Side note: trading also sucks except when the distance restrictions are lifted to 40km. Then it is okay, I GUESS. We're in a pandemic Niantic, come on.)

I think the thing I hate most about versus battles is the sheer randomness of it. Now, before Pokémon Go Battle League Stans lose their minds, I know Pokémon Go has its own meta. Any game with a competitive scene does. I just don't care enough to discuss it now, but I may address it in a different rant post. The randomness I'm talking about is everything related to actual gameplay. I hate the tappity-tap-tap nature of fast attacks, first off. No battle system has physically pained me more. I mean that too. It kills my thumbs rapidly bashing my phone screen. It's probably not great for my phone either. When battles first dropped, charge moves had to be charged by tapping the screen EVEN FASTER (or so it seemed). Charged attacks are better now, but I do find my fingers feeling raw after a few attacks. 

I could swap to Golem, but then Golem is stuck.

Secondly, I hate how much you get screwed over by bad type match ups at the beginning. I keep finding myself paired badly where my starting pokémon is weak to the opponent's first pokémon. Here's a run down of a recent battle:

1) I send out Swampert, Opponent Sends Out Sceptile
2) I swap Swampert immediately for Dragonite
3) Opponent swaps Sceptile for Alolan Golem and I'm stuck with Dragonite

So far it seems like standard positioning, BUT WAIT, I'm STUCK with the bad Dragonite vs Golem match-up now because after one swap there's a timer. That starting bad match-up meant I was Cuboned from the beginning. Nice. Next battle I set up a different starting pokémon, but the same thing happens, same crap different pokémon. Say what you want about battle preview in the main series games, but I feel it is a great alternative to this.

Thanks for the slow clap...

In my opinion, of all of the spin-off pokémon games, Pokémon Go has THE ABSOLUTE WORST battle system. This may be partially because I actually like the turn-based battles of traditional pokémon games. I do think at least 75% of the reason is because it is actual, literal, garbage. I don't think Pokémon Go HAS to be terrible like it is. Pokémon Masters EX has a perfectly acceptable battle system and as a fellow mobile game, I think it's a good comparison. Personally, I feel like fast attacks should be automatic and then you choose your charged attack once it's ready, similar to Masters EX. This would be a much better system and easier on my fingers and phone. I also feel like, depending on your phone and the connection, a lot of that tippity-tapping is tippity-wasted. I know at several points I've been madly beating a charged attack just for nothing to happen and instead my opponent goes to fire one WELL AFTER I began fervently abusing my thumb. Somewhere along the line, either my connection or theirs, Cuboned me.

After getting 16 wins I began to smell burning flesh so I stopped.

So far I'm about halfway through leveling up to 44. At this point, that seems daunting mainly because I don't want to abuse my fingers to the point that my fingerprints melt off. This is likely the reason I don't care about the meta. To want to learn more about the meta, I have to actually ENJOY the game itself. As it stands, I don't want to put in the time to research teams and strategies when I'm too busy applying burn lotion to my fingertips.


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