CTRLocke Challenge

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CTRLocke Challenge

Post by Whiskey Hammer on 2015-01-01, 12:45

So. I haven't played a Pokemon game since I was just a wee lad. I picked up one of the games once on GBA Emulator and put it down pretty quickly - the formula was a lot less addicting than I remembered. Having said that, a six-year fan-made-from-the-ground-up game of this caliber and quality is just too cool to pass up (thank you Gawker for the tip off). I was even more delighted when I researched the Nuzlocke challenge mode. Permadeath!? I can make my Pokemon experience more like XCOM!? Emotional weight and long term consequences for my tactical calculations!?

Yes please.

I played through the first two routes and, unfortunately, grew bored with this too. The permadeath factor just made more likely to revert to a save point and only being allowed to catch one Pokemon was just too frustrating for me to stand (especially during a rare encounter) - adding entries to the Pokedex was always one of my favorite parts of the game. You do have to collect them all.

I appreciate the intent though. Forcing you to use Pokemon you wouldn't normally use is a great idea, especially if you've played through a thousand times. For new players though, it just feels over-restrictive and more importantly, gamey. The permadeath adds a level of realism and seriousness to the battles (or at least as much as you'd want/expect from this game's style/genre) but the restriction on Pokemon captures just feels artificial and takes you out of the extra immersion added by the inclusion of real consequences.

So instead I'm going to do my own variation on the Nuzlocke formula. One designed to bring a little more of the realism that I was excited for.


  1. Instead of guaranteed permadeath on a KO, you have a 10% chance of permadeath.
  2. Instead of only being allowed to capture the first Pokemon you meet on any given route, any KO'd Pokemon will have a minimum recovery period of 10 min (game time) where they cannot be used and that doesn't start until they are revived.


The chance of permadeath and the recovery period after coming out of KO are more realistic than guaranteed permadeath and are inconvenient/potentially-catastrophic enough to lend the same meaningfulness to the fights without being so inconvenient/catastrophic that you say f*ck it and revert the save.

Additionally, the recovery period where Pokemon cannot be used forces you to maintain a stable of Pokemon that neatly fills the variety intent of the original rule without also feeling artificial or forcing you to pass up on one of the games best rewards - the rare capture.  

I'm also mulling over an equivalency rule for each trainer battle, where I'm only allowed to deploy as many Pokemon as the trainer in question. It feels more realistic. Seriously. Who would bring one or two Pokemon to a fight against 6? I'm okay with having more Pokemon for more options in a fight, but not okay with using more Pokemon to stack 6 health bars against his two or three.

The CTRL stands for Closer To Real Life and dovetails into the last half of the Nuzlocke title. Its was a happy accident that it also matches my favorite keyboard key.

Whiskey Hammer
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