Let’s be honest, one of the main reasons why people my age still play Pokémon is for the deep battling/leveling system that sports simplicity on its shell but masks complexity on the inside. Ever since the release of Ruby/Sapphire, I’ve been enthralled with each new iteration and sequel released in the Pokémon franchise for their increasing amount of team possibilities as well as moves, items, and other complexities. Meticulously planning out competitive teams followed by breeding and EV training make for a lengthy but fulfilling experience for any hardcore fan.
With the recent release of Black & White 2 on the DS rather than 3DS, many 3DS owners have been salivating for a title on their newish systems (especially with the still small lineup of titles currently available for the system). Thus, the creation of a Pokédex app for the 3DS seems like a good filler for the time being, allowing fans of the series to use their 3DS and DS as they train their Pokémon teams. I’ll admit that the first Pokédex 3D was a little bit of a letdown for me personally (having to go through the pains of adding all of your Pokémon to the Pokédex seemed like too much work compared to simply using the internet or my phone as a Pokédex); however, a more fully fledged Pokédex application that included all of the Pokémon and forms in existence was enough to get me excited again. Unfortunately, the reality is that the price point is far beyond anything that a gamer should pay for the same information you could find online for free.
I have a number of issues with Pokédex 3D Pro aside from the high price point however. For one, I have an issue with charging people for information despite the fact that we’ve been using the internet for years. Now, I understand that they can certainly get the money from fans and that it doesn’t detract from my ability to still use the internet for my training (which I do). Where I am personally annoyed by this is that a much more useful, free Pokédex application on the Android market was forced to be taken down last year because of the release of their Pokédex apps. I understand that Pokémon is Nintendo’s and Game Freak’s private property for which they can force a cease and desist at any time. However, the Pokédex application not only made me more willing to play their own games but would no doubt be of use to any number of fans wishing to build teams efficiently. The application merely provided much needed information in a highly sophisticated manner allowing me to train even without the luxury of having a computer on hand at all times. The fact that websites such as Serebii.net and Bulbapedia are completely fine but a free phone application is not is confusing to me and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Instead, players are given the ability to have a portable Pokédex app if they wish with Pokédex 3D Pro on the 3DS for $15. At a premium price, I would expect the app to be extremely accessible for both the mainstream and hardcore fans alike. Unfortunately, this Pokédex does not hold up for the hardcore crowd. Not only are stats not able to be portrayed as numbers (such as base stats) but Effort Values are still brushed over and not shown in the searches. You can search for any Pokémon or move in the game and though you can modify your searches based on a number of criteria, more complicated searches are not available such as searching for Pokémon that can learn 2 different moves you want.
That’s not to mention the whole issue with portability. Sure, people will say “I’m still able to have a Pokédex that I can bring anywhere without having to use the internet.” This is true but unless you want to have to turn off your game and open up the Pokédex application just to look something up, it’s really not very practical for training on the go unless you bring both a DS and 3DS and have them readily available at any time (which you can see is also not very practical either). If the 3DS had multitasking capabilities where you could somehow seamlessly switch between the game and Pokédex application, that would be another story but since that’s not the case, it really hurts the application’s ease of functionality.
And, not to sound like a broken record here, but having a Pokédex application on my phone is a much more convenient way to look up information on the go (seeing as the phone is much smaller than a 3DS and I always have it on me). I know it’s a luxury for me to get the Pokédex 3D application for free but even then, I’ll still use my phone application that I have an .apk for over this $15 application when training, despite the fact that the phone application doesn’t have B/W 2 updates since the developer stopped his development right after the release of B/W. As a hardcore trainer, there really isn’t enough substance in Pokédex 3D Pro for me to be able to do more than a rough search of Pokémon and moves.
Beyond the hardcore/mainstream arguments, Pokédex 3D Pro does have its perks aside from being a handicapped Pokédex. For those who really want to see all of the Pokémon and forms in 3D, every Pokémon’s 3D rendition does look great animated in 3D. And for more visual aesthetics, any of the Pokémon can be viewed using AR, as was the case with the previous Pokédex. You can have several AR markers registered at any one time so there can be several Pokémon portrayed in real life. And, for fun, you can also see the rankings of each of the Pokémon based on a chosen stat.
Aside from aesthetic pleasers, the Pokédex also features a trivia mode where players can take part in up to 36 different quizzes (with progressively more being unlocked along the way. Quizzes range from a number of different questions from region to weights and even cries. I found enjoyment in these tests of wit, though my Pokémon 1337ness made them pretty easy to finish quickly. Also, despite my enjoyment in gaining medals in each of the categories, I couldn’t help but feel a little unfulfilled by my success. Sure, it’s nice to get superficial medals that can be displayed in your profile but I was hoping for some tangible prizes that could be carried over to the actual games such as items, Pokémon or funds (I haven’t gotten the highest mark in all of the categories so I don’t know for sure if there is a prize for unlocking everything). In nearly all of the other spin-off titles, we’ve had some sort of rewards that can be brought over to the RPG experiences, so I would at least expect that the $15 price tag would include said rewards.