Console Card Games Story Modes: Pokemon TCG is a time capsule
As a child, I always wanted to play some tcg games but I was too poor to buy some Pokemon packs, Yugioh was way to weird for my small non english speaking mind to understand (still is tbf). And had settle in playing some local tcg game for a few years until in went bankrupt.
But pokemon was one of those games I always wanted to play due to pokemon being so popular and me playing pokemon gold all day long, but no one had a deck. So my only real approach to this was the TCG Game for Gameboy Color.
Never finished the game tho, it was really really hard and I didn't knew how to make a simple deck so I got my ass kicked everytime.
But today was my redemption, I finished the game and you know what?. This story mode its the best representation of playing actual card games.
The game plot its simple, you are a new player trying to be the champion on the pokemon traiding card game and get the legendary pókemon cards. To accomplish that, you need to beat the 8 gym leaders, beat the 4 pokemon masters and become the legendary pokemon card holder.
The great part about the game that I think it differ from most, it's that it has the horrible gambling like nature of tcg. Everytime you win an encounter you get two or more pack of 4 different styles, each one having different random cards in them. I know how awful this system is when you don't get the cards you want but god is it exiting to rip open a new pack to see what you get.
Funny thing is that the cards in the packs are the same as in the physical game, they consist of the base, jungle and fossil set of the original game, with the addition of some exclusive GB cards that have special random effects that you can't do with a physical game. The 4 legendary cards are from this special exclusive set and they are BROKEN. They have stupid habilities like random constant attacks or the legendary Moltres letting you get 4 fire energies from your deck when you put in on the bench.
Trying to win every battle in the game its a blast, having to deal with the rng of the game, planning ahead, and building decks for every gym, and even tho you get the option to rematch anyone you beat to get the same packs again and get more cards to build your decks. In practice I only had to do this with that one guy you can fight to get packs full of energy to rebuild the first deck cuz IT SUCKED.
No wonder so many people I spoke to said the game was really hard. The first deck its so bad, no matter which one you choose. To the game's merit it gives you a lot of tips on how to build a proper deck but since every battle its 10 to 40 minutes long, losing everytime and not getting new cards can be a taxing experience.
In the end and in true pokemon fashion you battle your rival after the 4 masters, and he has all the legendary cards... in the same deck... like an idiot. It was so easy so break that deck appart, I mean, it had some nice strategy over putting pokemon back in the hand and putting them back in to reuse the pokemon power but most of the time they were just a zapdos with no energy getting kicked by me. What a let down of a boss fight.
To my surprise there is some post-game content in the form of an survival mode with 5 fight with the same deck, a fun way create a all rounded deck... I think.. I didn't bother, nice that it's there but I am no longer a child with no backlog and there's more tcg games to try out.
In the end, I really liked the final message of the game. Just play for fun, learn to win and to lose, most things are experience for yourself and you should look at losing as a positive experience.
Looking at pokemon now and seeing all the Hyper V, rotations and shiny cards it was really nice to get back to simpler times, simpler cards, and the massive destruction of my boi Snorlax, the best card in all of my decks. Fuck the legendary cards they suck.
Shoutout to the decks that got me to victory:
- burning hands
- dark souls swamp level
It hard to see why didn't other tcg console games followed the pokemon example of just doing the full tcg game sooner. I know the yugioh games were lite version of the game (except for the PS1 one, well talk about that one later you're gonna love it) and god knows what magic was doing.