The Pokemon creatures you find depend on the landscape they are in. For example, if you go near a lake, you will find a water type of Pokemon there. But it's not exactly uncommon to find a water type Pokemon in the park although these are rare in such areas. Leaving familiar surroundings will open you to a more diverse net of Pokemon. This is why some rural players are at a disadvantage – many of them have limited access to rare ‘mons.
Pokémon GO showcases much of its depth through widespread and frequent collection especially for newbies. There's a very low chance that you will catch the same monster with the same stats, and so capturing multiples of the same creature is a really solid plan. The initial storage allowed is 250 Pokemon which means you really have to use your good judgment when deciding whether to capture a Pokemon or let go of some that you currently have in your roster.
Battling in a gym is like collecting cards and engaging in card games. The fights are a duel of stats and hoping that your increasing abilities will overpower that of your opponent. Factors that are weighed in a gym fight include health, height, weight, type and move set. The most important is the CP of a Pokemon which you can upgrade with stardust and candy, currencies that can be earned from every capture. Planning a gym battle is very satisfying for a trainer. You will curate your squad and plan an order in which your creatures will fight. The game stays true to the appeal of the Pokemon franchise even if it is lacking in turn-based battles.
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The actual battle is played in real time which adds depth to the game. You have to time it carefully. Attacking and dodging must be properly timed by tapping and swiping the screen. Your stats will determine how effective your moves are. The duels are even more involved because you have the ability to gang up on a gym team by battling several trainers at the same time. You get the chance to join and stand out in a group so that there is a lowered barrier for latecomers. The takeover of a gym is not determined by just one fight. Instead, it involves a series of encounter that could wear down the owner of the gym eventually.
The gym battles can be a joint effort because Pokémon GO offers very limited instruction on how they can be won during your fights. The timing and nuances of attacks and dodges are discovered through a series of trial and error and by sharing your experiences with other players. You won't be able to learn advanced tactics and controls. Not ideal however you do get the satisfaction in socializing with other people who are playing to figure out how the mechanics of the game are played. Group capture sessions, sharing of notes and bonding during battles are the social strengths of the game and these things have helped players ignore the absence of an important component – trading. There is some form of trading that is being planned however it was not present during the launch.
A great design benefit of the game is its social draw is not just for adversarial team battles. Collecting those little critters can be a joint effort because no single Pokemon is exclusive to the first one who caught it. If a huge Charmander with 260 CP is found in one area in San Francisco for example, every player still has the chance to capture it. This experience is boosted with lures, or consumable items that drive more Pokemon in a particular area. The more Pokemon there are, the more people will go there thus helping you build new friendships.
In Pokémon GO, there is a dynamic world of animated icons for Pokestops and gyms. The developer wisely focused its efforts on the Pokemon themselves especially their flashy and dramatic evolution sequences. When you capture a Pokemon, you will notice that the creature will counter the Pokeballs you throw at it with blocks and dodges. And they are even more animated during gym battles. A player may also come across a gym that is in the middle of a power struggle, sort of like a Looney Tunes inspired animation and when you participate in a fight, it will feel as if it's a team effort especially when you see a team member battle at the other side of the arena.
Right now it's still too early to say if Pokémon GO will make a really significant impact on the health of users, especially on their cardiovascular health. Niantic came up with a very good idea in repurposing the important franchise elements to match with real life movement and exploration. Just like in the series, egg fertilization in Pokémon GO relies on running, walking and biking certain distances. The process of incubation is not yet perfect and there's a way to cheat by driving very slowly. Also, you can't use a treadmill since your movement is tracked by the game through GPS.
The strength of the game cannot eradicate the fact that its first iteration is quite buggy – from potential security issues and server problems to invisible trainers. You will encounter crashes when you're about to capture a monster, you will have to keep reconnecting your GPS and your game will even crash when taking a screenshot. Sometimes, your gym opponent is invisible which is very frustrating and can be downright annoying when your best Pokemon is exhausted as a result. These problems occur rather frequently but it has still not encouraged people to give up.
Let's also not overlook its ability to consume a lot of battery. Even if you turn off your AR camera, it can still drain your battery in less than 2 hours. You have to have an external battery if you're playing Pokémon GO.
Buying stuff for your game is an option but it's not required. It's a free to play game after all and the items you find in shops are only for accelerating the collecting process.
The initial public reaction for the Pokémon GO has been hugely positive. People of all ages have been playing it and have definitely enjoyed the game. If it's working, Pokémon GO feels like a natural evolution for the franchise that has adapted well to the current times. The issues have not discouraged people from not playing the game and we are confident this game is here to stay for a very long time.