So I wanted to talk about this game some, because I gotta say, I was severely underwhelmed by the game's narrative, especially with the rather high standards set by all mystery dungeon games before it.
See, on the whole, I loved this game. The vast majority of characters are multifaceted and interesting, the story has quite a few genuine plot twists, the mechanics feel really solid (particularly combat, which feels great for some reason), and the non-story quests are in a system that some may dislike, but I absolutely loved.
The game has one ENORMOUS problem, which I'll get to in a second, but only a few minor problems otherwise.
For one thing, I felt like during the main story, there wasn't enough time for regular quests. Overall, the pacing isn't the best. Far from bad, it's still paced well, but it feels a little rushed in some parts and overly slow in others.
There are a few story threads that turn into complete deus ex machine, and feel awkward inside the overall narrative, namely
Finally, combat feels very challenging without use of the long and annoying Alliance attacks, and way too easy if you decide to use them. I only used them against bosses, and it made the game more interesting overall (a surprising level of difficultly) but it was clear the game was balanced around you using them and the enemy being unable to; Without them, enemies are objectively stronger than you, having more health and doing the same amounts of damage.
However, none of those sins are soul crushing, and the good things overwhelm these flaws substantially. Combat, as stated before, feels SO satisfying. Everything you do seems to have this impact to it, and with more tactical freedom than ever, a smart player can systematically eliminate enemies in amazing ways.
Ampharos, Espurr, and Jirachi stand out as the best characters in the game other than the player character (Which sucks, because Jirachi is severely underutilized) with awesome personalities and multiple dimensions. Buizel and Archen were well portrayed too, and Pancham even grew on me once he stopped being a dick.
The non-story quests give you consistent rewards of new characters and more quests, and always feel good to complete with such tangible rewards. It was easily the best part of the game. The quests were amazing fun. (As a side note, some characters from previous Mystery Dungeons appear.)
All of this, however, is utterly smothered by the game's one and true worst element: Your partner Pokémon.
I found him hideously annoying, with this bland and generic personality of "WOOHOO ADVENTURIN! Follow DREMS! WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" and no real character flaws outside of some negligible cowardice that only seems to occur in the first third of the story before never being mentioned again.
He is an ADHD mary sue; Everyone in-universe finds him annoying, but the game itself always puts him in the right in every situation, even when it shouldn't make logical sense for his viewpoint to be correct. But that could've been forgiven if your partner wasn't so annoying.
He never grows or changes throughout the story in any meaningful way, remaining a static paragon of goody-goodness for the entire affair. Even
had more development! But that could've been forgiven if your partner wasn't so annoying.
For a change, your partner is as much a main hero as you are, not a sidekick. Now, you don't find this out till later, but as it turns out [spoiler]YOU are the sidekick. Your partner is the reincarnation of Mew, the one true hero and defender of the world, while you are just a human he summoned as a means to an end./spoiler] This would've been an AMAZING subversion of expectations, and it was a bold move; making the player turn out to not be the main hero is risky because it takes power away from them. If your partner were an amazing character, this would've been awesome.
But he wasn't. He was the one character who consistently made me want to stop playing this game ever again.
He felt like he stole the story that was supposed to be mine. Every scene with him is a pain, every line he speaks a cliché, and the only time he ever did anything interesting, he was distrusting a character I consider an ensemble darkhorse. There was nothing I liked about his character.
To this day, I still haven't beaten the postgame. Why? Because at the end of the story,
and to complete the postgame would mean to
which is the exact opposite of what I want. When he
I was laughing my ass off because of the trite cliché of the scene and because it meant I was free of that annoying pest, at least for a while.
I really hated this game. I should've liked it, but I hated it.
I want to hear all of your thoughts on the game, but mostly, I had to get this off my chest.