Here are some of the tradition-breaking touches that really make Uranium stand out from the rest. I will omit some obvious ones like a built-in Nuzlocke.
I don’t think I can write very long about this, but Pokemon Uranium boasts a rather impressive and usable GUI, in battle and off battle. The only awkward part is the somewhat unresponsive Mega Evolve button. There are also parts where the mouse pointer’s position interferes with the keyboard inputs by overriding them (if you don’t know already, Uranium is a PC game). Otherwise, Uranium provides a great reference on how to do Pokemon games on PC.
This part is amazing. Someone in Legen Town engineers key items to replace HMs. This is a brilliant endgame or post-game reward as you no longer have to dedicate HM slaves as you travel through post-game content. The feature is actually incomplete but I can see this being one of the best endgame rewards, as it retains the difficulty of having to maintain a HM user throughout the adventure, but removes it when the game moves on to other more relevant obstacles. Boulder-Pushing machines, Tree-Cutting machines, all of these can be considered to be added into newer games.
Gym Leaders With Character
Game Freak has been trying to do this since generation 4, but so far most of this includes one simple encounter and conversation with the gym leader before moving on. Most of Uranium gym leaders are involved with a subquest of sorts: helping against a stalking fanboy, saving one from being bug food or helping rally citizens to safe areas. Overall, the Uranium gym leaders have a more distinct personality and memorable backstory than most of the main series ones.
Most of them are well-done remixes from the main series. Players can hear nostalgic tunes such as Pallet Town OST in Vinoville Town. Regrettably, I keep the music off because the battling music from all the grinding ticks me off.
Anime Inspired Pokemon League
This region’s league is newly founded and as such, do not have a formal Elite Four. Instead, you get a series of battles involving elite trainers and random combinations of gym leaders as opponents in a tournament format set in a freaking stadium with millions (of pixels) in the audience. This battles are all out 6 on 6, with items being barred from usage. There is no swapping Pokemon in between fights, but teams are fully healed before each battle. By far, this is the most exciting league I ever had as there is no way you can prepare and calculate ahead and target their weaknesses. Your opponents are prepared with significantly improved teams, and the gym leaders are all users of Mega Evolution. This league is not for the faint of heart.
A Memorable Rival
This rival is unique. He is like annoying/unadorable younger brother who is an all out brat and often gets on your nerves with all the babyraging (he actually picks a starter that is weak to the players’, and makes ten thousand excuses out of it when he loses, on top of that his lines makes you extremely salty if you lose). But he develops as a person as you two explore Tandor and challenge each other to keep each other on track as growing trainers. I don’t think I will miss the rival, but he is sure as hell memorable. Game Freak can take a leaf out of Uranium’s book in this regard.
In the last part of the game before the final gym, after a sidequest players can actually challenge ninjas to raise EV for a certain stat for free and indefinitely. They use a team of the same Pokemon for players to train on repetitively or set up a punching bag minigame for players raise EV without fighting. While this is actually grindy for leveling, it is the most effective way to raise EVs of Pokemon into competitive specs, while also being a great leveling spot to prepare for the gym and eventually the league.
Best ingame location ever. I would just spoil this here: the village is basically a Naruto tribute as it is founded after two ninja clans make peace with each other. It has basically everything important: a marketplace full of Johto Apricorn crafted Poke Balls and battle items, the training facility described above, and one of the coolest concepts for a gym with double gym leader. In fact, this location pulled off the oriental vibe better than all of the Johto towns (who are supposed to preserve oriental tradition) put together. 11/10, Game Freak please port this village into a main series game.
Pokemon Speech Translator
This wasn’t perfect, but I look forward to this being a thing in actual games with funded production. I don’t even have capacity to imagine all the possible features talents in Game Freak can do with this.
No Evil Team
There actually is but it manifests in a different way. Basically the antagonist operates in tandem with terrorism, blowing things up left and right, but the good guys have no idea who the fuck is behind everything until the end. The mystery solving element here is more fleshed out than the originals and the outcome is oh-so-mind-blowing.
Starter Concept Break From Tradition aka ‘go with your favorite but Eletux is da best’
You get to choose from the three: a grass-steel typing cat that eolves into a lynx with high defenses and Sword Dance, a fire-ground reptile that evolves into a blazing fast mixed attacking velociraptor, and a water-electric (oh my god!) cross between a horse and an eel (it’s called a hippocampus Pokemon, which is highly confusing to me as I studied the human brain, reference to it being surrounded by fluids and transmitting electrical pulses? I think I am overthinking), which eventually evolves to be taller that basically devoid of significant weaknesses.
This time starters are all dual type and two of them learns a STAB move upon obtaining. To make it more fun, players actually don’t directly choose their starters, but they are decided based upon performance on a basic trainer personality test by the regional professor (aggressive fire, balanced water, and defensive grass). Also, they only evolve once (meaning they are stuck in base form stats for extended periods of time!), and the last evolution is actually the Mega form. This means that trainers will have to make do with a stage 1 evolution starter until getting to the 7th gym which unlocks the secret of Mega Evolution. Did I mention this game isn’t for the faint of heart?
Digression: However, I think the starters aren’t exactly even in terms of battling power and usefulness. The water type is significantly more useful than the other two in terms of typing, usefulness, and well-roundedness. It hits hard, takes a load of hits, not to shabby, great typing and huge special movepool. The Mega Evolution gives it Drizzle which not only pumps its water types moves, but also maximizes Thunder’s accuracy which it gains STAB from. Effectively, water type is the starter to go to if you want a less frustrating game experience, the other two had significant drawbacks in typing and can easily lose to disadvantaged matchups with huge level advantages.
Wrapping Up The Pokemon Fallout
I think this concludes the end of this 3 part series of posts. I am proud to tell others that I have completed the fanmade game, and glad to be done with it. One excellent but albeit overly critical actual game review will be this, which adequately describes Pokemon Uranium as video game fanfiction, a ‘fan’s attempt at putting their own spin on the game without really turning the wheel all the way’. This is why ultimately I am glad to have finished this and looking to move on: being attached to a fanmade product is a lonely experience. I just hope to one day revisit these experiences in the form of adopted features by Game Freak into the actual Pokemon games. Like many, I am sorry that Nintendo did not give the makers enough positive credit for this non-profit masterpiece, but I would like to think that the Internet community is strong enough to keep this alive from the policing of intellectual property advocates. It isn’t exactly a must-play for the newer gamers, but it is rather recommended for loyal fans who are interested to try out a brand new unique Pokemon experience for free. It is unlikely to bring new fans into the franchise as a whole, but it is a special perspective realized in a product that can tell others: this is also a way to do Pokemon and it is actually pretty darn good.
I think this will be the last time I will be blogging about Pokemon Uranium unless something huge happens (or I actually find enough time to write some tips that will most likely involve Nucleon worship).