Video Game Review: PokeMMO

Details: More information can be found at https://pokemmo.eu/

Score: 7/10

Many years ago, I played a game called PokeMMO. I quit because I thought Nintendo would shut it down, but they didn’t. So I revisited the game and decided to write this review. PokeMMO is a fan made massive multiplayer online that (as of this time) allows players to play Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green, Emerald, and Black/White, in a single, seamless world where players can interact with each other.

I think the first thing that needs to be discusses is the legality of this thing. Is it legal to play this game? I have no idea. I googled the subject for five minutes and random search results from the internet who say that in America, it is legal to emulate video games so long as you own a copy of the actual game. I didn’t bother looking up the European law though the homepage for the game is on a European domain. I have read that Nintendo often sends cease and desist letters to fan made projects, which usually shuts them down. No idea if this game received something like that.

The installation of PokeMMO requires downloading the client side program and obtaining a imaged copy (or rom) of Pokemon Fire Red, Emerald, Heart Gold or Soul Silver, and Black or White. It is on this theory that PokeMMO shrugs off liability. They place the blame onto players who own the rom… at least in their own minds.

Furthermore, they claim they don’t make money from the program, but they do take donations… so I don’t know. Making money off other people copyrighted material is usually illegal… or so the random internet search results have told me.

In any case, this game is still alive and Nintendo has not shut this thing down. I guess players can continue enjoying it until then.

PokeMMO is essentially Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green, Emerald, and Black/White. In other words, that’s the Kanto region, the Hoenn region, and the Unova region. Each region retains the visual style or their respective games. Battles in all regions retain the visual style established in Pokemon Black/White.

Personally, my favorite parts of the game was simply going through the single player story again. You can do that here and just take a boat ride to the next region whenever you’re done with one region. Players should be aware however that it’s not that easy to farm in this game as in the originals. PokeMMO allows rematches but scales trainers, gym leaders and the elite four Pokemon levels to the level of the Pokemon in your team. I don’t think this happens during the first play through. There are also level caps so that if you go to a new region, you can only use Pokemon of a level matching the badges you have earned in that region. You can’t bring an overleveled Pokemon to a new region and dominate all the gym leaders. There are also level caps at work that prevent your Pokemon from leveling above what you can control. For example, if you do not defeat the elite four in a region, you can only level you Pokemon to level 56. Once you do defeat the elite four, you can then level past that and all the experience you earned under that level cap goes into effect at once so you don’t lose any experience while under the level cap.

The biggest change from the originals is the multiplayer aspect. You actively see players walking around during the game and you can challenge anyone at any time. You can also participate with tournaments with other players as well in many different forms. You can play free level or only level 50’s, or doubles or singles.

Which leads to what really makes PokeMMO special: the meta game. Most people play Pokemon casually, but there are the devoted few who play Pokemon competitively and know the intricacies of the game. This competitive level requires knowledge of breeding, IV’s, EV’s, abilities, natures, move sets, team composition and more. PokeMMO makes many quality of life changes that makes tackling these game mechanics easier. On the other hand, it also makes some changes more in line with the MMO genre in that trying to play competitive can be a time-consuming grind. For example, creating a guaranteed Pokemon with perfect IV’s takes a ton of money and time. Legendaries also aren’t truly implemented because they’re too powerful and Pokemon moves and stats are mirrored after the generation VII meta game, though not everything is implemented. Regardless, if you want to play competitive Pokemon, PokeMMO is one of the best places to go.

With all of that said, this game is still far from being complete. This game is a perpetual work in progress. Kanto, Hoenn, and Unova are currently implemented, but Sinnoh is supposedly coming and there are many Pokemon who are not implemented yet.

Overall, this is a really fun experience and the perfect format to revisit old Pokemon games. There are lots wrong and missing from this game (including the debatable legality), but it is still really fun.

Score: 7.5/10

 

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