Last week Nintendo released the “Pokédex 3D Pro” application onto the Nintendoo eShop in America and Europe. As you probably know, Nintendo had previously released a free application called “Pokédex 3D” which only covered the new Pokémon introduced in the Black and White games. 3D Pro however, boasts every Pokémon from the series’ 16 year history (Excluding Meloetta, which is unlocked via password, as well as Genesect, who possibly has an unreleased password). So with over 700 full 3D models, it makes sense that 3D Pro, unlike its predecessor, isn’t free. The price has raised a lot of eyebrows amongst fans though – £13.49 (or $15 for the American readers). Off the top of my head, this makes it the most expensive Nintendo 3DS application currently on the eShop. The big question though is, does the application justify the price-tag?
The first thing that needs to be made clear is, 3D Pro is not really a game, it’s a utility. Just like the Pokédex in the Pokémon franchise, it contains concise information about every Pokémon (and unlike the original Pokédex 3D, all of them are pre-programmed. No need to wait to obtain them all via SpotPass). The application doesn’t only feature the sometimes creepy flavour text though (seriously, read Yamask’s Pokédex information, or even Banette’s – disturbing, especially for a kid’s game).
Like strategy guides, various fan-made online Pokédexes and its predecessor, 3D Pro includes information about every ability and move a Pokémon can learn in the most recent games (in this case, Black Version 2 and White Version 2). Pokédex 3D Pro also lists the Hidden Abilities for Pokémon that have been released at least somewhere across the globe prior to its release, with them highlighted in yellow to show that they’re special. That’s a small, but useful addition that Pokémon fans will be sure to like. What is off putting though is, the application makes no mention of SpotPass like the previous one, so whether or not abilities will be updated when they become available or not is up in the air. Another tiny detail that niggles me is that it has a page for every different Pokémon form. Back in Pokédex 3D this wasn’t a problem, because only Deerling, Sawsbuck, Frillish, Jellicent and Basculin had different forms, but now we have 28 pages of different Unown forms and 17 Arceus forms when really, the only differences between them are aesthetic (Unown) or typing (Arceus), so that’s a bit silly. Couldn’t they have integrated them into a single listing?
Fans of the augmented reality mode will be happy to hear that there is now a feature to remove those blue shadows when taking a picture (so many potential photos were ruined in the first game by those glaring blue shadows). Disappointingly though, pictures can still only be taken in 3D (the system take take 3D pictures, the Pokémon models are in 3D and so is the 3DS’ Augmented Reality feature, so why not?). Also, uploading a photo from your SD card to use a backdrop seems to take a little longer to load than in the first app. What is cool though, is that now when you view a Pokémon via Augmented Reality, you can press a button to redirect you to its Pokédex page.
A new game mode added to this application is the much hyped quiz feature. These are a series of sets of queries asking questions from a variety of themes, including evolution, type and type effectiveness, which Pokémon is heavier or taller and identifying obscured Pokémon. I have yet to get less than 100% on a single quiz, but that’s probably because I live and breath Pokémon. I found the vast majority of the questions to be easy, although I have noticed that it does try and deliberately trip you up, making sure you read through each of the possible four answers carefully (such as in the “Which Pokémon does Vanillite evolve into?” question, it lists both Vanillish and Vanilluxe). I feel that this feature is better for the younger fans, but it is still a nifty feature nonetheless.
There’s also one small tidbit that fans of the series are going to love – when you access a Pokémon’s page, their name is read out by the same voice as the Pokédex from the anime series. We finally have an official pronunciation guide. Do you also remember how Pokédex 3D had the English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese languages in one package with the ability to change between them? Well, so does this game – but with the new voice feature, that means we can also hear how Pokémon names are pronounced abroad. I actually found out I was pronouncing Cobalion and Virizion’s incorrectly (although I wonder if TPCi are the ones doing so, as the Japanese Pokédex pronounces them just I do? Who knows?). While it is indeed a small detail, it is something fans have wanted for a long time, so it’s welcomed with open arms.
One of this app’s weaknesses though, is like Pokédex 3D, to open it you need to suspend your current software. Some people might be asking “Why can’t I just use the Internet Browser to look up this information?” and that will be a very valid question once a main series Pokémon title comes to the Nintendo 3DS (I’m 110% positive it will be 2013), but at the moment, the main series is still on the Nintendo DS and you can’t suspend DS software anyway, so that point is moot for now. Besides, with Pokémon games you can save almost anywhere as long as it’s not in a battle, so would it really be hard to save, press the home button and then check the app? Probably not.
I also have to praise the game for its 3D models though. As they have recently been confirmed to being reused for Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Magnagate and the Infinite Labyrinth, it does make me optimistic about what the main series of RPGs will be like when they finally land on the Nintendo 3DS.
As you’ve probably guessed, I would not be able to recommend Pokédex 3D Pro to anyone not familiar with the franchise. Like Pokémon Dream Radar, this is really a utility to be enjoyed alongside the recently released Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 pair of games. For an established fan of the series who might be put off by the price tag, I will agree that perhaps it does cost too much (Personally, I would have said £10 would be the highest I would charge for it). However, it is wonderfully convenient to have a full Pokédex built into your Nintendo 3DS, which will definitely come in handy during those times where you might not have an internet connection. This is also a huge improvement over the original free application (Like Black 2/White 2, its most appealing factors for me are the smaller things that the fans are sure to appreciate). My only wish would be that the Augmented Reality pictures were in 3D and that there was an option to search for Pokémon by Ability as well. Otherwise, this app is a wonderful tool that will definitely help you in your Pokémon training. The price might be high, but if you can bear with that then this application will be of use to you.