|Media Included||Game cartridge|
What am I getting myself into?
Language actually plays a lot like any other Pokémon game. Your character walks, talks, engages their Pokémon in dogfights every five seconds because that's what all the cool kids are doing, and buys items. Mega Evolution does return from Gen VI, and most of the Pokémon you'll find can use it. Sounds grreat! What are we waiting for? Let's start this thing up!
Alright, before you get into the game, you're asked to choose the language to play it in. There are nine options here, like in the other Gen VII games. No Dutch, but there are two variations of Chinese, so that's, uh, cool. Nice to see Game Freak has their priorities in order, what with their localizing the game to the same language twice, and all. It's like what Kung Fu Panda 3 did, but it doesn't make as much sense here.
Right off the bat, you'll notice that there aren't a lot of new Pokémon in this horribly-named "Kindergart" region. The starters are all Unown, and the tall grass is filled with Kanto Pokémon. To keep things organized, we'll be getting more into this… strange design choice later.
Once you get to a Pokémon Center, you'll also realize that there's no way to trade. I mean, I guess there would always be that one Pokémon you want but can't get either way, but really? Trading is one of the core appeals of these games! It's like having a rhythm game without the background music. Like, what's the point? I can appreciate how Game Freak is trying to subvert our expectations here, but they're doing it in all the wrong ways.
Speaking of things that were removed, Kalos' trainer customization is out, too. Hope you like playing as generic brown-haired preteens, because once again, that's your only option here.
Much like any other game in the series, you're a fresh new Pokémon Trainer ready to catch some of them Pokeymans. You have to help the region's professer, Professer Redwood—heh heh—with his research by meeting "new" species and filling out the Pokédex. And despite its small, repetitive scope, Redwood is convinced that there's at least one brand-new species native to Kindergart. So he sends a child on a dangerous journey across the land to do his job for him. I'd complain about this, but all the other games have this same lazy plot point, and people seem to be fine with that, so let's move on.
You also get to meet your rival, who this time is essentially the player character you didn't pick. Of course, this being a non-Gen I game, there is absolutely no tension or rivalry between either of you. Next!
You also get tangled up in combating the evil schemes of Team Alphabet, the local terrorist group. They want to erase all Pokemon that live on the island so they can do… something that isn't revealed until much later in the game. I won't spoil anything apart from this: What they're trying to do is unbelievably stupid.
And so you must win Gym Badges A through H, battle the Elite Four and the Champion, and take down Team Alphabet in the process. Boy, they're really "taking risks" with this new installment!
That's right, I'll be covering the entire Pokédex right here and now, because it's really small. Game Freak actually removed a lot of Pokémon from the playing field with this game. There are only twelve different species in the whole thing—I repeat, twelve. How?! Ten of them are popular Kanto Pokémon, and one is Unown. So if we do the math, that would mean… Uh-huh, I thought so. There is only one new Pokémon in this game. Or, I think it's new. All the marketing has been very secretive about it, so before 100%-completing the game, you can't know for sure that it's even original. Whatever it is, it had better be good.
|Unown are this generation's main species of Pokémon. The starters are Unown A, Unown B, and Unown C, despite the fact that you can easily find them in the wild. Certainly makes more sense than handing out one of three rare species to a ten-year-old, but come on! Anyway, the real reason this game is called Pokémon Language isn't because of the nine languages. Every Gen VII game has nine languages. But this is definitely the first game to have Unown of foreign letters! The German sharp S, hiragana and katakana, individual Hangul letters, and some of the more common Chinese characters in Mandarin, Cantonese, and kanji alike. And the list goes on. It honestly seems like the grand majority of the developers' effort went into modelling all these new Unown forms.|
|Hey, look! It's Charizard! You know, the guy who's already on half the fucking Pokémon merchandise ever made? Unlike in other generations, Charizard are always found in the wild. No sign of its preevolutions, though.|
|Talk about a fallen angel. Mewtwo is now an entire species, though you might think it already was given how much merch it's on. But worse than that is the fact that Mewtwo is now a very low-level Pokémon that is laughably easy to defeat. Man, you gotta feel bad for the poor guy; it's been through a lot.|
|Ah, Zubat, the only Pokémon that ever seems to appear in caves. And in this game, they took that concept far too literally. After any step made in a cave, a Zubat is almost sure to appear. And Repels are more expensive than ever before, probably because everyone's been buying it to avoid getting smothered with Zubat upon entering a cave. It makes you wonder. Do Pokémon Centers really have an infinite supply of every item they sell? How does the Pokémon World's economy function with these fucked-up supply-and-demand issues? Why am I still playing this game?|
|For the Evolution Pokémon, Eevee doesn't do a whole lot of evolving. There are none of the required stones in sight, and trying to use a different method to evolve it just flat-out fails to work. And apparently, if you try to hack an Eeveelution into Language, the whole game will just freeze up. Unfortunately, thanks to Lumiose City, not even that experience is brand-new for the series.|
|So you've almost 100%-completed this hellhole of a game, and you're ready to make Professor Redwood proud with a live specimen of this newly discovered species. What is it? Let's find out.
Wait, is that… Oh my God, it actually is! It's just the letter A! D-did I break something? Is this seriously the only new Pokémon in the entire game? But we already have an Unown overpopulation crisis! Granted, Game Freak at least slapped googly eyes on those. This is just a sentient letter A. Hell, I'm not even sure it is sentient. It's just… floating there and attacking. Expressing no emotion. Halfway through the battle, it will also sprout wings made of other letters, so make of that what you will.
Alright, I was going to make a legitimate joke here, but this "A" is a joke by itself. Scratch that; this whole game is. If you go on the wiki and look for the page on this game, there's probably a big joke sign up at the top of the page, saying something to the effect of "This is a joke. Understand that it is not supposed to be taken seriously." It's just that unbelievable that, on top of everything else, this is the only new Pokemon in the game. Either way, it's a small wonder the advertisers have been so secretive about this Pokémon. They acted like that out of fear of embarrassing all parties involved.
So after much save-scumming, I managed to catch this abomination. You go to Redwood's lab, a cutscene plays out, et cetera, and the game is finally all over. But let's look at A's Pokédex entry, why don't we? "It was created by Team Alphabet due to a freak accident. Due to its size and strengh, it leads the Unown." Freak accident, yes, I can see that much right off the bat. But why the hell would the Unown let this thing lead them? I mean, it doesn't exactly look like the next Obama, that's for sure.
Okay, hear me out. The music in Pokémon Language music just isn't good. That's right, a Pokémon game has music so horrible, you'll want to gouge your ears out after listening to it. I know I did.
Take the wild battle theme, which is supposed to be a sort of throwback to Kanto's because nostaaaalgia. But then it gradually turns… It's just wrong in all ways possible. What were they thinking when they made this "music"? Actually, a better question would be, what were they taking when they made it? I legitimately have no clue how to put this into words, so I'll just let you listen to it instead.
Yeeeesh. I don't know either. And the rest of the disappointingly short soundtrack is just as bad.
- Seriously, why did I take the time to beat this game, much less fully complete it?