I’m too old for DokeV
Yesterday Gamescom: Opening Night Live 2021 happened and with it a cavalcade of new trailers and announcements for a number of different games. One such game was Pearl Abyss’s DokeV. A take on the popular Pokemon franchise, but in MMO… or “Action Open World Adventure” form as the developers are labeling it as. You know, how everyone said for years that Nintendo/Game Freak/The Pokemon Company should just make a Pokemon MMO?
Well, here it is, but it’s not quite what I, or probably anyone really expected. I first heard about DokeV back when Pokemon Sword and Shield were first coming out. At the time, another game, TemTem was close to coming out too. The thing that both DokeV and TemTem shared in common were that they both looked like promising alternatives for people who were tired of Pokemon. Which, if you were paying attention back when Sword and Shield were coming at, were a lot of very angry, loud people on the internet.
I think TemTem had a brief window of hype around it when it came out, but I haven’t really heard anything about it since. But now DokeV has made its reintroduction into the public mind, and it’s… really… something.
It’s not that I can’t imagine a younger audience enjoying this game, because it does seem to be targeting a very specific generation (zoomers), but it’s also something that when I was watching the trailer, I just felt like it was a full on frontal assault of the senses. And honestly… I think I’m just too old to appreciate this… thing.
For the record, I’m 36 years old, and I too was once a kid who was obsessed with “Pocket Monsters” when they made their debut overseas in the late 90s. And to this day I still love Pokemon. I even think TemTem looks promising, but never checked it out. DokeV however… seems like an entirely different kind of monster.
The first thing that became readily apparent upon seeing the new trailer was “Holy shit, this game is creepy looking.” The strange mix of (ugly?) cartoonish children and the very realistic looking environments was a good introduction to the kind of whiplash I’d come to witness over the next 3 and a half minutes.
It’s already easy to see that Pearl Abyss drew inspiration from another incredibly popular game among younger people, Splatoon. But whereas I think the Inklings in Splatoon can be kind of cute, the children in this game look like soulless hobgoblins who are bound and determined to terrorize this metropolitan cityscape.
Another thing that you’ll notice right away is the trailer’s music. Which is of course KPOP. Which isn’t too surprising considering the fact that not only is Pearl Abyss a Korean game studio, but also kids love KPOP. Which is hilarious and ironic in a way, considering my wife also loved KPOP in the 90s, but back then it was considered very unusual and nerdy for a teenage girl in the US. Funny how things change.
I don’t dislike KPOP. I actually enjoy most of the little bits I hear of it. Granted, most of my exposure to it is through MMDs. I would ask if people still knew what MMDs were, but judging by the amount of Genshin Impact MMDs on YouTube… I already know the answer to that.
Anyway. The song is awful. It compliments the hellish experience of watching the untold horrors on the screen unfold. And the beat drops right when you’re begging for the sweet release of death. Perfect!
So aesthetics aside, what else can I say about DokeV? Oh right, its very manic and chaotic nature that feels like somebody extracted ADHD and coded it into a video game. What was originally pitched as “It’s like Pokemon, but an MMO” has transformed into something, or rather somethings that I feel like might have been the result of trying to throw too many things at the wall, or maybe it’s more accurate to say there were too many cooks in the kitchen for this project? I dunno. Either way the game lacks focus.
Is this in itself an anomaly? Not at all from what I can see, as a layman, when it comes to perceiving the kinds of games that kids are into. Let’s take Fortnite for example. What was originally a base building survival game that went silent for several years eventually turned into the modern day Battle Royale. But then it kept changing that too. It’s at a point where the game is a beacon for business deals to get popular characters from any and all franchises into a game that is constantly experimenting with new ways to play the game, even if that means Epic has to steal ideas from other smaller games. It’s quite the business they have going on over there.
Point is, it’s very popular with “the youth”, so why wouldn’t a new game that is targeted at a very specific audience not try and channel that same chaotic energy?
But for me, someone who is 4 years shy of 40. This shit is a nightmare. What the fuck are you doing in this game? I think the monster raising and battling is still in there? But so are combat encounters that look right out of Monster Hunter. And Extreme Sports modes of transportation and possibly events and races? But there’s also a part where you’re hammering lawn ornaments into the ground? And then there are times when the character is transforming and pulling out all kinds of crazy shit to fight with?
There’s kids playing together on a playground. Fishing. Gliding, Grappling, Flying, Floating, Bouncing, Riding, Shooting, Dancing, Falling, Skiing, Driving, Kicking, Ghost Bustin’, and enough stuff to give me an existential crisis thinking about logging into that game and trying to figure out how, why, when, or where to do any and all of that shit.
I think that given the opportunity, DokeV could take off in a big way for a lot of kids. But it literally hurts me to watch this game anymore than I have already. So in conclusion.
I’m too old for this shit.