Amidst the controversy of the infamous \u201cMasuda incident\u201d in regards to Pok\u00e9mon Sword and Shield losing much of its roster, a major reason for that was revealed weeks later. The A team, the primary team, responsible for working on the eighth generation of the billion dollar franchise, had been reassigned to GameFreak\u2019s new venture, Little Town Hero, while the auxiliary B team was put into Sword and Shield.\r\n\r\nWhile these decisions could be considered questionable at best, and only stirred the controversy pot even more, it would certainly explain why both games have such a critical eye on them. Pok\u00e9mon\u2019s been around for a long time, and logically it would be easy to improve further on a game that\u2019s now found a home on a console with over thrice the processing power on any of the previous systems, good intentions of the team reassigning aside.\r\n\r\n[embed]https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v=2Xs19JIDlVo[\/embed]\r\n\r\nUnfortunately, such is not the case. We all know how Sword and Shield has suffered, and it seems Little Town Hero has taken a crushing blow as well.\r\n\r\nThe setup is definitely inventive, to be true. You play as Axe, a quirky child in his hometown who dreams of seeing what the world outside his town has to offer. And yet, this story beat is dropped near-instantaneously, mostly by virtue of the game\u2019s own design; it takes place entirely within the town. While we all knew this based on the trailers and announcement from earlier in the year, seeing it in actual play and practice is another thing entirely. It makes the game feel almost claustrophobic. While not a bad decision in its own right, everything else Little Town Hero brings to the table makes more negative associations than positive ones. You neither feel protected nor at home, so much as caged.\r\n\r\nThe art, while gorgeous, is almost overshadowed by the grating dialogue of the characters, all of whom, despite being 3D, have very little dimensions. Even the main villain of the story is noticeable from miles away through dirty windows, but the game still tries to set it up to be a big twist for later, even though it might as well be wearing a glowing, neon sign saying \u201cI\u2019m the bad guy.\u201d and singing a bouncy, sinister Broadway number.\r\n\r\nTalking of the story, it bites off more than it can chew, but still thinks it has room to feed; much of progression is done by way of fetch quests. There\u2019s no real opportunity to bond with your world, and the \u201cquests\u201d just seem to be a repetitive Ouroboros of \u201cgo to this spot, then this spot, repeat ad infinitum.\u201d The most striking change of pace is seeing who\u2019s going to give you which quest you\u2019ve already done several times before.\r\n\r\nMost glaring would be the lack of level progression. While designed to save time, a maneuver designed to increase hours of play does too well of a job, denying players another chance to engage in the world of Little Town Hero; there\u2019s not a sense of true investment when you aren\u2019t rewarded in a meaningful sense for defeating enemies, when you\u2019re essentially at \u201clevel zero\u201d the entire game. Which brings me to the combat.\r\n\r\nUnlike other RPGs where you have a plethora of abilities and the like at your disposal, Little Town Hero has \u2018ideas\u2019. This isn\u2019t a bad way to shake things up per se, but you know what they say about ideas; there\u2019s good and bad ones. And Little Town Hero\u2019s combat is a 2000 meter nosedive into the ground with no pull-up. Even worse; all battles in Little Town Hero are entirely randomized. Your hand is random in every encounter, as are the enemies that attack, making forming a coherent, consistent strategy all but impossible, and turning all battles into ones of luck.\r\n\r\nEven ONE of the mechanics that makes up Little Town Hero\u2019s combat would be fine on its own, but the game seems intent on using as many as possible at once, without fully grasping why many of them were kept separate. It has the map and movement profession of Mario Party, the turn-based format of Pok\u00e9mon, the \u201cbreak\u201d and underlying triggers of Final Fantasy, alongside a card system seen in most TCGs, and with a point system similar to Paper Jam. The battle is the meat of the game, and it\u2019s like being given a sixteen-course meal when you only came in for a salad. There\u2019s a lot to do, and your attacks aren\u2019t even attacks until they\u2019ve made the progression from ideas to actions, during which time monsters have the freedom to turn you into bonemeal.\r\n\r\nIn the event of trying to make both games work to their fullest, the priorities and reassignment of teams seems to have brought out the worst from both of them. And with Little Town Hero being GameFreak\u2019s brand-new venture to try and distance themselves from Pok\u00e9mon, if even a little, time will tell whether a hero will rise, or they should\u2019ve stuck with what they knew.