Thursday, October 31, 2013

Enter the Fashion Police

After riding on a Rhyhorn to get to the Glittering Cave, I started poking around for the professor there who was supposed to tell me about Mega Evolutions.  This would be the fourth scientist I was sent to see about this along this crazy quest train, so my hopes were definitely not high that this would resolve my problem, especially considering that I was only sent to see this scientist, a paleontologist, because the Mega stones are technically rocks and fossils are also technically rocks.  Woohoo Pokemon logic!!!

In this cave, I found the villains of the game, Team Flare.

If Team Aqua was a caricature of a villain, then Team Flare is more of a caricature of a caricature of a typical pokemon villain, and I know this weird fractal statement makes little sense, but neither does Team Flare.  The first thing that the first Team Flare gangster said when I talked to him was that, "Team Flare's goal is to make it so we're the only ones who are happy [sic]".  It takes a seriously messed-up person to accept that they are the villain--and for Team Flare to flaunt this is even more hilarious.  At least this game doesn't have that insufferable nonsense plot about understanding others from Pokemon White version...or at least not yet...

I guess Team Flare's schtick is that they are a bunch of fashion enthusiasts who just happen to belong to a pokemon gang, so at least there is a reason for my character's friends and I to actively seek them out as some sort of crazy gang war (as we have already established that my character's friends are all Pokemon Thieves). But honestly from here I am a bit confused about what their motives would be.  Team Rocket was a true gang of thieves and smugglers, Teams Aqua and Magma each wanted to destroy the world because...well, just because...but Team Flare wants people to dress nicer?

In the end I found the professor who had no information for me about Mega Evolution at all.  He did, however, give me my choice between two Pokemon fossils for my efforts.  I guess if nothing else, this game is consistent with the previous titles.

Current Squad:

On Rotation: Hippopotas, Ralts

Too Many Pokemon!

I previously noted that it is important to have a variety of pokemon available to catch and add to your team early and then to funnel in new pokemon in an even and consistent way--something that Ruby and Sapphire had a serious problem with--but this is just plain comical.

So I caught Snorlax (cause I always catch Snorlax), found the game's pokemon breeding center, went through a cave, Bulbasaur and Froakie both evolved (into Ivysaur and Frogadier, respectively), I found a town, found a second cave, and along the way I caught Seviper, Drifloon, Zubat, Axew, Croagunk, Onix, Sandile, Helioptile, Hippopotas, Lunatone, Solrock, Machop, Cubone, Inkay, Illumise, Ducklett, Spoink, Absol, Mienfoo, and Wingull.  Of these, I briefly had on my team: Seviper, Absol, Mienfoo, Machop, Cubone, Onix, Croagunk, Axew, and Helioptile. 

...And then I realized that I was going absolutely bonkers with all the new pokemon: I was like a fat school kid on Macaroni and Cheese day (something I have years of experience at, as a matter of fact). 

Ultimately, I decided to just leave it up to my little brother to pick for me: welcome to the team, Hippopotas.

I was originally sent to the last town to ask about Mega Evolutions, and the people there sent me on my way to Ambrette town.  When I got to Ambrette town, I found the professor I was looking for and he told me to go piss off and explore the aforementioned "second cave" (only accessible by riding on top of a Rhyhorn).  He must have had an important meeting...or perhaps he just didn't like the idea of some snot-nosed kid asking him about things he has never heard of JUST BECAUSE he is a scientist.  Because all scientists know all of science...right?   

Hint: wrong

Current Squad:

On Rotation: Hippopotas, Ralts

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Escape from the Parfume Palace

The problem with the sidequests in Pokemon games is that they inevitably boil down to "find item X and rub it on slot Y" until the supporting characters tell you how smart you are.  Thus it is with my character and Shauna (the most insufferable of the Pokemon Thieves, whose only character trait is "being a girl"): sent to "find Pokeflute and rub it on Snorlax" until it wakes up.

Apparently, though, I had to find the king of the palace's poodle in the gardens first, so this quest went from annoying to infuriating real quick.

I found the dog and played the "Farfetch'd game" (to catch a trainer's pokemon by chasing it around) from Pokemon Silver version and found myself watching fireworks with Shauna.  I have no clue where these events fit in logically with one another, but rest assured that they were all mandatory and definitely related to my quest to catch all the pokemon.

At this point, Nintendo once again tried to shove its stupid characters in my face with its terrible, terrible writing by having Shauna say that she was really happy to watch the fireworks because "[she] has never watched fireworks alone with a boy before."

NO, I reject this.  I will not accept a crappy love story on top of your crappy regular story.  I have to go lie down.

I sarcastically alluded to the fact that Pokemon White and Y are both terrible in terms of character development in a few previous posts and I want to clarify my feelings on this matter.  I recognize that the best Pokemon game of all time, Pokemon Red version, was similarly plagued by "disposable character syndrome". 

Want to know if your game has DispCharSynd? Try to describe your supporting cast in any way without describing their job or their physical features.  If your only description ends up being something like "has a dog", "likes to dance" or "closet homosexual", then your character is shallow and useless and if it were a marine in "Aliens", it would most certainly be one of the ones that are killed off early and easily.

The thing is that Red version ALSO didn't have a real plot.  This was a game written back in the days where the entire story was told in the booklet that comes with the game--and the rest is made up by the player.  White Version and Y version, however, are given considerably less slack in the story and character-development areas of the game simply because they TRY too hard in these areas.  If White version took some time off pushing its hamfisted message of Pokemon suffrage into your face every 5 seconds and instead focused on letting you, the player, run the story, it could have gotten away with having odious and inconsequential characters, but since it spent so much time banging-on about its plot, the cast members were too easily exposed for the cardboard cutouts that they were.  The result is that you have presented a roller coaster and populated the entire thing with cardboard cutouts of "Winnie the Pooh".  Not necessarily a bad ride, but perhaps a little distracting and you have the constant feeling of shame and indigestion.

Exploring *cough* Totally Not Versailles *cough*

I remember reading something in passing a few months ago about how Pokemon Y's "Kalos region" is based loosely on France in the same way that Pokemon White is based loosely on the Unites States (namely New York).  This is the kind of thing that you forget about until it starts to stick out, and then it becomes all you think about and it changes your perception of the game.

Just two weeks ago, I came back from a brief excursion to France to attend the wedding of one of my sweetheart's cousins (note apostrophe placement).  I say this because realizing that I am playing a game about a place that I have visited in real life must be up in the top ten most disorienting things I have ever done (of course, right behind staying up for an entire week and also behind eating 7 McDonald's double cheeseburgers).

So here is the "Parfume Palace", a nearly exact copy of the Castle Versailles if the Castle Versailles was made of cartoons.
I was sent here to recover the PokeFlute to wake up a Snorlax who fell asleep on the road.  I guess this means that Pokemon X and Y are definitely going to stay true to established "Pokemon lore"

I have the strange feeling that Snorlax don't exist in the wild as animals.  Rather, they exist as features of the terrain in any given area.  Every road in the pokemon world most likely has some statistical likelihood that they will, at any given moment, grow a Snorlax out of the ground in order to become blocked.  Maybe the cement they use contains some weird mineral called "Snorlaxium" or something and here is where my digression really starts to fall apart.

After arriving at the Parfume Palace and exploring every room of the Parfume Palace and playing around in the hedge gardens of the Parfume Palace I realized that I hadn't done any actual pokemon battling in over a quarter of an hour.  Usually this is no big deal but I am of the opinion that if you're playing Pokemon and more than 20 minutes go by without fighting any pokemon then you're officially doing it wrong, so I left and started exploring the surrounding grasslands where I caught Sentret, Oddish, Kecleon, and Gulpin in order to remind myself that I was playing a game and not something that could be confused for a game like a dishwasher. 

Normally I would take-up Sentret immediately over Zigzagoon for my team (since it's another favorite of mine) but I am really only keeping Ziggy for the free items I get from his ability "Pick-Up" at the moment.

Current team:

On Rotation: Ralts, Pickup...erhm...Zigzagoon

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Dirty Little Horde

Full Disclosure:  this post took a little long to get out because I got a bit lost in Lumiose City.  It's not like it is hard to navigate, it's just really really big and I'm one of the brand of gaming scum called "completionists" who have to do and see everything before moving on.  The thing is the city is not even all unlocked yet.  By this, I mean that AS PER USUAL, the game has invented some arbitrary reason why certain streets or routes are closed.  This time, it is because the power is out in the northern part of the city.  At least the reasoning in this game totally makes sense, I remember one time when I was a kid where there was no electricity in my town and I also couldn't walk broad daylight.

No, wait, that's right, that never happened and never would.

I made my way to the next route and my next pokemon-catching spree, where I picked-up Doduo for the active team.  It was an obvious choice between him and Farfetch'd, despite the fact that Farfetch'd (and Lickitung, for that matter) is something of a closet favorite of mine.

The Gang of Pokemon Thieves
Here, I met-up with two "supporting cast" characters of the Gang of Pokemon Thieves (my "friends"), Tierno and Trevor.  Tierno is a big guy whose only character trait is that he likes to dance (something that the game will remind you of incessantly), and Trevor's only character traits are that he is shy and smart.  Glad to have such deep and thoughtful characters this go-around!  Go Team!

Trevor gave me some Honey (and I'm glad that I resisted leading with the obvious misleading pun "Trevor gave me some sugar") to smear all over my body (okay, that line got just as creepy just as fast) to attract hordes of pokemon in tall grass.

Once again, completionist scum that I am, I had to try this out, wherein I was set-upon by five Scraggy.  "Awesome!" I thought, "time to add my favorite pokemon from white version back into my team!"

Let me preface this next point with a revelation about my play style: I hate to miss with a move.  As a matter of fact, I have never had a pokemon with the moves Fire Blast, Thunder, or Hydropump, because I would rather sacrifice the extra power for perfect accuracy (all of these moves have a 70% hit rate, and I use instead Flamethrower, Thunderbolt, and Surf respectively). 

For me, there has never been anything as terrifying as this: seeing all five Scraggy use Sand Attack on me in one turn.

This is bad enough--but then it just got worse, after my move missed, they all used Leer.  At this point I snapped and awoke several hours later in strange surroundings.

Honestly, this was one of the toughest matches I've had, or at least the most frustrating; the gang of Scraggy decimated my squad while I whittled their number down.  In the end I was reduced to just Flabebe (and tears, can't forget the tears), who I found out has a type advantage with Fairy over either Fighting or Dark (the move was super-effective against Scraggy, but Scraggy is Fight/Dark, so I'm not sure which type it was strong against) and was able to capture one of the Scraggy for my team. 

Feeling good about myself, I made it to the next town, Camphrier Town, where the guy I was supposed to talk to about "Mega-Evolutions" there told me to leave.  Obviously, it was time to call it a day.

Current Squad:

On Rotation: Ralts, Zigzagoon

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Good Kind of Tough Choices

I ended-up spending a lot more time than I expected screwing-around in the Route 4 hedge maze getting a feel for this new fairy type and I still haven't decided on whether I prefer Ralts (who was on my main team back when I played Sapphire Version and has always been a sleeper favorite of mine) or this Dandelion thing I just caught.  Ralts is a known commodity, but Flabebe, as I have found after fighting the scores of Combee that inhabit Route 4,  is something of a Special Defense Tank.  I have always been more of a fan of stall-teams, probably because I'm such a huge pussy, so having a Special Tank like Flabebe is fairly fulfilling for me.  For now I'm just going to keep a seven-pokemon rotating roster until I decide I'm tired of something.  These kind of tough choices are the good kind, I feel.

Professor Sycamore as he appears in Pokemon Red
As soon as I made it to Glitch City (Lumiose City), I met up with Professor Sycamore, who immediately challenged me to a battle.  I was expecting a battle against three magnemite or maybe a
Porygon, a Grimer, and a Cubone (These are typical pokemon carried by a "Super-Nerd") or something weird like that, but he surprised me with Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle.

Updates: Fire type added
And it is at exactly this moment that I found out that Fairy Type Attacks are not very effective against Fire Type Pokemon (sigh).  I updated my chart to reflect this new data, but Flabebe still has not forgiven me for this oversight.

I'm not quite sure if I was good all this year, but apparently Christmas came for me anyways: Professor Sycamore gave me my choice of his three pokemon.  I was thinking of picking up Charmander because I really wanted to see that Charizard in 3D, but I decided to stick to my roots and pick Bulbasaur--who was my very first pokemon ever.  I named him "Bulby".

Which brings up that question of what to do with my pokemon team--which is now made up of eight pokemon.  Bulbasaur, Froakie and Raich--I mean, Pikachu are non-negotiable and I'm still pretty high on Flabebe and Ralts...

Guess I have an eight-pokemon cycle for now!

My gang of pokemon-thieving friends arrived just after the battle so that Professor Sycamore could give us all a nice pep talk about following our dreams and finding others who have different views or some "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" nonsense like that. I really wasn't paying attention, I was too high on Bulbasaur at this point--which is a problem because I think he said something important about Mega-Evolving Bulbasaur in his monologue and I definitely missed it.  Hopefully this isn't going to be a problem (SPOILER: it probably is).

On the way out the door I met the obvious villain-du-jour Lysandre.  Why did I immediately identify him as the villain?  Because he said he wanted to save the world.  Only bad
guys say things like that, this is the first thing you learn at protagonist school.  I should have been intimidated, but who can be scared of a guy named Lysandre?  That's like being afraid of a guy named Lloyd!

Current Squad:

On Rotation: Ralts, Zigzagoon

Enter the Fairy

I knew before I started the game that there was a new pokemon type to be introduced--the Fairy Type, but the only other thing I knew about it was that it was meant to be a true counter to the Overpowered Dragon-Type.

The Only Dragon...
Quick Sidenote:  I always thought the Dragon Type was stupid and unnecessary, while all the other types seem to denote the pokemon's element or skills, the Dragon Type is just a description (okay, so Bug and Ghost are similar, but I always thought of Ghost as more of a "Magic" or "Spirit" type and Bug...well, fine, Bug type is dumb too).

I know dragon pokemon are popular and kind of cool-looking (for the most part), but I am certain that any of these pokemon with "Dragon" typing could just as easily be described by other types.  Plus, please explain to me what "Dragonbreath" actually is--and how it is different from "FireBreath" or "Hyperbeam".

So now there is Fairy Type.  Fine.  My idea for the past three generations was a new type called "TECH", which would include all the pokemon with artificial or cyber properties.  Retroactively, this would apply to Porygon, as well as possibly Magnezone, Genesect, Voltorb, and Electivire. I mean, this is no worse than the Ghost type, which only had two evolutionary lines before generation 3, or that damned Dragon type whose only members were the Dratini family and Kingdra that same game.

But no, Fairy type it is...another type where I'm not sure what the defining characteristic is.  I mean, grass pokemon channel nature, fire pokemon are hot, flying pokemon fly, and fairy pokemon...leap daintily from flower to flower?  What exactly makes a fairy pokemon?

I know I could just look up the answers, but because I am a scientist I want to figure out the Fairy Type's combat effectiveness by experimentation, so I made this work-in-progress chart to keep my results. 
I caught the new fairy pokemon Flabebe as well as Ralts, who was changed to Psychic/Fairy type--and removed Spewpa from my squad (becasue I only have room for one bug at the moment and Felix is my favorite).  Flabebe and Ralts are currently on rotation until I can decide which one deserves the spot more.

Current Squad:

On Rotation: Ralts

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Running the Gauntlet to Gymleader Viola

Something I've always wanted to do but never have done is to battle my way through a pokemon gym to a gymleader without healing my pokemon at the 'center.  I'm not sure if this is a man thing or just me being a tool, but I always wanted to experience this as a challenge.  The problem is that I'm something of a nervous little baby (when it comes down to it) and I have never been able to force myself to ACTUALLY go through with it.

After thoroughly exploring Santalune city, I found myself in the pokemon gym--headed by Gymleader Viola, the Bug gymleader. 

Let's just be perfectly honest with ourselves: the only pokemon type less threatening than the Bug type is the Normal type--so I was not worried at all heading-into this place.  I ended-up spending most of my time trying to level-up Pikachu and Spewpa (evolved from Scatterbug).

My favorite leveling technique is the "sacrifice KO" wherein I weaken an opponent to within one sliver of health with a stronger pokemon of mine, then allow that pokemon to be knocked-out so I can finish the weakened foe off with a pokemon I am trying to level (so that the second pokemon gets ALL the exp.).  I guess this is like the "Sacrifice Fly" in Baseball--but this makes me quite possibly the worst pokemon trainer in the known universe.  Honestly, I kind of see where Team Plasma was coming from with the whole mistreatment of Pokemon thing from the previous game, because I obviously only see them as tools. 

Sorry I'm getting so emotional, but cut me some slack; I just realized I'm the villain.

Usually this sacrifice KO would not be a problem, but in this one case, there was no exit from the gym, so I found myself at the gymleader with three pokemon left remaining and no way to heal-up.  What is worse is that nice, shiny, super-effective against Bugs Farfetch'd I just got was one of my sacrifice KO's.

I found myself challenging Viola with a fully rested Froakie, a weakened Zigzagoon, and a Metapod who was barely alive.  It is times like this that I thank the game for forcing me to get those 90 potions at the start.

She had two pokemon and her first was Surskit, who I took out with Froakie, my lead.  Her second pokemon, Vivillon, who was much harder.  In the end, the battle came down to a "next hit wins the
game" moment between Metapod and Vivillon, and let me just say THANK GOD FOR PARALYSIS.

Metapod evolved into my favorite pokemon, Butterfree, after the battle.  Let me just say that I hope the whole game is this exciting.

Current Squad:


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Side Commentary: If Pokemon Were Real...

The other day I was fortunate enough to catch the special series anime "Pokemon Origins" (you can probably find it online if you want, but out of respect for the material I won't provide a link myself).  This is a four-episode special that involves the journey of Red as he learns the ropes of the Pokemon world along his journey alongside his Charmander to become the League Champion.

It was very good--and it was also done in such a way that the source material was a little more believable--and of course this brought up the question that EVERYONE asks: What if Pokemon were real?  Or more accurately, what would be your pokemon squad if you were a real trainer?

Typically when kids answer this question, the obvious examples come up: Gyarados, Rhydon, Charizard, blah, blah, blah.  I feel that this is a little bit inaccurate--or rather--absolutely ridiculous.  Most average people can barely train a dog, much less a fighting animal.  The fact is that 90ish% (and this number is COMPLETELY fabricated, by the way) of people just fundamentally could not find either the time or the endurance to do this.  Even if they could, the idea that they could control something huge like a Gyarados or a Charizard or a Rhydon is furthermore ridiculous.

Imagine these things in real life.  Pretty freaking huge huh?  And scary?  You bet.  Now try showing these animals that YOU are the dominant one in the pair.  You've gotta be a pretty intimidating sonnuvabitch to stare down a Gyarados.

What about an Arbok?  Think you have the nerves to gain the respect and control of an 11-foot long snake?  Or even a 2-foot tall, 40 pound Raticate?

Another thing to note:  No Ghost Pokemon.  I have this feeling that if you started to hang-out with a Ghost pokemon, you will just end up getting increasingly depressed--and eventually just give up on your journey.  I view Ghosts to be like bringers of bad luck or like parasites that would feed on your suffering: just having one around would be a battle of endurance.

Furthermore, just look outside and see what kinds of creatures you see.  A lot of squirrels and bugs and birds, huh?  If pokemon were real, nearly all trainers' teams would include at least one Rattata, Pidgey, or Caterpie.

One more thing: If Pokemon were real, Eevee would be a trendy designer product for rich people.

It's funny how when you give up on finding a pokemon, it always tends to show-up out of no where.  Right after I gave up on looking for Pikachu, I was able to find and capture one, which I named "PikaPi".

With a giant smile on my face, I made it to Santalune City, future site of my first gym battle.  Soon after entering, I found a guy who offered to trade his Farfetch'd for a Bunnelby. 

I've always had a strange affinity for Farfetch'd.  I mean, you've gotta love the swagger that the duck must have in order to carry around the leek stick that it will eventually be seasoned with before being eaten.  Kind of morbid in an oddly self-aware way.

After getting Pikachu and Farfetch'd, I decided that the night couldn't get any better, so I called it an evening.

Current Squad:


Hey, You Got Your Kanto in My Kalos!

After being told to meet Tree-of-the-Moment Professor Sycamore in the next town, I made my customary game first purchase of a thousand pokeballs and exactly six potions at the nearest store.  Little did I know that I would then be given ten more pokeballs and potions free from the gang of pokemon thieves (who are supposed to be my friends) I described in the last post.  While being tricked into getting fifty potions and pokeballs is not nearly as bad as the time I was tricked into catching five Lilipups, I still take this afront personally.

Remember how in the last game, there were ONLY new pokemon?  Well in this game, the pokemon mix is actually fairly decent.  The first pokemon I encountered (and failed to catch, damn) was a Pidgey (who evolves directly into my favorite bird pokemon (that link was a joke)) and the next two were Zigzagoon and a new pokemon called Fletchling.  I caught both of these as well as a cool rabbit pokemon called Bunnelby and found out that in this game, you actually gain experience from catching pokemon as well as defeating them--which is a fairly banal change, but it was all the change necessary to convince me to try and catch every single pokemon I encountered.  I was kind of glad to have those 70 pokeballs as I made my way to the first area of the game (can you call them "dungeons"?), Santalune Forest.

Now, as soon as I stepped-into the forest I was struck with an odd sense of deja-vu: "Have I been here before?  Couldn't be...I bet there isn't a dead end to the left...wait, there is...or an item forward and to the left...there is...and the path to the right winds up and around..."

Item to the left, twisting path, Encounters with Caterpie, Weedle, and rare cases of Pikachu?  THIS IS VIRIDIAN FOREST!!!  As I would soon find out, Santalune Forest has an identical map to the Original Viridian Forest from Red Version.  What the Hell, Nintendo!  You can't take my very first pokemon adventure and lovingly recreate it in 3D with fantastic graphics and an amazing selection of new pokemon...


What the heck was I complaining about again?

I went on a spree here, catching Weedle, Caterpie (who evolved into Metapod), Pansage (we meet again, my old nemesis), Pansear, Panpour, a new bug type called Scatterbug, and NARROWLY MISSED CATCHING PIKACHU.

I am still a little sore about that Pikachu, because then I would be one step closer to having my three favorite pokemon on my team (Butterfree, Raichu, Milotic if you're asking).

I am immediately reminded of Red Version.  I remember back then how long I would look in Viridian Forest (which, as established, is Santalune Forest) just to find one Pikachu for my party--and how when I did finally encounter him, Bulbasaur was already level 12 and I was scared of knocking it out too quickly (Oh yeah, I chose Bulbasaur, by the way).  My solution was to use "Leech Seed" and "Growl" until his health was low enough to start tossing Pokeballs.  On more than one playthrough, I got to this point to realize I was out of Pokeballs, so it is a good thing I have 80 of them this time.

After 40 minutes of looking I decided to quit for the moment.

Current Squad:

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Beginning of Pokemon Y

The start of a new journey is always the most interesting part, but if this is the best the game gets then it is enough for me.

I can already tell that this game has a lot of potential--and that it will at least be better than Diamond and Pearl versions: a decent choice of starting pokemon and character customization.

Let me start over:
I recall the start of Pokemon White being something painfully dumb and after taking a few minutes to reread my blog post just now I am thankful that Nintendo decided to start this title without the melodramatic nonsense: you turn the game on and you immediately choose your name, gender, and what you look like.  Granted, the options for facial customization are PRETTY limited (you only get to choose between "blond anime kid," "brown-haired anime kid," or "dark-skinned anime kid"), but being able to play as something other than the typical "wirey Japanese kid" is fairly monumental.

I named myself "Darien" as I named my first pokemon character back in Red Version and within four minutes, I got to choose my first pokemon.  I met my character's friends in town and they asked me what nickname I wanted to have (D. Swiggy, of course) and then gave me a pokemon and a pokedex, saying that the "Professor Sycamore" told them to do this.

Basically my first pokemon might actually have been stolen.  Wouldn't it be funny if Y version was a "Team Rocket" Game?  

The choice of Starter pokemon this time around was the ridiculously cheerful grass type "Chespin", the painfully adorable fire type "Fennekin", and the type I always choose "Froakie".
Since I have chosen the water-type starter in every game barring White Version (and Red version, but we'll get to that some other time), the toss-up between Fennekin and Froakie was decided in water's favor.  I am curious about whether anyone will acutally choose Chespin.  To me Chespin looks less like a pokemon I would choose to start an adventure with, and more of a pokemon I would pick up in a forest somewhere on the way to my first gym battle and then let rot in the PC.

So I still haven't met the professor yet and may have gotten a stolen pokemon as my starter, but none of this matters because in this game YOU CAN WALK DIAGONALLY.

As a matter of fact, go back and ignore all the criticism I have so far, the diagonal walking totally makes up for it all.

Current Squad:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The End of Pokemon White

Not really much to say about the anticlimax of the century: I beat "N" with only "Tusks" the Haxorus (there HAS to be an "overpowered Dragon-type" joke in there somewhere...) and then I fought Ghestis (the true villain) afterwards and similarly beat him in 8 moves using only Haxorus. 

Afterwards, I got a pep talk from "N" about pursuing my dreams or some nonsense like that.

And then the credits rolled...

I'm not sure how I feel about Pokemon White being over--on the one hand the writing was heavy-handed and the plot was fantastically bad, but the pokemon designs were interesting and the world layout was...satisfactory.  Okay, I guess coming up with things I liked is a little difficult.

Now, I'm just being critical because I love the Pokemon series so don't take this the wrong way, but Pokemon White was not a good game.  I'm not saying it was bad, it was just average.

Why do you play pokemon?  The story?  I sure hope not, the story for this game was good, but not great: it definitely suffered from "Decent Premise, Terrible Writing Syndrome".  The idea of whether or not Pokemon training is ethical was great to bring up--and injected an excellent bit of self-awareness for a series which has always been "Shoot First, Ask Questions Later".

The problem with this is that the whole "pokemon battles as arguments of ideals" allegory that this game was pushing the whole time (Zekrom and Reshiram themselves, representing dissenting opinions) fell absolutely flat on its face along with the entirety of the game's dialogue, which ranged from "bad" to "unforgivably bad".  I wonder if the entire game was written on "Take your kid to work day"...

No, you play a pokemon game for the battling and the pokemon design and selection.  Here, the game wasn't terrible, but it still didn't shine.  For every cool-looking Leavanny or Scraggy, there was a dumb-looking Stunfisk or an uninspired Klink, Vanilluxe, or Cryogonal.  As a matter of fact, the total number of stupid-looking pokemon definitely outnumbers the cool ones that I remember--and the negatives from this game are most definitely the things I recall the most.

I can't remember one bad thing about Red and Blue version...wait, I just remembered Rock Tunnel...
nevermind.  But Silver Version--there we are, that's the example I will use.  Silver version was perfect I think.  I can't recall a bad section of the game: awesome pokemon design, access to good pokemon early (but not overpowered ones) in order to get you hooked--constantly changing environments and a story that was compelling and not in-your-face the whole time banging-on about friendship or dreams or arguments or some nonsense like that.

Ruby was good I guess--less homogenous in terms of pokemon access (as in, you tended to get about 40 cool new pokemon at a time followed by hours of gameplay where no new monsters appear) and a bit too plot-heavy (I never DID get behind that "legendary pokemon as a main plot point" thing), but overall solid.

Diamond and Pearl I can't for the life of me remember--must not have liked them very much--and I never DID like those three starter options.  Turtwig, Chimchar, Piplup: Dumb, Dumb, Dumb.  While I know many people will disagree with that last statement, it is my opinion and I would just like to say: nanna-nanna-boo-boo, stick your head in doo doo.

So Pokemon White?  Put it above Diamond and Pearl but below Red and Silver versions.  Maybe just below Ruby and Sapphire.

But today isn't about goodbyes, it is about new beginnings.  I thought I was done with Pokemon--but Nintendo just keeps me hanging on.  A new game is out--and that means a new Pokemon Playthrough.  Therefore, I am proud to announce the start of:

I have reset my trainer card to reflect the change:

Of course you can continue to expect witty commentary, snide remarks, and what I consider humor. 

Climbing the Underground Space Castle

As I started my journey up the tower to the obvious final boss stage to fight "N" and his giant space pigeon Reshiram, I came across the six sages.  Each one of these stepped forward and told me a useful or not-so-useful life tip: "All mistakes that are not prepared for are other mistakes," "Wisdom is the forsight of knowledge," "An apple a day makes the world go blind,"...

What a dumb game, I can't be the only one who thinks that this is just stupid, right? Right?...guys?...

I thought this would be a six-versus-one battle (which would have been fun), but I was surprised when I got instead a cutscene: all eight gymleaders showed-up to back me up.  Full disclosure: this was pretty cool--which is weird because everything else in the past hour of playing time has sucked.

It turns out that Team Plasma's big plan has always been to sabotage the PC system to release all of the trainers' pokemon.  *INSERT SLOW CLAP FOR GENUINELY CLEVER PLAN*.  My only question is why they needed the Dragonite skull from the museum at the start of the game--or all of those pep rallies--or the underground space castle build next to the pokemon league.  Surely this is the sort of plan that should be executed "Ocean's Eleven" style (with a cool Frank Sinatra tune playing in the background)?  I am very disappointed in Nintendo for not casting George Clooney as "N" and Brad Pitt as "Ghestis".

Here are things I found on the way to the top:

-N's creepy ass pedophilia room -->
-A pokemon storage PC
-A pokemon center

This is clearly the worst evil lair ever.  Ghestis even cheered me on!  He wished me luck!  Who the hell writes these characters, this incessant coddling is too much!

As I made it to the top, N called for his "Hyper-Pigeon" Reshiram to battle me--Reshiram broke through the wall to get in, which must end-up costing Team Plasma a lot of money in the long run on renovations, and Zekrom appeared out of the orb I was carrying.  Okay game, I see where you are going with this.

I fought Zekrom, but apparently killing him doesn't do anything and you are REQUIRED to catch him. UGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH, FIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNE!

Oh, by the way, I got rid of that dumb Psychic type since he was only good at sucking and dying.  Picked-up Rufflet from the PC.

Current Squad: