pokemonxy

Greetings Nerdlings! Welcome to Day 3 of Straight Outta Kanto’s “7 Day Blog Challenge!”. We are feeling fresh, we are feeling strong and we are feeling… NERDY!

Straight Outta Kanto – a brand new Irish blog bringing you news, nerd culture, nonsense and potentially more!

Today we’re going to discuss one of the more… contentious Pokemon generations – Gen 6 – Pokemon X and Y.

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This game is a source of great discussion amongst PokeFans mainly because it is one the greatest examples of wasted opportunity in the Pokemon franchise.

For Gens 1 – 3 the franchise was relatively fresh and still finding it’s feet, culminating in Gen 4 (Diamond and Pearl) which according to Gamefreak staff was considered a “Greatest Hits” of the generations so far, and wrapping up all they’d done to date.

This was why Gen 5 was one of the more polarizing games because the franchise was in essence starting from scratch.

So, with the alienation of some of the fan base after the cold, strange world of Gen 5’s Unova, Gen 6 was going to have to work hard to win back its old players.

As far as physical regions go, Kalos is one of my favourite and I have some very dear sentimental memories of the Christmas that I first received X/Y. However, a recent re-play of the game without my mushy-smushy glasses on has given me some new more objective opinions on the game that I am willing to share with you guys in… A TOP TEN!

Hey Ho, Let’s Go…

(10) Kalos is only gooooorgeous, wha’!?

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Honestly, Kalos is a breathtaking game scenery wise.

Inspired by the French country side the visuals in X/Y are an abundance of lush greenery and autumnal motifs. Wistful and decrepit graves litter many, many of the routes adding an intangible sense of lost history to its surroundings.

The enhanced technology mean that the sparkling lakes and rivers have a more authentic feel to them rather than just being the Blue Squares of old.

Crumbling castles, fields of wild-flowers, frost and snow encased villages, and lots, lots more. Laverre City alone is worth a mention, as is the exquisite sundial of Anistar City. The delicate details in almost every scene indicates the painstaking work that would have gone into designing Kalos.

The creators at Game Freak really threw a lot of style at this region, sadly, not a lot of substance leaked through. The region looks great, but each town and village sadly has little left to do in it once you’ve walked through it the first time.

Not to mention all the many mysterious caverns and caves that feel un-finished or forgotten. Like something cool or integral to the plot was going to happen there but didn’t.

Stunning visuals can only take you so far, but they really are something else in this game.

(9) I do my little turn on the catwalk…

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Personalising your character for the first time in the Pokemon franchise really added an element of emotional involvement to the games not previously felt before.

Also I just really like hats.

Thankfully the fashion function is something they carried with them into the Sun and Moon games and even experimented a little bit with Cosplay Pikachu in OR/AS.

Hopefully this unique characterisation is something that becomes part of the norm for future Pokemon games ’cause I can’t kick Trainer butt if I’m not wearing a jaunty fedora of my choosing.

(8) More familiar Pokemon designs:

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This may be a gross sweeping statement but I barely like any of the Pokemon from Black and White.

I think perhaps for the same reason I didn’t like any of the Pokemon from Ruby and Sapphire when it first came out. I found the designs of both too alien and off-putting and just over all un-Pokemon-like.

That’s why I loved Diamond and Pearl so much because the monster designs felt much more familiar and un-explainably more “Pokemon-like”.

There’s something about the creature designs for X and Y that feels… softer and more comforting to play with. The fossil Pokemon Tyrunt and Amaura are badass, Pumpkaboo and Phantump are kawaii and kowai all at once, the introduction of the Fairy type was surprisingly effective and the balance between old Pokemon designs and new feels more well, balanced.

Overall, I feel that the Pokemon from Kalos were a return to form.

Also, Slyveon?

‘Nuff said.

(7) Prelude to PokeRides:

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We had a light taste of utilising a Pokemon’s size and abilities for traversing the un-traversable in Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs where we got to hop on the back of Suicune and ride him up and down waterfalls – and this was also heavily used in Shadows of Almia – so saying X and Y was the first trial of Ride Pokemon wouldn’t be exactly accurate.

However, it’s the first time in a core Pokemon RPG where we have the opportunity to interact with Pokemon like this.

Gogoat-ing around the vast and sprawling Lumiose City, rough-riding it on a Rhyhorn around Spike Passage and taxi-ing a wooly Mamoswine around Frost Cavern – not exactly life changing, but a fun step in the right direction for the kind of Pokemon game I know that fans want to play.

This function also carried on into Gen 7 and was received well so hopefully Gamefreak continue to develop this function and make the Pokemon games a more real world experience.

(6) Intricate and beautiful Gyms:

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The doll’s house-toadstool-clock tower-tree filled with ornate rooms and gorgeously kimono-ed fairy cosplayers gym hands down wins out as my “Favourite Gym EVER” purely on visuals. #Valerie #MajorGirlCrush

Again though, style, but no substance.

This is a common trend in X and Y.

Intricate and heavily-detailed gyms that pose no real challenge to the trainer.

X and Y was the easiest game for Gym Leaders. I don’t even really remember the battles and I’ve played the game three times in the last five years.

A combination of the stats and Exp. Points being easier to gain through battling mixed with lower level heavily type-disadvantaged opposition teams meant on all three walkthroughs of this game I was able to BREEZE through my gym challenge.

It shouldn’t even have been CALLED a challenge.

Not a single gym did I struggle with.

They sure looked great in 3D, though!

(5) Least Challenging Elite 4 and Champion:

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My Jigglypuff DESTROYED Drasna.

My Blaziken wasted Wikstrom.

My Blastoise annihilated Malva.

And My Raichu savaged Siebold.

Battling Diantha was also the single least memorable Champion battle out of ALL the Pokemon games.

Ok.

Now that’s out of my system – critique!

Much akin to Unova’s Elite 4 the trainer has the option to choose what Elite 4 member they’ll battle in what order. This can be handy because you can battle the easier sounding members first and build up your stats a bit more before facing the more challenging trainer. I for one welcome that option!

The background scenery for the battles and the chambers which the Elite 4 members reside in, again, visually lovely and highly detailed but my high-level well balanced team was just too much for this E4. Almost every Pokemon was knocked out after one hit!

In some ways I liked this because Unova‘s Elite 4 nearly destroyed me mentally – now THAT is an unpleasantly challenging Elite 4, but the pendulum swung too far in the other direction for my liking.

I like my Elite 4 battles easy, not boring.

It was interesting, of course, that Team Flare‘s own Malva was one of the Elite 4, but again, that didn’t really amount to much in the end. It just was. And that was it. A little more backstory or in-sight into Malva and how she was an E4 member but also a villain would have been welcome. Another example of a wasted opportunity to make X and Y a little more meatier.

Movie star Diantha being the Champion was nice but heavily fore-shadowed and no real surprise. The Oscar does go to Diantha though for being the only Champion I have ever beaten first time around without really paying attention.

God, it feels like a constant refrain in this review: “Style but no substance…

(4) The NEW Champion’s Parade:

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I couldn’t find an actual picture of the little car and screaming fans at the celebration parade they throw for you but it is… GLORIOUS.

There’s confetti involved.

Honest.

To.

God.

CONFETTI.

Usually when you win the Pokemon League you just get dragged into a private side room with a dodgy old Professor and hope your innocence stays in tact while they record your victory, however, in X and Y THEY THROW YOU A FULL ON PARADE THROUGH LUMIOSE CITY!

Even if I didn’t earn a parade because my victory against such a weak E4 and Champion was so easy, it’s still a majestic moment.

They kind of throw you a party in Sun and Moon when you complete your trial, but a piddly little barbeque can’t beat a muddahuggin‘ parade down the streets of the Capital!

Also.

In X and Y, the Champion’s parade is not where the story ends. Oh no. You don’t just drive down the street with a big happy head on ya, oh no, an un-expected guest arrives and challenges you to a battle… And that challenger is…

(3) AZ:

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While the story in X and Y for the most part is the bog-standard “I’m new to the region, let’s befriend some annoying neighbour kids and go on a Pokemon adventure while thwarting some adult villains” – I will give credit where credit it due, the AZ element of this storyline is the strongest out of all the games.

Long story short for those of you don’t know/remember:

AZ was this Kalos king dude from 3,000 years ago who killed a bunch of Pokemon to make “The Ultimate Weapon” which he used to bring back from the dead his beloved Floette.

Once Floette saw how many Pokemon died just so it could live, it fled from AZ and AZ was cursed to wander to the Earth for all eternity until such a time as he redeemed himself enough to find Floette again.

The story itself is heartbreaking, and what happens to end this tragic tale once AZ challenges you post-game in the streets of Lumiose City will send your feelz into over-drive.

It’s a poignant and powerful scene of reunion and redemption and adds a long-overdue substantial element to the game’s over all flimsy story line.

Hankies.

NEEDED.

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*sob sob sob*

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(2) Team Flare:

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As a massive Lady Gaga fan I do appreciate the decision to use her backing dancers as the main villains in Pokemon X and Y but apparently just because you look the part doesn’t mean you fit the part.

Oh Team Flare.

Where do I even begin?

As I said before in this review, the plot for X and Y is not particularly fresh or stand-out. You arrive in a gorgeous new town, befriend some perky new pals, traipse around on a time-consuming adventure and defeat some villains along the way.

Except…

Team Flare aren’t exactly… villainous.

Apart from randomly challenging you to battle and barring your entrance from various places until it suits them, they don’t really do a whole lot, do they?

They held a siege at the Pokeball factory, but that seems to be their main claim to fame.

In other games the evil villains crimes were far more clear cut.

Team Rocket were Yakuza style gangsters who actively wreaked havoc on the land trying to steal Pokemon for profit and other dodgy profit building means.

Team Rocket 2 cut off the tails of Slowpoke and sold them for the craic. They also hi-jacked an entire city just to take over its radio tower so it could broadcast malevolent and hypnotic programmes to f*ck with the Pokemon of Lake of Rage.

Teams Magma and Aqua respectively attempted to bring about weather related apocalypsi for eco-warrior reasons.

Cyrus of Team Galactic was a charismatic socipath who inspired apocalyptic and nihilistic devotion from his followers.

Team Plasmaa 1 and 2 were a misguided cult with the liberation of Pokemon from enslavement by man at the core of their beliefs.

Lysandre likes nice things so he’s going to destroy the world?

What?

Team Flare look cool but they are the group whose core beliefs and reasons for villainry I still don’t understand or follow.

They are a weak and lacklustre rag-tag group of villains with no real purpose and no real goal and Lysandre just looks like a big Pyroar.

Team Flare grunts don’t even seem to believe in anything, they jut paid 5,000,000 Pokedollars to join the team because they liked the suits?

Lame!

I was always hoping beyond hope that Gamefreak would release a new Pokemon Z game and pad out the Team Flare storyline a bit more and add a bit more depth and meat to the loose ends and unexplored concepts and ideas in the game but that’s clearly never going to happen.

I always thought maybe X and Y were rushed and that by giving them a third companion would benefit the Gen and not make it feel like such a waste. But Kalos is wasted. More features and things to do would have been nice. A few more mysteries solved. Alas.

For this incomplete reason, sadly, my image of Team Flare as a load of impotent and incompetent nothings remains!

(1) Messed-Up Post Game Story:

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The X and Y post game was Pokemon’s best kept secret and most obscure to unlock out of all the games. For years myself and many friends believed there WAS no post-game story.

BUT THERE IS!

And it is dark.

I won’t say anymore in case you haven’t discovered it yet but I will give you a hint as to how to unlock it:

Post Pokemon League victory, explore EVERY side street of Lumiose City until you come across an old Pokemon friend by the name of… Looker…

Enjoy 😉

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So there we have it, a top ten of wasted potential and longing for a game they will never make. Hope you enjoyed today’s Nostalgia Top Ten!

For more information on Straight Outta Kanto, feel free to follow our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/StraightOuttaKanto91/

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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