When Pokemon Y came out there were almost literally hundreds of Journals of people giving their two shillings/cents/insert currency. Well, now we've had a chance to calm down, here's mine. Not a comprehensive Open MIC review (yes, that still exists), just my general thoughts.
Currently, I will freely admit that I'm behind everyone. I started a week late, which apparently is after everyone else finished their games, and I can only play in short bursts (given the way my day is structured, anything over three-quarters of an hour is considered quite lucky). I am currently about to take on Lumiose City Gym, having restored the power.
I won't deny, it's definitely a good game. A very good game. The schmexy 3D graphics (you can run DIAGONALLY!!) are just as good in the real thing as that trailer we all fan-squeed over this time last year. The new Pokemon, on the whole, are pretty good designs, and those I didn't like much at first have grown on me. The stuff with Team Flare is actually quite exciting in its own way (they remind me of Team Rocket, and that's a good thing) and Game Freak mercifully isn't running out of original characters or designs. Good to see. Also, Fairy-type works very well. At first I thought it would spoil the winning formula, but that's why I'm sat here writing about billion-selling games instead of making them.
Time to complain about two things everyone complains about: 1) The pacing of Gyms. Cyllage Gym was way too late after Santalune Gym, and then the quick succession of following ones gave me virtual whiplash. Given the way I add new members to my teams (a new one from the Box every time we reach a Gym), it meant I had to spend a lot of time with a very small party that got very much over-levelled. On that note, 2) The Exp Share and Pokemon-Amie break the game. And that's why I haven't used either. I want this to be fun, and the most satisfying wins are the ones you work to get. Seriously, the buffs that Amie gives you are ridiculous. More money, more crits, better resistance, more power and faster status recovery? Do you just want us to give you the badges for free while we're at it? Also, you have too much choice for Pokemon, especially before the first and second Gym, so much so that it takes ages to try and pick team members. And another thing. Stop with the free stuff. Free items, free Pokemon, free equipment, more free items, more free Pokemon GAHHHH! I am perfectly capable of getting my own things, Game Freak!
Ok, I think I've managed to just about cover in a paragraph each all the stuff I especially liked and disliked about it. Everything not mentioned, assume good. I wasn't sure what to make of it at first, but it's really grown on me and might be one of my favourite generations yet (not the favourite - it's not as good as Unova and definitely not as epic as Hoenn). Hopefully it's going to pick up from here, so I'll play the rest and see what I think.
Those were my general thoughts. These now are my specific thoughts, brought on in response to various things I saw or encountered in the game, in roughly chronological order. It's a long list, though, so consider yourself warned:
- '(Insert name) checked the PC their dad bought them'. Holy cow, our character has a father!
- And your mother has a bed! Seriously! Check your house in Vaniville Town. It seems that Game Freak is listening out to the fan's requests, but also to the fan culture and theories. Good old Game Freak. I love it when a meme gets acknowledged by the real thing.
- Aquacorde Town (see what you did there, Game Freak) has a point on the bridge where the camera cuts to the side to show the trees reflected in the water. Yeah, you do know that if you're going to put loads of scenery por- really aesthetic scenery in then you're going to have to keep it up, right?
- At first I didn't like the new rival dynamics (partly because there were NO RIVAL BATTLES for the first two Gyms, which as everyone knows were the long ones), but I kind of like them now. I like to think they reflect different parts of the fanbase: training Pokemon, enjoying the fun stuff, catching 'em all and plain goofing around.
- 'Say goodbye to Rhyhorn! After all, you've known it since you were young!' ...Can I take him with me then? Sure would come in handy.
- I like the re-touched Pokemon cries, particularly because they're subtle. I didn't notice the difference except for the fact that it just sounded better.
- And on that note: Pikachu's cry now has him say 'Pika pika!' Dammit, don't bring the anime into the games! Make dolt-face Ash more like his in-game counterpart!
- I'll say it now: I think the Running Shoes are still better than the skates. For starters, after a while using the skates he slows down and waves his feet side to side. We use this to go fast, dammit! The only reason I use them is because the circle pad is way more convenient than the buttons.
- Entering a battle with a wild Psyduck is disturbing. The staring eyes...
- I seriously had about twenty recorded species in my Pokedex by Santalune Gym. How am I going to choose a new team member?! ...Sorry, I've said that before.
- Bunnelby looks alright-ish. I looked up Diggersby though and my goodness. Genuinely appropriate use of the word 'hideous'.
- I took on the Bug-type Gym with my Chespin's Rollout. Probably should have realised before I fought Viola's Vivillon that it's weak to Bug moves. I had to abuse my Spewpa's Tackle to win that one.
- The new Gym Leader battle music is awesome. That is all.
- What with the customisable outfits, it's only a matter of time before 'adventure themed hat simulator' jokes migrate from Team Fortress 2 to Pokemon.
- Is it me, or does Flabebe's battle cry sound like a wolf whistle?
- I don't like Lumiose City much. The camera's too close and it's clearly designed for the skates, which I've already made clear I don't like. Navigating with the Running Shoes is a nightmare, what with turning the camera around every time. Ugh. No thanks.
- We've had readable menus with 'Chocolat chaud' and 'Limonade', the routes all have fancy alternate names and Professor Sycamore has used the phrase 'tres bien' and 'a certain je ne sais quoi'. It's France, Game Freak. We get it.
- So, Kanto starters! I chose Squirtle.
And Boxed him.
I should probably explain one of my major bugbears: player unoriginality. Like when people are given a sprawling cast of characters and stick to the same less-than-a-fifth that everyone else is using. You should have your own way of playing! That's why I hate tier lists: it tells you what characters you must use. You should pick your own identity for your game and gameplay. Be original!
On the same basis, into the Box goes event Torchic.
- Lysandre might just be the most obvious bad guy since Skellator. He's got a distinguished character model, so he must be important, he's tall and imposing, he has dramatic red hair in the same colour scheme as Team Flare and his default expression is anger.
- 'What would you like to nickname your Psyduck?' 'Canarde'. THAT'S RIGHT GAME FREAK, I CAN SPEAK FRENCH TOO!
- It says something about the stupid amount of freebies you receive when Korrina shows up to tease a free Lucario and my reaction is frustration, not excitement. I can catch my own Riolus, you know! And then it'll be mine and not some dumb generic gift that I didn't train myself!
- The way that most Pokemon only appear in one specific route each is really annoying. It's not hard to miss them, and then you might never know they're there.
- Everyone in Camphrier Town gives you free things. Everyone. Seriously, I'm getting really annoyed now.
- The concept of a Lv. 15 Snorlax... just doesn't work in my mind. Snorlaxes are Lv. 30 beasts, or higher.
- Also, nice to see that over the progression of years Snorlax has finally managed to stand up. Look up its sprites, it's true.
- Very clever of Game Freak to put the Day Care on the longest (and one of the most scenic) routes in the game. Also, my policy of aesthetic scenery now is that it's expected, so we just get it out of the way at the start.
- Glittering Cave is really creepy. When it zooms in on the darkness for a wild Pokemon I actually get scared. 'It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.'
- Team Flare! Fabulous. Really. And they know it, which just makes it all the better.
- I got a Tyrunt, but because I already had a Pokemon with plenty of Rock and Ground moves in its movepool I had to Box it, and plenty of others too. Guess what the one I had on my team was?
Dunsparce. With the ability Run Away.
- Weird but true: keep holding left as you run down the Ambrette Aquarium stairs and the camera pan means your character will run downwards while you hold a different direction. Anyone else find that strange?
- I've been through the Connecting Cave route through Cyllage City to use the Name Rater and Battle Chateau more times than I can count. I really don't want to visit Reflection Cave ever again. This is what I get for choosing a Flying type that can't use Fly.
- Genuine game quote: 'The power level of your Pokemon! It is over 9000 for sure!' SQUEEEEEEEE!
- Dammit Korrina! I don't want to fight your Lucarios any more than I want to own them!
Also, 'Can you guess which of my Lucarios has the strong connection to you?' I dunno, the one that killed half my team?
- Because I had a Grass, a Bug and a Normal type at that point, a random Battle Girl's Hawlucha brought me closer to defeat than I've ever been since Champion Red in Heart Gold.
- With the new animation for special Pokemon spots in caves of something dropping from above, all I can think is 'Ceiling Woobat is watching you masturbate.'
- Carbink: looks like it's going to evolve and really probably should do... but yeah, it doesn't.
- 'You shouldn't move out of Shalour City while you have impending matters with Korrina.' Dude, how do you even know about those?
- Strange that I never got to see Serena's Fenneken. It evolved too quickly and yeah, glass houses.
- Trained a Honedge in no time flat by using it against Korrina's Gym team. Two of her three Pokemon just can't do it damage. I know there's potential rematches against Gym Leaders but all I can think of with regard to rematching Korrina is Loki saying 'Are you ever going to not fall for that?' to Thor in The Avengers.
- Also, as far as I can tell everyone has named their Honedge 'Excalibur'. Really? Are there no other famous swords to name it after?
I named mine Eyelander, and if you get that reference you're awesome.
- Did some experimenting and the Mega Lucario battle can't be moved on from without doing the Mega Evolution. Definitely can't be won, anyway.
- I rejected the offer to take Korrina's Lucario with me. The three of them are still stood up there.
- Wha- No! I don't want a free Lapras! ...Oh. Turns out Surf is necessary for this route. You win this time, game.
- When I read the name 'Baa Der Mer Ranch' I wanted to reach through the screen and strangle the entire localisation team of Game Freak with my bare hands for that horrendous pun. ('Bord der mer', with 'bord' pronounced 'bor', is French for 'seaside', which is where Baa Der Mer Ranch is located.)
- On the other hand, the Skiddo riding music is epic.
- I tell you one advantage of using a Mareep: you get to have an Ampharos, which I figure I'm overdue. Another one: its Mega Stone is available within minutes of catching Mareep in the first place.
- I really like the design of Coumarine City. And the music is so soothing...
- Lysandre has started talking about how we cannot cover up the old filth with new filth and must create a better world. Yep, he's evil.
- The Lumiose Badlands route is so, so annoying with the wind. All the Arena Trap Pokemon make me glad I've got a Run Away Dunsparce.
- As far as I can tell, Delphox is going for the 'Samurott' approach where the third evolution is considerably less cool than the ones before it, whereas Quilladen and Frogadier are going for the 'Combusken' approach where the second evolution is considerably less cool than the ones on either side of it.
- Kind of disappointing that they show of a massive horizon with the Kalos Power Plant and then only let you in a tiny part of it. On the other hand, Team Flare! Yay.
- The guy you meet just after beating the Power Plant, I heard his name's 'Az'. Can we all stop and admire that he's an eight-foot-tall monster of a person?
He doesn't need a trained wild creature, he could just punch your Pokemon in the face and it would die.
- Finding anything in the full Lumiose City is nigh-on impossible. I didn't think I'd be using the taxi service, but...
- Also, Restaurant Le Yeah, despite having a silly name, is really really useful at this point in the game. Just the right place to train my Bergmite that I requested on GTS (I needed a Surfer, after all).
- I heard online that the major Legendaries represent life and death. Why can't we just have big stompy monsters that represent a big stompy monster and nothing more or less?
Also heard that the Champion has a Mega Gardevior that can cause whole team-sweeps. Well, get this: Gardevoir is Psychic-Fairy. I have a Ghost-Steel. What's you're plan now, Champ?
And so, my final team shall be:
Saturn, Ampharos (with Mega Stone).
That about does it. Normal Journal service will be resumed... at some point.