Note: Schedule changes have caused my updates to a bit smaller in size. If I ever feel that I can’t provide enough interesting content, I will hold it over a day so I have more to talk about… just a heads-up! As well, I’d love to hear how far you are in the comments below. I’d love to schedule some Pokemon community nights some time in the future… let me know what you’d think of that!
With my new HM, Surf, I was able to get across the water that separated me from most of Route 12. Surprisingly, when I used Lapras to surf I was shown riding the Pokemon, whereas for other creatures it simply displays me sitting on a black blob in the water. With the 3D models, I thought it might have been easier to show the player on each different Pokemon, but I guess that sort of feature is more difficult to implement than I would have thought. Speaking of riding Pokemon, I was able to get on the back of a Skiddo at the Baa de Mer Ranch, and he allowed me to jump over ledges that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to get over. This made me even more disappointed that I can’t ride my own Pokemon, as it would be neat to have to use certain Pokemon to get across specific obstacles. Heck, I still think Game Freak could have used that concept to replace HMs entirely.
Before I entered Coumarine City, I decided to swim along the Azure Bay to see what I could find. Below you can see a screenshot I took of the view it gave me, and I was pretty impressed. As I entered the bay, however, the camera zoomed in and it became difficult to find the cave you see in the distance, the Sea Spirit’s Den. I tried multiple times starting from this point, but just couldn’t get to it. Maybe I was just repeatedly making wrong turns, because other people online seem to have found it no-problem, but this was a pretty annoying issue for me. As much as I like the varied camera angles, sometimes they can be a bit of a nuisance.
In Coumarine City, I received a challenge from one of my rivals to battle in front of the gym. My other three rivals aren’t as concerned with battling as they are with completing their Pokedexes, or starting Pokémon dance teams. I like meeting them sporadically throughout the journey, and although there hasn’t been much characterization thus far I’m still hoping that they’ll become more interesting. Tierno wants to start his own Pokemon dance team, and Trevor is focused on filling out his Pokedex. Although he has compared it to mine at various points, I’ve always had data than him and it doesn’t tell me how many he’s seen. In that sense, there’s not much of a sense of competition that surrounds this aspect of the game. In the original titles, Professor Oak’s aides would give you items depending on the number of Pokemon you had seen/caught, but that kind of incentive doesn’t seem present in this game so far, and I would have liked some added motivation to “Catch ‘em All”.
When I finally entered the Pokémon gym, I found myself climbing and swinging across ropes as I climbed a gigantic tree in my efforts to reach the Gym Leader. Along the way, I saw a nice mix of different grass-type Pokémon. His teammates were around the same level as mine, as I have continued to avoid wild Pokémon battles to make the game more difficult. Upon defeat, he gave me the Plant Badge, which allows me to use Fly outside of battle.
The cutscene that takes place when you use Fly is a bit disappointing. The background turns blue, and it shows your character letting a black shadow of a bird out of a Pokeball, flying through the sky, and dropping back you, followed by the town you arrive in loading (see screenshot below). With all the emphasis they put on the new 3D graphics and camera angles, you’d think they’d be able to show this cutscene at your location in the world rather than switching you to a different background, displacing you from the world that you want to immerse yourself in. Regardless, this is where I left my journey off for the day – more tomorrow!
I guess the cutscene’s sort of neat, but it takes you away from the beautiful world Game Freak has created.
Next time: The Power Plant, Kalos badlands and Berry Farming!