Pokemon XY Adventure Log: Day 8 – In a Gym on a Sphere in Space in a House in a Hole on the Bottom of the Sea
Today, I was very pleased to see some new areas that utilize the stereoscopic 3D effect. I actually didn’t realize that I had my 3D slider on until I walked into the Pokéball Factory and immediately saw everything with a new layer of depth. This location was far better-suited to 3D than the Power Plant, as there were multiple levels of platforms high above my head that I could climb up to. Just as with the Power Plant, I didn’t notice any slow-down while walking around with the 3D on (although battles do occasionally drop in framerate). After running Team Flare out of the building and getting a Master Ball as a reward, I found out that the notorious group of villains was harvesting power and Pokémon, but still did not know why. In all honesty, I was more excited to witness some more 3D areas. I didn’t have to wait long, though, as Frost Cavern also used the effect.
This looks REALLY neat in 3D
Completing Frost Cavern and saving a wild Abomasnow from some members of Team Flare gave me access to a Mamoswine, whom I could ride to cross a deep field of snow, allowing me to progress to the next city. He controlled exactly the same as the Rhyhorn I rode on my third day of playing. Riding on Pokémon is fun but very limited in its design. When I first heard about being able to ride Pokémon, I thought you would be able to mount a select few of your own creatures, but it’s restricted to certain Pokémon you encounter as you explore the world. It’s a novel idea, but unfortunately it feels like a gimmick similarly to how allowing Pokémon to follow behind you in HeartGold and SoulSilver was. People really liked that feature, and we hoped it would return in the future, but so far it hasn’t. I feel like the Pokémon franchise tends to introduce a lot of new features, but never expands on them or brings them back in future games. That’s one of the few major complaints I have of the franchise.
There’s something special about having your favourite Pokemon following you around, but the mechanic hasn’t returned since.
Although I don’t have much of a problem with the Pokémon franchise’s repetitious use of certain puzzles and elements, I know that some people do and feel like I should address the issue. The beginning of the game had some new and unique ideas, but as I progress I can see that X and Y are definitely hiding a lot of their iterative ideas behind their three-dimensional look. Frost Cavern utilizes the “slide on ice” puzzles we’ve been experiencing since Gold and Silver, without the added challenge of having to move around heavy blocks using “strength”. I’ve already mentioned many of the gym’s re-hashed puzzles, and the seventh gym is no exception. It’s another “step on the panel to warp around” maze, but this time you move around a three-dimensional spherical maze in space. It’s pretty neat visually, and it definitely distracts from the fact that you’ve already been through at least four gyms with the same mechanic (Lavaridge’s gym in Ruby/Sapphire and Sabrina’s from Red and Blue come to mind). I’ll be sure to look back on this idea and expand on it when I’m at the end of my journey, so I can consider the game as a whole.
You’ve warped around a Gym on tiles before, but it’s never been this mind-boggling.
After obtaining the Psychic badge from the very confusing Russian nesting doll of a Gym, I received a message from Lysander about the world being over for people who aren’t in Team Flare. Crazy bugger. I know that he’s obsessed with beauty and wants to keep the world the way it is, so I’m on my way to find him in order to hear some of his motives. At one point, Professor Sycamore told me to “accept the way of living and thinking that sometimes conflict with your own” so I’m excited to see how that plays out in the story. I read in an interview that “X” and “Y” are supposed to represent diverging paths of thought, and the idea has come up several times over the course of my adventure. I think that it’s a great message to spread to people of all ages. In my opinion, there’s quite a bit of build-up towards a more exciting narrative, and I hope it doesn’t end up disappointing me.