The Pokémon franchise has developed a few tropes over the years including rivals, collecting gym badges and using HMs to overcome obstacles. While some of these recurring mechanics encapsulate the essence of the Pokémon franchise, others just make parts of the game feel outdated. HMs, for example, are a pain. Not only do they take up a move slot, but they prevent you from removing it until a certain point in the game. You need to have at least one creature in your party who can use some of these moves, and in many cases you need more than one for a given area. With the 3DS hardware, you’d think they’d be able to find a better, modern solution like allowing any water Pokémon to carry you on their back without having to learn a move, or letting flying Pokémon transport you without taking up one of your precious move slots. As much as I love X and Y as a whole, some of these mechanics need to change because they’re getting needlessly tiresome. The same goes for Victory Road.
Here we go again…
Victory Road has always been a large cavernous area full of trainers to battle. A final gauntlet, if you will. Sure, X and Y have made some changes to add in some visual flair, like having multiple areas where you exit the cave and explore the ruins of what seems to be a castle, but it still feels the same. I made sure I had plenty of Max Repels in order to avoid as many random encounters as I could, because they get tiresome after a while. I don’t understand why Victory Road has to be a cave, especially with all the creative minds over at Game Freak. You’d think they’d be able to come up with something new, fresh and exciting that makes the most of the new hardware.
Many players were ready when they emerged from Victory Road for the first time fifteen years ago.
The Elite Four, on the other hand, feels slightly more grandiose than before. On pen and paper it’s still the same – you fight four powerful trainers before you take on the Champion, who then records your team in the hall of fame before the credits roll. However, everything seems to pop visually and it makes quite a bit of difference. It truly feels like a final challenge. When you walk into the Fire trainer’s chamber, for example, you are greeted with gigantic bursting columns of flames and a very high camera angle that is visible in stereoscopic 3D. It creates a feeling of power and finality – these are among the strongest trainers in the game, and you’re fighting them in some of the most visually impressive parts of Kalos. Although the Elite Four hasn’t changed much since the days of the original games, it does the same things with more pizzazz and in the end it won me over.
The trainers themselves were pretty tough. I used a lot of Revives and Full Restores to ensure that I wouldn’t lose and have to start from the very beginning. I was able to choose the order in which I fought the Elite Four, just like in Pokemon Black/White. I decided to battle the Fire -user, then Water, then Dragon and finally Steel. When I had defeated the Elite Four, I was brought up to the top floor where the Champion awaited me. As with other games, I had met this character before. Lysander tried to convert her over to Team Flare early on in the game in a cafe. She used a variety of challenging Pokemon, and topped off the fight with a Mega Evolved Gardevoir that proved to be very difficult to beat. I took her down with a sliver of my health remaining, and was very satisfied with the experience overall.
After the Elite Four and credits, you get to watch a brief cutscene that involves battling AZ, the ancient king whose Pokémon were lost in battle. It ends in a somewhat heartwarming scene that I thoroughly enjoyed. I won’t spoil it, because I think it’s more meaningful when you see it for yourself even if it is somewhat predictable. After this, you return to your house and are free to engage in the various post-game quests.
I haven’t been through all of the post-game content yet, so forgive me if I miss a few of the things you can do. I will say that some other games in the series have had more to do after you beat the Elite Four, but there are still some pretty interesting events and quests in X and Y. You can search for certain Mega Stones that only become available when you become the Champion, capture one of the three legendary birds from the first generation (which varies based on the starter Pokémon you chose), encounter Mewtwo and Zygarde, and do some detective work with a character called “The Looker”. I’m quite enjoying myself with the stuff that the game has to offer, and with all the online functionality I’m sure I’ll be playing for many more hours to come.
My review of Pokémon X and Y will most likely be going up some time this weekend. Be sure to stay on the look-out for that, as I will be going into a lot more depth with regards to some of the things I have talked about throughout my 11-ish days recording this log. I think this sort of feature is really valuable, because it allows me to go back and read my own impressions from the very first day and evaluate how they have evolved over the course of my journey. I hope the review will benefit from it!