Operation Backlog Completion 2017
Mar 172017

I intended to skip Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.

The third generation of Pokémon was my least favorite, and I didn’t enjoy the OR/AS demo, either.

Then, I heard people talking about the Delta Episode, a new post-game story segment added for the remakes. Many fans praised the Delta Episode as being some of the greatest writing in the Pokémon games so far, next to Black/White and Looker’s side quest in X/Y.

Pokémon Black and White are among my favorites for their storytelling, and I enjoyed the Looker quest more than the entire main game of X and Y. Plus the Delta Episode has an oddly Kingdom Hearts-like battle theme, which I love.

So I made up my mind: I would get Pokémon Omega Ruby, rush through the main game (as much as I ever rush), and play the Delta Episode.

I also decided to give my entire Pokémon team Kingdom Hearts names, and since I thought I might do that for Sun/Moon, I’d restrict myself to only prequel names!

After about 20 hours, I made it to the end of the main game with Lea, Isa, Eraqus, Vinewinder (I was trying for the Unversed “Glidewinder”), Bll (my hand slipped), and Groudon (I never name Legendaries).

Pokémon Omega Ruby still isn’t one of my favorites. I liked some of the changes, like the additional character development for Wally and Maxie, but the story still felt bland to me overall.

Then it was time for the Delta Episode!

The Delta Episode was interesting. I’m happy I played it. It’s much more story-driven than Pokémon usually is, which I like, and I hope Pokémon continues to go in a more plot-focused direction.

It wasn’t perfect. There was a lot of running back and forth between locations, without the pacing to make it feel better. I swear at one point they had me go from Point A to Point B only to immediately send me back to Point A.

Nevertheless, it was enjoyable, and it even had a bit more moral complexity than the series usually has.

Click for Delta Episode spoilers

It also introduced the possibility of a Pokémon multiverse, with the suggestion that the original games still exist in an alternate universe.

The Delta Episode’s connections to Kalos even made me realize I didn’t dislike all of Pokémon X/Y’s story. I actually enjoyed its backstory. It was the main story, and especially Team Flare, that disappointed me.

In short, while the Hoenn games will never be my favorites, I’m happy I played Pokémon Omega Ruby and the Delta Episode, and I look forward to seeing where Pokémon’s storytelling goes from here.

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Aug 012016

Pokemon-Alolan-VulpixToday, The Pokémon Company released a new trailer and a ton of unexpected details about Pokémon Sun and Moon, starting with Alola Forms.

Alola Forms

Certain Pokémon from other regions, such as the adorable Vulpix pictured here, have adapted to Alola and taken on new forms. Vulpix, for example, moved to Alola’s snowy mountains and became an Ice-type.

Alola forms were revealed for Exeggutor, Vulpix and Ninetales, and Sandshrew and Sandslash.

New Pokémon

Several new Pokémon were also announced: Fomantis and Lurantis, Gumshoos, Minior, Mudbray, and four forms of Oricorio. Oricorio is a bird Pokémon that changes form based on the nectar it drinks, which gives it a different form for each island.

Pokémon with different forms are becoming more common in the series. The addition of region-specific forms is especially interesting, and I wonder how the National Pokédex will handle it. (Will Vulpix and Alolan Vulpix have different numbers and entries?)

But the news doesn’t stop with new Pokémon and Pokémon forms!

Ride Pokémon

Alola features Ride Pokémon, which you can call on to reach otherwise-inaccessible areas. The trailer shows them swimming and flying, so maybe this eliminates the need for the Surf and Fly HMs.

The Island Challenge

For years, Pokémon games have simply tossed kids into a mission to become Pokémon trainers because that’s how the Pokémon world works. In the Alola region, however, this is actually a rite of passage.

You travel to each of the four islands to overcome the trials there, guided by Trial Captains. Trials include more than just battling. At the end of a trial, you’ll face a Totem Pokémon, which is larger than normal and can summon allies.

Each island ends with a Grand Trial where you fight the island’s kahuna.

The kahuna of Melemele Island is Hala, the guy fans mistook for a Pokémon professor early on. Hala is also the grandfather of Hau, your rival.


Finally, Pokémon Sun and Moon have added Z-Moves, powerful moves that can be used once per battle. Z-Moves are made possible through a Z-Ring set with Z-Crystals. Z-Crystals can resonate with each other, although the full details haven’t been revealed yet.

Check out all of these things in the trailer!

Forms, Trials, Z-Moves… it’s quite a lot to take in.

Will Grand Trials take the place of Gyms? If so, why are there only four? Is there more to explore beyond the four islands? One thing’s for sure: Pokémon Sun and Moon are making definite changes to the Pokémon formula.

What do you think about the latest Pokémon Sun and Moon news?

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May 232016

Pokemon-Sun-and-Moon-box-artSince their announcement, I haven’t said a lot about Pokémon Sun and Moon.

Pokémon X and Y were a disappointment to me. I haven’t touched my copy of Y in ages, not even to get any of the event Pokémon. (And I was the sort of person who visited the mall with multiple Pokémon games to get the event Pokémon in all of them.)

But I can’t hold a grudge against the whole series. I might even give Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire a chance after all. And when it comes to Sun and Moon, here are my hopes for it.

Improved Exploration

To me, X and Y didn’t feel like they had a lot of exploration. Sure, the world was 3D, but there wasn’t much of it. Caves, especially suffered. While I’m not a big fan of Pokémon caves, they felt lifeless.

I don’t mind a little linearity, but I never felt a real interest in X/Y’s world. Was it just me?

I hope Sun and Moon have a world I want to explore, with cool locations and side areas. Since the Alola region is a series of islands, it sounds like a perfect fit.

A Good Story

I know, looking for a good plot in Pokémon games is a bad idea to start with. After Black/White, though, I can’t help it. I loved the story in those games, and I have no end of praise for them because of it.

While the main plot of X/Y didn’t do it for me, it had glimmers of excitement… and the Looker side quest in the post-game had better writing than the entire rest of the game.

I’ve also heard the ORAS Delta Episode has good writing.

Pokémon doesn’t need to reach epic JRPG levels of plot, but I hope Sun and Moon have an interesting storyline again, one where I care about the characters and want to know what happens next.

Good Villains

Pokemon-LysandreEven without a strong story, I’ll settle for good villains. You know what my biggest problem with X/Y was? Team Flare. It’s hard to take villains seriously when they look like this.

Lysandre was at least intimidating. He wants to use an ultimate weapon to destroy anyone who isn’t part of Team Flare, then remake a more “beautiful” world.

Except Cyrus did it better!

Cyrus wants to destroy the universe to remake a universe without any conflict. (Or emotion.) He has a more concrete backstory than Lysandre. He’s crazy, but within the context of his insanity, his actions make more sense. (Aren’t the members of Team Flare exactly the sort of people Lysandre hates? Why are they the ones he’s saving?)

All right, I know there are people who like Lysandre better, but I couldn’t help but see him as a less-interesting imitation of Cyrus.

Fun Mini-Games

Pokémon contests, the Pokéathlon, Voltorb Flip, that awesome mining stuff in Diamond/Pearl/Platinum… I want more fun mini-games like that. (What did X/Y have? Just Pokémon-Amie?)

And while it’s not quite a mini-game, the Join Avenue in White 2/Black 2 was the main reason I kept playing my copy long after I finished the main game.

These are a few of the things I hope Pokémon Sun and Moon have. I apologize for my X/Y ranting. What do you hope to see in the new Pokémon games?

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