So you’ve mopped up the joke that makes up the “creme of the crop” in the Kalos Pokemon League, what’s next? Personally, this is usually what I look forward to in the Pokemon titles. Whether it is callbacks, cameos, or extra challenges, my team of specialized critters is to join me on the next step. So how did X/Y fare, and what does it hold? Minor spoilers after the break.
Unfortunately, not much. With Platinum freshly conquered, I had a good insight on how to keep the player intrigued once the game was “beaten,” at least by one standard. While no game has matched Generation II’s outstanding bevy of activity and nostalgia, the series has done a pretty swell job thus far. Platinum had the Elite Four on such a personal level even before the final challenge that their ultimate demise and rematches felt meaningful. From hideouts to houses to battle challenges to unexplored zones, we have come a long way from simply completing the Pokedex.
X/Y didn’t go the extra mile as I expected, possibly a step back. While I realize that we may never get to revisit regions like we did with the Johto/Kanto jump, I still expected a load of content. Strip away the grocery lists: Pokedex, items, Legendaries. What did they really bring to the table? Well, we got a city. Barring some conversations, you just take a train to this city. Now if I had struggled up to any point in this game, a nice ride and stress free exploration could be refreshing. Problem is I haven’t. I am ready to take my juggernauts into hell and hope we survive, but Kiloude City is a paradise.
I stroll through the streets, am given even free items, and stare a Pokemon safari which is the size of a backyard. The Battle Maison (the newest iteration of Battle Frontier/Tower) is at least a challenge, but there is no adventure here. Just monotonous battling with no purpose other than to provide items and skills to make your pokemon needlessly more powerful. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy this portion of the game. It simply isn’t new, and I normally save it for my last endeavor before waiting for the eventual reset.
Other than a cave or two with Pokemon, this is the only unexplored zone post E4. I have bonded with my Pokefriends, tested their mettle in the fires of the League Championship, and toppled a 3000 year old trainer. I WANT TO DO SOMETHING WITH THEM! The Elite Four doesn’t even ramp up in difficulty with a second visit! But looky looky, here comes Looker.
Looker is a refreshing bleak of hope for this postgame. He is a returning character from Platinum and Black/White. As far as Pokemon characters go, he is by far the most interesting, comical, and well-written. Glad he’s back. The International Police Officer is once again hunting for no-gooders, this time on a tip that has pointed him to Lumiose City. Your accomplishments have put you on his radar, and he decides that your assistance as a partner is required to help tackle his cases. The story may be simple, but I found myself enjoying his antics and missions far more than anything in the main storyline of the game.
The only hitch is the pacing. There are weird breaks and calls that slow down a rather compelling quest. I understand that these were meant as opportunities to go and do other tasks, but since there isn’t much else to do (as I explained above) you spam “A” or travel around until Looker requests your assistance once more. Although the battles aren’t difficult, I at least found myself excited to find what was on the other end of each encounter. There is no real reward for completing this chain, so don’t hope for a new Pokemon or Mega Stone.
Without much to do, my last hope was the online component. I have EV trained and grabbed the beneficial natures for my Pokemon, I occasionally will bred a move or two. My head is barely staying above water. My wins are against newbies, and my loses are against perfect IVed machines. I’ve always wanted to be more competitive on the Pokemon scene, but the time required to simply assemble the party is disheartening. It is, however, still nice to be able to jump into a match from anywhere in the game at a moment’s notice. While one on one may be the focus, I have had the most fun in my few matches of doubles with two players per team. The drawback is I must set these up myself for there is no matchmaking for this style of battle. I invite my partner then hope that other friends or passers-by will accept my random invitation.
Overall, I find myself much more interested in starting a new adventure than continuing with this one. Perhaps with Z, they will tack on some other zones and activities that will make this Generation catch up with what their past games have produced.