Saturday, December 21, 2013

Top 5 Features I Miss in Pokémon X & Y

Let's do one more top 5 Pokemon list to round off the year and make it a nice three, shall we? I've done the top 5 pkmn I think need an evolution and the top 5 I think didn't need one, so for this third list I am going in a slightly different direction. I think the first time I heard about Pokemon X & Y being released was spring this year, and I was pretty psyched about it ever since then. But eventhough lots of big promises were made and I was sure it was going to be "yet another awesome Pokemon game", I had played Pokemon Black & White not long before and was fairly impressed with that game already. Despite everything Nintendo said about how much better X & Y would be, I still didn't think it could be all that much more than Black & White. This is something I've written about in my "first impressions" already, and don't need to further bore you with here. What I will say again however, is that Pokemon X & Y pretty much managed to blow my mind, or at least far exceed my expectations. The graphics were a lot prettier, they had managed to up the gameplay yet another notch and perhaps most important of all, realized how important and fun trading is to the Pokemon world and made it work like a charm. They took old features like the Itemfinder and EXP-share and made them work a lot better too, so that leveling for instance isn't such a PITA as it was in the older games. But we can't just leave it at that can we? Instead of being happy about all the awesome features of Pokemon X & Y, let's make a top 5 list of all the features I miss in Pokemon X & Y - little things I expected to see in this game or otherwise miss, just to have made the game that tiny bit better.

5. Poison damaging outside of battle
This one is an ambivalent one for me. See, back in the day (we're talking Gen IV I and older, I think), whenever a pkmn got poisoned in battle, it would continue to take damage outside of battle. Just like in any good old rpg really. In Gen V (I think) they decided to change this so that poison would only affect pkmn inside of battles, I assume both as a quality of life change and to make it work more like the other status ailments, which also have no effect outside of battle. For instance you won't get the message "your pkmn is asleep and can't use Surf at the moment", although now that I think of it that would be pretty cool. And that takes me back to the poison issue. Although I was relieved when I first discovered this change, I have since changed my mind. Many have been the times when I have discovered too late that I didn't have any more antidotes, tried to hurry to a pkmn center, arrive too late and have my poor pkmn faint. It was annoying, yes, but was it really such an inconvenience?

Yet again, Pokémon turns out to be better than irl -

In the older games it was more of an inconvenience in fact, because in the newer ones they've often thrown in random people in big areas that will allow you to heal up your pkmn, or even having escorts that will heal them up between battles making any status ailments even less of an issue even if they were to persist and affect you between battles. So eventhough I feel like it would be more of a hassle to make poison work like it did a couple of gens ago, I also feel like it would add a bit more difficulty to an otherwise very simple game. This one is something I don't want to want in the game, but I want it. If you know what I mean.

4. A team overview
In pkmn X & Y, the lower screen is used for three different apps - The PSS (Player Search System) for trading with other players, the Pokémon-Amie for playing games with your pkmn and the Super Training to increase your pkmns stats. In Pearl & Diamond however, the lower screen was used for a whole bunch more such as a step counter, a calculator and two different style of clocks just to mention a few. Admittedly not all of these were very useful and I'm not even entirely sure I knew what all of them did. But a few of them I miss in X & Y because they showed some convenient information that I liked having handy.

One of those was the team overwiew. It was far from unique to Pearl & Diamond, I am pretty sure Black & White also had this function. It's nothing more special than showing your current team setup on the lower screen, but it's still something I really miss that I don't have in X & Y. Having to go into the menu to check my team just feels like a hassle,  because for some reason I check my team quite often, be it to swap pkmn around or to check their stats it's just something I've gotten used to and come to expect to have close by at all times.

Not pictured, the team overview -

I'll throw in the legendary finder here as well, since we're talking about functions for the lower screen. Although not something that bothers me personally very much since I rarely go out of my way to find the roaming legendaries in the pkmn games, I know they made a small but annoying change to X & Y that made finding them not more difficult, just more time consuming. When trying to find the roaming pkmn, you have to check the map to see which area they are in. They constantly move around which requires a whole lot of map checking. In the older games this wasn't much of a problem since the map was fairly simple to reach. In X & Y however, you can only see the roaming pkmn by entering the pokedex and check that specific pkmns status screen. This is a procedure that gets tedious very, very quickly, and considering how often you have to do it, you'll soon find more enjoyment from forking yourself in the leg.

I feel like they tried to streamline the apps a bit too much in X & Y. I agree that the amount of variation of Pearl & Diamond was a bit overkill, and understand that they might've wanted lower screen functions with more use to them. But I really do miss just being able to either have my team or the map open and visible to me at all times without having to dabble around in menus. That is really what I think those two screens could best be used for. Since you can't really do anything in game while playing with your pkmn in Pokémon-Amie or doing the Super Training, having the lower screen used up on it seems wasteful.

3. Different HM users
Without spoiling this list too much, this entry and the nr 1 entry on this list follow a theme. When I first heard they were going to finally go 3D with this game, I pictured all the pkmn I loved running around in awesome 3D graphics. Then I got a hold of my drooling self and realized it would never end up that cool. As already mentioned, graphic wise X & Y actually managed to exceed my expectations. It turned out a lot prettier than I thought it would. On another matter however it greatly disappointed me. I had been direly hoping we would get to see more of the pkmn in the game, rather than being limited to the battle screen. And I don't mean the odd pkmn standing around. That's been in the game since Red/Blue. I was hoping X & Y would finally be the game where you would actually see the pkmn you were using when you used HMs like Surf and Fly. How cool wouldn't it be if you were actually sitting on your Talonflame/Pidgeot/Pelipper for that short animation in the air, or actually sitting on your Tentacruel/Lapras/Feraligatr when surfing around in the waters? Very cool, that's how cool. I don't think it would've been very much extra effort for them to go this extra mile for us, considering how much value we would've gotten out of that extra work.

EDIT: As commenter Talarian points out, the bigger Surf pkmn actually do show. It's a start at least but I wish they would've done the same with Fly.

It doesn't have to be this pretty though -

2. Secret Base
Your own housing is something I care very little for in most games. WoW, Skyrim, you name it - a lot of people often wish for or spend a lot of time taking care of their own little house, I don't think I ever have. Except for when it was implemented in pkmn Ruby/Sapphire. The Secret Base, as it was called, was simply a small area where you could store (ie furniture) various pkmn related goods such as carpets, chairs, posters and so on. Depending on where your secret base was, apparently there were 75 different locations throughout the game and you could choose any of them, your base would look differently.

For some reason this specific housing really hit home with me. If it was the possibility of cramming my little space with cute pkmn stuffs (like I wish to do irl) or just allowing me to further immerse myself into my fantasy that I actually lived in that world with all my pkmn, I don't know, I just know I want it.

It's like I'm not the only one who thinks these things -

With how much better globalized and onlineified (totally a word) X & Y have become, a Secret Base could also be so much cooler. If I remember correctly, you could invinte friends into your SB in Ruby & Sapphire, via the link cable, but that is just exploring a fraction of the possibilities given by such a feature with the power of true onlineness (also a word). Game Freak/Nintendo are almost there what with the Friend Safari. The Friend Safari could just be an extension to your Secret Base, allowing your friends to not just have a fun time in your garder, but also in your indoors, checking out memorabilia and other fun things you might've gathered from your playthrough. The amount of fun things you could share with eachother, like I'm also thinking about a personal Hall of Fame for your friends to visit where they can see which pkmn you have completed Pkmn League with, is staggering. I was actually quite surprised to not see more along the lines of some sort of Secret Base in X & Y considering how much else they've put into sharing information and everything pkmn with strangers and friends I was expecting something like this as well.

1. Visible World Pokemon
Like I said, this one is similar to the third entry. I will still give it its own entry because this one is by far the one I wish for the most. This is also one feature that has been in the game series before and for some odd reason been removed. I am of course talking about having your first in line pkmn follow your around while you play the game. This is something they implemented in SoulSilver/HeartGold only, and I still find it completely adorable whenever I load up that game (which isn't often though) and see my little pkmn run after me. I don't even care which pkmn it is, they're all supercute in that tiny, sprity design.

The arrow points to the Pokémon, for your convenience. That other thing is a horse-dog -

Obviously in X & Y that would look so much cooler and be ten times more awesome, which is also the reason I want it so bad. One could maybe argue that doing all those 700+ 3d models would be too much work, but how so? All those models are aleady in the game since they need to be seen in combat. And there are plenty of 3d models for them to use from other games in the franchise, like the Colosseum games. I can't see how adapting them from that environment onto the world screen could be too much extra work. Again I feel like the added value would definitely be worth it and add that extra bit of bonding with your pokemon, which is why I assume they added it in the very first place where Pikachu (but only Pikachu unfortunately) followed you around in Pokemon Yellow. They must've acknowledged how special that would be.

We all have that favorite pokemon, and then we all have those couple of pokemon we love just because they're damn cool looking or fun to play with or any other of the  thousand reasons we play this game for the umpteenth time. I was certain they were going to implement this feature into this game, I even thought I had read about it somewhere and it was one of the things I was looking forward to the most about it. What better way to fully utilize and show off the new cool 3d graphics? Yeah the 3d combats are cool, but again - considering how much this game is about pkmn, I think they are shamefully lacking out of battle. Heck, even Pokémon Mystery Dungeon allows you to see more pkmn out of combat than the main pkmn games do. Maybe that is the way they want it.


  1. For number 3, you do actually sit on some Pokemon if they're big enough. Small ones just end up being a small shadow under the water your character kneels on (poor friggen little pokemon!), but my Lapras I get to sit on when I surf around, and it's like 3 times my size.

    1. Omg, I am so glad you told me this. It makes sense that the smaller pkmn don't show. But my point stands for Fly! And the following around in general especially.

    2. It's kinda late to comment, but from what I remember lapras is the only pokemon that shows when surfing and all the other ones look like shadows.