Monday, November 4, 2013


embarkation [em-bark-ehy-shun]
1. The act, process, or instance of beginning a journey, enterprise, or business or boarding a vehicle.

EX. Alright folks, time for embarkation of my Pokémon journey in Kalos; the first leg of our quest to become a Pokémon master, or discover whatever it is we wish to discover here, according to the very supportive and paternal Professor Sycamore:

Professor Sycamore is arguably the most shipped Pokémon Professor of all time and we haven't even gotten to know him through the anime yet. He is filled with passion, sensitivity, and even a little ennui that makes him a very French and very romantic individual with an idealized view of the world that shapes your journey. While other Professors have very specific goals in mind for their proteges, Sycamore wants his students to follow their hearts, achieve their dreams, and join the adult world once they're ready.

He also might have a small crush on your Rhyhorn racing legend Mom because he sends her a letter at the onset of your journey inviting you to meet with him in a Pokémon journey that, more-so than ever given the teen age of the protagonist and his friends, is a rite of passage in Kalos.

You step out your door and are greeted by your family's pet Rhyhorn. You can even ride it around the lawn until it decides to go lay down on a blanket in the grass and play with his ball. This is such a nice little teaser to a, spoiler alert, slightly disappointing mechanic. Regardless, it's really cool that they set-up the way Pokémon function as pets and provide labor to the Kalos region. You'll discover many more example of human-Pokémon cooperation on the journey.

You then proceed to a small little French village with little shops and cafes, called Aquacorde Town, where you meet your friends and get your Kalos starter. The protagonist's young colleagues also give him a nickname. Since I decided to name my character "implejr", I have them call me "imp" even though I could've done something cooler like having them call me "Batman".

The very next section was the very first sign of pandering that, honestly, while some other older fans might appreciate...I found a little cloying and implausible. They've had forest regions early on in other games to simulate the experience of walking through Viridian Forest from the Red & Blue, but never before have we walked through an exact copy with Santalune Forest being the same shape and so many of the Pokémon you encounter in those games. Some people may enjoy the nostalgic trek but, like I said, I found it a little too lazy and would've preferred to not have to fight Caterpies, Weedles, and other Pokémon I've had to fight dozens, if not hundreds, of times in the past. Luckily, the next town over is pretty refreshing in comparison.

Santalune City is just a gorgeous sight, with little cafes and boutiques, and window boxes filled with pink roses. The colors really pop here and show off the impressive adaptation from 2D to 3D in the Pokémon RPG series. The fountain in the center is a lovely little landmark cleverly placed, because you get your rollerblades in Santalune after defeating the trainer barring you from the gym! Your rollerblades allow quick travel, agile tricks, and rail grinding that is simply a fun twist on Running Shoes.

It's a Bug type gym and the trainers barring your path stand upon platforms on a giant spider web weighed down with dew. It's a breeze, especially with Fletchling on your team. The leader of the gym, Viola, is a photographer and, like all the gym leaders of the region, talks a lot about her passions and uses a lot of puns.

After defeating Viola, you meet her sister Alexa (pictued above in the anime) gives you the EXP Share and you can move straight onto Lumiose City and the segment of the game before the second gym. It's worth noting that the next section is probably the longest gap between gyms that I can remember in any Pokémon games.

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