This Black Friday weekend, Renee lines up to buy the latest Pokemon game.
Check out the layer of mist over the landscape. The Game Boy Color definitely couldn't do that.
After a few fetch quests, I acquire the Devon Corporation's lost "Devon Goods". Lord knows what's in this box. Let's just hope it doesn't start vibrating.
Renee must now set foot in the corporate tower of Devon, the most menacing company since Shinra Corp.
...or not, as it turns out Devon Corporation is actually really bland and non-menacing. Mr. Stone here proceeds to take a shine to our heroine, which I'm not so sure is a good idea.
WTF, I just left the building and he's already calling...to tell me he's watching. It's like we've stepped into 50 Shades of Pokemon.
At this point I acquire the world map for Gen 3. Hoenn is an interesting island, but it feels smaller than the first two gens.
Brendan returns, sporting panties on his head. I'm still only wielding one Pokemon, and he's up to two now.
This fight actually hands me my first loss, as Mudkip lands a lucky strike that hits Combusken's weakness.
"Yeah! I love Poke-battling! #staypositive #goodvibes #blessed"
Next up, we have to sail across the sea to another town. So far this game feels super linear. The good news is that there aren't many pauses in the gameplay for cutscenes or anything along those lines.
Speaking of pausing for a cutscene, my boat ride is interrupted by... Devon President Mr. Stone. He noticed that Renee isn't outside his window anymore, and he DEMANDS ANSWERS.
Arriving at the next town, I discover that everyone here is super-into "Late Software"...whatever the hell "Late Software" is. What an odd assemblage of words. It sounds like a Windows program to help women handle the emotional impact of discovering you're pregnant: Narrated by LeVar Burton!
Is this like, some kind of meta-joke about Pokemon?
Dude, you're pushing 40. You're waaaay too late to the party for Late Software: Featuring a via-satellite appearance by funnyman Rob Schneider!
I finally give in and decide to catch more Pokemen. Combusken is a badass martial arts master, but he can't keep doing this alone. My first recruit is Zubat. ...because...er...well, it was 2 AM and he was the only one left at the bar.
Moving on to a slightly more worthwhile catch, here's Abra. I think at this point Abra is my favorite catch in the Pokemon-verse. Kadabra always ends up being one of my MVPs. It's just too bad I never get Alakazam in these solo playthroughs.
There we go, NOW we have a party. Sort of. Abra is defenseless until it gains enough levels to become Kadabra and start learning Psychic attacks. Zubat can at least do a minor amount of damage, but it's... quite minor.
After that, it's time for the second gym. Brawly specializes in fighting-types, which is weird because his gym is pitch dark. I figured this'd mean he'd be the master of dark element.
You can defeat other trainers in the gym to increase your light range, but I found it easier to just run north right into the boss.
I definitely needed to beef up my team size for this one, since Brawly is attacking with a record three 'mons.
Wait, isn't Meditite more psychic than fighting? I mean, he has elements of both, but...
Combusken actually holds things down pretty well by himself. It's essentially fighting type versus fighting type here, as I take on Brawly's bizarre Golden Buu.
That's another gym leader defeated...barely.
"How are you feeling following that devastating loss?"
This is how numerous couples that hate each other manage to stay together.
I get my first introduction to HMs at this point. Yep, once again, they're here to bog down my movesets. Argh.
Abra's just going to have to lug that move around. The good news is that Kadabra's psychic attacks tend to have a ton of charges.
After so much walking across the overworld that I forget what I'm even supposed to be doing, I find this guy that I'm have to deliver a letter to. So far I can't say I'm crazy about this game; it's full of fetch-quests and nothing thus far has been particularly memorable.
After delivering the letter, I can take another boat ride to the next city in this linear progression of areas.
The next city is a beachfront land of milk and honeys. ...or at least, it would be in an M-rated game. In this one, it's home to...
...vicious, psychotic KIDZ. They take a break from tubing to brutally assault passerby and steal their wallets.
At this point I can do two-on-two battles since I have two combat-worthy Pokemon...well, one and a third. Before this when Combusken was flying solo, the game wouldn't even let me get into double-battles.
Every so often, the dialogue in this game gets super dark and serious.
Wait, what? Hot matches? I'm not your monkey!
"DANCE FOR ME" he says.
So basically, this is some sort of cockfighting ring?
I have a couple Pokebattles with other denizens of this menagerie, and he is pleased.
Renee encounters Professor
Bitch Birch again and he acts all natural like he didn't know this would happen.
"My Brendan"? Err... it's always weird when characters refer to other characters as "my". Reminds me of Babidi saying he'd unleash "my Majin Buu".
Speaking of Brendan, here he is again. LEAVE ME ALONE, BRENDAN! YOU'RE A TERRIBLE RIVAL!
He's got some new goons, like the strangely-Hispanic Lombre.
Mudkip has evolved, so at least now I don't have to feel fully ashamed if I lose to him. Why is he so happy?
Combusken would normally learn a new move at this point, but he's an unfortunate victim of the Wellness Policy.
Oh My God! THIS IS IT!
"Kadabra!" burps my new ally as he nukes enemies with death-beams.
And now...how does Brendan feel about losing?
"Yeah! I love Poke-battling! #staypositive #goodvibes #blessed"
Good God, that bicycle girl is WAY the hell too hot for a kids game. What's that micro-underwear she's wearing?
I find a casino...and promptly walk right back out.
At this point I have to choose a bicycle...and it doesn't give me any real clue as to what the difference is between the two. From the sound of things, Mach goes fast and Acro...can jump? No way to tell. I went with Mach.
Even after turning into Kadabra, it still doesn't have any beams yet. That happens at level 21 with Psybeam. It can learn Confusion (an attack) a bit earlier than that...but unfortunately I missed it. If your Pokemon levels up midway through a trainer battle and then you lose that battle, you don't go to the skill-learning screen afterwards...and the move is gone forever. It takes some wind out of the sails of 'sploiting trainer fights by defeating the first few Pokemon (to soak up exp) and losing to the last one (to reset the fight).
Got another HM, which means I have to bog down another Pokemon's moveset. I'm going to try to avoid what happened in Gen 2 where my starter ended up with four HMs at the end, because that was a bit of a disaster. Unfortunately, Combusken is the only one who can learn Rock Smash out of my current group. Decided to lose Peck, which still leaves me with three move slots.
Finally, we arrive at the third gym. Much like Gen 1, this one is electric-element.
It's also filled with rad-to-the-max guitarists who are besties with nerdy bug-catchers.
Wattson is...in favor of conversion therapy? Good God! No wonder he's electric-element! He plans to SHOCK AWAY THE GAY!
No, I kid. Wattson's a good man. He should have been the fifth Beatle.
Missed getting shots of the fight for the most part, but his chief minion was this electric cat.
When he looks at Renee...he swells.
...I'll show myself out.
In a stunning tweest, Renee is the one getting interviewed after the fight! I have to answer in single word statements, which is a bit weird. How do I describe my feelings?
One word: ENDINGS.