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Individual Values: A Pokemon Feature - Week 40: Region Spotlight #4


Jonathan Higgins

Welcome to the fortieth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday.

 

You can check out the previous Region Spotlight here.

 

 

 

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Region Spotlight #4

Hoenn

 

 

 

Today is the fourth region spotlight! On the first Friday of every month, I pick five things about each region from all six generations of Pokémon games and explain why I find them particularly unique or insightful. This one“s likely a favorite for some of you.

 

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Faraway Island

 

 

 

I know longtime readers must have seen this one coming. Besides a glitch in the first generation games, this spot (exclusive to Pokémon Emerald) is the only place to catch Mew in the wild without a cheating device. Have y“all seen the

showcasing how this guy got a legitimate Old Sea Chart and then found a Shiny Mew after soft-resetting a few thousand times? ...That“s gonna be me, if Faraway Island ever makes its way to the remakes. Mark. My. Words.

 

I“ve mentioned unique ways to catch Mythical Pokémon in many previous entries. This place gets a special mention from me because I“ve never actually seen it for myself.

 

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Route 113

 

 

 

I remember thinking this place was really weird when I first discovered it over a decade ago. Snow physics are one thing, and I mentioned those when I talked about Sinnoh last time, but...ash-rain physics? Let“s be real; everyone who“s ever played the originals or the remakes have totally run around in the dirt just because. For the longest time, I didn“t even have a Soot Sack or know about the various flutes.

 

Completionists know all about where to find the soot sack, and how...each bit of grass that contains soot contains a random amount of it. And all this can be exchanged for flutes that have various effects on Pokémon outside of battle, and they have unlimited uses. All your collecting can save you some money on healing items, if that“s your thing. This isn“t the first time Game Freak has attached something mildly useful to an otherwise distracting mechanic that can easily be passed over. Here“s to you, Route 113, for teaching players not all that glitters is gold.

 

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Mt. Chimney

 

 

 

I always liked the way this area of the game is designed. As a kid, it impressed me that the area required the use of a cable car to even get to. When the developers and design team go out of their way to design a unique transition like that instead of making the player manually climb his or her way up, it kind of goes the extra mile to show how high something is. Without the proper bike, you can really only go down the neighboring Jagged Pass instead of back up.

 

And, of course, there“s the fact that Team Aqua or Magma is here and up to no good. You hear all about their scheme to make the volcano active or dormant, you get to fight the leader, and so on. Returning here in the remakes makes for some cool scenery. Not only do you get the slow falling ash you see in Route 113, but also this giant crater with lava that“s given way more detail in terms of its size and scope than in the original games. This is one of those few instances where I actually wanted to see 3D effects in the remakes for Nintendo 3DS. Having that extra depth thanks to the slider would have made the lava (far) below seem that much more daunting.

 

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Sootopolis City

 

 

 

And here we have it, y“all. If you“d only played through the Kanto and Johto regions before Pokémon Emerald, you“d never seen something quite like the battle that takes place in Sootopolis City between Kyogre and Groudon. Team Rocket was thwarted consistently in both the generations of games that came before Hoenn, but Archie and Maxie both achieved their respective goals--to their collective dismay, mind you. Pokémon Trainers got to see an actual cataclysm unfolding before their eyes with the Hoenn region.

 

The developers took the time to program patterned weather effects between rain and intense sunlight for not just Sootopolis City, but the entire game world while the Legendary Pokémon were awakened. I was thoroughly blown away by that when I first experienced the game! I know it“s definitely easier to program something like that now, in a wildly huge 3DS remake. But seeing those kinds of effects in the Game Boy Advance days were definitely impressive, to me.

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The Sky

 

 

 

Pokémon ORAS has given players something that no game in the series ever offered before--the ability to fly freely through the air. I“ll get to the Eon Flute and flying through the sky momentarily, but--man, it impressed me just being able to use Fly to go anywhere in the entire game--to any desired route or small niche spot you wanted to visit--is a new precedent these remakes will set for future games, even if actually flying around on your Pokémon is taken away from us.

 

Encountering the handfuls of Legendary Pokémon by meeting special conditions and going off the beaten path to some sub-island somewhere is really cool. The Mirage Islands that change every time you go online and pass by folks playing the game kind of takes it above and beyond, in my opinion. Giving players the entire sky to roam around in is what makes the Ruby & Sapphire remakes among my favorite ever. I really hope giving us the sky is a new paradigm for the Pokémon formula, versus something they take away from us whenever Pokémon Z or the seventh generation of games come along.

 

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When you really think about it--ORAS gives us everything. You can freely explore land, sea, under the sea, the sky, and even space! It“s no wonder why the Hoenn region is so many folks“ favorite region, even if there is “too much water”. What are your favorite locations in the Hoenn region? I“d love to hear your thoughts!

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