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  1. Jonathan Higgins

    New Pokkén Tournament Details Revealed

    The Pokémon Company has been pretty silent in regards to Pokkén Tournament since its reveal last year. But earlier this morning, there was a stream that revealed playable characters, supporting characters and gameplay mechanics (including how things would be controlled)! There was a ton of footage shown too, so fans finally got to take a good, hard look at the game in action! Here's everything we learned from the stream: First and foremost, the confirmed playable Pokémon (so far) cover more types than just fighting: Gardevoir, Suicune and Pikachu were announced! While we're in the realm of the fighters themselves, I'll cover Support Pokémon next! Emolga, Snivy, Finnekin and Lapras (of those shown) are not playable, but they can lend a hand in battle to help turn the tide in your favor! They can be used at any time, but they'll have a cool-down period. Pokémon will be able to Mega Evolve, as well as use certain other powerful moves at the press of a button. Speaking of buttons: what you see above is the control-pad that will be used to play Pokkén Tournament. This setup is remarkably different from your typical arcade fighter, which should hopefully lend some credence to the fact that this game will wind up localized and on home consoles before too long. A bit more on gameplay: the game features a fully three-dimensional map with a full range of motion, but there's also something called a Phase Change that makes the camera switch to what you'd see in a traditional 2D-fighter. Certain moves can apparently force a Phase Change. This game is going to be much easier to get into than your typical fighter. Bandai-Namco wants Pokkén Tournament to appeal to both veterans and newcomers! I think, beyond noting that some of the stage descriptions of the game were shown in English, that should about cover it for the essentials from this morning's stream! The rest, you should totally watch for yourself! I've embedded some footage (including the full stream for those curious) below. Want more? Check out the official Pokkén Tournament Twitter. Are you excited for this game? Do you have any predictions as to when we'll see it stateside, and what form the game will take? Be sure to let us know!
  2. Welcome to the seventh 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 morning. __________________________________________ What Comes Next? Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire have been out for a little over two months now. The hardcore Pokémaniacs out there have probably put a sizeable dent into their copies of the game, if not finished them completely. As we saw during the recent Nintendo Direct, there“s a new spin-off game coming called Pokémon Shuffle. And Nintendo surprised us all by revealing #720 Hoopa shortly after the Direct. It“s clear that the Pokémon Company isn“t resting on its laurels, by any means. But right now, months before any given E3 anticipation or what have you, I“ve decided to ask of you GP faithful: What do you think will be next for the mainline Pokémon series? Will they release downloadable content for Pokémon ORAS? Will Pokemon Z be a thing? Are we going to see something besides a Pokkén Tournament reveal in June? Will there be a whole batch of Pokémon series amiibos that take the world by storm? There are so many questions. Game Freak has always said that they want to surprise fans with each of their new reveals, and go beyond the expected outcome. That“s why, for the first time ever (especially given that so many Legendaries are available in ORAS), I“m honestly anticipating some sort of DLC for ORAS that gives players access to special Pokémon, like Mew. Does anyone remember the Old Sea Chart Event Item from Pokémon Emerald? Given the bite-sized nature of The Delta Episode (a first for the series), does a possible “Echo Episode” seem too unrealistic to expect? My “dream DLC” for ORAS would probably be a full revival of the Battle Frontier from Pokémon Emerald that includes the Old Sea Chart as a way to draw in people on the fence about DLC. Might people be able to live their dreams of exploring other regions outside of Hoenn by way of DLC? Next week, we“ll talk all about spin-off games (especially since I“m still playing Pokémon Pinball Ruby & Sapphire, and I know a million and one people want to see a return to Pokémon Snap). But for now, consider all the questions I“ve asked. What do you think is next for Pokémon, in terms of the mainline games? What would your dream DLC feature? Do you even think DLC for Pokémon games is a good idea? Be sure to let us know below!
  3. The Pokémon Company has begun a global distribution of unique starters from the Unova region as of late yesterday (Serperior). The other two (Emboar and Samurott, respectively) will be made available in the coming weeks. But what's so special about that? Can't you already obtain a Unova starter after beating the Elite 4 two or three times? Indeed you can. Besides Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle who are available in Pokémon X&Y, you have a chance to grab one of every region's starter Pokémon throughout your ORAS journey. What makes these distributed Pokémon unique is that they each have their Hidden Ability, which wasn't available prior to these Event Pokémon going out. Instead of Overgrow, this special Serperior has Contrary, an Ability that makes moves like Growl/Leer increase the affected stat instead of decrease it. To obtain these special Pokémon in North America or wherever you happen to reside, all you'll need is a reliable Internet connection and the "secret code(s)". These codes will be widely available as each Pokémon's distribution goes live across the globe. Serperior's code is POKEMON497. Select Mystery Gift on your copy of Omega Ruby or Alpha Sapphire from the title screen, then Receive Gift, then Get With Code and enter that one in. The code for Reckless Emboar will be available next week when that distribution begins, and Shell Armor Samurott's code can be found in next month's Pokémon Trainer Club newsletter. Be sure to sign up by January 31st, 2015 if you don't already have a Pokémon Trainer Club account! For more information on these rare Pokémon, be sure to check out the official site!
  4. Shortly after yesterday's Nintendo Direct, the Pokémon Company snuck in the official reveal of a brand new Pokémon, Hoopa! This Pokémon, like many others in the games, cannot be encountered through normal gameplay. The Pokémon ORAS official website has more information about Hoopa's characteristics, but here's the big reveal trailer! Nintendo hasn't announced the means of Hoopa's distribution yet, but I imagine (like Diancie before it) select retailers like GameStop in North America will eventually have codes to grab. Stay tuned for more information on that as it comes! I actually briefly mentioned Hoopa in my most recent Individual Values piece, a weekly Pokémon feature I write here on Game Podunk. Check it out!
  5. Welcome to the fourth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed last week's, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday morning. ---------------------------- Region Locked A question one of our members asked over Twitter got me thinking: ORAS players: When did the game grab you? I've never played the original, and I'm finding Hoenn a bit... boring. Just as we can contemplate the best and worst Pokémon designs (and why we feel that way about them), so too can we contemplate the best regions. What makes the environment of any given Pokémon game work for you, personally? Is what makes a particular region great determined by the variety of Pokémon you“re able to see and capture, by the major characters/antagonists you meet, or by the symbiotic relationship between the game“s music and visuals that bring the place (like Hoenn) to life? Does an audio/visual overhaul like the one presented in Pokémon ORAS change your opinion of Hoenn as a region? There are so many questions. I“d love to hear your thoughts! For the longest time, my answer to the region question would have been Johto, especially as it“s presented in the remakes HeartGold & SoulSilver. As many may know, Gold, Silver, and Crystal are direct sequels to the first Pokémon game. So Johto itself was kind of made from Kanto“s flesh, so to speak. New elements of the world (like the Ruins of Alph, the story of Ho-Oh and the Legendary Beasts and more) sought to bring new or further explained mythology to the Pokémon universe that was targeted towards those who played the first game. But the new stuff was separated enough so that brand new players could enjoy the story/environment just as much as returning ones. Johto featured many brand new Pokémon (as well as the revolutionary [for its time] day and night cycle), but many returning species as well. Everything about the Johto region, even prior to the remakes, focused on simple expansion on what most players already knew, versus exploring this brand new place. It let returners explore a new spot while still embracing original comforts. And it let newcomers know what they missed from the previous game, too—especially since Gold, Silver and Crystal eventually let you explore the first game“s Kanto region as well. The remakes only made the experience better, with lead Pokémon being able to follow behind you, and further story regarding Ho-Oh, Luigi, and even Celebi/Giovanni for those fortunate enough to grab the Event Pokémon when Gamestop distributed it. No region has done what Johto did (tell a new story and build a new world based completely on elements of the old one) since. But... the Kalos region (from Pokémon X & Y) has knocked Johto from its throne, in my eyes. Thanks to the Nintendo 3DS allowing for the best visual and audio experience the franchise had to offer, I truly felt this particular world come to life like no other. Everything was so colorful! Its citizens were all customizable, and were in love with fashion and style as a result of that. The soundtrack, whether we“re talking battle themes or the fanfare for the infamous Professor Sycamore, did everything it possibly could to compliment the world. And, of course (even right down to the return of Mewtwo), the Kalos region features a vast assortment of Pokémon both brand new and from all five previous regions. So, there are my answers. For the longest time, Johto...and currently, Kalos! What are some of yours? Why do you feel the way you do? Be sure to let me know!
  6. After a brief hiatus to review Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, Individual Values returns! Welcome to the third week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed last week's, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday morning. ---------------------------- Working Designs I think what I“m about to write will produce a variety of opinions, if this lengthy, passionate, curse-word-heavy Twitter thread is any indication. In order to properly explain, a little exposition is necessary. For those of you who don“t already know, I jump on the airwaves with GP Writer WildCardCorsair and one or two other buddies every single week. Being that I“m part of the show, Pokémon talk is definitely a regular occurrence. To make a long story short, WildCard put forth the idea that the Pokémon from Black & White had better designs than the First Generation. I took our on-air argument to Twitter, and everything spiraled from there. Since a single tweet yielded over a hundred (sometimes heated) replies, I“ve decided it“s time to talk Pokémon designs on Individual Values. Does everyone with strong (or even not-so-strong) ties to Pokémon as a series have a favorite Generation? Do you prefer the first 151? Do you like Pokémon found in the Kalos region (Pokémon X&Y) more than any of the others, for whatever reason? How big of a role does nostalgia play in what winds up being our favorite Pokémon designs? These are the questions I“m hoping to tackle in the next little bit, and in your responses to this piece. As I mentioned back in the inaugural Individual Values piece, the reason I“m so dedicated to Pokémon today is because it“s something my girlfriend of nine years and I can experience together. But, if you go back in time a good ten or fifteen years, long before my one and only relationship... there was actually a brief period of time where I took a break from Pokémon growing up. I actually skipped Gold, Silver and Crystal, as well as Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald during their time of release. When I did make a return to the series, I did so in order. The designs of Pokémon native to the Johto region (152-251) felt natural, to me. But I found the Hoenn designs (252-386) incredibly jarring at first. Eventually, they grew on me. But I always pondered why that was the case. Why do certain Pokémon designs feel natural, while others have to grow on you? Surely I can“t be the only one who feels this way about the designs of a particular Generation. If I“m being completely honest, the Black & White Pokémon designs still haven“t grown on me. I find many of them to be cheap imitations of the First Generation (Swoobat? Zubat? C“mon), or wholly unnecessary (Vanilluxe). While I like the most recent Generation just fine (with notable exceptions like Klefki making me arch my eyebrow), I can definitely say that I have a least favorite Generation when I start talking about the Unova region“s Pokémon. Rather than go on and on, I“m going to leave the discussion to you all. Which Generation of Pokémon do you feel have the best or worst designs, and why? Do you have any responses to the questions that bounced around in my head as I was writing this piece? Be sure to share your thoughts!
  7. Developer: Game Freak Publisher: Nintendo Platforms: Nintendo 3DS Release Date: November 21st, 2014 ESRB Rating: E Official Website Note: This review is based on the Omega Ruby version of the game. While there are minor differences in each (such as exclusive Pokemon), most of the core game is the same. When Pokémon X&Y were released globally last October, over twelve million people experienced the franchise“s next big overhaul. An engine introduced in Pokémon Black & White that merely dabbled in three-dimensional environments was upgraded to give players a full range of motion, offer an entire new world to explore in full 3D, and more. Given the Game Boy Color remakes, HeartGold & SoulSilver, I wasn't entirely surprised when The Pokémon Company announced that fans would be returning to Hoenn after more than ten years. As many know, my roots with the series run deep. That doesn't mean Pokémon is beyond criticism for me, though. I thought Pokémon Black 2 & White 2 were a collective atrocity, and I“ve seen numerous flaws across all the games as I“ve played them...including Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald. But reviewing a remake isn“t about resurfacing the flaws of a game released in 2003. Without further ado, here“s everything that makes Pokémon Omega Ruby new and noteworthy. Much like Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver, the new take on Hoenn will give those who played the original games a good sense of how far the series has advanced, in terms of graphics and sound, in the past eleven years. Players returning to the series for the first time with Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire will come to appreciate the nuances that made Pokémon X&Y great (to many), including returning features like Pokémon Aime, Super Training and more that are available almost right from the start. Meanwhile, players fresh off the Kalos experience will note that not a whole lot“s changed in a year, and they“ll probably yearn to customize their trainer like they could in X&Y (but cannot in these new games). The graphics themselves haven“t changed much. But they do seem more polished, and little touches to in-game animations (whether we“re talking about the fact that Brendan can stand perfectly still if you stop mid-sneaking, the various Wingull or Swablu flying around as you enter various spots in the game) help me to praise the graphics versus calling them “more of the same”. Far more praiseworthy, in my opinion, is the soundtrack. Almost every single re-imagined track in the game is a vast improvement over the original version. But there are brand new tracks as well! And those are simply amazing... and mostly not heard until close to the end of the game, unfortunately. Gameplay is also very much what you remember. Catch Pokémon, trade Pokémon (online!), defeat the gym leaders, and save the world. No glorious leaps are made in terms of story. The original plot is simply embellished to suit the brand new world, not re-imagined in any way. Ah, but there is an original, brand new story that happens after you've completed the main game for the first time. The Delta Episode is certainly worth praising, but unfortunately I can“t talk about it much without spoiling. There“s a Legendary Pokémon, and you jump on its back and go into freaking space. That“s why I“m giving it its own mention. The Delta Episode isn“t the only thing (beyond presentation) that sets the remake apart from the originals. Numerous (brand new) features exist that are all praise-worthy and will add countless hours onto your Pokémon journey. There are contests (with Mega Evolutions and cosplaying Pikachus), Super Secret Bases (where you can effectively become a gym leader and challenge your friends and strangers to beat your team, seamlessly and effortlessly), and more. But the feature that I“m the most impressed by (and this is by a long shot) is the DexNav, something that epitomizes how Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire centralizes the focus on actually “catching them all” unlike ever before. Longtime fans of Pokémon are all-too-familiar with the concept of wandering around tall-grass for hours, initiating random battles and praying for that 5% encounter rate with the rarest Pokémon of any particular area of the game. What the DexNav does is nixes that process entirely in favor of sneaking up on that super-rare Pokémon when it pokes its head out of the grass. You hear its cry—so series veterans know that“s the one, and newcomers will know it“s a Pokémon they“ve not yet heard before. The obscene encounter-rate of Ruby & Sapphire has been lowered to accommodate sneaking up on Pokémon without being interrupted, whether in water or on land. The app itself, on the bottom screen, will even start to reveal Level, Ability, moves, and overall potential of these Wild Pokémon before you encounter them, if you've run into a ton of them throughout your journey. And most importantly, after you've caught the Pokémon you“re looking for—if you“re looking for another, you don“t have to wander around forever. Just hit “Search” on the DexNav app, and it prompts another critter just like it to poke its head out of the grass, for prime sneaking and seamless enjoyment. The DexNav isn“t the only way these remakes promote completing the entire Pokédex. Before you've even entered Victory Road to go about finishing the game for the very first time, you“re given the ability to fly freely throughout the entire Hoenn region, like navigating an airship in Final Fantasy games. You can“t land anywhere you want, but there are very few restrictions in place, and it makes for some interesting, brand new areas to explore. And these brand new areas, when certain conditions are met, feature Pokémon not native to the Hoenn region and over twenty-five legendaries from every single game in the series. Will you become the Pokémon League Champion after saving the world, or focus on completing your Pokédex? For the first time in series history, the choice is yours. That very high praise aside, Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire aren't without their flaws. The game itself remains remarkably easy. Even without the aid of various grind-relieving tools like the Experience Share, you“re still bound to be perpetually over-leveled. The game features an unprecedented level of exploration, but I think it comes at the cost of almost negating difficulty entirely. Most who complained about the (lack of) difficulty in the previous games will have the same exact complaints with this game, if not even more. And those returning to the series for the first time will wonder if the games were always this easy. Still, as a whole, the same old Hoenn features an all-new look, an absolutely amazing soundtrack that (mostly) improves upon the tunes of old, and most importantly... what seems to be a brand-new direction for the series. If Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are the stepping stones to the next brand new Pokémon experience, I couldn't be more excited for what comes next. Pros: + The exclusive DexNav app absolutely revolutionizes searching for Pokémon. + All your favorite online features from Pokémon X&Y are back, and the game's new features are all praiseworthy, too. + For those interested in life after the main story, there is a plethora of post-game content. + The game's presentation breathes new life into a world many already know, leaving veterans refreshed and newcomers captivated. Cons: - Still far too easy. Overall Score: 9 (out of 10) Fantastic If Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are the stepping stones to the next brand new Pokémon experience, I couldn't be more excited for what comes next. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using a retail copy purchased by the writer.
  8. Welcome to the second week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed last week's, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday morning. ---------------------------- A New Old Journey By the time you all read this, many of you will already be playing through Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire. I know I“ll be on the eShop at midnight watching servers crash and burn in my wake as I scramble to try to download the game for myself and my lady. You've all seen , maybe even played the demo. ORAS has marketed itself to be the most immersive remake to date, offering features never before seen in a Pokémon game, new Mega Evolutions, and more. With ORAS in mind, I want to hear all your thoughts about remakes. We“re actually just a few months past the tenth anniversary of FireRed & LeafGreen, which came to North America on September 9th, 2004. I still remember doing several metaphorical backflips when they announced HeartGold & SoulSilver back in May of 2009. When they threw in all lead Pokémon being able to walk behind their trainer(s) and the Pokéwalker for good measure, that game quickly shot up to legendary status for me. I“d have to say the second gen remakes are my favorite so far, but I“m definitely approaching Hoenn with an open mind. Thinking about remakes gets my synapses firing in all sorts of directions, if I“m being honest. It“s thanks to HeartGold that the first Pikachu I caught in FireRed got to go back to her home in Viridian Forest, on a different system—and years later (when you think about the time passed in actual Pokémon canon when it comes to FireRed and HeartGold), it“s kind of like Pikachu-ception. Heck, the six Pokémon you see above have traveled to every single known region in the main series of handheld games except Hoenn. That“s Kanto, Johto, Sinnoh, Unova and Kalos. They“ve all become Hall of Famers many times over. And before long, as soon as Pokémon Bank is able to talk to the new games, they“ll get their shot fighting the Hoenn League Champion as well. Pokémon, to me, isn“t just about catching them all. I thoroughly enjoy doing so, and I“m going to try to capture as many Pokémon native to ORAS as I can before simply transporting my boxes full of them from Kalos and becoming a Master again. What the games are really about, to me, is the immense attachment I have to those six Pokémon, for example—my original team from almost nine years ago. Or the many memories I“ve made traveling with and training over fifty Pokémon for competitive battle. So. Many. Nicknames. I can“t wait to make new memories with Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire! But until then… what“s your favorite Pokémon remake so far? Are you more attached to the first generation ones, or the second? As I was writing, I got an idea of another question to ask. Would any of you be interested in seeing FireRed & LeafGreen, a remake...be remade again with the Pokémon X&Y engine? I asked the question on Twitter and got some mixed results: Stay tuned next week to hear my first impressions of Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire! I hope everyone playing enjoys their new old journey.
  9. Welcome to the premiere of a brand new Pokémon feature debuting here on Game Podunk! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday morning. ---------------------------- First Entry- Generations I“m not sure where to begin what I“m about to start writing. Maybe I“ll have you all picture the beginning of the Pokémon anime where Ash Ketchum vows to become a Pokémon Master. I should draw attention to how the camera pans towards his hands and his turning his cap sideways for dramatic effect. Goodness knows I was that... endearing when I first turned ten and vowed the same thing. Give or take a year, my Pokémon journey began at the same age as his. Many of us born in the late eighties or early nineties were all hypnotized by . Pokémon Red & Blue Version were many a child“s first exposure to role-playing games, world-building and possibly the word “endeavor”. I had such grand visions when I was younger. I“d catch as many as I could and learn about Mew and write stories expanding the world of Pokémon far beyond the old Game Boy“s grayscale screen, or even the anime. Before I“d purchased strategy guides and learned all there was to know, I made up the Pokémon Dragonite (even down to that specific name) that happened to fit the description of the real one down to a tee... except mine was blue, not orange. To talk about Pokémon as a series is to instantly ignite the nostalgia of childhood, at least for me. Only I“m not eleven anymore. I“m just under a month away from celebrating my twenty-seventh birthday. And some sixteen years later, I“ve fully realized the dreams of Ash Ketchum, and of my younger self, despite the total number of Pokémon now stretching far beyond the original 150. I blame my girlfriend for creating this monster... er, Pokémon Master. Nine years ago, when we first started dating, I knew she was “the one” when a bunch of Pikachu plushies happened to fall from the top of her closet when I first saw her place. She doesn“t play games all that much, but after that, we“d found our first major gaming-thing in common. And we both started playing through the Game Boy Advance games—me with FireRed and her with Sapphire. While her mission was just to get to the end of the story and explore the world with her favorites from childhood, I found myself making the same “promises” to myself as I did when I was a kid that day. My personal definition of Pokémon has expanded far beyond the typical childhood nostalgia to include various pieces and parts of my relationship, and where we were in life at the time of our last Pokémon journey. Plenty of you have various memories and meanings associated with the various Pokémon Generations. If you“re reading this because you“re as big into the series as I am, but for completely different reasons, I want to know what yours are! As we“re fast approaching the release of the next Pokémon games (and before anyone asks, yes, my lady will be playing through Alpha Sapphire. Crazy stuff!), I want to turn “Jonathan writes about Pokémon” into a regular thing: musings, impressions, and tips from someone who has poured thousands of hours across the main (and side) games. Hopefully I“ll get all of us Podunk Pokémaniacs talking and helping each other out! So, what does Pokémon mean to you? Is it something you just play for fun, or do you have a handful of warm, fuzzy stories from youth that will rival my own? Rest assured, no matter what your story is, it all has a place here! Nothing captures “the magic” of Pokémon, in my opinion, than this Zapdos trophy description from Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. And just to reward the first person to read this whole thing, here“s a code for the Special Demo Version of Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire: A05PJETB0GCLBU6B. You can redeem the code by going to Settings/Other and then clicking "Redeem Download Code" on the Nintendo eShop on 3DS! If you“re the lucky guy or lady who redeems it, be sure to let me know!
  10. The “shocking” Pokémon announcement many have been waiting for was revealed this morning in the form of Pokkén Tournament. It“s a Pokémon fighting game being developed in collaboration with Namco-Bandai. It“s coming to arcades in Japan sometime in 2015. A console release has not been officially confirmed yet, but the way Pokémon Company President Tsunekazu Ishihara phrased an answer during Q&A seemed to suggest that the game was coming to arcades first. The small teaser trailer they showed featured Lucario fighting Machamp. As the Pokémon Company has done in the past, an English language trailer has been made available, despite the news pertaining solely to Japan (for now). You can watch it below! Source(s): Official Website (JP), Siliconera
  11. Jordan Haygood

    Pokemon X and Y: Froakie

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Nintendo, Game Freak

  12. Jordan Haygood

    Pokemon X and Y: Chespin

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Nintendo, Game Freak

  13. Jordan Haygood

    Pokemon X and Y: Fennekin

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Nintendo, Game Freak

  14. Jordan Haygood

    Pokemon X & Y: Yveltal

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Nintendo

  15. Jordan Haygood

    Pokemon X & Y: Xerneus

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Nintendo

  16. Jordan Haygood

    Pokemon X & Y: Starters

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Nintendo