Welcome to the twenty-seventh week of my PokÃ©mon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday morning.
Region Spotlight #1
I“m going to start something a little different today, something that“s going to last a while. On the first Friday of every month, for the next six months, I“m going to put together what I call a Region Spotlight." I“ll pick five things about each region from all six generations of PokÃ©mon games and explain why I find them particularly unique or insightful.
Most of the time, I“ll stick with locations versus concepts, so you can fly, surf or rock climb your way there in your own copies of each region“s respective games and take a second look after hearing what I have to say.
I“ll start from Kalos and work my way backwards — that way we“ll hit Kanto just weeks shy PokÃ©mon's twentieth anniversary. Without further ado:
What a huge place! Folks who have played PokÃ©mon since the late nineties probably got a good sense of how far the series has come visually from the moment they stepped outside their house in Vaniville Town. But this city is kind of the game“s crowning achievement, in terms of scope. It“s so big, they had to gate various portions of it off in the beginning, and the team continued to make players explore every nook and cranny of this place in the post-game for Looker“s Quest.
There are so many cafes, stores, and minor/major landmarks that I still use the Lumiose Cab Company to get myself around. I like how the cab driver tries to tell me where these places are before I pay him — but my pockets are so bottomless, and my look so stylish, that the fare is always cut in half... and I never really have to pay attention to where he“s taking me.
With almost all the PokÃ©mon games, I try and figure out where places are and remember important spots for later. But I treat Lumiose City kind of like I treat a real-life city: my sense of direction is typically so poor in big places where all the buildings look the same that I“d be better served just hopping in a car and paying someone to take me where I need to go. I guess art imitates life, in this respect.
When you stepped foot into Lumiose City for the first time, what were your feelings? Did you try to explore, only for some dudes to stop you and insist the place was â€œunder constructionâ€ while an NPC just ran right by him?
We“ve seen various hideouts, tall city skyscrapers, mystic caves, and other â€œfantasticalâ€ locations in various PokÃ©mon games, but this is the only instance in which The PokÃ©mon Company have put time and effort into creating an actual palace. From just approaching Parfum Palace for the first time through the bunch of trees on Route 6, to the big
To me, it“s worth highlighting because it feels like a place to escape to in the game. Even though nothing truly remarkable happens there, you get the sense it would be an actual landmark to folks living in the region. It“s definitely designed that way, and even though it“s been a long time since I last played my copy of PokÃ©mon Y, it“s still a place that sticks out in my mind for that reason.
Never mind the fact that you ride on a freaking Rhyhorn and burst through rocks to get there — Glittering Cave feels like a modern-day Rock Tunnel. Rather than making you use Flash to see your way around it, the game drops the camera directly behind the player and makes you navigate its twists and turns in what practically feels like a first-person view.
This is the first area in a PokÃ©mon game where the team actually uses the game“s camera to dictate level design. It“s easy to get lost in this cave and run into a PokÃ©mon by mistake your first time through. There are a variety of species to be found here that don“t just initiate in random battle sequences, but sometimes drop from the ceiling or actually lie in wait for the player.
I don“t just give this area credit because of its visuals or how you come to arrive there — I appreciate it because of the camera-work that actually played a hand in its conception. It makes Glittering Cave, and the Kalos region as a whole I suppose, feel a little more life-like. Don“t you think?
Kalos PokÃ©mon League
I remember when you could just waltz in and fight the Elite 4 (in a specific order, too) after just a brief screen-pause to close the door behind you. Now The PokÃ©mon League has become a place to showcase some unique visuals to give the Elite 4 (who you don“t encounter elsewhere in any of the games, mind you) a little showmanship. Flames bursting forth. Water cascading down on you. Freaking dragon statues. From
The name of her chamber is the Radiant Chamber, for goodness sake! The area bleeds light.
I would be crazy if I didn“t close out mentioning this area. I know the Kalos region has a meaty story, and it“s filled with many incredible places. But I“ve spent hours toiling away in the Friend Safari alone, looking for PokÃ©mon with Hidden Abilities, or Shiny PokÃ©mon, or both. To this day, even after making a separate post about it some time ago, I still don“t understand how it works, fully. But... for being unremarkable visually, and only housing two to three PokÃ©mon per Safari, this is the place I come back to the most when I revisit my copy of PokÃ©mon Y.
Every time I add a Friend Code onto my 3DS, I check and see if they“ve played these games and unlocked their third PokÃ©mon. Do any of you PokÃ©mon Faithful do the same, despite moving onto PokÃ©mon ORAS as many of us have by now? I“m definitely interested to know.
The Kalos region gave us many series firsts — customizable trainers and fully 3D visuals being chief among them. I feel like many areas in X&Y highlight the game“s unique sense of style--whether we“re referring to the Kalos region“s fashion-sense, or the game“s unique visual presentation as a whole.
What are your favorite areas of Kalos? Be sure to let me know! And stay tuned for the next â€œFirst Fridayâ€, where I take an in-depth look at some areas and aspects of the Unova region!