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Individual Values: A Pokemon Feature - Week 4: Region Locked


Jonathan Higgins

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.

 

 

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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.

 

kalos_region_map_thumb.jpg

 

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!

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