Avoidance is a wonderful thing. You can accomplish so much when you are trying to avoid doing what you are actually supposed to be doing.
I am not ready to admit defeat on my run for the Loremaster achievement, but I must admit that my current focus on the little Nintendo 3DS XL screen is related to my reluctance to face another round of questing in The Blade’s Edge Mountains. Outland has worn me down some. So, while I did log in to run through Darkmoon Faire, most of my gaming time lately has been spent in New Eden or the Unova region.
The Unova region is the setting for both Pokemon Black and White as well as Pokemon Black and White Version 2…. the latter I maintain are, if not the least creative game names ever in the Pokemon series, at least the most awkward.
I followed up on last week’s Pokemon post and used an Amazon gift card I had sitting around to pick up Pokemon White Version 2 which, as I mentioned, was much more reasonably priced than Pokemon Black Version 2.
In fact, looking quickly online, it seems like all of the DS series Pokemon games… except Pokemon White Version 2, are selling for well over original list price. That seems odd. Back when the Nintendo DS Lite was king, and had that Game Boy Advance cartridge slot in the front, all of the GBA versions of Pokemon games remained available in health supply at pretty much suggested retail price. It actually sort of irked me that they weren’t marked down a bit back then. That was last generation stuff! But at least nobody was suggesting I pay a premium for them.
Now, however, the last generation stuff… which, as before, still works in the current 3DS hardware just fine… seems to be in short supply. I am not sure what this means. I haven’t walked by a GameStop to see what is on the shelves, but when everybody online is selling well over list price, it raises questions. Is Nintendo converting them all to sell directly in the Nintendo Store? Is something else afoot?
Anyway, that is an investigation for another time (though if you know the answer, clue me in via the comments please!), I am here to talk about actually playing Pokemon. Joy!
I got the game and started off. As with its predecessor, it starts off with a rather direct and somewhat abbreviated introduction to the game. That isn’t bad, but clearly somebody missed the slower unfolding of your own story, as they went back to that for Pokemon X & Y. You start with your own name. For me that is always Wilhelm. And then you are asked to name the person who essentially becomes your rival in the game. The default name is Hugh, but I always give it a more interesting name.
This time, because I happened to have just gotten done with a fleet op, I went with an EVE Online theme. Actually, more of a CFC theme.
I named my rival Mittani.
More after the cut because of excess verbiage.
Did I really need to crank out 2,000 words about playing Pokemon?
Anyway, my rival in the game would be Mittani.
I would have gone for “The Mittani,” but there is a hard character limit… eight characters if I recall right… which is probably a result of legacy code and sizing text. So I dropped the definite article.
This turned out to be funny almost immediately, having the great space tyrant along for the ride in a Pokemon game, as you end up interacting with your rival quite a bit.
(I have got to sit down and figure out the best way to take pictures of my 3DS screen. If I were a professional I would get a video capture modded 3DS, but as an amateur I am not spending the money.)
Anyway, since the dialog turned amusing right away, I decided to run with this theme. As I name all of my ships in EVE Online, I name all of my Pokemon as I catch them, and so these two would cross. All of my Pokemon would be named after EVE Online things, if possible, starting right away with my first Pokemon. I went with Tepig, the fire Pokemon this time, because I never pick fire for whatever reason and I had started with Oshawott in Pokemon White. (I favor water.)
I immediately named him “Boat” for Dabigredboat, the snufflepig of the CFC. That seemed to fit very well. So I decided my goal would be to defeat the game… which means defeating the final four and the regional champion at the far end of the story… with a team of Pokemon named after CFC luminaries.
That was going to impose a restriction on my play. Since you can only name (or rename, when you find the right NPC) Pokemon that you catch, I was going to have to play through without any trades or downloads or what not. Not that such would be a big deal. There are no download events planned for the Black and White series, to the point that all internet options for the game have been shut down. The Global Trade Center might still be available, but all the special things introduced for Black and White online are history now.
In fact, I figured that the idea would make the game more interesting. I do not think I have gone from start to defeating the final four and the regional champion since I played Pokemon Diamond the first time through.
So I started off.
As Pokemon Black and White were a slight departure from the long standing Pokemon RPG formula, Pokemon Black and White Version 2 stray even further from the previously set in stone series of events laid down for the game. The version 2 games take place in the same region, Unova, as the first two. However the story starts two years after its predecessors. The map is about the same, with a couple of new locations, but you end up taking a different path. The defeat of Team Plasma and the wrecking of their plans to free all Pokemon is part of the story line. However, while Team Plasma fractured, a new sub-group has coalesced. They formed up, bought new uniforms so they look more like urban commandos than the Knights Templar, and began appearing in the Unova region.
Of course they have a new nefarious yet unworkable plan to… well… steal Pokemon again, but for a different reason.
You and your rival set off first simply to complete a regional survey to complete the Unova Pokedex, but are quickly drawn into the conflict with the new and slightly more evil version of Team Plasma. Your rival is especially incensed about the whole Team Plasma thing, as they stole a Purrloin from his sister (the case of the purloined Purrloin) and he is obsessed about getting in back. (Random Pokemon pictures from Bulbapedia.)
So it was on. The flow of the game is about the same. You spend time matched up against various other trainers, wandering the countryside to catch Pokemon, in cities to heal up, follow the story, and defeat the usual allotment of eight gym leaders. Some of them have changed since Black and White, and all the gyms have gotten some sort of update. And I started collecting my team. I had a Herdier named Mr. Vee and an Ufezant named Mynnna and a Mareep named Blawrf.
Trust me, Blawrf McTaggart as a sheep-like Pokemon is funny stuff.
I actually liked the Tepig and Mareep forms to the point that I kept them from evolving to their more advanced, but less amusing forms. (Plus I hear that Boat lost a bunch of weight, so didn’t want to make him the fat pig.)
That actually cost me the ability to learn some better moves, but I was motivated by my desire to have just the right team for humor value over moves. And I was able to hold on to some of that team all the way through the defeat of Team Plasma, but there were some trade outs as well. The problem is that leveling up multiple low level Pokemon into the range that can confront the end game takes some serious dedication. You can basically level up your lead Pokemon and, if you have the experience share item, one lower level Pokemon in your party. But unless you are diligent, some Pokemon start falling behind in levels as you move through the game. This made me appreciate the group experience share buff in Pokemon X and Y, which made it much easier to keep a party together in levels.
Blawrf the Mareep got traded out after falling behind, but I picked up a new Blawrf later on in the form of an upper 40s Zebstrika, which is probably more dignified for the position of CFC Sky Marshal. It also happened to be fast and effective and quickly became the anchor of my team.
I managed to move forward, advancing all the way through Victory Road and the threshold of the final four. There I found that my mix, while good enough up to this point, was going to be a challenge when it came to finishing off the game. I took my first shot at it and lost on the second match up. I traded out a couple of my lower level Pokemon for high level ones I found along the way, and failed on the fourth of the final four. It looked like Tepig wasn’t going to be much of an asset, so I traded Boat out for Mynnna the Unfezant, and then went out and leveled him up a bit. I took another run and actually made it through (with my daughter looking up various Pokemon and shouting their weaknesses to me across the house) to Iris, former gym leader in Black and White and now the Unova League champion.
There things were looking good in that fight as well. I managed to get through her first five Pokemon without a huge effort, but then we got to Haxorus, her final Pokemon. He wasn’t weak to anything I had in my arsenal, so I had to set in to beating him down the old fashioned way. However, he used his first three turns to bulk up his speed and attack, after which he began one-shotting my group. I got down to a cycle of using a revive on one Pokemon while losing another each turn. Haxorus was down to just a few hit points. Literally one hit on him would win it for me. So I revived my fastest Pokemon, Blawrf as he one-shotted Wibla yet again. Blawrf was the only one available. I could play it safe and keep the cycle going by reviving another member of my team if Blawrf went down, or I could risk it all in hopes that Blawrf’s speed was fast enough to get in the first hit. I had nobody else as fast and no moves that were guaranteed to go first, like Quick Attack or Aqua Jet.
But he wasn’t fast enough. Haxorus got in the first attack, Blawrf went down, and my attempt was over. It was back to the Pokecenter for me.
I am close though. A bit of digging around and I found that I could train LazTel the move Ice Beam, to which Haxorus is weak. So I will have that in my pocket for next time. As it stands now, this is my team.
- Blawrf – Level 63 Zebstrika
- LazTel – Level 62 Azumarill
- Reagalan – Level 58 Solrock
- Mr Vee – Level 56 Terrakion
- Wibla – Level 54 Virizion
- Mynnna – Level 53 Unfezant
I am close to victory… after which there is the post story, end game play which includes chasing around certain epic Pokemon in an attempt to catch them. Pokemon is like an MMO, it can just keep going and going if you’re willing. You just cannot create alts… not without buying another copy of the game at least.