Gotta Catch ‘Em All – Part 2
2016 is turning out to be the year for Pokémon collecting. Nintendo is handing out Mythical and Legendaries so often that it’s almost difficult to keep up. Seems like my idea of trying to Catch ‘Em All was pretty well timed as I’m probably going to save a lot of time by not having to track these legendaries down myself. You could argue that I don’t get the true collecting experience by skipping these hard-to.find creatures, but I have over 700 of the monsters to collect. I don’t mind saving a little time here and there.
I got a nice surprise from Nintendo’s generous giveaway events this April. After coming home from a long day at work I checked my Facebook to find that Nintendo Norway was giving away downloads of Hoopa! That particular Mythical is not one of the 11 that Nintendo has scheduled for release this year, so it was a big surprise that I was able to get my hands on it this early. Now there is only 2 Mythical Pokémon that is still out of my reach! I don’t know if Nintendo launched this limited giveaway event in any other regions as I haven’t seen any marketing or news about it. If it hasn’t happened in your region, it hopefully will soon. Couple that with Darkrai being handed out as scheduled in May, that’s two more Mythical Pokémon collected.
Other giveaways I have gotten are the Legendary Birds (Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres) that were handed out through a newsletter from Nintendo’s official Pokémon site. When I signed up for the newsletter I was a bit worried that the download codes would be for the US region only, but it worked fine for me in the EU as well. Nintendo is also handing out the X & Y Legendaries, though the dates on these are different in each region. I have gotten Zygarde so far, but I’m still waiting for details about the EU release schedule for Yveltal and Xerneas. In the US these three are all going out in May, so if you blinked you already missed some of them. I guess Nintendo doesn’t want to make it too easy after all.
Alright, enough about the giveaways for now. Back in the game I made my way from the sweet coastal town of Dewford and eventually arrived at Mauville City. After defeating the Mauville Gym leader and getting a bike, I decided to backtrack a bit before moving forward. I hadn’t been able to properly explore Granite Cave because I needed a bike in order to progress to the lower levels. I also knew that I hadn’t captured all the creatures on Route 110 as I made my way to Mauville. So back I went, like a bird soaring on the wind. At least that is how I felt while riding the bike. It has great speed if you want to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time, all while avoiding most of the random encounters along the way. I remember the bike being a great help in the previous games, and Omega Ruby is no exception.
Continuing my collection frenzy in Granite Cave and Route 110 made things a little more complicated. Granite Cave, for example, is the home of Abra, a Pokémon that is known for fleeing quickly after appearing in battle. None of the Pokémon that I had with me had learned skills that enabled me to trap the Abra before being able to catch it. I decided to leave it behind and rather come back later when I had found a Pokémon with a suitable skill. The cave also introduced me to skill-based collecting. Using Rock Smash on certain boulders is the only way to capture Nosepass (his name is Nosejob!), so I had to go through a lot of smashing and grass moves to defeat several Geodudes before finally capturing my target.
Route 110 on the other hand, taught me a lesson in the importance of research. In most of the previous areas, I had no problem with going in blind and still finding all the monsters available. On Route 110, however, the DexNav showed me several outlines of Pokémon that I had yet to capture. It also said that there were creatures in the areas that I had yet to capture. Putting blind faith in the dex, I spent ages running around on the annoyingly narrow path trying to make the remaining monsters appear. But they never did. Eventually, I looked the information up on Bulbapedia (my new best friend!). Technically, the Dex was right. There were some Pokémon that I had yet to find there, but they would only appear as a part of a Horde encounter, and not through the standard methods that I was using. «Horde?» I thought to myself. «What the hell is that?».
When I think Horde, I immediately think of the infamous Horde Mode in the Gears of War franchise. Would the Pokémon version be similar? Well, yes and no. You are alone against several opponents (up to 5), but that is pretty much where the similarities stop. Apparently, the only way to initiate a horde encounter is to use a specific item: Honey. Not only do I not have any of that, I don’t remember seeing it in any shops either. I’m assuming that Horde encounters will be properly introduced later in the game since I haven’t heard a word about it yet. Currently, I don’t think I am able to initiate these type of encounters, so I’ll come back to try it later. What I WILL do though, is look at guides more often to see what I can catch in each area so that I don’t waste a lot of time for nothing again.
I have also managed to stumble across Pokémon beauty contests. Actually, the game forced me into one. What the actual crap? I entered a competition with my adorable Skitty and won (take THAT Wingull!). My reward was a female Pikachu that for some reason is really into cosplay. Weird. But hey, that is another Pokémon on my captured list, even if she is wearing a dress. I will avoid those creepy contests as much as I can though. Making them all pretty and putting them on stage to be admired and judged just feels wrong (Because having them beating the living crap out of each other feels much more natural).
At one point I decided to use Wondertrade for the first time. For some reason , assumed that most people tended to trade common low-level monsters (damnit Zigzagoon!) in the hope of scoring a rare one. And to be honest, at this point in the game it’s not like I have access to the very rare creatures anyway. So I traded a Wingull to test the system and was rewarded with a Tynamo. I have never seen a Tynamo before in my life, and it didn’t show up in the Hoenn regional Dex. I started feeling really bad, because I had traded a rubbish Wingull for a late-game spawn like Tynamo. I assume that Tynamo is pretty common when you get that far in the game, but still. I actually felt so bad that I decided to wait with further trading until I had something better to offer. Damn it feels, why do you have to make things so difficult?
In the end, I have learned a lot from my journey these 8 hours. They have been just as eventful as the first 6. I’m making good progress with the collecting, and all my starters have evolved to their final forms. Sceptile is still my favourite. I think Blaziken might run off to start a disco-group with those pants (I believe they are feathers, technically). Overall I have a pretty decent team that has been able to handle whatever the game has thrown on them so far (except the Abra debacle, of course), but I foresee some changes to the roster as I get further into the game.
Forward to greatness!
From Hoenn with love,
Pokémon captured: 62/705 (Mythical 5/14)