Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wow, people really hate game journalism that much.

They start liking Hoenn's sea routes (HOENN'S SEA ROUTES FOR ARCEUS' SAKE) just because IGN, for once in their lifetimes, could tell their mouths from their assholes and rightfully tore them a new one, and they couldn't stand to agree with them. Oh, sure, Hoenn as a whole became overrated around the time BW1 came out, but even the staunchest fanboys were ambivalent at best towards the sea routes. But here comes IGN with an all too rare moment of clarity, and suddenly all that fucking water is brilliant design meant to hammer home the theme of land vs. sea. As if everything other element that did that put together wasn't borderline obnoxious enough. Story/gameplay segregation, do you understand what it means? Best concept a game designer ever thought up.

41 comments:

  1. Hoenn is easily my least favorite region because of all the surfing, I wasn't a big fan of the huge number of HM's either. That aside, I couldn't help but laugh at the top comment of the IGN review being a meme of Maxie saying "Too much water, that is my review".

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  2. To be fair, they did list "Too much water" and "Too many HMs" as the only negatives in the ending summary. I don't see why people are getting so upset. If that's all they can nitpick, then it means the game must be pretty enjoyable.
    I met someone who hated Gen 5 with a burning passion a few weeks ago and had to explain all the lore behind Unova to make him come to peace with it. He still didn't want to give the series another try, but it might be simply because he grew bored with the franchise and was looking for a scapegoat to explain why. I used the lore because he had said several times in the past that he loved knowing the lore behind games, so it was literally the single best argument I could use to shut him up. Seriously, nostalgia is such a weird thing... I was blinded by it myself back when I started to watch your videos and now I can't even understand what the heck was going in my head now. XD

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    1. That's because you were smart enough to realize that, hey, the newer games DO have many pros that make them worth playing. Unfortunately, we're a part of the minority.

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  3. The water routes are obnoxious, but they never bothered me as much as the ridiculous overreliance on HMs in the early gens. I guess I've been spoiled by Unova and Kalos, but going back and playing previous gens, I can hardly stand how annoying it is to constantly need to use HMs that are entirely useless in battle and can't be deleted at will. It's disappointing (though not too surprising, I guess) to learn they apparently didn't make much effort to fix this in ORAS. I still plan to buy at least one of the games, but after gens 5 & 6 it's going to be hard to go back to the bad old days of HM slaves.

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  4. I love Hoenn for the land routes, and I think the region is above average in that respect. But the water routes bring it way down, so much so that if I'm taking the whole region into account, it's probably at the very bottom or close to it. There's nothing to like about it. Gameplay-wise, it's like being in a cave for 5-6 times longer than you would normally be in one, with few major landmarks to tell where you are, almost ensuring that you'll need a map to make sure you get everything. Slowflake, you don't use repels and I respect that, but I don't know how you handle the torment that is the last quarter or so of Hoenn.

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  5. Random encounters aren't the only problem with Hoenn's water. The fact you need to open the map every 10 seconds to know where you are is as big of an issue. The map, people! The most useless item in Pokémon.

    The water in Hoenn was so bad, so unbearable, that the following pair of games had very few water routes. And Unova and Kalos didn't have much water either. Kalos had that big lake which was very annoying to navigate.

    I fully agree with Slowflake when he says Hoenn is a dated region. Unova and Kalos are much more streamlined and almost didn't require HMs to finish the story. I guess we'll revisit HM hell when they remake Sinnoh, too.

    Diving is terrible in Pokémon games. It requires two HMs just to dive. And diving in Hoenn was pointless exploration, since it didn't give any rare items (only in the Abandoned Ship) and the Pokémon found by diving are terrible. As much as I like Chinchou, I acknowledge he's terrible. Relicanth and Clamperl are terrible as well, and Clamperl evolves by trade with held item which is a big no-no for me.

    This recent trend in the fandom that Hoenn is the greatest region and you can't speak bad about it, to me, is like the Ostalgie that East Germans feel towards the DDR: having good feelings for something which really wasn't that great. Just because there were good things about it, doesn't mean the big picture wasn't terrible.

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    1. That's been the overall trend ever since 3rd/4th Gen. Many fans became puppets of their own nostalgia and refused to acknowledge the good points of future games. Of course, the ones who became Genwunners defend R/B/Y with their lives even today, but most of the rabid fans do acknowledge the pros of subsequent games... when they've become obsolete for the most part. Of course, the games, by themselves, are still very good overall, but the older generations are somewhat lackluster compared to the newer entries. I personally can still tolerate the water routes enough to where I don't pull my hair out(plus, all of them, except for the ones west of Pacifidlog, are straightforward anyways), but that doesn't mean I necessarily approve of them nowadays.

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    2. I can relate on the whole "never speak bad of Hoenn" bullcrap. There are users on forums who state that I'm a pussy for not liking the water routes in those games. Jesus, it's a group of levels in a children's video game, it's not like I claimed I had the belly-ache during an exam.

      They didn't even try to make the water look interesting, it's just water and a few rocks. Even when diving, the underwater world looks quite bland. I would say GBA limitations for the graphics but the stupid fanboys won't allow me to say that the game or the console it's on haven't aged well.

      I remember back in the 2009/10 days where one half of the series was overrated (1/2) and the other half (3/4) wasn't. This way of thinking hasn't changed, 1-3 are overrated and 4-6 are shunned.

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    3. Idk, I personally really liked the sea routes. Yes they were annoying in many ways, but in a masochistic sort of way that's why I like them. Having to open the map every 10 seconds is what makes it actually feel like an adventure. And that's something Unova and Kalos really don't do for me. Those regions are so linear, I like them but honestly they don't feel like an adventure much at all, or not nearly as much as Hoenn anyway, where parts of it actually feel like an open world.

      I completely acknowledge that the sea routes are pretty annoying, logically they shouldn't be that great. It might just be because of nostalgia for the games I have, but I really like them.

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    4. Oh, uh Brit.This is going to be awkward whether I'm right OR wrong, but are you referring to over at TSG, and by extension, me since I'd usually be on the opposite side of the argument? Because if so, and if I ever sent that sort of message, I apologize because that's not what I would ever mean to convey when I try to defend the games. Actually, I've always admitted that the water routes have flaws and that I had ideas on how they could be done better (which may not be ideas that would please everyone, but in my book they'd enhance them), but they've never bothered me personally, so obviously I never thought that they were that bad. But I completely understand why people hate them. I just wish they weren't something that apparently brought so much hate towards the games, and by extension, the fans of them. It's a shame. (And if that's not even what you were referring to, then ignore me. I'm just a very paranoid person when it comes to stuff like that.)

      As for the underwater, I agree. It was very bland and underutilized as well, while we're at it (most of it was empty). And that's coming from someone who thought Gen III and Gen IV had the most charming graphics in most areas. (Now, I'm not saying the best or the most impressive or anything like that, anyone. I'm not stupid enough to think that. Just the ones that I like to look at most, personally. No need for a fight to break out. Maybe I have bad taste, but that's my problem, not yours. Gen V's was better than both in most areas, but the animated sprites could look a bit awkward for many Pokemon and Gen VI is simply something that I need to get used to since it's a new experience. Heck, I'd say ORAS will do that, actually, since X and Y will no longer be the "only 3D games in the series" and it'll no longer be that new thing that feels so different.)

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    5. I believe it was Night (and me) who called him and everyone else who doesn't use Repels a pussy, Zebra. And it wasn't so much because you didn't like the water routes (because they really do need improvements), but because of you refuse to use Repels.

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    6. The problem is, any content that entices you to skip or rush through it is bad content, regardless of whether or not the option to do so is available. There's no other game I can think of that gets a free pass for a full third of the game being an absolute borefest just because you can rush through it.

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    7. See my other response. Not to say you're wrong, as a game "encouraging" you to skip a good chunk of the last 1/4-1/3 isn't a good thing, but again, a game encouraging you to be overleveled and totally breeze through everything isn't good either.

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    8. I tried to do this without calling any names. You and ZG didn't do anything. Refusing to use repels doesn't make you a "pussy" as you have fight through endless encounters. Being a pussy in a Pokemon game is cheating to get Mewtwo at Route 1.

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  6. You know, I've actually noticed a trend recently. It seems a lot of younger Pokemon fans (14-17 years old) grew up with Gen 3, and that's why we've been seeing a surge in its popularity recently. We have genwunners of Gen 3 now, believe it or not. It's like Pokemon missed out on appealing to kids during Gen 2, but there was a resurgence for Hoenn. We have the first generation Pokemon players that spawned the genwunners, and they maybe played Gen 2, but a lot of them moved on after that. And then we have the second generation of Pokemon players that started with Gen 3, and now they're old enough to spread their questionable opinions around the internet. I think we had a similar thing happen with Gen 5, too.

    We're probably going to need a term for this soon. Genthreeers? It looks odd, but I don't think there's a good way to alter the spelling of 'three'.

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    1. *is first and only person here to take the title of genthreeer*

      Well, that's an exaggeration, because yes, the water routes could be better. However, based on a previous discussion involving water routes (specifically, me on TSG), I think genthreeer is appropriate, to a less extreme extent.

      And I'll stop myself here.

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    2. You seem more like a fan of Gen 3 rather than a fan-boy. There is a big difference.

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    3. 4chan already coined a term: Hoennbabbies.

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  7. I enjoyed exploring the water routes far more than exploring Mount Coronet. Or HGSS requiring you to pack Whirlpool, Rock Smash and Rock Climb for pretty much anything.

    My opinion though, and enjoyability is all in all subjective.

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    1. When I first played Ruby, I didn't even realize that the Abandoned Ship, Pacifidlog and its neighboring routes existed (I didn't wind up getting the strategy guide until later). It wasn't until I started exploring the sea routes more that I found a new optional town and a bunch of pokemon I didn't know existed. I saw these as rewards for adventuring on the open sea. Kind of like Wind Waker, with random battles. Hell, Golden Sun: The Lost Age--my favorite game ever--has its own Great Eastern Sea where as soon as you get the ship, 14 new areas open up around the ocean, including 7 dungeons you can access in any order. And yes, the ocean in Lost Age is one huge repeating texture that you slowly plod through, complete with random battles, tiny-ass tiles that give you rare weapons, and a map you have to check every minute to make sure you didn't overshoot an island or something. And I LOVE it! I get off from wide-open oceans in games with a thousand places to go and no clear objective! I love it in RSE, Wind Waker, Golden Sun, anywhere!

      Say what you will, but the earlier gens had much greater potential for open-ended exploration and multiple orders of events--the two things in games that make me feel the most warm and fuzzy inside. This is the one and only thing that I knock the later gens for. In gen 1, you could take Cycling Road or Silence Bridge to get to Fuscia, and you could fight Sabrina before or after Koga. In GSC you could go to the Lake of Rage and fight Pryce before visiting Olivine, and Jasmine could be fought as your 6th or 7th gym battle. In RSE, in addition to all the stuff in the sea routes you could either skip or access early, you could even skip fighting Brawley and Winona until the Pokemon league (“why” is another matter, but hey, it's there). Gen 3 gave you the most wiggle-room out of all the games in terms of going at your own pace and exploring the world within the game.

      Even DP let you choose between going after Maylene or Crasher Wake first, but everything post-Pt/HGSS threw all that out the window. You're railroaded everywhere and anywhere you're not supposed to go is blocked off by dancing men or power outages. HMs aren't mandatory for route progression in gens 5 and 6, so the roadblocks feel all the more artificial and the routes all the more linear. Take a look at the maps for Unova and Kalos compared to the others--they're completely connect-the-dots, both in terms of route structure and actual event progression. When you get a new HM, you don't think "Oh boy! So many new places I can explore!" You think "Oh boy... So many blocked-off items in previous routes I can pick up. Unless I don't care." It just kills the sense of exploration, which is kind of a bummer.

      Now, does that make the more recent games inferior and long live everything before the GBA? Hell no! It's just one disappointing step backward compared to about 2 dozen worthwhile steps forward. It's pretty much the difference between Super Metroid and Fusion. Both are fantastic games, and Fusion's improvements over Super are noteworthy and much-appreciated. However, I will say that I've gone back and replayed Super Metroid more often than Fusion. I've also replayed gens 2, 3, and 4 multiple times over the years, while I've only replayed BW once, and B2W2+XY less than once. And for much the same reason. No, not just because they're newer and I've owned them for less time--I've completed FE13 SMT4 and Shovel Knight more times than gens 5 and 6 combined, and I've owned those games for even LESS time--Rather, gens 5+6's stories are always the same and how you progress through them is always the same, just maybe with different pokemon. Despite all of the other improvements, it's that hint of replayability that the earlier gens offer that compels me to go back to them once in a while, while I'm stuck IV breeding in XY when I'm not just booting it up to check on SpotPasses.

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    2. Must now correct you because I'm an ass: in gen 1, once you got Cut and beat Misty, you could fight the gym leaders in any order, the only exceptions being Giovanni (duh), and Blaine, who requires Surf to get to. And in gen 3, don't you need to defeat Brawly to fight Norman?

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    3. Oh. Right. Forgot about that. Haven't actually tried putting Brawly off that long, so I'm honestly not sure if the game checks your number of badges or just checks for the Heat badge and assumes that you got all the previous ones. =/

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    4. Problem is, if the game is very open-ended then the level curve and difficulty can get... wacky. See the absurdly low levels in the Mahogany area for a perfect example. So at one point there's a choice that has to be made between linearity and difficulty.

      As for HMs... I don't get it. On one hand people want them to not be used as much, and on the other hand they want them to open up a lot of stuff, which is a direct contradiction. I'm very happy with the way things are right now, with optional areas NOT requiring HMs for the most part, whereas they invariably did in older gens.

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    5. I agree about the level curve part. My solution to that would be for the open-ended section to be placed earlier in the game, followed by a longer bottleneck that allows things to stabilize again. In the Golden Sun example, you can tackle the Great Eastern Sea dungeons in whatever order, so you would naturally be at a higher level for some than others, but things normalized again after you fought Poseidon, and the 4-5 Great Western Sea dungeons had a much more linear progression in terms of where you could and couldn't go, so your levels fit the areas you were in for the rest of the game. You could have your cake and eat it too: open-ended exploration while maintaining an overall fair level curve. Top-notch design if I do say so myself. Pokemon could honestly stand to benefit from that.

      The problem gen 2 had was that its open-ended section covered gyms 5, 6, and 7--pretty late into the game (not counting Kanto, anyway), so you were still fighting pokemon in their 20's at the seventh gym. The rest of the Johto portion of the game didn't give enough time for the level curve to normalize again, either. You jump from Chuck and Pryce being in the 27-31 range, to Jasmine in the 30-35 range immediately afterward, to Clair with her level 40 Kingdra just 1 dungeon later. Depending on how you progress through the game, you either try to keep things fair by staying in line with the level curve only to hit a massive spike later on, or you get completely overlevelled and make Chuck/Pryce a complete joke in order to be on more even ground with Jasmine/Clair. You can still implement an open-ended section of the game so long as you give things enough time to readjust before endgame.

      For the HMs, the change introduced by not making them mandatory for route progression was almost entirely superficial, is my issue. It's the same as removing super missile/power bomb doors in Fusion and replacing them with security level 1-4 gates. In pokemon, the thing blocking your path in an upcoming route used to be a strength boulder or cut-able tree, but now it's just some npc in the way. They serve the same purpose, since you need to get to a certain point in the game to get past them either way, but the Fusion/gen 5+6 version just feels more artificial. Sure, you're not burning through your missiles and power bombs anymore, or you don't need to pack an HM slave for every route, and people love that for good reason. For me, it just feels like it's more obvious that it's plot that lets you advance rather than your own discoveries or resourcefulness. And that's admittedly a pretty minor nitpick in the grand scheme of things.

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  8. So much blue. Hoenn is great when you're not going through lots of water. Add water, and it bogs down the whole experience. At least Gen 4 is gonna be due for some much-needed love in a few years...

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  9. Well, I always thought that the popularity of Hoenn probably derives from the fact that the land routes were really good and awesome and they baked you a pie, so when those sea routes started to rear their ugly heads from under the bridge, nobody cared because they were so taken in already.

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    1. That might be, but most regions since then did the same for land routes without putting us through this many sea routes (heck, most of Kalos' land routes have their own unique signatures that make them easily distinguishable, and it had only one sea route that wasn't even numbered), and yet Hoenn gets all the praise? How does that work? I've said numerous times that Sinnoh was the region that made the biggest impact on me when I first played it, but I'll never argue it was better than BW2 Unova or Kalos, because it wasn't.

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    2. Pretty much yeah, nostalgia goggles are in full work here, as always.

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  10. I generally agree. Hoenn has not aged well as a region. The land routs are great but the sea routes are just awful and bad. It's a good thing that the surfing speed is so fast nowadays. Just imagine going through the sea routes with Diamond and Pearl's surfing speed. The stuff of nightmares.

    Another issue with the sea routes. Since half the map is ocean it makes a number of pokemon unviable for in game teams. Camerupt? Rhyperior? Quad weak to water so nope, can't use them in Hoenn's sea routes and thereore half of the game. Other fine pokemon like Aggron and Donphan are also hindered by all this water.

    On the reverse, it gives priority to the electric and grass types like Manectric and Roserade. They love going through the sea routes and will gain so many levels since they'll have a field day exploiting weaknesses. And if you had something with water immunities the they may never leave your front slot since they'd be almost invincible against the huge number of water types.

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    1. Thank Arceus for the new Exp. Share...

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    2. I'd just like to point out that in Emerald, at least, about a third of the Pokemon owned by trainers aren't Water types. I forget the number in R/S, but I'm pretty sure it's between 25-30%, which is still decent enough of a chunk to where your Fire, Rock, and Ground types will still get screen time. And then you have routes like 132-134 where you'll be encountering very few wild Pokemon, and 129-131, where the routes are piss short.

      And I'm still disappointed at the existence of the new Exp. Share, but thank god you can at least turn it off...

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    3. But if you don't wanna buy ten million Repels, you get to deal with wild Pokemon, which almost all ARE Water type...
      I prefer it being easier for my army to keep up in levels, thank you very much...

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    4. Yeah, but it's not like you're limited in the number of times you can switch your lead. Plus, you can always level up your Rhyperior/Camerupt/whatever a few levels ahead of your party to help prevent them from being behind.

      Just saying.

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    5. Regirock, actually. And it's gonna be behind anyway...

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    6. The sole fact that you have to go out of your way to grab every chance you get to level up your Water-weak Pokémon is already a sign of seriously flawed design as it is, I think.

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    7. I find it... well, I'll never be damned to learn exactly what is and isn't irony, so I won't say ironic, but I find it interesting that the fact that your Rock, Ground, and/or Fire types are going to be hideously overleveled anyway in OR/AS thanks to a separate design flaw (unless said Pokemon is Rhyperior or Ninetales, but since you're probably going to be in the 50s, if I had to guess, and they're in the 20s, they're already going to be really behind before most of the water even starts. It's arguably worse if you're using Regirock, since he needs Dive, so you're probably going to be in the 60s (again, pure guessing), and you're going to be all done with the land routes by then, meaning he'll have to be used against the few land trainers, only seeing major usage in Victory Road. At least he comes at 40 to make up for this, though).

      Also, I wasn't trying to defend them, if that's what you think (that's how I'm interpreting it, at least). I was just... trying to make the best out of the hand we're dealt, and offering advice to play that hand well, so to speak. In other words, the Hoenn water routes are bad, and outside of rom hacks, they always will be bad. That doesn't mean there aren't steps you can take to make them better, however. I'm just stating some of said steps.

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    8. Oh, I apologize. I guess I misunderstood you.

      But yeah, the new Exp. Share is a load of bull. I hope it gets canned next gen. Or at the very least, put it in the post-game and make it somewhat challenging to get. Don't just give it to me near the beginning for free...

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    9. Eh, don't worry. I know I can be... not very clear sometimes.

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    10. For me, personally, the water routes aren't SO bad that it ruined my experience. Many of them are straightforward, so it's tolerable. I still had some fun despite traversing through multiple sea routes. I can replay R/S/E and still have a good time. Though, the Dive sections were mediocre. Still, there was some sort of potential that was left untapped. They could've given them more unique designs instead of just placing rocks everywhere. Of course, you're right in saying that we'll be over-leveled/on par by the time the sea routes if we know what we're doing(thanks to the rematches). However, the Pokémon diversity is hampered by the design choices made. Constantly fighting Water-types isn't all that troublesome for a good player, but it's not exactly the most exciting, either.

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    11. Putting the Exp Share in the post-game is the best idea ever as it should mainly be for making the Pokedex easier to complete. This, thing, ruins any difficulty which X and Y had, the game had such a high level curve too, what a waste.

      The sea routes are NOT good game design, even the sea in The Wind Waker is better than this.

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  11. I think the real flaw with the sea routes is on the second playthrough. There is a lot to explore and discover, abandoned ship, sky pillar, pacifidlog, etc. But after its all been found out the sea becomes a bore-fest. I don't hate them that much, I like the ocean atmosphere, but they were way better the first time.

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