Pokemon X/Y – Why?!

I saw this announcement the other day and promptly showed everyone in my office. I’ve been playing Pokemon games since the Red Blue days, and the halcyon days of Silver and Crystal. After that I got a little less interested for a while, but still picked things up and have “beat” every game since. Pokemon Black got me really in to it all again, even borrowed my wife’s copy of white to work on filling out the Pokedex; thankfully I had transferred a ton of Pokemon from my original Silver all the way up to Pearl and HeartGold, so there were a lot of old world Pokemon I didn’t need again. What does this have to do with a 3D Pokemon game? Well, everything really.

  1. I’ve been playing games in the series since it was created
  2. We’ve all been waiting for a true 3rd person perspective and “3D” world, and now we get it!
  3. I’ll be able to see all the Pokemon I’ve been dragging around since Blue in eye popping 3D
  4. The games are fun if you take them for what they are

The interesting things for me is that I don’t even own a 3DS, but this one game will get me to buy the system and a handful of other games that I’ve been wanting to play on the hand held. As a short anecdote, I got to play on one of the original dev models while at E3 a few years ago, I’ve been wanting something to justify the purchase ever sense. The 3DS XL was the first half of justification I needed, this new Pokemon game will tip the game library to populating the other half.

Bastion: Play through In Review

I completed my play through of Bastion in about 6 hours of playtime that included leaving some idols on, doing a couple proving grounds, and experiencing the awesomeness of “Who Knows Where” a couple times. I will note that this article contains spoilers; you’ve been warned. The soundtrack was amazing, the voice overs hauntingly intriguing, and the emotional impact high.

There’s a good possibly that I place a bit too much importance on music in games; being a musician will do that I guess. The soundtrack to Bastion was so good I was humming it in the shower after my workout this morning. It’s quite sparse in a lot of ways, but that just adds to the feeling of a desolated world trying to put itself back together. The slow building of the orchestration and instrumentation mimic that which is being played, which just adds to the feeling of progression that the games provides. At one point they made some of the sheet music available and given how amazing the songs on the soundtrack are I’ll be using that as the basis for my next round of trombone arrangements. That’s how good the music is in this game.

One of the features that caught me as truly innovative was the narrator; he even mentioned that I was just idling killing terrain, “raging a bit” over what had happened! The realization at the end of who is talking to and in what context is also quite awesome, it even influenced my decisions at the end of the game. The narration the first time I went in to “Who Knows Where” changed a lot of my feeling and attitudes toward Zia as well; it’s the main reason I evacuated at the end instead of just leaving it all to possibly happen again.

Speaking of “Who Knows Where” it was the turning point in the game for me. Going from action adventure game to an immersive game that happened to be an action adventure RPG. From there on out I was fighting for someone, for people, to find out what the truth was. A little while later I encountered Zulf who had sent some people to attack The Bastion; because I was quite tired at that point my poor Squirt died…I didn’t realize how attached I was to the little bugger until the awesome narrator told me he didn’t make it. I was heart broken and pissed that my little friend had died; and felt it was all my fault! From there I woke up a bit more and decided to push through and punish the bastard who had sent people to not only kidnap the girl, but to kill my friend. My rage was only enforced by the music, getting more and more epic with every level and layer added on. Then something happened; Zulf was on the floor, and I didn’t do it.

Seeing the man who was fueling all my rage impacted me in a very odd way; knowing that the people around him were technically Zia’s and had no desire for peace made me feel sorry for Zulf in a way. So I picked him up and slowly trudged to the exit, awash in so many emotions that it was odd to feel a sense of pride, of being the hero not leaving anyone behind. When I got back, and Zia went through all her comments about being together if we just evacuated, and knowing that Squirt wouldn’t be coming back no matter what I did, the choice was obvious: don’t let Squirt die in vain, don’t ditch the girl. And so we evacuated, ending an amazing journey that was more touching than any other game or movie in recent memory.