Pokemon XY Retrospective Part 2: The Long March

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With Pokemon Sun and Moon a little more than a month away, we’ve assembled our Pokemon experts to look back at the last main series entry. Together, Jaeger, Larissa, and Evan will leave no rock unturned in their search for Mega Stones. From comparing Lysandre to Robespierre, to evaluating the Fairy type, to fulfilling an old man’s dying wish, this retrospective is massive. Beware: Spoilers abound!

It'll be a long time before you see this gym.
It’ll be a long time before you see this gym.

A whole lot of *stuff* happens in Pokemon X and Pokemon Y. For games maligned for not having a lot to do, there’s a surprising level of depth on offer. The issue isn’t the amount, though: There’s just a wonky sense of when things will happen, when they should happen, and oh my gosh why hasn’t it happened yet?!

The problem manifests itself early on: You put Viola in her place, earn yourself the Bug Badge, and face a several hour delay before encountering the second gym in Cyllage City.

Here’s a highly condensed list of All The Stuff That Happens, including the few optional things I did in between out of ignorance:

  • I got the Experience Share. (Yes!)
  • I went down the wrong path, Route 22, because it looked interesting, and got stuck battling every trainer along the way. Result? Dead end. (Turns out I needed that Exp…)
  • Gorgeous gardens, a lot of Pokemon later, and wine (lots of wine) I find two strange assistants who tell me about the Fairy type (a story for another day) and give me a TM I rarely use.
  • Finally I hit Lumiose City. Time to meet the Professor to get me a Mega Evolving Kanto Starter. (I’m obviously picking Charizard,)
  • Mini adventure in the city time! Look – a guy with big red hair. He doesn’t look at all evil. Look! A lady with some poise and AWESOME fashion. Probably unimportant.
  • Bored? How could you be. You can ride Gogoats around the city now. Okay, you’re tired of the city, and you can’t even access half of it yet.
  • Tierno wants you to go to Route 5 because there are Pokemon everywhere. Sounds good.
  • LUCARIO! Aaaaaaaaa so adorable.
  • Beat some skaters, beat Tierno, tolerate Trevor, move on.
  • Camphrier Town. There has to be a gym here, right? WRONG.
  • Find a guy in the castle.
  • Follow said guy to find a cute and cuddly Snorlax blocking the road.
  • Help said guy get his PokeFlute back from the Clutches of Evil in another castle.
  • Pay a thousand bucks, enter said castle, and admire the beauty and excess. Mostly excess. Everywhere.
  • Help a guy find his Furfrou.
  • Nearly miss finding one of the most important HMs in the game, Cut.
  • Go watch some fireworks.
  • Catch Snorlax. (You get the PokeFlute. Go you!)
  • Ignore the Day Care. Ignore the Battle Chateau. I’m on a mission to get to the gym!
  • Cave full of Zubat. (This must have a gym at the end, right?)
  • Professor’s assistants…again.
  • Ambrette Town! This must have a— No gym.
  • Get some TMs, HMs, and other goodies in the town. Proceed to go fossil hunting.
  • Ride Rhyhorn. Because of course.
  • Beat on Team Flare.
  • Pick a fossil. (Jaw Fossil, naturally.)
  • Get it restored back in Ambrette Town (which still doesn’t have a gym). Added bonus: Nab a Mega Stone. Huh.
  • Go through an aquarium to find the rest of Route 8…
  • …that’s a city. Cyllage City. This must have a gym, right?
  • Raid every building in town, threaten people in Liam Neeson’s voice, get a whole bunch of goodies, and…
  • Meet Grant, the leader, who gives you an HM.
  • Challenge gym. At. Long. Last.

Elapsed time: 7.5 hours.

That’s before doing a whole bunch of the side aspects, grinding, fishing, and the like. My Pokemon have evolved. Some multiple times.

You know you’ve traveled a long ways when suddenly the second gym has Pokemon at level 25.

The trek is unreal.

There’s no rhyme nor reason for this other than, seemingly, the fact the developers have no sense of pacing.

The second gym affords trainers the ability to control Pokemon up to level 30. Most of mine were level 29 before I took on Grant.

Even as someone who played through these games at launch, I didn’t expect the journey from Viola to Grant to be that loooooooooong. It is.

Thankfully, things get going right away here, and XY start to find themselves. Shame it takes nearly 10 hours.

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