Before leaving for Lumiose City, I check out the route east of Santalune (Détourner Way – another interesting change, all of the routes now have French names as well as numbers; I think I like this). This route apparently leads to the headquarters of the French Pokémon League, so I don’t get very far, although I do pick up a Psyduck, a Riolu, and a new Pokémon called a Litleo as I explore. Litleo is, as the name implies, a little lion who has been lit (on fire) – the game’s first Fire/Normal dual-type. This might be interesting enough to be worth a spot on my team, at least for the time being. I attempt to name her Ishtar, after a Babylonian war goddess whose sacred animal is a lioness, but the game rather impudently tells me “you can’t enter that word,” not deigning to give a reason why, so I opt instead for Astarte, the Phoenician name of the same goddess, and spend some time training her up a bit. Litleo appears to be a balanced all-rounder with a bias towards speed and special attack but decent defences as well. I wonder whether the males and females look different when they evolve (no manes for the females)? While mucking around here, I get my Spewpa to level 12 – and she evolves into a deep green Vivillon. Hmm. I admit I was focussing more closely on the Infestation attack, but I’m pretty sure Viola’s Vivillon was pink. The Pokédex helpfully explains that Vivillon come in different colours and patterns depending on their environment – Viola’s was a meadow Vivillon, while mine is a garden Vivillon. Initially I thought this was basically the same kind of thing as Shellos has and was all set to be totally underwhelmed by it, but, in between writing this bit and actually posting the entry, readers have explained to me that Vivillon have different patterns depending on where in the world their owners are from – so my garden Vivillon must be what New Zealanders get (the internet suggests that we have this in common with Tasmania, Britain and parts of Eastern Europe).
Hrm. Well… it’s gimmicky… like, that is not by any means such a cool idea that I’m willing to forgive them for another generic caterpillar-cocoon-moth sequence… but it is an interesting way of playing up the ‘international spirit’ Pokémon has been trying to cultivate in the past few years by encouraging long-distance trade, so I suppose as an expression of Game Freak’s ideology it’s pretty neat (minor side note: Struggle Bug seems to have received a power boost to make it actually useful – I approve). I also meet, in the hands of another trainer, the first Pokémon I’ve ever seen with accent marks in its name: Flabébé, a little Thumbelina figure clinging to the pistil of a floating red flower, presumably a Grass/Fairy dual-type, which the Pokédex helpfully informs me will be available soon.
As I set out for Paris, I am given one final parting gift at the gates by Viola’s older sister, a journalist named Alexa: an Exp. Share. Neat; I wonder how that fits in with the new experience mechan-
ALL of them?
…okay, so the Exp. Share is now the Exp. All from Red and Blue on caffeine and steroids. Well, that’s going to speed up the levelling process. I hope they anticipated that, or this is going to be a dreadfully easy game…
The road from Dijon to Paris is heavily beautified, almost more like a public garden than a road in the usual sense of the word. Elaborate hedge mazes and neat, colourful flowerbeds tended by hard-working gardeners line the pathways, and at the midway point between the two cities stands a monumental brass fountain depicting two Horsea spraying streams of water into the air over a huge Clamperl. I’m getting the impression that order and harmony are an important part of Kalosian ideology (even more so than in other regions we’ve seen in Pokémon). Naturally, I take the time to hang out in the gardens and catch Pokémon, adding to my repertoire a Ledyba, a Budew, a female Combee, a Ralts (who has been promoted to Psychic/Fairy), a Skitty, and a Flabébé, who turns out not to be a Grass-type at all but a pure Fairy-type who can learn Grass attacks and has an ability that protects Grass Pokémon from stat reductions in double battles (that’s kind of a niche use there, but I guess if it protects you from the recoil of Leaf Storm…). I also learn, incidentally, that Flabébé come with multiple flower colours – I’ve seen red, yellow, orange and white – though whether they have any further significance is at this point obscure to me. Mindful of the possibility that I may incorporate several more Grass-types into my team in the future, I welcome to my team Kore the Flabébé (named for the Greek goddess of springtime). Shortly afterward, my Chespin, Pan, reaches level 16 and evolves into a strange, rotund creature called a Quilladin, who makes me think of nothing so much as Crash Bandicoot in an armoured fat suit. He seems to be generally a continuation of Chespin’s main design features, although I’m a little surprised he hasn’t picked up a secondary type like Fighting, Ground, or even Rock. I wonder whether his final form will?
At the city gates, I am met by a girl and boy, I suspect twins, who introduce themselves as Sina and Dexio (wait… so you’re saying your names are Left and Right? Damn, your parents were weird…). These two claim to be the assistants of Professor Sycamore, and after a brief burst of excitement over my acquisition of a Fairy Pokémon, they are eager to escort me to his lab in Lumiose City so he can meet with me. Eh, why not? He gave me a neat Pokémon; I can respect that. A few short minutes later, I finally meet face to face with the Professor in his lavishly provided research institute, a far larger, handsomer and more fully-staffed building than I’ve ever before seen a Professor control, as stuffed with fine art as it is with Pokémon textbooks and technology. Professor Sycamore greets me enthusiastically, complimenting me on the work I’ve already done on the Pokédex, and explains that although he had initially planned to give a Pokémon to only one child of Vaniville Town (presumably Serena, from his description), he had changed his mind when he heard of me, largely due to Mother’s apparently far-reaching reputation as a Rhyhorn jockey (look, dude, if you want to ask her out, I’m totally cool with it; I have no idea where Dad is or even if he’s still alive, so seriously, go for it). At this point, Serena and Shauna arrive, and Sycamore announces, out of the blue, that he wants a Pokémon battle with me – confessing, in advance, that he’s a bit of a pushover. He’s… not kidding. His choice of Pokémon – Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle – is intriguing, but their levels are disappointing. To cap things off, Tereus, after Squirtle goes down, hits level 17 and begins to evolve, emerging as a Fletchinder, a larger bird Pokémon who is actually beginning to remind me quite strongly of a hoopoe (fortuitous, given the name I chose for him). Then he learns…
…wait, you’re a FIRE-TYPE!?
HOLY $#!T YOU’RE A FIRE-TYPE! This is AWESOME!
Once I’ve recovered from Tereus’ startling transformation, Professor Sycamore hits me over the head with more – he wants to give me a second starter Pokémon.
GIMME THE BULBASAUR
“But don’t you already have a Grass Po-”
GIMME THE BULBASAUR
Sorry, Melissa the Beedrill; you’ve been replaced. Welcome to the team, Ilex the Bulbasaur (named for one of the Latin words for oak). For those having trouble keeping track (I certainly am), my team at present consists of Pan the Quilladin, Tereus the Fletchinder, Zolom the Dunsparce, Astarte the Litleo, Kore the Flabébé, and now Ilex. Professor Sycamore follows up by handing me a large marble he calls a Venusaurite and tells me it has something to do with “Mega Evolution,” which he wants us to investigate.
…the f@$& does that mean?
I have Ilex hold the stone, but it doesn’t seem to produce any effect. The item’s description seems to imply that only a Venusaur can use it, so whatever sorcery is contained within, I suppose I’m going to have to wait to unlock it. He assures the crew that whatever they want to do – whether Serena wants to study Mega Evolution to rule the world, or Trevor wants to be an awesome researcher and complete his Pokédex, or Tierno wants to create a f@$&ing Pokémon dance team, or Shauna wants to… I don’t know, be Shauna or whatever – he’ll be proud of their achievements as trainers regardless. With that, we are dismissed.
Ridiculous quote log:
“Wh-what!? Don’t speak to me out of the blue! My heart beats so fast I may fall in love with you!”
Er… thanks, random Lumiose Transport Authority worker. I’m, uh… flattered… in spite of being clearly half your age… I’m, um… I’m going now.
“Wh-what? I haven’t fallen in love with you.”