On Playing Through Alpha Sapphire: Ep IV

Reports of my death have been mildly exaggerated…
Yes, yes, I know, I’m being lazy; I had to do my usual thing where I fly halfway around the world and then immediately attend an academic conference because apparently I hate myself, and there was other personal stuff that kinda sucked but to be honest I deserved everything I got, and really it’s not been a great week all around, but the show must go on, and all that, because I have at least ten questions piled up in my inbox and should probably do those sooner or later.  Hopefully Jim and I will be saying our piece on Bianca and Cheren within the next week.  For now, let’s get back to Alpha Sapphire, where I am hanging out in the vicinity of Fortree City.

Current team:

As usual, my thoughts:

  • Wearing the Go Goggles and the Itemfinder antennae at the same time makes you look like some kind of vintage sci-fi alien scouting the planet for invasion.  I am okay with this.

  • Wally makes an appearance after the battle with Father Dearest at the Petalburg Gym, and kindly takes you back to Mauville City, which is where you next need to be (May has been offering similar helpful shortcuts).  There doesn’t really seem to be much point to this appearance other than to reassure us that Wally is, in fact, still alive after his disappearance from Verdanturf Town (which happens earlier than in Ruby and Sapphire) – nothing seems to happen in terms of plot or character development, beyond Wally promising a battle the next time we meet, which might still not be until Victory Road, for all I know.

  • The Abandoned Ship near Dewford Town has been completely revamped and is now a ruined complex known as Sea Mauville, because it was originally an installation of the same now-defunct company that founded Mauville City and built New Mauville.  This place is really cool.  They emphasise its status as an ‘artificial reef’ and the fact that Sea Mauville’s presence creates a whole new highly localised salt marsh ecosystem which is almost entirely unique in Hoenn – which is an interesting thing about ecological resource management, that you can actually do stuff like that sometimes.  There are also rumours of a rare Pokémon living deep within – without Dive I can’t yet investigate fully.

  • There’s a Young Couple (the double battle trainer class) in Sea Mauville whose names are Lois and Hal.  Now, I don’t know whether this is a Malcolm in the Middle reference, but the mental image of that Lois as a Pokémon Trainer is frankly just too terrifying to pass up.

  • The scene when Steven shows up just as you cross the river east from Mauville City… so… this was kind of a bland and uninteresting scene before, and Steven’s dialogue was likewise kind of bland and uninteresting, and the actual content of what he says remains fairly generic, although the dialogue is – as everywhere else in the game – noticeably better written.  Where things entered… unexpected territory… was when Latios showed up and demanded that we fly with him to a distant island in order to protect his sister, Latias, from Team Aqua, who want her and her Latiasite for themselves.  This is how the game has chosen to introduce Mega Evolution – in the aftermath, Latias joins you and Steven gives you a Digivice.  It… kinda comes completely out of nowhere and seems pretty tacked on, and I have to say, I feel a little bit babied by having a legendary Pokémon of Mega Latias’ power simply handed to me like this, barely halfway through the game.  Probably more on this when I write that overdue article on Mega Evolution.

  • Shelly, the Team Aqua admin who raids the Weather Institute outside Fortree City, appears to be doing so on her own initiative, in order to gather information about what will happen if Archie succeeds in his plan.  She seems concerned that Archie is playing with forces beyond their control, and that even success, using Kyogre’s power to return the world’s oceans to a primordial state, might do more harm than good – showing restraint and common sense that were sorely lacking from the original Ruby and Sapphire, on anyone’s part.  What will come of this when Shelly re-joins her Team at Mount Pyre, I can’t say.

  • When Steven showed up outside Fortree City to gift me with the Devon Scope (as well as a piece of Sceptilite for Olive), he commented that he could sense some mysterious power from the glinting object in my bag, and wondered whether it could be a meteorite.  Not sure why my character isn’t just saying to him, at this point, “yep, meteorite, how much d’ya want for it?”  I originally suspected, because of Archie’s words at Mount Chimney, that I was going to have to use this thing to create my own Digivice somehow, but since I now have one of those, it seems more likely that it will have something to do with this Primal Reversion nonsense that Kyogre is supposedly capable of.  Again, time will tell.

  • Being able to one-shot Winona’s Altaria with my Gyarados’ Ice Fang just felt wrong… and glorious (Winona’s Dragon Dance Altaria was one of those Pokémon who took everyone by surprise at least once in the original Ruby and Sapphire).

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