On Playing Through Alpha Sapphire: Ep VI

Well, Kyogre is still a thing… And just like that, the game’s climax is done with and I’m just sunbathing in Sootopolis City while I wait for my appointment with Wallace.  Good times.  So, how’s the team doing?

And I think it’s only fair at this point to give a little credit to someone who was with me throughout all of that nonsense, the long-suffering…

Thoughts on all that’s happened since last time:

  • Lisia is terribly excited that I have made my way up to the Hyper rank of Pokémon Contests, and is hinting that she will be even more excited if I manage to win a Master rank contest in each of the five categories.  The game seems to be implying that she wants to ask me out.  However, her own erstwhile rival, Chaz, clearly has designs on her himself – and his partner, Macherie, a female Machoke who carries a cardboard box around wherever she goes (it’s… it’s a tragic backstory thing; just go with it), apparently has a crush on Lisia’s male Altaria, Ali.  Pokémon get some weird crushes.  Well, Lisia will have to wait – winning all five Master contests is going to take more effort than I have to spare at the moment.  On with the show!

  • There are few sights more amazing or more ridiculous than a Slaking performing its Spectacular Talent in a contest.  This is because the Normal-type Spectacular Talent (which is called Incredible Shining Road in the case of Coolness contests) involves running very fast across a white landscape, kicking up dust in your path, with a rapid beat of cartoonish footstep sounds in the background.  Well, a bit odd for a lazy Pokémon like Slaking, you might think, but no, the beauty of it is that Slaking performs this talent, just as he does everything else, while lying down.  It’s as though he’s being carried across the stage by a million tireless ants; it’s fantastic.

  • Unlike on the original Ruby and Sapphire, where the plot was content to lie still and wait for me to come and find it, Alpha Sapphire decided, once I left the Mossdeep Gym, to get my attention with a massive pillar of green light visible throughout the eastern sea.  I’m still not 100% sure exactly what Archie did with the technology taken from the Ultimate Weapon, but I’m going to chalk it up as a victory that he hasn’t wiped out all life on the planet.  Yet.

  • Steven gives you an aqualung of Devon Corporation design.  Finally we can Dive underwater without having to concoct whimsical explanations about how diving Pokémon project bubbles of air that allow their riders to breathe.  I mean, it is still a little bit awkward that our Pokémon can all battle normally underwater, which is only made stranger by the fact that there are now underwater trainers, Divers, whom you can battle with any Pokémon you like… and then this wild Relicanth just used Dive and “hid underwater” and where the hell did it even go?  On the other hand, the underwater trainers are a nice addition, and the underwater scenery is fantastic – I particularly like that, in the very deepest places, you can occasionally see deep ocean Pokémon like Chinchou floating past far beneath you.

  • A random Ace Trainer just outside Sootopolis City claims there’s a legend that Hoenn is “the birthplace of Mega Evolution.”  What.

  • Steven using Fly.  He stands up on his Skarmory’s back like he’s surfing.  Teeheehee.

  • Okay, climax stuff now.  The game does its best to show off all the characters in their best light – Archie, Maxie, Shelly, hell, even May shows up in Sootopolis City and has no idea what on earth is happening but is determined to help in any way she possibly can.  The basic outline of what happens is unchanged, but they’ve written a lot of new dialogue to make it flow better and ensure it makes more sense.  Kyogre also has an explicit reason for heading to the Cave of Origin now – that’s where it can gather the life energy that will allow it to complete its primal reversion.  Makes sense; the Cave of Origin is supposed to be where the souls of Pokémon re-enter the world after leaving it at Mount Pyre, so it’s got to be a wellspring of some kind of power.

  • Once I get down to the bottom of the Cave of Origin and meet Kyogre, I receive instructions from Archie to climb on the damn thing’s back.  “You what, mate?” I respond, but all the swirly energy thingies are messing with the radio.  Well, I guess this is why Shelly just gave me the Aqua Suit.  There’s an interesting scene that follows where you actually ride Kyogre down through the flooded parts of the Cave of Origin (holy $#!t, what the hell happens on Omega Ruby at this part?).  It’s not even that big, practically made for ten-year-old me.  Kyogre just kinda goes along with this, which can only make me wonder what its feelings on the matter are.  Archie entreats us to save Kyogre, as well as the world, and I do get something of an impression that it wants to be stopped.  So, of course, I do.

  • Kyogre completes its Primal Reversion, we fight, I win, I catch the thing, this is all what we expect.

  • “The sky over Sootopolis has returned to normal.”  Um, no it hasn’t, it’s clearly raining green sparks of light.  That $#!t’s probably, like, radioactive or something.  I have to admit, though, the scenes of tranquillity from all around Hoenn are nice.  It’s cool to see the instant impact that our actions have across the region.

  • There’s a lovely scene of reconciliation between Archie and Shelly, where Shelly promises that she and the rest of the team will stick with Archie no matter what, even if he did almost destroy the world with his recklessness, because they’re friends and his heart is in the right place; Archie and Maxie also put aside their differences and agree to work together to better the world for both Pokémon and humans instead of just one or the other.  They’re all just… a lot more believable as people now.  They make sense, they have hopes and dreams, they’re not cardboard cut-out designated villains.  It’s good stuff.

  • “If you give this to Kyogre, you should be able to control its Primal Reversion.” [Archie hands over the Blue Orb.] …are you f%&#ing INSANE!?  I’m not letting Kyogre anywhere NEAR this thing!

    …well, maybe I could just give it a…

    No.  No, bad idea.

    …unless maybe I…

    No.  Not going to touch it.  At all.  Not me.  No, sir.

  • Y’know… now that I think about it, the orbs are the other way around this time.  In the original Sapphire version, Archie used the red one to wake Kyogre and you used the blue one to stop it.  Is… is that important?  How do these damn things even work, anyway!?

  • Sootopolis City is… lush.  Vibrant.  What was barren rock a few hours ago is covered with moss, vines and flowers.  Maxie said that the energy that had been pooling in the Cave of Origin was released all at once when Kyogre was defeated, giving new life to the region… I guess we’re seeing the results already, and Steven seems to think places other than Sootopolis will be affected.

    …so yeah, that green $#!t totally was radioactive.

    Again, though – instant, positive consequences.  We see how our actions are changing the region for the better.  That’s cool.

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