Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTY

Yay. Zelda won GOTY at the Game Awards 2017! *claps* yay :3

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*this is probably going to be very pro Zelda, so be prepared*

I’m happy. I haven’t played all the games nominated, but I’m happy. The general consent seems to be: thank god PUBG didn’t win. Zelda? Fine with me, it’s not PUBG. I’m actually very glad a lot of people feel this way, because it just feels wrong to even nominate a game that hasn’t even seen a full release yet and is basically still in testing phase.

In general the reception of Zelda as Game of the Year seems to be quite good.

Then there’s the Horizon-fans complaining Horizon didn’t win anything and I’ve seen some individuals from different fan bases saying Zelda just won because it’s Zelda and everything Zelda is just being praised and loved because fans blindly love Zelda.

First of all: I don’t own a PS4. Therefore, I didn’t play Horizon. What I know about this game is, that it’s very good and therefore I think it’s sad it didn’t win anything. It probably deserved to win at least something.

Second: the assumption that Nintendo fans just blindly love everything Zelda because of the name is just plain wrong. We’ve seen in the past several times where Zelda was met with huge criticism or downright hate, because it didn’t deliver what fans wanted.The Zelda franchise is one of the highest acclaimed franchises in video game history and has produced top-tier games of outstanding quality for over 30 years now most notably in its main series on home consoles. Therefore, expectations for any new Zelda release are astronomical high and what happens if these expectations are not fully met, we’ve recently seen in Wind Waker and Skyward Sword in particular. There’s always hardcore fans defending everything, that’s normal, but I believe there’s a fair share of fans who are very critical towards Zelda, because they are very spoiled by the average quality of the franchise.

Wind Waker was met with a storm of rage due to its cartoony graphics. It took fans years to come to terms with it and appreciate the outstanding game behind it. When it was initially released? Oh boy, that was a riot, because everyone expected realistic graphics that Nintendo didn’t deliver. The game itself wasn’t even bad. Sure, it’s not perfect: travel can be boring over longer distances and the triforce quest was just way too long, both issues got fixed in the HD version. Other than that, the game was truly awesome. It was the art direction alone, that made fans hate on this game. And hate they did.

Other example: Skyward Sword. And it was, once again, primarily one feature, that made fans collectively hate this game. Fans. Not media. I believe this game was actually rated a bit too high by the general media, but is rated way too low by fans – even today. The feature in question is… motion control. Contrary to what many people try to make other’s believe: it works fine. I’ve played it and barely had issues with it at all. I’m not trying to defend a bad game, I’m trying to be honest and I can honestly say: the motion control worked great for me. Many gamers hated it for the fact alone that is was mandatory and you couldn’t play the game with a classic controller. The other problem with this game is that it’s not the game fans were asking for. Around the time when Skyward Sword was released, fans have been asking for an open world Zelda for quite a while already and got a very linear playing-it-save type of Zelda with lot’s of handholding, which disappointed fans even further.

I personally believe Skyward Sword was a fantastic game and a very solid Zelda with some nice boss fights, enjoyable worlds, great dungeons and interesting items (I love the beetle). Just like I think Mario 3D World is a fantastic game and a very solid Mario. Both games were met with lukewarm receptions by gamers -Skyward Sword more negative than 3D World- simply because they weren’t the type of games fans wanted.

Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey both are the games fans have been asking for a long time and were both met with euphoria from fans – so much, I believe fans tend to be more forgiving to these games, because they’re both basically 100% fanservice. This is Nintendo listening to their fans and giving them exactly what they wanted and people are responding accordingly.

And both games are fantastic! So much, they both got nominated for GOTY at the Game Awards, which I believe was very well deserved. I’ve been a long time Zelda-fan, but I’ve been playing Mario platformer even longer. I’ve been playing Mario for 20+ years across 7 generations of home consoles and their handheld counterparts. Both franchises have been a huge part of my gaming life and I hope to be as fair as possible, even though I personally just prefer 2D or 2+1/2 D platformer over 3D collect-A-thons, because I love tight 2D platforming the most – which is the reason why I prefer Donkey Kong Country over Mario, btw. I usually try to appreciate the good in games, even if they’re personally not to my liking. I know there’s a lot of people who’d be so mad at me for saying this, but at one point, I got bored by Mario Odyssey.

Mario Odyssey is a consistently great game and getting all moons is one hell of a hard  quest. While I thought most moons during the regular playthrough are too easy to get, there’s some real challenges, if you try to collect them all. The game doesn’t really has any low points, it has a very high average quality without any real dips downwards, but also without many spikes upwards. My one and only big moment in this game was the festival in New Donk City. That was plain awesome, no question and New Donk City by itself was the most enjoyable part for me due to all the vertical platforming involved. I also loved the pipes that sent you to these very hard platforming sections post game. There’s nothing better than finally clearing these mini-levels after 20+ tries, there’s finally some actual sense of accomplishment involved, like… I earned that moon. Oh, and while we’re at it, I applaud to the game for calling them moons in mushroom kingdom, even though they’re clearly stars.

However, in a way, Mario Odyssey was playing it kind of save. At least compared to Zelda. Mario Odyssey was basically Mario 64 2.0, it was the Mario 64 successor fans wanted ever since. Since the first time I was able to get my hands on na demo, I’ve been saying: guys, this game does not reinvent the wheel, it’ very much Mario like we know and love, nothing more and nothing less. After playing this game, I still believe the very same about it. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy or appreciate the new features, like the 8bit segments in the stages or the capture feature that basically replaces power ups. Mario Odyssey is an outstanding game, it just doesn’t dare to go one step further.

A step Zelda dared to take. Just like Odyssey, Breath of the Wild is still very much Zelda, but with the formula we’ve come to know for such a long time removed for the most part. There’s still hearts to collect, the Master Sword to find and the Princess to rescue, but they turned it from a linear formulated experience to a free open world game. By going back to the very first Zelda and take inspiration from modern open world games, Nintendo nailed their very first try at making an open world game out of one of their most well-known and beloved franchises. And like I said: fans are critical about Zelda. If this didn’t work out, the backlash would’ve been huge. But it worked out.

Once again this game has a very high average quality with more drips downwards than Odyssey, but also with more spikes upwards. For all the weaker parts of the game, there are others done so phenomenally well, they overshine the bad ones. In terms of game design, even though I didn’t play every game this year obviously, but the game design in BotW is insanely good. The physics engine, the game mechanics, the freedom and the lack of handholding it all turns this game into a truly great experience.

BotW dared to be more daring, but was executed so well, the flaws of this game are simply being forgiven. I hope Nintendo can work on the remaining flaws of BotW and make the successor even greater, because I believe BotW might have just managed to do what the original Legend of Zelda and Ocarina of Time did before: change the way we look at games. Especially the world as one huge living interactive being  has not been done quite like this before with so many possibilities given to the player due to a phenomenal physics engine and something very simple like the ability to climb everything. Whatever you think should be possible, is possible and that opens up a whole new dimension of gameplay. This goes beyond a fish fleeing from you or arrows flying in a naturalistic curve and being collectible even under water.

BotW pushed the genre forwards, a genre it just entered. It also pushed the franchise forwards and gave it a much-needed overhaul. I don’t think Nintendo will entirely drop the classic Zelda formula, but it would be nice to see different kinds of Zelda coexisting alongside each other.

I hope the successor to this game has better item management. Going through all the pages of food and gear and weapons to whatever you’re searching for at the moment was annoying. I would also love to see traditional dungeons back. I liked the approach of huge 3D puzzles, but 4 traditional dungeons would’ve been more to my liking. And for the love of god, maybe one day we’ll have a Zelda with an actual great story and characters? Maybe? I’m supporting the weapon durability aspect, btw.

And we definitely need more Sidon.

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Damn, this post got way longer than I anticipated…
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Omegaverse

I though I’d never say what I’m about to say, but I’m obsessed with Yuri on Ice Omegaverse fanfictions right now. After 2 weeks and 65+hours of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the BOTW-Share_iconWild (and I’m still only halfway done, DAMN this game is freaking amazing – I’m currently on Death Mountain and the game actually expects me to buy a helmet for 2000 rupees? REALLY? When the chest part was like… 600 rupees? I may be swimming in money, but 2000 rupees for an item that’s not even important still hurts. Time to sell some more diamonds.), I took a break from my Nintendo Switch and buried myself in Yuri on Ice again.

Did I EVER mention I love Yuri on Ice? *cough* Yeah, Victuuri is my life.

Either way, when I first heared about Omegaverse, I was disgusted. I’m no expert by any means, but here’s the basics of what I’ve learned about it:

  • people have secondary genders: alpha, beta and omega
  • these secondary gener roles are very animalistic and based on sexual behaviorism of animals
  • betas are basically “normal people”
  • alphas are strong, leaders and at the top of the hierarchy, they are very protective over “their” omega, they go into ruts, knot with omegas while mating and can bind an omega to themselves
  • omegas are the lowest in the hierarchy, but are often treated as a “prize”, they go into heat (a time in which they are extreamly vulnerable), they usually build nests during heat, can get pregnant and may bond with an alpha
  • both alphas and omegas have a very strong distinctive smell that attracks them to each other, betas are ususaly either not affected, or can’t smell it

1481346976_yuri-iceAs you can see… very animalistic. There’s a lot more, like growling, sexual drive going absolutely mad, leaving one’s scent on the other, fighting between alphas for an omega and so on. There’s so much more, but I’m going to go into any more detail. I’ve read a short descibtion about a fanfiction where deltas were mentioned and I was like: “NOPE! I’m glad I got the general grip on alpha/beta/omega, please don’t knot my brain any more.” and another one that was an alphaomega, so… kind of a mix between an omega and an alpha – something like an alpha that goes into heat or something. As you can see: it varies a lot.

Now… I’m not just reading everything I see. Like I said, I was disgusted the first time I learned about it. It being so extremaly animalistic, it’s also very sterotypical and I personally support equality in gender roles. One of Victuuris many charming traits is that Yuri and Victor are in an equal relationship. They support each other, they lean on each other and even though Victor is Yuris coach and emotional support, you see him fail and Yuri stepping up to expain what he needs. The rings were Yuri’s idea. Their Ice Dance at the end of the final episode very clearly shows the lead changing between Victor and Yuri as a beautiful protrayal of their equal relationship.

Therefore, I prefer Omegaverse with Victor as the omega and Yuri as the alpha. It’s the exact opposite of what you would expect and I hate fanfictions/fanarts with domestic passive Yuri who’s at Victoir’s feet, because that’s NOT how their relationship works. With omega Victor and alpha Yuri, you have to challenge gender roles and expectations comming with them. Unless you want to write something completely out of character, you need to challenge both characters with their secondary gender. In one fancfiction Victor  has mental problems with going into heat and he had suppressed his heats so long, his efff4a1173921308b0a7f072412382b0body forced him into one, leading to a doctor’s visit who denied him any more suppressants forcing Victor to face his fears of being an omega. Or alpha Yuri who sees himself as a failure and thinks he should’ve been an omega or beta instead. He’s shaken with fear when Victor wants to share his heat with Yuri, but turns out to be possessive and protective when he needs to be.

Yuri on Ice was a show about equality and acceptance, where not a single soul  discriminates if you love someone of the same gender as your own or not. It’s a show about two very different characters finding, supporting and helping each other to become equal partners. The last thing I need to read/see about this show are fanworks about stoneage old sterotypical gender roles.

Best of 2016

Now that 2017 has arrived and is still in it’s baby shoes, I’d like to make quick list about my best manga, anime, game and movie of 2016. Last year I made this huge individual lists, but I’m not feeling well, so I’m going to keep it shorter. The same rules apply as last year:  on going franchises are allowed & also titles I’ve seen/read/played 2016 but premiered ealier are allowed as well.

Best Game of 2016

As for best game, unfortunately there was no Zelda this year, so no Zelda for best game either. Spoiler alert: Zelda will be best game of 2017. I’m actually very tempted to go with Super Metroid, even though it’s very old, but it’s so damn good. Even after so many years, it’s still such an amazing game and I haven’t played it on SNES back in the days, I played it first on the Wii U. However, if a 22 years old game is better than recent games, that would be sad, even if Super Metroid is one of the best games ever made.

So, what else to choose? I played Yokai Watch, which was nice. Bravely Second was very good as well and I also liked Legend of Legacy and Pokken. Unfortunately there’s no game like Xenoblade Chronicles X that stood out among the rest as much as XCX did (I still love this game, it’s fucking amazing), but I was positively surprised by Kirby Planet Robobot. I already liked Triple Deluxe, but Planet Robobot was even better. Kirby is doing good lately!

sun-moon-box-artEventually, I guess I have to go with Pokemon Sun/Moon for my game of the year 2016. When I first started the game I couldn’t help but wonder just how far the franchise has come in the past 20 years and I’ve been a part of it the entire time. They dared to change up the formula and it payed off. Even though Gen VII doesn’t have the best Pokemon designs (in my opinion), they’re fine and I love the concept of regional forms of old pokemon.

Best Movie of 2016

This is a hard one. I think I watched a lot of great movies in 2016. I loved Creed, The Hateful Eight, Rogue One, The Martian, Zootopia, The Danish Girl, Deadpool…. the list goes on. However, when it comes down to it, I guess two movies stood out and even though the winner is very clear, I’d love to point out the runner up, because it surprised me that much. The runner up is Southpaw and it surprised me, because I thought it’s just a Rocky-clone, but it’s not. I didn’t like all the decisions made in the story, but it’s more about a broken man who tries to fix his relationship with his daughter after his wife’s death and tries very hard to get her back, than it’s about boxing. He just happens to be a boxer. Yes, there’s a training montage and yes, it’s awesome. Also, kudos to Jake Gyllenhaal, I think he did a great job.

Now, for my movie of the year, it’s easily Whiplash. Why didn’t I see this movie earlier? whiplashIt’s so intense, it caught me completely off guard. I heard it was good, but damn it was downright amazing. It climbed right into the league of best movies I ever watched. It’s clever, dramatic, cruel, intense, strong characters and an awesome soundtrack. If you haven’t watched it: go watch it.

Best Anime of 2016

For me, 2016 was a good year for anime. Lot’s of shows I enjoyed: Akagami no Shirayukihime Season 2, Haiyku Season 2+3, Hai to Gensou no Grimgar, Soma Season 2, Battery, Bungou Stray Dogs, Noragami, 3 gatsu no Lion, Fune wo Amu, Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari.

I don’t think it comes as a surprise when I say, my personal anime of 2016 was, easily, Yuri!! On Ice. I just jumped into the fandom and was going along with the hype. It was gaylicious, it was fun, it was one hell of a ride and I don’t think I’ve been that much into an anime ever since Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. This doesn’t mean, it’s as good as FMA:B, I don’t like some of the decisions in episode 11 and 12, but it’s just breathtaking yuri-on-ice-02-6how episode 10 suddenly made the entire anime look in an entirely different way. Awesome plot twist right there. Also, as cheesy as it sounds, Yuri!! On Ice really did make history: it boldly portrayed a homosexual relationship in a world without discrimination as something entirely normal and it was done so incredibly well. I’ve hardly ever seen heterosexual relationships done that good and Yuri!! On Ice simply takes it to an entirely different level. We need more romance like that, we need more couples like Victor and Yuri and we need more media open enough towards homosexuality to treat it completely normal. It should not be that big of a deal to have a same sex couple treated like that. I hope, someday, our world can be as understanding and open towards homosexual relationships and other kinds of sexuality as the world in YOI is.

Best Manga of 2016

This is easily the hardest choice. First of all, I completely forgot what I read this year. I mean, besides the usual suspects. Some manga I’d like to point out are Vinland Saga, Skip Beat, Our Relationship is…, Piano no Mori, Until Death Do Us Part, Chihayafuru, Arte, Shounen Oujo, Do Da Dancin’, Kounodori, Nijiiro Days, Vagabond and Shinobi Quartet. Once again, I’d like to point out two manga more. The first one is 10 Dance. I’m a sucker for sportsmanga and ballroom dancing is so amazing. Maybe it’s because I learned it before and actually do know how to dance (not competitively, but at least I don’t make a fool out of myself at weddings), but I love manga about ballroom dancing and the two I enjoy the most are 10 Dance and Ballroom e Youkoso (after more than a year on hiatus, it’ll finally be back in just a few days and we’ll also get an anime, awesomesauce).

The story of 10 dance is rather simple, but I can’t help but love seeing the two Shinyas dacing together. It looks so good, the dancing itself is just awesome and it doesn’t hurt they boys are damn sexy and their personalities are so different it’s fun seeing them working their shit out together. I’m super thrilled the manga is published ihn my country 181140lnow, too.

As for manga of 2016 I’m going with a manga I’ve just recently discovered, but I absolutely fell in love with it and hope it’ll continue doing well. After just 8 chapters there’s not that much story yet and I’m guessing it’ll stay on the lighter side, but it’s a cute romance and I really need that right now: Otonari Complex. It’s cute, it’s light, it’s well done. Nothing of the huge big title like Whiplash in my movie section, but a manga that made an impression and I think it could become something like Lovely Complex, but that’s yet to see.

Favorite Pokemon

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It’s always fun making these templates. It’s so hard to decide and I had to put some Pokemon in different categories than I would have liked to. A Top10 list would probably look very different from this template. It was still a lot of fun, though, and it made me once again realize just how many good designs were introduced in Gen V and how few Pokemon were introduced in Gen VI. Still my favorite Gen either way. 😉

This is a mixture between Pokemon I simply like design-wise and those I actually like using. Therefore, there’re a lot of cute and adorable Pokemon on my template. And yes, I cheated about my favorite fairy type. I used the typing each Pokemon had when it was introduced in it’s original generation, but since the last row includes all Pokemon I used Gen VI standarts and chose Whimsicott – introduced as a pure grass type in Gen V, it gained the secondary fairy type in Gen VI.

And yes, due to lack of choice I had to choose Pokemon I don’t like in certain cases.

For a bigger picture, click here: http://abload.de/img/favpokemonf2ki9.png

 

SNES and 3DS – my favorite consoles

The SNES and the 3DS are my favorite video game systems of all time. And here’s why.

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A Link to the Past

The SNES was a huge part of my childhood, so nostalgia certainly plays a huge part in it. I can’t even tell you how many hours we siblings raced each other in Super Mario Kart and how often I failed to complete this one stage in Donkey Kong Country 2 where the green glibber of death raises – spoiler: every single time. It was much, much later when I first completed DKC2 and despite all of that, it’s one of my favorite games period.

We used to rent games in a video game store, back in the day when you still went and rented movies and games and loved this old grey box so much, we completely skipped the entire N64 era. It was on the Gamecube that I was first introduced to my favorite video game franchise: The Legend of Zelda. I have to admit I missed many classics of the early 3D-era, but I also played a lot of amazing classics from the 32bit-era. Hands down, the SNES arguably has one of the greatest libraries of any video game system and I think it’s a shame Europe never saw Chrono Trigger on SNES. I played it on DS later and it still rocks.

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Donkey Kong Country 2

This is one of the reasons I hold the SNES higher than the N64: a lot of games from that era still hold up exceptionally well today: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Yoshi’s Island, just to name a few. The system is full of cold classics you can just turn on today and they’re just as great.

This doesn’t mean the N64 doesn’t have games you can still enjoy today, but since 3D gaming was still new, developers had to work out a lot of stuff and every single game from that time looks ugly today. Replaying N64 games today, they don’t really feel all that special anymore compared to back then. It was such an exciting time to live in – even if you didn’t have the console (my friends had, though). Ocarina of Time is my absolute favorite game of all time and it’s still great today, but people playing it today for the first time don’t really get why we old fans are praising it so much. Go and play Chrono Tigger – you’ll know why it’s considered one of the greatest JRPGs ever made. The N64 was a pioneer, though. It was a time when gaming changed a lot and that’s why the early 3D-systems are so important.

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Ocarina of Time

Jump forward and I kind of lost my gaming drive along the way. I did play some Wii and some Gameboy Advance and also a bit on the DS, but not as much as I could have. I also borrowed my brothers PS2, but it’s all just some minor time kill. All these systems had great games, but I simply lost interest in gaming for a while. This is where the 3DS comes into play and if there’s one thing I regret, it’s that I bought it a few months too early. Not because of the games and everyone thought it would fail, but because I bought it for Ocarina of Time 3D in June and later that year they released an OoT special edition 3DS – and I really, REALLY wanted that, but couldn’t bring myself to buying a second system so early. Maybe I should have.

And boy was Ocarina of Time 3D a great game. The enhancements they did with the new system worked great. OoT 3D is the best version of OoT you can find. I just love this game to death and in that regard the 3DS delivered what I expected. With my favorite game back in my hands all fresh and new, my love for video games was triggered once again.

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Animal Crossing New Leaf

I admit I did have trouble finding decent games for the 3DS early in it’s life and ended up with some more obscure titles such as Rabbids 3D out of sheer lack of choices, but once the big games hit, man was it a great experience: Pokemon Gen VI, Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, Fire Emblem Awakening, Fantasy Life, Persona Q, Bravely Default, Animal Crossing New Leaf, Zelda OoT 3D and MM 3D, Luigi’s Mansion 2, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate – and the list goes on! I have 30+ games for my 3DS and yes, I ended up buying the Link between Worlds 3DS XL special edition. Did I regret it? No, because even though my original 3DS was still working, the bigger screen makes it so much better.

Once I have the money for it, I will buy The Legend of Legacy and Stellar Glow is also on my list. There’s Steam World Heist I still want to get and Bravely Second will find it’s way into my claws day 1, I promise! Bravely Default was my favorite game of that year and I can’t wait to play the sequel – of course I downloaded the demo. With Mighty No.9 and

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Bravely Default

Dragon Quest XI, there’s even more great games on the horizon. I do admit I will pass on  Fire Emblem Fates. FE Awakening was an amazing game, but I’m not that much of a tactical JRPG fan.

In the end, it was the 3DS that made me buy a Wii U. It’s a shame it didn’t take off the same way the 3DS did and it still struggles with content, because it’s a great console and the Gamepad makes gaming so much better in so many ways. The few games I have for that system are amazing, though: Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, Rayman Legends, Bayonetta 1+2, Captain Toad (I’m not kidding, it’s surprisingly good!), Xenoblade Chronicles X, Smash Bros 4, Splatoon, MH3U, Mario Maker and even though Yarn Yoshi can’t really compete with the “three big” Platformers on the Wii U (Mario 3D World, DKC TF & Rayman), it’s still worth to play. Let alone the awesome Virtual Consoles games: Metroid Prime trilogy? Super Metroid? A Link to the Past? Count me in!

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Luigi’s Mansion 2

In the end, the SNES has a special place in my heart, because it introduced me into gaming and the 3DS has an equally special place in my heart, because it brought me back to gaming. And the games are just too damn great to resist. 😀 There are countless of rumors about Nintendos NX, but I would prefer if a handheld version would wait a little longer, so I can enjoy more new games on my beloved 3DS.

Team Rocket and Pikachu

I watched the Pokémon anime when I was a kid. That was around the time Red/Blue were a huge thing. Like, really, back in the days everyone played Pokémon. Everyone.

As for today, it’s been a long time ever since I watched the last episode, but I do play the new games when they arrive and read some discussions on the internet every now and then. One topic that stikes me again and again is Team Rocket with their crazy obsession to steal Pikachu.

I’ve read numerous times, that Team Rocket is stupid for going after such a common Pokémon. I agree they could’ve had some seriously rare Pokémon to deliver their boss from what I heared, but the thing is… Pikachu is not a common Pokémon. It’s not super-rare either, but it’s still relatively rare compared to others.

In Pokémon Red/Blue you can encounter it in Viridian Forest with an encounter rate of 5%. The only place where it actually is common, is the Power Plant with an encounter rate of 25%, but you need surf to get there and it’s is a completely optional place to go. Chances are, on your first unassisted play-through, you don’t even know it exists, let alone go there. Also, it makes sense that all the electric type Pokemon are common in this place, it even has Zapdos, it’s such an electric paradise.

Gold/Silver: route 2 during the day and in the morning 5%

Ruby/Sapphire: in 2 areas of the safari-zone, both times 5%

D/P: Trophy Garden 10%

Black/White: not in the game

X/Y: route 3 5%, Santalune Forest 6%

There certainly are much more rare Pokémon (Feebas Gen III & IV anyone?), but Pikachu is not that easy to get. The easiest are Gen I (when you know where the Power Plant is + surf) and Gen IV. So while Team Rocket could try and focus on more valuable Pokémon, Pikachu is not that much of a crazy idea as people often make it seem to be. Just because Ash is running around with one all the time and the TV-series throws us this particular Pikachu in our faces non-stop, doesn’t make it a common Pokémon.

Getting a Skell in XCX

A huge part of the advertisement of Xenoblade Chronicles X revolved around the skells – one is even on the box art of the game. It’s a key element of the game and truth to be told, a huge customizable mech is always cool.

In some reviews by experts and fans alike, you will hear people complain about the skells, though. Not the mech itself, that thing is incredibly cool, it’s usually about when and how you get the skell.

WVW69ipmjLwrc60xNjHere’s the deal: After you’ve completed story mission 6, you are free to take on the skell-licence-mission. Only after you’ve completed this mission, you are allowed to pilot your first own skell. On the average, you can expect to reach this point in the game around the 30 hour mark, personally it took me 37 hours to get my hands on my first first skell (and 5 hours to get it destroyed) and that is only because I was able to complete the licence-mission very fast. I’m pretty slow otherwise, though.

The licence-mission asks you to clear a mission from every division, so it’s 8 small missions to complete the entire thing. I was lucky ernough to have already completed 2 missions beforehand and thanks to an affinity mission I did just before, I also knew where the rare item was I was required to find in one of the 8 division mini-missions.

So, in other words, to get your hands on one of the key features of the game, you have to play half the game and then do a long and arguably very annoying mission before. And a lot of people don’t like this.

However, here’s my take on this: the skells are awesome, but they change your entire look on Mira. Walking on foot, you’re constantly in awe looking at this huge beautiful world. In a skell it’s suddenly a lot faster and easier to travel around on Mira, essentially making the world smaller. It also takes away the threat out of big monsters. You’re not overpowered, but a skell still helps a lot with bigger enemies and increases your power by a few leaps. You’re able to take on higher leveled monsters you were sneaking around just a second ago.

By having you play so many hours before even giving you the chance to get your skell-licence and then make you work through a long mission until you finally get your hands on one, makes the skell in itself a huge reward. You have to work really hard for this thing and it feels incredible when you finally have it.

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Now, imagine you had access to your skell since the first mission. The world you’ve been exploring with big admiring eyes, would’ve never been as breathtaking as without the skell and you would have probably just walked past a lot of details that otherwise strike the eye. Also, the skell is too strong for the early part of the game, it would make you progress too fast. This is a very long game, it’s meant to be explored just the way you want to and by rushing through everything in a big badass skell, you’re going to miss out on a lot.

Personally, I think it was a very good decision to lock the skell away in the early game, because it makes the game too easy and after having to wait and work hard, the skell is a great reward for the player. After he experienced the game for about 30 hours on foot, the skell suddenly opens up an entirely new side to the planet. How is this not awesome?