There are two ways one can go about looking at each generation of Pokemon games: one can explore all the vast landscapes and changes that recent generations have been building and refining. You can look at all the real world inspirations, all the loving attention to little details, added cultures, philosophy, game mechanics and renovations to the user interface. You can get lost in all the activities and events the game world has to offer.
Or you can look at the Pokemon. And a lot of people really enjoy looking at the Pokemon. Innovations and additions to the Pokemon world go hand in hand with the creations of new monsters- now a staggering 717! Some of them are designed to look cool, some are powerhouse battlers, some are tributes to whatever culture they were lifted from, and some are just plain out there. And half the fun of the games comes from not only catching them all, but enjoying the ones you’ve caught.
In the wake of the release of Pokemon X & Y (and in the wake of logging a whole lot of hours in the two weeks since its release), I want to present here an informal look at some of the Pokemon I’ve found wandering Kalos. There have been a lot of lists like this all over the internet since the game dropped, so in the interest of bandwagon-jumping (and because I’m really enjoying the new Gen), I thought I’d chime in with my own opinions to the subject.
Florges, which evolves from the early-game Flabebe, is the first Fairy type most players encounter, and it’s a secret monster in-game. Don’t let its adorable countenance fool you- this is one serious Pokemon. With a scary high attack stat, decent speed and defenses, and a diverse movepool, this Pokemon has been one of my go-to monsters since I acquired it. Fully trained in S. ATK and S. DEF, it takes the place of both Fairy and Grass types in my party, and has single-handedly cleared two gyms. From a PvE standpoint, using Florges is a no-brainer, as you will not find a better Fairy type until post game (if even then. Sorry, Sylveon, you look adorable, but your moveset is too limited).
Tyrantrum: One online list claimed the best reason to use this new fossil Pokemon was for the satisfaction of sending a Tyrannosaurus Rex after your opponent. I agree with this comment. Tyrantrum, which has been a stalwart also since acquisition, is a quirky little guy- high base Atk and a power that ups the damage on bite-based moves allows for an interesting move build. It has a few giant type-weaknesses, but hits like a truck, and can take out most foes in a single blow. It’s slow, so EV training its HP to survive that first hit it will take is crucial, but once it survives, it will chow down on whatever’s in front of it. Plus its pre-evolved Tyrunt form might be the cutest monster this Gen. (It’s the big eyes.)
Doublade: I haven’t evolved this one yet, it’s sitting pretty at 50 until I finally get a Dusk Stone. This Pokemon has appeared on almost every “Best of Gen” lists, because of it’s survivability and its form changes that occur in battle. From a pure PvE standpoint, this Pokemon serves the same role as Tyrantrum- thick, powerful, slow. And you want it to be. The Ghost status protects from a lot of attacks, its high defenses grant it staying power, and its moves (while limited) are versatile in application. This is a Gen with a lot of good ghost and psychic types, and Doublade’s line can deal with them all.
Malamar: This is a Pokemon that suffers horribly from a field glutted with similar “types.” It has a very interesting typing with Psychic/Dark, and boasts one of the quirkiest evolution mechanics ever (you need to hold the 3DS upside-down to evolve it), but given the choices at a player’s disposal, Malamar’s use is more out of preference than utility. Given the abundance of Dark and Psychic type moves that other Pokemon learn, and the rebalancing through the addition of Fairy, Malamar lags behind contemporaries like the Tyrantrum and Florges. It’s also meant to be a physical striker, in a generation full of physical strikers. It EV trains almost identically to Tyrantrum, and has similar speed restrictions.
There are two saving graces for this one, though: it can learn some interesting TMs (like Thunderbolt), and it looks like a freaking monster. Seriously- while the Inkay form is an adorable Blooper type, Malamar is just plain terrifying to look at. It contributes to one of the best part of the Pokemon-amie minigame…when it appears from out of nowhere to stare at you with its beady little eyes and sharp beak. Srsly, creepiest Pokemon in the Gen. That should warrant inclusion on its own.
Gourgeist: It’s a Jack-o-Lantern Pokemon, in a game released right before Halloween. It’s practically begging to be used in some form. While the stats on Gourgeist aren’t anything to scream about (ba-da-bump), the gimmicks associated with this one make up for shortcomings in the PvE arena. It’s ghost/grass, which is a pretty slick typing if you ask me, and it has size variations that alter up its stats (notably attack and speed). The movepool is similar to the Doublade’s at times, but it does contribute its own in battles. But mostly, it’s a fun gimmick to play around with for the time being. And as its one of the Pokemon that evolves via trades, it pops up frequently in the “Wonder Trade” box, where the cute little Pumpkaboo (that’s a name) evolves right after touching down.
Now I’m sure a lot of readers want opinions on the starters this gen. Starter Pokemon are often a point of debate, trying to decide which are the most powerful, which are the most useful, which are the “coolest,” etc. This game gives quite a few solid options on its own, and honestly, all of them are pretty good.
I went with Fennekin, since I like kitsune, and it’s evolved form adds a psychic type to the mix. As a starter, it’s very useful, and very fun to play with. Unlike last Gen, there aren’t all that many Fire types to choose from, either…unless you use the special event to get the Torchic, at which point Fennekin becomes overshadowed by a previous Gen starter WITH a mega-evolution. I would say choose Fennekin because you like fox Pokemon, not for its typing.
Froakie is a very wise choice, because (as in Gen V) water types are few and far between. You are given a Lapras at one point, and it can stand in for a Water type, but honestly, Froakie’s evolution line turn him into a frog ninja, and has one of the most stellar movepools of any starter. Seriously, he’s crazy powerful. If you’re in this game to be a battler monster, this is your guy.
I don’t have any opinions of Chespin, because I have yet to encounter one. But there ARE a lot of good grass type Pokemon, and Pokemon that know grass type moves in this game.
As always, who you choose is a point of personal preference, because outside of competitive battling, the games are never that hard. Choose what you love. Fortunately for this Pokeholic, the Pokemon I live are also viable for post-game battles with people around the world. See you in Kalos!