Part 1: Intro and Outskirt StandIntro and Outskirt Stand (2009/05/21)
Intro: More Explosions than You'll See For Most of the Game
In a remote region of Orre lies the Team Snagem Hideout, effectively their headquarters. Unfortunately for them, a certain individual decides to do some redecorating.
The prize sought after? Team Snagem's only portable Snag Machine.
Welcome our protagonist (by canon known as Wes). making a stylish entrance by blowing up the headquarters of Team Snagem. Why? Well, at the moment, we don't know. Wes was the best Snagger (i.e. Pokemon stealer) Team Snagem has. Well, had, now. The best explanation we have is that he decided to quit, in style, and decided to take the most important and valuable piece of equipment there, the portable Snag Machine. Perhaps he intended to go solo afterwards, for good or for evil. The game sure as heck doesn't explain it. Wes suffers from Mute Protagonist Syndrome, meaning that all we'll get him to state in dialogue is "YES" and "NO", and further backstory will be learned through other NPC dialogue.
Also seen in this cutscene are our two starter Pokemon, Umbreon and Espeon.
Espeon is much better suited to offense. It has high Special Attack and Speed stats, the latter of which allow it to take the first turn before any Pokemon whose Speed is lower than it, under normal conditions. Note that its Attack stat is much lower; it's best to try to use attacks of a Special type, rather than a Physical type, on this Pokemon.
Umbreon is more of a shield than a sword. It has high defensively-oriented stats, at the disadvantage of low attack-oriented ones. If we want to weaken a Pokemon to be caught, Umbreon can take hits, while whittling down the opponent's strength. Note its Attack is just as weak as Espeon's; if we want to hit Pokemon hard, from the Physical side of attacks, it's best to use one with a high stat in Attack.
The higher a Defense or Special Defense stat is, the less damage a Pokemon will take from a Pokemon with a given Attack or Special Attack stat, respectively. The greater the HP, the less of a percentage of its health a Pokemon will lose when hit with an attack.
As he escapes with the Snag Machine, Wes sets off a second explosive, once all of the Team Snagem members are outside of the building, to put them out of commission for good. Team Snagem's big Snag Machines, located one floor below, are effectively destroyed by one explosion or the other.
Pokemon Poopsock #1: Gender
Both Umbreon and Espeon are male in this game, and it is impossible to get otherwise. Why? When Pokemon Colosseum was released, it was the first game to allow otherwise-excluded Pokemon from the Johto region to be used in Ruby and Sapphire, the only third-generation games out at the time for the consoles. Long story short, were either Espeon or Umbreon to be female, a portable-only breeding mechanic would have allowed four additional Pokemon into usage: Eevee, and by extension, its other evolutionary forms, Flareon, Jolteon, and Vaporeon. However, it is possible to get female Pokemon of any other species (that isn't genderless or unigendered), to breed the lower evolutionary forms of Snagged Pokemon. Different species have different gender ratios, varying between 50:50, 75:25, and 87.5:12.5. In third-generation games, gender has no significant effect in-battle, other than one rarely-used move, and one Ability.
Outskirt Stand: The Train to Nowhere
Our first opportunity to control our character, and our first battle, to demonstrate the battle mechanics.
The Outskirt Stand itself, a lovely diner in the middle of nowhere.
As we try to head in, we overhear a conversation between these two.
(*): Fwaah! We sure pigged out, eh? I love chowing down after a job! It adds to the flavor, I swear.
(*): Heheheh, yeah. And we bagged ourselves a great big catch, too.
(*): Boss'll be sure to fix us up good with big rewards, too. Heheheh, it doesn't get any better than this!
Note that the bag in the back of a vehicle they have is squirming. What "big catch" could they have to put into a sack? Poke Balls work much better as things to store catches in...
Attempting to leave the area brings us to the overworld map. We have nowhere to go, so... back we head to the Stand.
Heading into the stand triggers a broadcast from ONBS, the news station of Orre. It mentions that Team Snagem's Hideout was destroyed in an explosion; its presence there was unknown to the public prior to its destruction.
Talking to all other NPCs after the broadcast is optional, and in shorts gives us this info: Team Snagem consists of a "bunch of heartless crooks" who steal other trainers' Pokemon. As one old lady NPC puts it, she would "give a 'hip hip hooray' if they were wiped out with their wreched hideout". Eesh. We're also warned to be careful.
As we head out, we're challenged to a battle, and win with ease:
Rider Willie: P$240
Zigzagoon (Lv.24, M)
Zigzagoon (Lv.24, F)
We also take a quick view of our Espeon's and Umbreon's stats, and starting moves. The moves will be explained further, in the next update.
Pokemon Poopsock #2: Natures
You'll notice that I check the stats of Espeon and Umbreon: besides their base stats, there is another mechanic, known as Nature. A Pokemon of a given Nature will boost one stat by 10%, at the expense of lowering another stat by 10%. In some Natures, the stat overlaps, resulting in no net boost or loss. It's typically best to have a Nature that boosts a stat with a high base value, and lower one that's already low for battling others. The Natures of Espeon and Umbreon are generated after the cut scene, where the nature of every other Pokemon in this game is generated at its first encounter in battle. That means that if you fail to Snag a Pokemon, its Nature and other stats will be set in stone at the next (?) encounter; saving before a battle and resetting after a Snag if the Nature is not beneficial allows for another go, with a re-roll of the Nature, amongst a few other things, including gender.
The mechanic mentioned above effectively alters Espeon and Umbreon's stats to the following, given the natures you've seen:
Which effectively makes Espeon super kick-ass, and Umbreon... well, not defensively boosted, but still!
You'll also notice there's another number besides HP in the Pokemon's status box: Level. In short, and on average, higher level implies stronger Pokemon. Levels are gained through experience, different Pokemon give different amounts of base experience when defeated. Base experience times level gives the amount of experience given for fainting it, thus higher-level Pokemon of a species give more experience than lower level Pokemon of the same species when fainted.
Spiffy Point: Colosseum is also (currently) the last 3D Pokemon game to show off the entirety of the fainted Pokemon's collapse animation. From XD-on, it is "censored" by the Pokemon being returned to its Ball sooner.
The person we defeat tells us of Phenac City, a place where we can fight Trainers stronger than pink-haired Willie.
Because heaven forbid we headed out there before we beat him.
In our next update, we head to Phenac City! And wish we didn't!