Got kind of distracted, so I'm writing this just a teensy bit later than I'd intended. Oh, well. On the plus side, I've been able to stop myself from playing long enough that I'll probably be able to catch up within the next post or so. Anyway:
The Oreburgh Gate hasn't changed much–the same guy still gives me Rock Smash as soon as I enter–and neither has Oreburgh itself. After the little kid shows me around the town I immediately set to raiding the houses, trying to find all the people who give you free stuff like Dusk Balls. I thought I remembered someone handing out something to anyone who showed them a Zubat, so I dragged mine out of the computer and toted it around for a while. I eventually found this kid who wanted to see one of my Pokémon, but showing him (her?) the Zubat did nothing. Still figuring that this person would give me something if I showed it the right Pokémon, I try Porky and Ziska. Nothing. I think I dragged every single Pokémon I'd caught so far out of the box, but not one of them got me my free stuff. Genius that I am I never thought to double-check what it wanted online, so instead I sit there and try to pick out the name of the Pokémon it wants to see. After spending a few moments trying to see which characters it repeats I search through the Pokédex for them. Oh, okay. It wants to see a Machop. This works for me, because I was just about to go catch a Machop for my temporary team anyway.
So off I trot to Route 207 and, along with a Ponyta and a Geodude, catch a male Machop, Sting. I take a little time to train Sting before I head back to talk to the kid, who, upon seeing Sting, doesn't turn me down. Of course, it doesn't give me a free Pokéball, either. It starts up a trade and takes my precious Machop in exchange for god knows what. Why, hello there, L + R + Start + Select.
Maybe I was imagining the person who wanted the Zubat. :/
Looong story short Miles is a moron and playing a Japanese game is confusing. (Yes, let's blame it all on that.) On the plus side, the recently rescued Sting will be pretty easy to train with all the Geodude and Onix a-waiting in the mine. So that's where I head next (after rooting around the immediate area outside for more loot; there's a Heart Scale in the big pile of slag, by the way). The only real changes are the big conveyor belts moving coal around, which extend into the mine and are mildly annoying because there are certain places where you can't walk under them and they're sort of in the way. Everything else is exactly the same, so suffice to say I beat up the guys inside, got Roark to go back to his gym and caught myself a female Onix (Manti). And with that I'm ready to take on the Oreburgh Gym. Hmm, let's see… Machop with Low Kick, Psyduck with Water Gun, Turtwig with Absorb and Razor Leaf… this might be just a little difficult.
The Oreburgh Gym, like everything else in the city barring those pointless and annoying coal conveyors, is exactly the same as in DP and therefore is not worth describing. The battle, as predicted, goes swimmingly: Porky OHKOs the Geodude, Sting takes care of the Onix and Ziska + Quick Claw + Razor Leaf = no more Cranidos. At this point I realize that I'd just plowed straight into Roark without even taking the time to pay any attention to the new "VS" image and his animation, so I cut the game off and beat him again. :P
I don't know if there are any screenshots of the new leader close-ups floating around the interwebs yet, but they are most certainly a vast improvement over the ugly blown-up sprites. It's animé-quality pixel art and looks really cool. Roark's animation, on the other hand, is… odd. I can't tell if he's saluting or what, and again it'd really be nice if the sprites could have fluid motion instead of jerky salutes, fingerpoints and flaildances. (At least there's no fun with stretch and skew in the trainer sprites.) But the awesome close-up makes up for it so it's all good.
OKAY SO BADGE WHOO. Now that I can use Rock Smash (oh, what fun) I teach it to Manti, and on my way back to Jubilife I smash those rocks up in the top part of Oreburgh Gate so I can explore the rest of the cave. Not that there's much to find other than two items; I forgot you can't go very far in that cave without Surf and the bike. This is kind of a dumb place to put a cave that doesn't have anything especially stellar in it, way out of the way in a place you'll forget about and won't think to come back to, but okay, whatever, Game Freak.
Handsome spots me as soon as I hit Jubilife, says some stuff and then runs off really quickly. I have… absolutely no idea what he wants. I can only guess that he's talking about Dawn and Rowan's run-in with Team Galactic just around the corner, but then why doesn't he do something about it? Some policeman. I'd be upset with him if his theme music wasn't so awesome. Well, since Handsome is apparently no help whatsoever when the bad guys actually show up I step in, and the usual battle ensues. The grunts use a Stunky and Glameow this time instead of a Wurmple and Zubat (or whatever they had before)… either way, it's still a bunch of tiny, cutesy things that are no match for a GIANT FARKING ONIX and the Piplup that didn't help. The fat guy from the TV station shows up to give me the Fashion Case and access to the station. Unfortunately I didn't think to go check it out at the time, so I probably won't be back to check it out (and set up the Mystery Gift… mmm, lawnmower get) until I get Fly. Sorry. :/
There wasn't really anything else to do, so I headed off to Floaroma. Nothing changed that I can think of, so we'll skip straight to arriving in town. It's a little darker than before, with more dark-colored flowers than I remember, but otherwise pretty much the same. This includes battling the Galactic grunts to get the key and save the honey-selling dude. Timeskip ahead to storming the Valley Windworks.
…which is also almost exactly the same, save for the fact that you get your first good look at Pluto (the new Galactic admin, if you haven't heard yet) and Mars's annoying Zubat and Purugly are one level higher than they were in DP. After a bit of a struggle with her I manage to finish her off and stand by and watch as she apparently gets told off by Pluto. Galactic vanishes, and when I leave Handsome is outside. He goes in to investigate, obviously comes up empty and then goes off again, leaving me to get cleaned up and then continue on to the Eterna Forest.
Shortly before entering the dark and misty woods (well, now they're misty; it wasn't like that before) Ziska finally hits level 18 and evolves into Grotle. None of the rest of the team is anywhere near evolving, but I'm not too concerned at the moment because, as I said, they're temporary as of now.
Cheryl still sits just inside the entrance, lost and waiting for me to guide her through the forest. Her Chansey is now level 20 instead of level 15, and while I think the average levels of the trained Pokémon in the forest have gone up just a smidge this does mean that when it uses Egg Bomb it isn't entirely useless. Working through the forest is the same as before, with the notable exception of the lack of Murkrow and Misdreavus. Which really sucks, because I was counting on having a Murkrow/Honchkrow as my main flyer and don't feel like trading for one. D: Whyyy you take out Murkrow, Game Freak, whyyyyyy D:D:D:
I catch a few Pokémon, battle the trainers and guide Cheryl out of the woods safely, and I think I'll end it on that note. When we pick up again, hopefully tomorrow, Miles will go on another gym challenge, another Galactic raid and probably make some more stupid mistakes. Hooray?
The phrase of the day is "Phoenix doesn't remember crap about what happened in the beginning of the game and made a whole mess of stupid mistakes because she's also too dumb to go check anything before she jumps right in".