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Would you have liked to see a Pokemon Z?

JFrombaugh

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First off, I apologize if this has been discussed before. But anyway...

A lot of players, from what I can tell, just really did not like Pokémon X & Y. And I can kinda understand many of the reasons why.

But yet, I feel like Kalos, as a region, had quite a lot of potential, especially when you look at how good the anime was, and looking back at 2016 now that GameFreak made the U-turn on third versions with USUM, I just can't help but feel an enormous sense of "what could have been", feeling like Pokémon X & Y really could've used a third version much more than Sun & Moon.

I remember many people were quick to criticize the Pokémon Sun & Moon demo as being a cop-out way of introducing Ash-Greninja to the games universe for all the kids who watch the anime, and the first time I played through SM I felt like all the Zygarde Cell stuff was shoehorned into the game for absolutely no reason other than because otherwise the Zygarde Forms would be an anime-exclusive phenomenon.

Of course, I was never a big fan of either XY or SM's Looker postgame story, but because I actually ended up liking what GameFreak did with USUM much more than I thought I would, I feel like I have to give the edge to Alola as the superior Pokémon region, even though I really WANT to like Kalos because of how much I liked the XY anime compared to this farce we've got now with the Sun & Moon anime series.

In the months leading up to Sun & Moon's announcement, I remember feeling like the inclusion of a Delta Episode-like postgame story revolving around Zygarde, as well as some anime features such as Pokémon Showcases, PokeVisions (10 second video of you playing with your Pokemon and an alternate way to raise affection to PokemonAmie?) was just waiting to be made. Instead, I got the impression that the original Pokémon Sun & Moon games were rushed, or that GameFreak just decided that they wanted Kalos to be a very anime-oriented region.

So does anyone else feel the same way? Or were you kind of glad that Gen VI was rushed?
 

Esserise

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Nnnnnnnnnope.

I still think we needed Z even less than we needed USUM, and we really didn’t need USUM. But at least in their case, they were able to expand the Alola Dex (whereas Kalos’s regional Dex was already enormous), add Move Tutors (ORAS already covered that for Gen 6), and continue developing some of the fresh concepts like Totem Pokémon and Ultra Space. Z would have just been ticking the same old boxes as previous third versions, and then Game Freak/TPC wouldn’t have had a major game release to coincide with the anniversary, which would have been a colossal missed opportunity for them.

In general, I think XY were already pretty decent games, and I don’t think there was much reason to revisit them with an entirely new game. Team Flare’s story was wrapped. AZ was wrapped. His Floette is trivial. The Mega Evolution “story” was a forced excuse to begin with. Kalos as a region is fine. There’s Zygarde, I guess, but I think it works better as a collection sidequest anyway. And from a gameplay perspective, extra features like taking photos, the Pokéathlon, Contests, etc. are the kind of thing that don’t typically require a specific region in order to exist. The Photo Club could just as plausibly fit in Sinnoh as it does in Alola, the Pokéathlon could be a Hoenn thing just as much as it can be a Johto thing, Pokéstar Studios could have feasibly been a Kalos feature instead of a Unova one... so unless you’re just really adamant that each specific region needs its own unique bonus activity that isn’t shared with any other region (a reasoning which I would describe as both arbitrary and selective), there wasn’t actually much of a compelling reason for GF to go out of their way to tailor one especially for Kalos by making a third version when they could instead develop a set of new generation games that would make twice as much money.

Believe me, I’ve got plenty of gripes with the Alola games, and in terms of mechanics I actually prefer Gen 6, but at least with the Gen 7 games, they were trying out all sorts of new ideas - and for the most part, I think that’s where those games’ strengths lie. Something like Z would have been painfully rote and a waste of a good opportunity.
 
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GhostLucario

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I really liked XY and I couldn't help but wonder if Kalos was being left as incomplete as it was because there was going to be a Z game or just GF being GF, lazy and complacent. There were a lot of things that could've been made and were left hanging, and looking back at how things turned out I am super salty we didn't get a Z game because I thought we were done with third versions and then boom! USUM happened.

Kalos legendaries really needed an extra game. There's like 2 NPCs that talk about them one of them bing Sycamore, there's not enough lore on them, they don't have any locations associated with them, they are barely interwoven in the plot and basically appear near the end as some deus-ex-machinas to beat Lysandre. And don't get me started on Zygarde it got shafted SO bad.

the region itself needed an expansion since it felt massive but in reality it was pretty empty, not many explorable places. The trainers rosters (including gym leaders and E4) were tragic, they felt like they needed an upgrade. Also there's a couple places here and there (especially the unused power plant, the train stations etc) that could have been expanded but alas we still didn't get anything. It's like GF really hated Kalos and just wanted to get over it quickly.

My take is also that SUMO were rushed just because someone (whether it was GF, Nintendo, TPCI) wanted a new gen on the 20th anniversary and I felt cheated that SUMO were bad and still got a big improvement in USUM while Kalos games will remain (maybe) forever mediocre.
 

Aulos

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Yeah. I hadn't got a third version since Crystal (unless you count B2/W2), but when it came to X/Y, I was actually looking forward to a third version for the first time since. I really liked the region, the music, everything. The rush to Generation VII disappointed me. It's accentuated now by the fact that I don't even like Generation VII. The games were not very fun, riddled with all kinds of issues.
 

Unown Seer

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I don't care about Zygarde, Mega Evolution, Ash-Greninja (we got all of these), Rhyhorn Racing or Pokemon Showcases. What's left? A few new Pokemon and locations? Pass.
 

Meta Boss

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A third version game is supposed to improve and build on an already good (but incomplete due to time constraints) first pair of games.

The issue with KALOS is that, imo, a third version game could not have fixed XY, simply because my criticisms regarding Kalos are an integral part of what makes Kalos... Kalos.

I dislike the region. The characters (the group of friends, the Gym Leaders, the Pokémon League, etc). The villain team. The music... And a third version game like Z couldn't have addressed any of those complaints.

So I think I am glad Z wasn't made. Besides XY feel like a relatively more complete (though boring) game than other first pairs of a generation.
 
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Esserise

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A third version game is supposed to improve and build on an already good (but incomplete due to time constraints) first pair of games.
The thing is though, I’m not sure I’d describe any of the new generation pairs as “incomplete,” except for maybe SM.

Red & Green are fine; they’re a total package (albeit buggy, but so are all the other Gen 1 games), and nothing that was added by Blue or Yellow was anything they couldn’t have lived without.

Crystal, again, adds nothing that GS desperately needed. I doubt they’d planned to add the Battle Tower or those extra Unown puzzles in GS but had to cut them because they ran out of time. Instead, I would think that those things, along with aspects like the visual touch-ups and animated sprites, are ideas that they thought up after the fact as a way of making the new game more distinct and worth purchasing. When it comes to video games, just because a game is complete doesn’t mean it can’t still have bonuses added to it later on. Like... I can make a sandwich with just meat and cheese on it, and I can call that sufficient. But that doesn’t stop me from adding lettuce, tomatoes, other condiments, etc., and conversely, the fact that I can still add those things doesn’t necessarily mean that I was in a hurry to make the basic sandwich, either.

It’s the same deal with Emerald - RS already featured a Battle Tower, and I think it’s obvious that the Battle Frontier is just something they cooked up as a novel incentive for people to double-dip on the Hoenn games. Same for the Gym Leader rematches - they do expand on the PokéNav feature, but I doubt that the PokéNav as it appeared in RS wasn’t already what they set out to make it since that’s the only aspect that changes. And the new story elements like the Magma Hideout and the Space Center takeover are just there to pad out the merged storyline - but then, I would say that’s not really how the story was intended to be told, compared to the RS version, which is a lot more organic and streamlined, and plays more directly into the duality themes that Hoenn is supposed to present. Particularly with that aspect in mind, I’d find it hard to believe that Ruby & Sapphire aren’t pretty much what Masuda envisioned them to be. Like, it’s pretty clear that Team Magma and Team Aqua were meant to be version-exclusive teams who create a proper climax involving either Groudon or Kyogre, and that Steven was meant to be the Champion, no matter how many people like to describe Emerald as the “definitive” version of the story. I think it would be strange for RS to be considered “incomplete” but to also contain the more intentional story experience.

Platinum, I guess, is a somewhat more interesting case because the new content is mostly fixes to various problems in DP. DP aren’t really incomplete - they have a pretty healthy main storyline and post-game, and offer a decent amount of things to do on the side (the kind of stuff that, if absent, would get games these days accused of being “rushed”), but they were very flawed in terms of their technical capabilities and the presentation of certain things (like the new cross-gen evolutions, or Amity Square).

B2W2 is kind of an interesting example as well. Because we know for a fact that one of the major features - the Key System - was intended for BW, but wasn’t worked out in time. So in that instance, what you say about time constraints does apply. But does the lack of that Key System really make BW an incomplete package? I am admittedly biased toward liking BW, but I think even an objective measurement of everything BW have to offer wouldn’t strongly sustain an appraisal of them as “incomplete.” And if anything, Game Freak were able to do more with said Key System by holding off on its implementation, because in B2W2 it can also be used for the Memory Link and the Dream Radar. So there’s a bit of an irony, in that BW lacking a certain intended feature didn’t make them feel “incomplete,” and yet if they had included that feature, it wouldn’t have been as well-rounded as it was in the games that did include it. That all gets at something I should point out, which is that of course all of the new generation games probably have some cut features. But I imagine that some of the third versions and remakes do as well. That’s just the nature of video game production, and isn’t necessarily a fault. But features that get cut are usually ones that are considered less essential to the current project - something it can survive without. That such omissions exist - like, if I set out from the beginning to make that sandwich with meat, cheese, and lettuce, only to find that I’m out of lettuce and don’t have time to run to the grocery store - doesn’t make the game incomplete or unfinished.

Maybe that seems like pedantry or splitting hairs, but “incomplete” just strikes me as a bit of a misnomer, I guess, when it’s really the third versions that exist as frivolous and mostly unnecessary upgrades that can be whipped up in short order to rake in some extra profit while GF work on developing the next big project.
 

IncineROAR

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Game Freak really rush through Generation VI. SM/USUM are interesting games, but I think a lot of business from Kalos was left unfinished. So yes I would have liked a Pokemon Z or "alternate" games like USUM for Gen VI.
 

Zeb

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Nah, I'm done with third versions. I want them to get it right the first time (they've certainly had enough practice) and stop selling rehashed versions to fix problems or include cut content.
 

Hidden Mew

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Not really. I would have bought them if they did make a Z version since I love Pokemon and I enjoy the main series titles. I also may not be as bothered by third version games compared to other people here considering how much I enjoyed playing through US/UM. An expanded Kalos could have been fun to explore, especially when it was fun to explore Kalos in X/Y, and there were plenty of other sixth generation Pokemon I could try out to make a different team. I don't think it would have been the highlight of the sixth generation or even fixed all of my issues with X/Y, but it probably would have been fun and that's the main thing I want out of playing video games.

But I don't think it was absolutely necessary to make a Z version or that we missed out on a lot. There were a few things that I wish could have been expanded on in the storyline, mainly how and why an Elite 4 member would join up with the region's evil team, but I don't think we definitely needed another game in order to learn about that. It would have been a traditional kind of third version game. The new features, updated region and longer post-storyline content might have made it entertaining to play through and be an improved version of X/Y in some departments, but I don't think we absolutely needed that.

Zygarde wasn't a particularly interesting Legendary Pokemon and I think that collecting the Zygarde Cells worked fine as a sidequest rather than the main gimmick of the game. I've never quite understood the assumption that people had about how there was originally going to be a Z version only for it to be cancelled. I'm no expert on video game development, but considering how long it does take for games to be made, I just have a hard time believing it. I've also never understood the notion that X/Y are incomplete. I can understand finding them to be lackluster or that the concepts aren't realized to their full potential, but it still felt like a complete game. The lack of features or not having an upgraded version didn't make it feel like a demo or an unfinished game. Same goes for Sun/Moon. Despite US/UM releasing a year after they came out, Sun/Moon really didn't feel rushed or incomplete to me.

Plus, if they had released a Z version, then they wouldn't have released a new generation to tie in with the franchise's 20th anniversary. That would have been a huge wasted opportunity and releasing another traditional third version during that year wouldn't have worked for the celebration either. Regardless of your opinion on Sun/Moon, it definitely provided more new content than a hypothetical Z version could have and using the 20th anniversary for the start of a new generation was a good idea from a marketing and financial perspective.

As much as I like US/UM, I also hope that they don't go back to traditional third version games again. They are a pretty outdated way of introducing new content and they weren't included for two generations in a row. B2/W2 basically served as the third version games for the fifth generation, but they weren't updated version of the B/W storyline. They were direct sequels. They can find other ways to provide new games during a generation in place of a third version like sequels or remakes of older games. Starting off the generation with at least some of the features used in third versions would probably also be a good idea. If they combined the main storyline of Sun/Moon with some of US/UM's new features, such as the Ultra Wormhole gates, Mantine Surfing, both Hau and Guzma's different character arcs and the Team Rainbow Rocket storyline, I think that would have given the seventh generation an even more fantastic start. I still like Sun/Moon as they are and depending on how the Let's Go game turn out for me, the seventh generation might become one of my favorite generations, but combining those changes and features together in one set of games as opposed to dividing them into two different ones would have been nice too.
 

Angeline the Raichu Girl

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It would of been nice to have Zygarde have it's own version, X and Y were a bit boring in post game with nothing to do if you were not inrested in the battle house thing or shiny hunting. The third game always adds more to the post game I.E rainbow rocket in US and UM.
 

Pyrax

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I suppose I would've liked to see how a third version would expanded on Xerneas and Yveltal's relationship with Zygarde, but imo a Z version wouldn't really do much to fix Kalos. ORAS and Gen VII showed Gamefreak still had a bit of a problem with easier boss fights and unused content (Kalos Power Plant, Battle Frontier, that cave in Brooklet Hill, etc), which likely would've spread to Z.
 

Nicolas721

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As a third version, no. After seeing how they made up excuses and changed the concept for the worsein ORAS, USUM and LGPE it's for the best they skipped Kalos.

As a sequel por prequel, yes. It would have been impossible for them to release something well-done in 2015, but I still feel that the potential was there and I really like Squishy.
 

Meta Boss

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The thing is though, I’m not sure I’d describe any of the new generation pairs as “incomplete,” except for maybe SM.

Red & Green are fine; they’re a total package (albeit buggy, but so are all the other Gen 1 games), and nothing that was added by Blue or Yellow was anything they couldn’t have lived without.

Crystal, again, adds nothing that GS desperately needed. I doubt they’d planned to add the Battle Tower or those extra Unown puzzles in GS but had to cut them because they ran out of time. Instead, I would think that those things, along with aspects like the visual touch-ups and animated sprites, are ideas that they thought up after the fact as a way of making the new game more distinct and worth purchasing. When it comes to video games, just because a game is complete doesn’t mean it can’t still have bonuses added to it later on. Like... I can make a sandwich with just meat and cheese on it, and I can call that sufficient. But that doesn’t stop me from adding lettuce, tomatoes, other condiments, etc., and conversely, the fact that I can still add those things doesn’t necessarily mean that I was in a hurry to make the basic sandwich, either.

It’s the same deal with Emerald - RS already featured a Battle Tower, and I think it’s obvious that the Battle Frontier is just something they cooked up as a novel incentive for people to double-dip on the Hoenn games. Same for the Gym Leader rematches - they do expand on the PokéNav feature, but I doubt that the PokéNav as it appeared in RS wasn’t already what they set out to make it since that’s the only aspect that changes. And the new story elements like the Magma Hideout and the Space Center takeover are just there to pad out the merged storyline - but then, I would say that’s not really how the story was intended to be told, compared to the RS version, which is a lot more organic and streamlined, and plays more directly into the duality themes that Hoenn is supposed to present. Particularly with that aspect in mind, I’d find it hard to believe that Ruby & Sapphire aren’t pretty much what Masuda envisioned them to be. Like, it’s pretty clear that Team Magma and Team Aqua were meant to be version-exclusive teams who create a proper climax involving either Groudon or Kyogre, and that Steven was meant to be the Champion, no matter how many people like to describe Emerald as the “definitive” version of the story. I think it would be strange for RS to be considered “incomplete” but to also contain the more intentional story experience.

Platinum, I guess, is a somewhat more interesting case because the new content is mostly fixes to various problems in DP. DP aren’t really incomplete - they have a pretty healthy main storyline and post-game, and offer a decent amount of things to do on the side (the kind of stuff that, if absent, would get games these days accused of being “rushed”), but they were very flawed in terms of their technical capabilities and the presentation of certain things (like the new cross-gen evolutions, or Amity Square).

B2W2 is kind of an interesting example as well. Because we know for a fact that one of the major features - the Key System - was intended for BW, but wasn’t worked out in time. So in that instance, what you say about time constraints does apply. But does the lack of that Key System really make BW an incomplete package? I am admittedly biased toward liking BW, but I think even an objective measurement of everything BW have to offer wouldn’t strongly sustain an appraisal of them as “incomplete.” And if anything, Game Freak were able to do more with said Key System by holding off on its implementation, because in B2W2 it can also be used for the Memory Link and the Dream Radar. So there’s a bit of an irony, in that BW lacking a certain intended feature didn’t make them feel “incomplete,” and yet if they had included that feature, it wouldn’t have been as well-rounded as it was in the games that did include it. That all gets at something I should point out, which is that of course all of the new generation games probably have some cut features. But I imagine that some of the third versions and remakes do as well. That’s just the nature of video game production, and isn’t necessarily a fault. But features that get cut are usually ones that are considered less essential to the current project - something it can survive without. That such omissions exist - like, if I set out from the beginning to make that sandwich with meat, cheese, and lettuce, only to find that I’m out of lettuce and don’t have time to run to the grocery store - doesn’t make the game incomplete or unfinished.

Maybe that seems like pedantry or splitting hairs, but “incomplete” just strikes me as a bit of a misnomer, I guess, when it’s really the third versions that exist as frivolous and mostly unnecessary upgrades that can be whipped up in short order to rake in some extra profit while GF work on developing the next big project.
You know what? I just realized the premise in my above post is wrong.

I still stand by my opinion that initial pairs are an incomplete product. But the reason is not time constraints as I wrongly implied above. They sell us an incomplete product intentionally, to justify the purchase of the third version later on.

We already know that they (usually) hold off content like Gym Rematches, Pokémon League improved team rematches, a wider Pokedex, and even MOVE TUTORS (!!!) from the first entries of a generation on purpose, to "obligate" players to buy the third version as well. And those are basic features that should be available in EVERY game. So there is no denying they do hold back content intentionally from their initial pairs.

Of course, one might argue that whether initial pairs are complete or incomplete, is subjective. But I speak from the perspective of a hardcore player, and I think a lot of hardcore players share this view that initial pairs are incomplete.
 
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ocelotlrama jaguar

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I would have liked it only to see more of the world building they could have done with Kalos, but it wasn't meant to be. Game Freak seems to be less predictable nowadays so now I just go with the flow and don't think too much of what could have been.
 

Esserise

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You know what? I just realized the premise in my above post is wrong.

I still stand by my opinion that initial pairs are an incomplete product. But the reason is not time constraints as I wrongly implied above. They sell us an incomplete product intentionally, to justify the purchase of the third version later on.

We already know that they (usually) hold off content like Gym Rematches, Pokémon League improved team rematches, a wider Pokedex, and even MOVE TUTORS (!!!) from the first entries of s generation on purpose, to "obligate" players to buy the third version as well. And those are basic features that should be available in EVERY game. So there is no denying they do hold back content intentionally from their initial pairs.
That is true. I do agree with you here to an extent.

I can sort of understand why they’d hold back on move tutors, if the reason they do it is because they want to get a feel for the new metagame in a “raw” state before determining which moves to distribute in response (I don’t know if that is the reason, but it makes sense in my head). And the improved Pokédex is the kind of thing that, over time, has sort of gone either way... GS included everything that wasn’t a Kantonian Starter, Legendary, or aquatic fossil (though I can’t quite fathom why those were left out). For Gen 3, I do think that they should have been able to deal with the compatibility cutoff with just RS and FRLG - we didn’t need Emerald to drag that mess out one entry further. DP were pretty inexcusable and should have just had Platinum’s selection (or ideally, an even better one) from the beginning. I feel like BW and the sequels split the difference perfectly given what they were trying to do with the first games, but of course, that generation was already the anomaly by having rehash games that were actually worth it. XY didn’t need a Pokédex buff and indeed did not receive an upgraded version, which leaves SM... and yeah, the Dex for the first games was pretty lacking, and way too slanted toward Gen 1. Should have just had the USUM Dex from the start.

And certainly in the case of Gym Leader and Elite Four rematches, I have a really hard time believing that they need an extra year or more to set those up.
 

Unown Seer

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Esserise said:
GS included everything that wasn’t a Kantonian Starter, Legendary, or aquatic fossil (though I can’t quite fathom why those were left out).
To give people an incentive to use the Time Capsule.
 

Kallyle

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Considering what little lore and mechanics Kalos had was essentially stolen from it by other regions (and either outright contradicts the Kalos lore or barely even touches upon those points), then I'd say yes. Most people would say that having other regions touch upon what Kalos introduced makes Z unnecessary. However, the way these leftover plot threads were handled (or outright ignored in some cases) causes a bigger problem: it doesn't just render Z pointless, but also makes the Kalos region as a whole just as pointless.

Considering Game Freak have essentially introduced new, non-mythical Pokémon into an existing region (Alola), they could have just as easily have introduced all of the Gen VI Pokémon and the concept of Mega Evolution into Hoenn without there being much of a difference besides starting a new generation in a previous region. They could have also incorporated Zygarde into the lore of Alola (assuming Zygarde was still going to be a thing, of course) instead of just shoving it off into the background as some leftover (though I would still want to see the cell-collection quest in SM regardless since that was pretty unique for a third legendary). Instead, all of these things were introduced into what was essentially a tech-demo transition and then quickly resolved as what comes across as an afterthought.

If you contrast Alola, which actually got a follow-up game, still had its own identity in the first games and felt complete both story and lore-wise from the get-go, clearly establishing its own identity. Unfortunately, this left USUM feeling somewhat cramped in the story department due to outright replacing certain elements so they no longer made sense. This makes me think that the story of USUM should have gone further with the story changes than they did since the usual third-version approach that worked with past regions just fell flat here, making me wonder if Game Freak simply ran out of time to polish up the story more.

I honestly don't want to view Kalos in a negative light like like this: I don't think any region deserves to feel such a treatment going forward. For this reason, I wish Game Freak would have gone with the predictable Pokémon Z route even if ORAS had to be sacrificed (which I could have lived with given the fact that they didn't even bring back the Emerald features Hoenn fans enjoyed from Emerald).
 

Gengarzilla

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I would have liked it purely because I've always preferred Zygarde a lot more than Rayquaza, but overall I'm mostly satisfied with how things turned out now. Gen VII making Zygarde an actual contender in battling circles like Kyurem before it was really one of the biggest things I wanted from Z anyway.

See, I can put up with a flawed story because, like any book, said story is finished when you reach the end. It's all the additions typically exclusive to third versions, like new forms, expanded battle facilities, Gym Leader rematches, and move tutors that are generally more important for me, because they stay with you for much, much longer.
 

Esserise

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To give people an incentive to use the Time Capsule.
Right, and I suppose I should appreciate that that’s all they limited it to, but still, I feel like just the Starters and the Legendaries would have sufficed. And I can’t help but think it slightly curious that they left out Omanyte and Kabuto even though they appear on the Ruins of Alph puzzles.

Oh well, it’s a decision twenty years past.
 
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