What did the friends even do? [Warning: Harshness]
by, 23rd October 2013 at 05:23 PM (573 Views)
Don't get me wrong, I really like Shauna, am ambivalent to Trevor, and tolerate Serena. It's not fair to compare them to past rivals, because all of then sans Serena aren't actually rivals. But what do these guys even add to the game? You barely even battle them, aside from Serena. Aside from a few things, it feels like Tierno and Trevor's roles could have been given to Shauna or Serena by the time you get to Laverre City with very few things lost. Aside from playing a generically supportive friend, they don't really add anything.
What does Trevor do? His goal is to complete the Dex, but in every instance where he compared our Dexes, I would tie or beat him without even trying. I guess he's the smart one of the group, but he just sort of becomes more and more irrelevant as you explore the world and learn things. His post-game role, telling you what Pokemon has a Mega Evolution, could just be handled by Sycamore or an NPC. It was nice seeing him come out of his shell during the Frost Cave story, but he was otherwise boring and ugly throughout the game.
Tierno is easily in the worst situation. Which is a shame, because I really loved his unique design and odd goal. He takes on a passive role and wants to make a dance team. Except do you actually see him do anything to further it? I mean, he catches 2 more Pokemon and talks about dancing a lot, but he's otherwise his goal isn't even expanded on. He's timid and doesn't battle much, aside from maybe off-screen battles against Team Flare I think? And when you battle him, he's pretty pathetic. His post-game role of giving you Heart Scales if you show him dance moves is probably like him learning about dancing. But otherwise, that role could also be given to some random NPC with nothing lost.
Shauna is actually my favorite of the friend trio + Serena/Calem, but that's not really saying much. She's bubbly, happy, and a lot like Bianca. (Except without the clumsiness, lack of confidence or backstory.) I'm not too upset that we didn't battle much because I felt that she had more of a presence than Tierno and Trevor. I spent quite a bit of time with her, and she wasn't so obnoxiously perky as to annoy me. We also learn that she's friends with Clemont and Bonnie [supposedly; the blond kids never told me anything about her. I just like to assume Shauna's lying to impress you, and picked the trick up from Clemont's website] and likes puzzles. A useless factoid about herself actually turns out to be a big help later on in the plot. But when you first face her, you have sheer type advantage over her. And by the time you battle her again, your team could obliterate her not only by sheer power and variety, but by numbers too.
Post-game, she trades you a starter and then just sort of waits in front of your house for the rest of her life, presumably waiting for you to get home while watching your mother's every movement. Considering you can potentially get Kalos starters in the Friend Safari, or over the GTS, her role is diminished somewhat. I hesitate to say that you could get a starter from an NPC, since it makes a lot more sense for her to have a starter, the child of her starter.
[6:03:44 PM] Johnny (Contrary): Guys. How would you describe Calem/Serena's personality and role in the games?
[6:04:40 PM] Johnny (Contrary): I saw on TVtropes (yeah I know, but I needed some research) and they made them out to be some tragic character, but I never saw these traits at all
[6:04:46 PM] Sorcerer Doctor Horrible, M.D.: Personality: Fiercely competitive, seems to have a strong sense of dignity
[6:04:50 PM] Sorcerer Doctor Horrible, M.D.: uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
[6:05:05 PM] Johnny (Contrary): Also they call you "neighbor" a lot and they're nice. That's all I got from them
[6:05:15 PM | Edited 6:05:41 PM] Sorcerer Doctor Horrible, M.D.: I mean, you consistently kick their ass throughout the course of the game, which they're pretty down about most of the time
[6:05:36 PM] Johnny (Contrary): oh yeah
[6:05:37 PM] Johnny (Contrary): thanks!
[6:06:01 PM] Sorcerer Doctor Horrible, M.D.: sort of reminiscient of ol' Cheren
[6:06:30 PM] Johnny (Contrary): Yeah, I liked it better with Cheren
At first I thought that TVTropes is extrapolating too much about Serena, like how they surmised that Paul is obviously a "Stop Having Fun Guy" or whatever and was meant to insult certain playing styles and treating this interpretation as fact. But after asking around and then digging into my memory banks, I managed to find some bits that make her stand out.
Serena was extremely bland, and I can only imagine Calem is about the same. Name all the traits Serena has: competitive, polite, has a sense of justice and believes in her friends. But here's where she gets unique: she loses to you.
I know, but here me out. She wanted the Mega Ring, and you took that from her. You beat her in that swamp, and she leaves the group to go train. So she's hurt and wants to improve herself, be an actual rival. Her commenting that she'll battle you every day in the post-game is her accepting her role as the punching bag and encouraging your talent for battling. At least her team in the post-game isn't so easy that I could beat her with just Chesnaught and Pangoro, as I did throughout the story.
Here's hoping the friends get the treatment they deserve in the next game(s), with a bigger presence, some development, and better teams. Give them all Klefki and Espurr.
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