GBAtemp Recommends: Pokemon XG Romhack

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Pokemon Sword and Shield were hailed as the first mainline Pokemon games to grace a home console system, which laid some pretty big expectations. Whether or not those two games managed to live up to most fans’ hopes depends on who you ask, but the lead-up to their release was quite possibly the most chaotic, dramatic, and controversial of any Pokemon game ever. But a fully-fledged Pokemon game had already been released on a Nintendo console, nearly 20 years prior. 2003’s Pokemon Colosseum might have been a spinoff, but I think not being a main series entry gave it the freedom and ability to be one of the most unique adventures in the franchise.

For those who didn’t grow up with Colosseum, the concept of the game sees you playing as an ex-criminal, who journeys through the rough western region of Orre, a land so desolate and tough that wild Pokemon don’t exist there. Taking away the standard “catch ‘em all” attitude from your average Pokemon game, instead of obtaining your Poke-friends in the wild, you steal them from other trainers. Of course, there’s a caveat; Nintendo wouldn’t exactly want to market a game where you play as an irredeemable bad guy--in Colosseum, you steal abused “Shadow Pokemon” from their evil trainers, in order to “purify” and save them. Since Colosseum also followed directly after the release of Ruby and Sapphire, every fight in the game is a double battle, meant to highlight what was a brand new feature at the time. Outside of those facets, it feels like a real deal 3D Pokemon game--an actual adventure, with story--not like the battle-sim-esque Pokemon Stadium.

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With such a cool region, and story beats and ideas that felt a little darker than what you’d expect to see from the kid-friendly series, Colosseum sold well enough on the struggling Nintendo GameCube to get a sequel: Pokemon XD. It toned down some of the edgier aspects from its predecessor, while trying to balance some of the parts of the Shadow Pokemon system, all while teasing then-unknown and mysterious generation IV Pokemon, like Bonsly and Munchlax. Both games were fantastic, spinoffs or not, bringing unique ideas and pushing the series in ways that would sadly never get revisited again.

At least, not officially. Leave it to the fans, and they’ll deliver. Pokemon NeXt Gen, or XG, made by StarsMmd, is a “romhack” of Pokemon XD, modernizing the old game to have all sorts of new features, chief among them Gen VII gameplay mechanics. Existing as the first--and probably only--major mod for either of the Orre games, Pokemon XG is an impressive effort to take a nostalgic game and make it better than ever before. Pokemon games tend to be fairly easy by design, but this romhack rebalances XD to be more challenging to longtime fans, and changes the Shadow Pokemon lineup to have more fan favorites, freshening up the experience for those who’ve already played through the game multiple times.

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StarsMmd went all out with this, putting in the physical/special split, more shadow moves, more Shadow Pokemon, more Wild Pokemon, Alolan Pokemon forms; more everything. I’d honestly not expected for all these changes to be possible, but here we are. Having grown up with gen III games, it continually blows (and confuses...) my mind to see a Fairy-type Shadow Granbull, or watch as my poor Shellgon gets annihilated by a situation I thought was safe, until a Clefairy pulls out Dazzling Gleam and ruins my day.

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I’d actually say that the difficulty balancing might have gotten a bit out of hand--25 hours into XG and I find myself being worn down by what seems like fights that are excessive for the sake of it. Opponents will have ridiculous movesets right out of the gate; you’ll be wrecked by teams that know to throw out a Pokemon with the Hidden Ability of Drizzle and just go to town with Thunder. It’s fun to see, for sure, but it also gets grating watching my own Pokemon get one-shot by attacks that I never could have expected. You’d THINK a Combusken would be safe against a Grass-type, until it pulls something ridiculous out of its hat, like a high-powered water move that takes it out in one hit. Later fights were seriously challenging, to the point of insanity, with full teams of Shadow Pokemon, with moves that would hit everyone on the field for super-effective damage, or just giant level leaps that exist only to steamroll your team. And yet, it was still super fun, because it kept me coming back and engaged by making me plan out my turns.

If Pokemon Sword and Shield let you down, and you’re still craving a 3D Pokemon game that’ll actually sate your needs, then I’d absolutely recommend checking out Pokemon XG. It’s been at least ten years since I last played the original game, and this romhack lets me go through all my nostalgic memories once more, while still being engaging and fun, even if exasperating at times.

:download: Pokémon XG official page




I hope you enjoyed this edition of GBAtemp Recommends. If you'd like to see more, leave your feedback in the thread below or check out our previous articles.

 

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StarsMmd

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Thanks for the kind words! The feedback is useful and will help guide the next update. :yay:

The game has a reputation for being hard (and to an extent it's supposed to be) but a lot of planning went into making sure that the player has good options to counter any strategies and most opponents will have some kind of exploitable weakness.

You might get swept by a team spamming surf, only to realise if you used wide guard you'd win without taking any damage. A team with all physical attackers is susceptible to things like intimidate and burns. Rain teams are weak if you set up sun. Trick rooms can be reversed. VGC players will also know the value of a well timed protect. Not to mention some of the items and abilities that can help out.

Support moves are pretty unnecessary in the main series and you're usually better off just having more coverage moves and clicking the super effective move every turn. XG can be a bit jarring if played the way the main series is.

That being said I know a lot of players would rather casually play through and enjoy all the changes and features so there will definitely be more options for the difficulty level in future updates.
 

pedro702

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Thanks for the kind words! The feedback is useful and will help guide the next update. :yay:

The game has a reputation for being hard (and to an extent it's supposed to be) but a lot of planning went into making sure that the player has good options to counter any strategies and most opponents will have some kind of exploitable weakness.

You might get swept by a team spamming surf, only to realise if you used wide guard you'd win without taking any damage. A team with all physical attackers is susceptible to things like intimidate and burns. Rain teams are weak if you set up sun. Trick rooms can be reversed. VGC players will also know the value of a well timed protect. Not to mention some of the items and abilities that can help out.

Support moves are pretty unnecessary in the main series and you're usually better off just having more coverage moves and clicking the super effective move every turn. XG can be a bit jarring if played the way the main series is.

That being said I know a lot of players would rather casually play through and enjoy all the changes and features so there will definitely be more options for the difficulty level in future updates.
i dont mind strategy and such but the level caps need to be abit better imo, way too many lvls abode your own team unless you grind like quite abit.
 

AlexMCS

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a rom hack is not the same of an rpg maker game... not even close.
So a super Mario game made in unity would be the same as a Mario hack too? makes no sense...

Not talking about difficulty of crafting here (much harder on a ROM, with it's limitations, and scope is also restricted).
I'm talking about the end result. The Pokémon RPG Maker games I've seen are pretty much exact copies of the real games when it comes to assets and base gameplay. You can remake any GBx pokémon game on it.

What I'm trying to say is that if they could be ported to consoles (GBx games), you would be incapable of distinguishing them both, since they look so much like each other.

Things like the Pokemon XG are something else entirely though.
 

pedro702

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Not talking about difficulty of crafting here (much harder on a ROM, with it's limitations, and scope is also restricted).
I'm talking about the end result. The Pokémon RPG Maker games I've seen are pretty much exact copies of the real games when it comes to assets and base gameplay. You can remake any GBx pokémon game on it.

What I'm trying to say is that if they could be ported to consoles (GBx games), you would be incapable of distinguishing them both, since they look so much like each other.

Things like the Pokemon XG are something else entirely though.
you can always tell them apart the engines are different and any regular pokemon player would notice the subtle changes.

And you cant compare the difficulty of making a rom hack to using a game maker, even if you could put game makes games on consoles that wouldn't change the output... i would never call a Mario game made on dreams on ps4 to a regular Mario game romhack, so when the op said about several other notable romhacks you suggested it would be the same as talking about game maker games, which is a total different story, just because something looks alike its not even on the same category.

its like saying your mario maker levels are just as good as mario romhacks which take alot of skill and knowledge compared with mario maker tools.
 

StarsMmd

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i dont mind strategy and such but the level caps need to be abit better imo, way too many lvls abode your own team unless you grind like quite abit.
It's worth noting that NPC pokemon rarely have natures, EVs, IVs or items. Even if the levels are higher your pokemon are usually much stronger. XG also has the exp scaling from gen 5 so you get more experience if you're behind the level curve. Always expecting to be a higher level is another thing that comes from how the main series is designed.

Pokemon's battle system is really deep and it's really rewarding to take advantage of the game mechanics. But unfortunately GF has primed us to not really engage with their system unless you play competitively. In game you're only really encouraged to learn type matchups and that's it. Switch in the pokemon with a type advantage, click super effective move, rinse and repeat. I've noticed a lot of players see a level jump in XG and their response is "I have to grind" rather than "I have to play more strategically".

I'm working on ways to message these kinds of things in the game though. It's a very interested game design challenge to nudge the player towards these strategies, especially when they may not be used to strategising beyond type match ups.

And yeah as mentioned before, I'll also be planning to have more difficulty options selectable in game. Now that XD hacking is progressing and I can change more than just battles, it's no longer just a difficulty hack. There are a lot of general changes and QoL improvements now that players mean casual players are interested in the game too but aren't necessarily interested in the challenge aspect. It's been a couple of years since the last update and the game's picked up some popularity since then. I have a big updated planned for later this year and feedback like this is always helpful :D
 

pedro702

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It's worth noting that NPC pokemon rarely have natures, EVs, IVs or items. Even if the levels are higher your pokemon are usually much stronger. XG also has the exp scaling from gen 5 so you get more experience if you're behind the level curve. Always expecting to be a higher level is another thing that comes from how the main series is designed.

Pokemon's battle system is really deep and it's really rewarding to take advantage of the game mechanics. But unfortunately GF has primed us to not really engage with their system unless you play competitively. In game you're only really encouraged to learn type matchups and that's it. Switch in the pokemon with a type advantage, click super effective move, rinse and repeat. I've noticed a lot of players see a level jump in XG and their response is "I have to grind" rather than "I have to play more strategically".

I'm working on ways to message these kinds of things in the game though. It's a very interested game design challenge to nudge the player towards these strategies, especially when they may not be used to strategising beyond type match ups.

And yeah as mentioned before, I'll also be planning to have more difficulty options selectable in game. Now that XD hacking is progressing and I can change more than just battles, it's no longer just a difficulty hack. There are a lot of general changes and QoL improvements now that players mean casual players are interested in the game too but aren't necessarily interested in the challenge aspect. It's been a couple of years since the last update and the game's picked up some popularity since then. I have a big updated planned for later this year and feedback like this is always helpful :D
i did competitive battling so im all good, i probably know every decent moveset for every pokemon until gen 6, after that not so much, the only thing that bothers me is, i like to catch pokemons with good natures so being back to back battling without saving is very problematic on many ocasions if you are striking for nature/ability xD.

maybe if the codding evolves you can actually make new towns or even routes with wild pokemons in them :P or make XD go from colosseum story to XD in the same game kinda like gold silver with 2 regions but here it would be more like 2 storys back to back(since they share alot of the same towns), that would kick ass imo ,like finishing colossuem and starting XD storyline right after.
 

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i did competitive battling so im all good, i probably know every decent moveset for every pokemon until gen 6, after that not so much, the only thing that bothers me is, i like to catch pokemons with good natures so being back to back battling without saving is very problematic on many ocasions if you are striking for nature/ability xD.

maybe if the codding evolves you can actually make new towns or even routes with wild pokemons in them :P or make XD go from colosseum story to XD in the same game kinda like gold silver with 2 regions but here it would be more like 2 storys back to back(since they share alot of the same towns), that would kick ass imo ,like finishing colossuem and starting XD storyline right after.

I actually had the idea to add in an item to change a pokemon's nature when I was adding the ability capsules but since they didn't exist in the main series at the time I decided to leave it. Now that SwSh introduced mints I'm glad I can copy that and it will be official.

Scripting is really easy for XD which is nice. The only major thing left to crack is putting new models in the game. Once that's done then we'll be able to add new areas and new pokemon. The guy who's an expert on the models is busy with university but when he's free he can hopefully make some progress on that. He's already made a model ripper and now just needs something that goes the other way.
 

pedro702

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I actually had the idea to add in an item to change a pokemon's nature when I was adding the ability capsules but since they didn't exist in the main series at the time I decided to leave it. Now that SwSh introduced mints I'm glad I can copy that and it will be official.

Scripting is really easy for XD which is nice. The only major thing left to crack is putting new models in the game. Once that's done then we'll be able to add new areas and new pokemon. The guy who's an expert on the models is busy with university but when he's free he can hopefully make some progress on that. He's already made a model ripper and now just needs something that goes the other way.
nice im hopping to see more XD hacks coming from you :P hopefully all new story ones would be amazing, and maybe even wild encounters of pokemons if that can be added someday.

For me XD and colosseum(i do like colosseum better btw just fells way coller the protagonist and such) has the best visuals even compared to sword and shield imo, the battle and such look like actual places and the camera lets you see much more 3d stuff around you.

heck in the future if xd is totally open who knows if we can do an actual new 3d pokemon game kinda like those amazing gba romhacks that exists.
 

AkiraKurusu

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Oh hey, if ya wanna edit your copy of XG (to fix the stupid Gen VI special move nerf, or the Gen VI Steel-type nerf - both of which are explained in that "Why Nerfs Suck" blog - or the Gen VII Potion nerf that wasn't mentioned in that blog, seemingly because the author forgot about that stupid Alolan quirk. Or anything else), I recommend this amazing tool. There's also a patch that removes the 510-EV cap, which is awesome.

I do wish we could remove that cap in DS and 3DS games, especially since online's practically dead for them now, but...no-one's seemingly tried to research that yet. Truly disappointing.

--------------------- MERGED ---------------------------

Oh, and PKHaX can be used for XG, but...some of the new items take the place of the placeholder "???" items, and since there's multiple slots with the exact same "???" name, those items will all turn into the first "???", which was repurposed into the Choice Scarf.
Oh, and not even PKHaX can allow you to select the second Ability slot for species that originally didn't have one, so Ability Capsules are pretty much mandatory for that.

And Sitrus Berries are borked in-game - they will decrease your HP to half if you're above half HP. They will also only heal to half HP if you're under that. Oops? Don't use them.

Not sure why Zigzagoon starts with bloody Tackle when the Documentation states he should've learned Headbutt by then, along with Pin Missile, but whatever. Disappointing and weird nerf.
 

AkiraKurusu

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Something else I discovered about XG?

Not only does Naps have a text bug when you confront him in the desert Cipher Lab (the last sentence before the battle starts doesn't have a full stop in it, making it look quite odd), but Lovrina's "nicknamed" Pokémon? Mr.Cuddles, Bubbles, whatever?
Yeah, this ain't Stadium, so AIs can't have nicknamed Pokémon; instead, the creator used some of the placeholder data between Celebi and Treecko to mimic actual Pokémon, except with custom names.

That was surprising; makes sense, though.
 
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