I have what I consider to be a real on again off again relationship with Pokemon. I played Red when I was in 8th grade, and since then I’ve picked up at least one version of every generation. I usually play to the third gym, and then immediately get annoyed at the level grinding required to win the next gym. EXP share was a magnificent gift, and certainly made the process easier. However, I only ever beat the Elite Four in Red. Every other game has been left to collect dust.
With the release of X and Y, I have found myself newly invigorated by the series. It’s awesome to see Pokemon in a 3D environment, and it has captured my attention like only Red had before it. And, I was absolutely floored when I received the EXP share so early in the game. I also did a legit double, maybe even triple, take when I read that it gives experience to ALL Pokemon in the party, not just the one equipped with the item. No more excessive grinding! No long and dull lapse in gameplay just to get my beloved Pokemon up to speed. It was the final straw of indication that I’d see the Elite Four again after all these years.
My play resumed as normal, and something strange happened. Well, it wasn’t actually strange, it was exactly what was supposed to happen: my Pokemon wouldn’t stop freaking leveling up, and the disparity in their levels continued to exist. I found myself frowning in baffled irritation when my Fennekin (well Braixen, I guess) moved along to level 27, meanwhile the Vivillon that I was currently training sat around level 20. Braixen hadn’t actually been out in battle since level 19 or so! I started to legitimately feel like I was missing out on bonding time with the rest of my party.
I know that I can turn off the EXP share, and hack at this the old fashioned way. There are a lot of ways to make Pokemon more challenging, based on what the Internet tells me. Personally I find it to be a big enough challenge already. I don’t play competitively, even with friends, because I don’t plan my moves well and my favorite Pokemon is Oddish, who isn’t allowed to evolve and is therefore weak as hell. With this fact present, you'd think that I'd be overjoyed at the EXP share, right?
Does anyone else have mixed feelings about the EXP share, or perhaps have you stopped using it? Did anyone else feel like you were missing out on bonding time, having the rest of your team level up even though you weren’t using them in battle? Or am I all alone over here?
*banner image sources: oddish, inkay, fennekin, pokeball.