Conqueror of the Ecruteak Gym
X and Y's gyms do have their problems, but I think there's another reason that Kalos gyms are looked at as being easier than other regions. The first is that with Wondertrading, it was a lot easier and a lot more likely for you to end up with a Pokemon that could easily stonewall a certain gym. Grant's strong against typical Rock weaknesses like Water and Grass, but a good Steel or Fighting type like Honedge, Lucario, or Skarmory can easily sweep past them, (all Pokemon I've used successfully to beat Grant in the past, two of which were caught naturally in-game.) Korrina's team is easily handled by any Ghost type Pokemon with her Machoke being the only one who can hit Ghost types, and Wulfric is the easiest last gym leader I've ever seen.Even though I'm playing through Kalos rn, this is something I've thought for a long time now and I always get annoyed by whenever people talk about the region.
Kalos isn't as easy as everyone claims to be.
Almost all of the time, people who make this claim have the EXP Share On, use Amie, or Mega Evolve. That's fine; those are options presented within the game and you can utilize them to mold your difficulty settings, as well as further restrict items or your bag or whatever. However, once you utilize those tools as a cop out to pinning the game as "easy", without trying the game without methods that were clearly designed to facilitate one's experience, that's when I start to take issue.
A lot of people also point to XY's gyms, such as the leaders having 3 moves or Ramos being incredibly easy, and while that is true, they often overlook the brilliance of Grant, who wields an incredibly strong Ice-type and a Dragon to cover up traditional Grass/Water weaknesses, as well as T-Wave + Bite/Stomp and a Refrigerate Take Down (and a Hyper Potion to boot! At gym 2!).
What people often fail to mention about the games is that it honestly boasts the title of having the most difficult regular trainers of any Pokemon game. Take that section right after Grant, for example. On your path to the 3rd gym, you have to take down:
- Two Power Up Punching, Swords Dancing Lucario
- A Mr. Mime / Machoke double battle
- A Sigilyph (and Solosis, but it's okay)
- A Hawlucha with perfect neutral coverage and a Throh with Bulldoze
- A Super Luck Absol and a Revenge Pinsir
All of those fights, on their own, would most definitely be considered hard bosses if they were gym leaders in any region, and yet XY throws them at you with only 2 badges to your name. Not to mention, what I consider to be the "weaker" trainers of the routes having teams like Hippopotas/Drifloon/Pachirisu or Skiploom/Azumarill/Dunsparce, which can catch you off guard sometimes. Even stuff like the double Furfrou battle with a Full Restore after Gym 1 is scary.
As for the difficult trainers, the majority of them can be avoided by not walking directly in front of them. Reflection Cave has plenty you can't avoid, but there are a few you can time and skirt around. Gyms, on the other hand, are mandatory if you want to progress in the story. So if you want to talk about game difficulty, you generally want to discuss the mandatory parts that people can't avoid. Everyone fights gym battles and that's the part considered to be the challenge of the story/game so people were naturally disappointed. Especially compared to earlier generations like Black/White and the Sinnoh trilogy, which started throwing fully evolved Pokemon at you in the second gym.