Radiant Historia (Whimsical Weekend #20)

Still a weekend thanks to Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Radiant Historia is a DS game dating back to 2011 (in North America, at least), so it might seem strange that I’m reviewing it now of all times. Well, to tell the truth, I never knew about it until I received it as a present just last Christmas. That said, I managed to beat the game just last night (with 40+ hours of gameplay, level 61 Stocke and Marco, and level 60 Aht), and I ended up completing all but 40 nodes in the White Chronicle, which includes having missed:

  • 3 Marco scrolls
  • 2 Raynie scrolls
  • 2 Rosch cores
  • 2 Gafka books
  • 2 Stocke pacts
  • 2 Aht pacts
  • 1 Eruca pact

…which is a shame, because my two partners of choice ended up being Aht and Marco.

Why? In the initial stages, I only ever used Raynie and Marco, apart from scripted events and one super annoying miniboss fight (I’ll get to that later). But later on, when I got to the Cygnus part of the story, when Stocke finds Aht before any other of his allies, I came to really admire Aht’s fighting style. She places traps on the field that deal insane damage, and I’ve always liked being able to push enemies around, so…yeah.

So, that’s the reason for Aht. As for Marco: He, Rosch, and Gafka are the only characters with easy-to-acquire skills that pull enemies forward, and I figured that Marco would be the most beneficial due to his access to plenty of healing skills (not to mention Rosch and Gafka aren’t around as often).

And even if traps are out of the question (such as if the enemy takes up all 9 opposing tiles), Aht still proves to have decent damage output with Cross Star (especially if boosted by Marco), and the two partners are robust in the support skills that they possess. That is to say, not only are both very effective healers, but Marco can boost all allies’ Defense, while Aht can boost Magic Defense and, more importantly, ailment resistance. On another note, both have Weakness Scan.

So…yeah. Aht is a literal and figurative beast, and Marco is a robust supporter.

Other things I enjoyed about the game:

  • The timeline mechanic is a pleasant reminder of the Zero Escape series, but applied to an RPG instead of a visual novel / puzzle.
  • The combat places enemies on a 3*3 grid reminiscent of the MegaMan Battle Network series, and core mechanics include pushing enemies around and changing turn order. It may be turn-based, but all ally turns are executed before the next enemy turn, so combo execution can really feel good and look cool.
  • I like that the main character (Stocke) is laconic and antihero-ish but still has the basic social and combat skills to deal with most situations. Also brings into relief the side characters of the game.
  • Speaking of, I have an unhealthy obsession with Lippti.
  • The music is composed by Yoko Shimomura, who also composed for the Kingdom Hearts and Mario & Luigi series. So, naturally, it’s good music. Has emotional tunes, upbeat tunes, and everything in between. My personal favorite track is the miniboss music.

But, even the best of game experiences come with a few gripes.

  • Backtracking to a node in the timeline puts you at the beginning of the cutscene associated with that node, instead of the moment when you are first able to assume control of Stocke. Sure, you can speed through text boxes by holding the X button, but that’s just text boxes; the animations take the same amount of time every time. I find this particularly bothersome for the beginning node of Alternate History Chapter 1 (A New Mission), which has an exceptionally long cutscene for what it’s worth.
    1/16 edit: Well, it just came to my attention that you can skip cutscenes entirely using the Start button. Now I feel stupid for not trying that.
  • I can’t help wishing that Elm (Celestia’s military commander) had full art instead of just a sprite. She seems like she would look cute.
  • The miniboss battle in Alternate History Chapter 4, just past the Celestian War node, is honestly the most annoying fight I’ve had to deal with. At the time, the main three (Stocke, Raynie, Marco) were at level 40-ish, and Rosch was at around level 20. The battle starts off with a thaumachine (story term for an automaton) taking up the top and center tiles of the enemy grid, backed with four naval mine lookalike enemies called Clockwork Thunder taking up the corners. The Clockwork Thunder enemies cannot be pushed around, they’re difficult to one-shot with multi-target skills, and they only ever use a skill called Self-destruct that deals an easy 200 damage to whatever it targets (which, at the time, was at least half every character’s HP), only at the expense of disappearing from the field. What’s more is, when the Clockwork Thunder enemies are all gone, the thaumachine uses Floating Bomb to summon a row of three in the farthest available row in the back (unless it’s at low HP, in which case it can use Bull Crash, another painstakingly strong move). I ended up being able to survive with Rosch and Raynie as partners, and my general strategy was to keep the thaumachine in the back and use Rosch’s Gull Swing to take out the Clockwork Thunder enemies all at once (at the time, Gull Swing would barely fall short of KOing Clockwork Thunder in the back), all while using Raynie’s Thunder and Stocke’s Fire (well, in the few opportunities when Stocke didn’t have to heal anyone) to whittle away at the thaumachine. What a pain it was.
  • Another annoying part of the game is the second room of the final dungeon. The gimmick behind the room is that you defeat these floating block enemies and they become obstacles to push and create paths. It’s not a huge issue per se, but there are some crystal enemies along the path that respawn during the cutscene where the blocks become movable. It’s especially a pain for completionists (like me) who want to get the two chests at the beginning of the room (behind rocks that can only be exploded by hidden barrels at the end of the path). I mean, it’s really only the respawning thing that cheeses me off, but this is a prime example of that.

I think that’s all that needs to be said about Radiant Historia. There is a 3DS remake (titled Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology) slated for overseas release next month, but I’ll just settle for having played the original. As for the remaining 40 nodes and stuff, I will scoop them up using walkthroughs (such as this one) because I’d rather not go through the tedium of scouting them out on my own.

Overall rating: 9.3/10. Simple but fun.

 

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

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I have been playing Pokémon Ultra Moon (Whimsical Weekend #19)

I’m sorry to say that I’ll be keeping this brief, because I’ve said plenty about Pokémon Sun in Whimsical Weekend #6 (which just so happens to be not much less than a year ago), and I don’t have much to add to that. I owe this mostly to the fact that I don’t have nearly as much time nowadays to spend on video games (let alone what the fanbase calls a “remake” of Sun/Moon) and therefore haven’t been through anywhere near as much postgame as in the case of Sun.

…Well, to be more accurate, the one thing above all else that inhibits me from going through Ultra Moon postgame is: the quest for a good Stakataka.

First off, I’m looking for a Lonely nature with a Defense IV of 15 or less, so that it will gain Attack from Beast Boost if fully trained in Attack. More importantly, I’m going for as little Speed as possible, which is simple for me to check, considering I just so happen to have a Vullaby with exactly 21 Speed. (The Speed value of a level 60 Stakataka with a neutral nature and 0 IV in Speed is 20.) Simple as it is, though, it’s not that easy. If it was any earlier year, I would have had much more patience in constantly resetting for this sort of thing than I do now. But hey, if talk like that isn’t convincing enough, how about some statistics?

  • Chance of Lonely Nature (with Synchronize Elgyem): 50%
  • Chance of Speed not being one of the three guaranteed perfect IVs: 50% (10/20)
  • Chance of Speed IV being 0: 3.125% (1/32)
    • Chance of Speed IV being 1 and losing a speed tie with Vullaby: 1.5625% (1/32 * 1/2)
    • Chance of either of the above: 4.6875%
  • Chance of Defense IV being 15 or below: 50% (16/32)

So…we’re looking at nearly a half-percent chance of an acceptable scenario. Not as daunting as the chance of encountering a shiny Pokémon with regular odds, but still quite a pain to go for.

 

Anyway, enough about that. Remember this snipped that I posted in Whimsical Weekend #6?

Well, I decided to use 4 of those 6 in the creation of my Ultra Moon team, and it turned out like this:

I don’t remember how they were when I beat the Pokémon League, but here’s their current status. (Yeah, I still play the game in French.)

Gaebora (Decidueye) [Archéduc] (M)
Ability: Overgrow [Engrais]
Level: 69
Mild Nature [Doux]
Stats: 197/171/105/169/163/147
– Leaf Blade [Lame-Feuille]
– Spirit Shackle [Tisse Ombre]
– U-turn [Demi-Tour]
– Nature Power [Force-Nature]

Blanc (Sandslash-Alola) [Sablaireau] (F) @ Focus Band [Bandeau]
Ability: Snow Cloak [Rideau Neige]
Level: 66
Lax Nature [Lâche]
Stats: 192/174/199/53/96/122
– Iron Head [Tête de Fer]
– Ice Punch [Poing Glace]
– Bulldoze [Piétisol]
– Metal Burst [Fulmifer]

Kirche (Salazzle) [Malamandre] @ BrightPowder [Poudre Claire]
Ability: Corrosion [Corrosion]
Level: 66
Naive Nature [Naïf]
Stats: 188/119/98/151/104/203
– Flamethrower [Lance-Flammes]
– Venoshock [Choc Venin]
– Toxic [Toxik]
– Dragon Pulse [Dracochoc]

Théo (Bewear) [Chelours] (M) @ Leftovers [Restes]
Ability: Fluffy [Boule de Poils]
Level: 66
Relaxed Nature [Relax]
Stats: 253/202/139/105/106/105
– Hammer Arm [Marto-Poing]
– Facade [Façade]
– Payback [Représailles]
– Thrash [Mania]

Asui (Araquanid) [Tarenbulle] (F) @ Quick Claw [Vive Griffe]
Ability: Water Bubble [Aquabulle]
Level: 66
Modest Nature [Modeste]
Stats: 187/116/135/92/192/100
– Liquidation [Aqua-Brèche]
– Scald [Ébullition]
– Leech Life [Vampirisme]
– Mirror Coat [Voile Miroir]

Courange (Lycanroc-Dusk) [Lougaroc] (M) @ Normalium Z [Normazélite]
Ability: Tough Claws [Griffe Dure]
Level: 66
Adamant Nature [Rigide]
Stats: 185/216/98/86/109/192
– Rock Slide [Éboulement]
– Drill Run [Tunnelier]
– Thunder Fang [Crocs Éclair]
– Happy Hour [Étrennes]

In terms of nicknames, Gaebora and Kirche are the only ones I really kept, while the others are arguably improved over what I had before. In particular, I figured based on Sandslash’s tanky stats that Blanc would be a far more fitting name for it than Hokuto, and Théo is far less generic than any other Bewear nickname I can think of. (Théo is named after Theodore Roosevelt, who is known as Teddy.)

Asui is admittedly kind of a stretch for Araquanid (considering its namesake), but I’m proud of Courange. Why? It was first intended to be a simple portmanteau of “coucher” (as in sunset) and “orange” (the color of Lycanroc-Dusk), but when I thought deeper, I realized that there are even more words that can be associated with the nickname:

  • “courir” (to run)
  • “courage”
  • “cou” (the neck, the sweet spot in Poké Refresh)
  • “range” (as in range of movement)
  • “ange” (angel)

…So I thought, but the more ideas I come up with, the more they seem…off. Oh well.

As for movesets, don’t worry about what I listed them as in Whimsical Weekend #6; the me back then was a bit naïve in some aspects, particularly when it comes to moves that can only be obtained post-game. *coughEarthquakeonAlolanSandslashcough*

And yes, I did soft-reset for Adamant Lycanroc-Dusk. It’s what I believe to be the ideal nature for a Z-Happy Hour user, which is precisely the role that I ended up assigning to Courange. Shame that it has absolutely no 100% accurate attacks (unless I were to teach it Accelerock, which I’m not down for).

By the way, now that I think about it, there was something that I wanted to mention about Ultra Sun/Moon that wasn’t in regular Sun/Moon. Four words: ROTOM. NEVER. SHUTS. UP. Really, does that stinking piece of scrap metal think that it’s a good idea to babble about silly tutorial things, regardless whether or not the player has already demonstrated knowledge of such things, 90% of the time after closing the pause menu or finishing a battle? Ugh, the nerve.

So, that’s my main complaint about Ultra SuMo. That said, there were a few pleasant surprises within the main story. Particularly:

  • Totem Wishiwashi and Salazzle being replaced by Araquanid and Alolan Marowak respectively
  • The entire Fairium Z trial (I actually had to soft-reset against Totem Ribombee)
  • Ultra Necrozma
  • New environment and timing for the fourth Grand Trial
  • A Steel-type dude taking Hala’s place in the Elite Four
  • Hau contending for the Champion title, instead of Kukui defending it

 

Pff, man, I said I’d be brief, but this still ended up being almost a thousand words. Not to mention it took a longer time than I thought. But, I think that’s all I have to say here.

À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Super Mario Odyssey! (Whimsical Weekend #18)

I bought this game on release date (October 28), but between having a full-time job, some unspoken second thing, and wanting to finish Breath of the Wild main quests first, I never had the pleasure of playing it until 2 days later. That said, I enjoyed the crap out of the game and managed to 100% complete it in roughly 45 hours overall. Now, don’t be deceived by quantities (namely that I’ve spent 125 total hours on Breath of the Wild as of now), because I have to say that Super Mario Odyssey has a better ratio of quality to time spent. But, comparing the two games is like comparing apples to oranges, so I’ll just discard any further notion of doing so.

First off, a synopsis. Bowser schemes to arrange a marriage with Peach, and Mario has no choice but to interfere. However, Mario starts off being kicked off Bowser’s airship and lost in some mysterious location, his hat torn to shreds. Fortunately, this mysterious location happens to be the hometown of a hat-like ghost named Cappy, who meets Mario and ends up becoming his sidekick by giving him special powers, notably the ability to control particular creatures. While Bowser is out wreaking havoc and stealing valuables from a multitude of kingdoms, Mario and Cappy give chase, hoping to eventually rescue Peach (and Cappy’s sister, Tiara, who accompanies Peach throughout the story).

Simply put, Odyssey has a rather standard plot, but you can’t expect much different from a main series Mario game, eh? I mean, what makes a Mario game good is the music, atmosphere, and gameplay.

Starting with the music, Odyssey has a great soundtrack all around, with both original compositions and blasts from the past. Here’s a list of my top 3 picks in ascending order: Bowser’s Castle 2, Steam Gardens, and Honeylune Ridge: Caves. (As a side note, I have to say: The Wooded Kingdom music always reminds me of Llama by Phish.)

In terms of atmosphere, I don’t have much to say on the matter, except regarding the quirky characters of the game. I mean, there’s not much that I can say about everything else, because I’m not the type to be easily moved by any sort of scenery or inspired by any sort of theme. Anyways, regarding the characters… I’ll start with minor notes regarding minor characters.

  • The residents of Shiveria are adorable. My favorite minor characters, hands down.
  • “OTEP” is a nonsensical word said by the human NPCs of the game, particularly the bassist of Metro Kingdom. It’s become a meme on Twitch, so don’t be surprised if you see the word thrown around every now and then (to say the least).
  • Not exactly a character, but darned if Burrbos aren’t the most annoying enemy in the game. They’re like Miniblins from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. They die in one hit, but they respawn constantly, make annoying noises, and are extremely pesky with their means of dealing damage.

Next up: talk about Cappy. His powers are irreplaceable, and he definitely tries his best to be a helpful sidekick. Although his help occasionally comes in handy (particularly when it comes to postgame moon/coin hunting), it’s mostly redundant to people (like me) who end up having learned more about the game than the developers would expect (specifically when it comes to gameplay techniques and normally self-explanatory moments). It also makes me curious that he and Tiara pronounce his name more like “Kyappy” than “Cappy”, presumably because the voice actors are Japanese. More importantly, his cries for help after being captured by Klepto are really annoying.

Now, last but definitely not least is the gameplay. I want to say there hasn’t been a Mario game with such satisfying movement since Sunshine or 64. Granted it kinda follows in the footsteps of 3D World, but the cat suit is not absolutely needed (in other words, taking damage does not absolutely negate the fastest form of movement). It’s no secret that Odyssey was developed at least somewhat with speedrunning in mind, considering the movement options, skippable cutscenes, Koopa Freerunning, and a few sequence breaks that Cappy comments on. Even so, it can just as easily be played casually by virtue of its design. What’s also cool is that there’s a multitude of 2D sections in the game despite it being 3D, and even with some throwbacks to age-old games such as Donkey Kong and SMB1.

And contrary to 3D World’s linearity in design, Odyssey has two types of collectibles: moons and purple coins. Some of the purple coins may be a major headache to get (read: Lake Kingdom underwater zipper and Bowser’s Kingdom lantern), but the concept of purple coins makes the game more of a collectathon like Sunshine. (3D World only had stars, stamps, and maybe flagpoles.) I mean, some of the moons were also a pain, namely:

  • Dark Side moons 3 and 4 (Breakdown Road: Hurry! and Breakdown Road: Final Challenge!) – This is the start of a series of challenges that are repeats of earlier moons except that you have to use Cappy to get in and therefore can’t use him within the rooms (like how Super Mario Sunshine secrets have Shadow Mario stealing FLUDD). Well, I didn’t know they were repeats at the time; most of them I did before the original moons. Anyway, it’s some tough crud, lemme tell ya. Although, admittedly I was a bit too search-happy with this particular challenge, but the long jump sequence is challenging regardless.
  • Dark Side moons 5 and 6 (Invisible Road: Rush! and Invisible Road: Secret!) – Honest to goodness, there were times when I felt like I was clearly stepping on the giant Poison Piranhas but ended up somehow getting hit instead. Deceitfully difficult stuff.
  • Dark Side moons 11 and 12 (Yoshi on the Sinking Island and Fruit Feast on the Sinking Island) – This is not part of the series mentioned above. I find it cool that you can directly control Yoshi in this game instead of riding on his back; it feels a bit more like symbiosis than the usual master-servant relationship. Even so, I didn’t know, nor did I think I needed to know, about Yoshi’s climbing technique, so my first playthrough of the challenge consisted of sideflip fluttering and a whole metric frick ton of deaths. I mean, at least the fruit counter doesn’t reset when you die, but it’s always agonizing when the lava catches up (usually no thanks to the spike ball cycles), especially at high HP.
  • Darker Side (a.k.a. Champion’s Road 0.5), although apparently some major skip was discovered for that level. This was actually the first place where I realized that you could control Glydon.
  • Moon Kingdom moon 16 (Found on the Moon, Good Dog!) – It wasn’t in any of the craters that the dog could access, so I had no clue where it could possibly be. I tried using Hint Toad, but the hint he gives only points to the dog, so I just had to keep trying. Turns out the moon is between the debris-filled crater and the straw dummy for moon 7 (Moon Kingdom Timer Challenge 1).
  • Moon Kingdom moon 28 (Mysterious Flying Object) – I went through so much trouble trying to figure out how to catch the UFO, not realizing that the solution was simply a homing cap throw.
  • Metro Kingdom moon 36 (Celebrating in the Streets!) – I missed this secret the first time, and it was such a pain to find it postgame, even with the help of Talkatoo and the Hint Toad.
  • Cap Kingdom moon 7 (Slipping Through the Poison Tide) – Somehow I didn’t notice the hole in the gate across from the entrance at first, and that was also the location of three of the purple coins that I was missing before I realized.
  • Cap Kingdom moon 13 (Taxi Flying Through Bonneton) – I was confused when Hint Toad led me to the binoculars, and that was when I figured out that there are certain moons that require looking at oddities in the sky. (Others include Cascade Kingdom moon 25, Metro Kingdom moon 59, and Bowser’s Kingdom moon 39.)
  • Cap Kingdom moon 17 (hint art) – I thought for so long that those were carpets like in Tostarena; I never imagined people on the moon. The blue circle in the background was the main giveaway, though.
  • Sand Kingdom moon 76 (On the Eastern Pillar) – This one was a pain—but possible—to get without motion controls. That is to say, I was on gamepad at the time, so I didn’t even think motion controls were possible, but I painstakingly found a way to get the moon anyway. What I did was I went to the Tostarena Ruins Sand Pillar location, went to the pillars closest to the east of the nearest Bullet Bill cannon, lured a Bullet Bill from the south pillar, took its hat off at the north pillar, and threw Cappy at the very northeast corner of the pillar while luring the Bullet Bill to where I threw him. This allowed me to reach the box without shaking at all, just holding Y.
  • Luncheon Kingdom moon 53 (Diving from the Big Pot!) – While capturing a Lava Bubble in the giant stew pot, do a rather precise jump to the smaller stew pot on top of the slots building in the plaza. The consequence of failing? Having to warp to the Top of the Peak Climb checkpoint and get back to the giant pot. This particular moon wasn’t a huge struggle, taking me only 2-3 tries, but it set forth a greater struggle that I had on moon 50.
  • Luncheon Kingdom moon 50 (The Rooftop Lantern) – I did this right after moon 53, so I did the exact same thing for this moon, and it was a whole lot more painstaking due to being slightly farther away and having a smaller hitbox. (It took me upwards of 10 tries.) That was before I realized that I could just take a Fire Bro. from beyond the Path to the Meat Plateau checkpoint back to the plaza.
  • Mushroom Kingdom moon 28 (Courtyard Chest Trap) – Aside from the Chest Trap in Seaside Kingdom that’s precisely like Super Mario 64, this was the first Chest Trap mission I had done. I had no idea what was going on, thinking that I had to kill all the zombies in the order specified, and I frustratingly died once or twice before realizing the truth behind it.
  • Mushroom Kingdom moon 33 (Knucklotec rematch) – Those zombies were so pesky.

And regarding 100% completion, I did almost everything on my own—”almost” as in, I tried not to look up anything (although I was tempted to look up Bowser’s Kingdom purple coin locations) except the best farming spot for coins (that being the secret stage of moon 37, the beanstalk at the west wing of the castle) and 2 of the required captures (specifically the Poison and Fire Piranha Plants).

At any rate, the gameplay of Super Mario Odyssey leads me to believe that it’s not entirely complex but not entirely mindless—that is, just the right balance between simple and clever for a Mario game. I find that the Bowser fights are particularly well done in that Bowser seems to have a surprise for every cycle. Even in the first fight in Cloud Kingdom, the last cycle has Bowser performing a counterattack instead of the usual fare of being pummeled while doing nothing back. Then the second fight has him throwing rocks that can’t be punched, more as the fight draws closer to the end. Another surprising thing to me was the third cycle of the third Bowser fight (unlocked after obtaining all 880 unique moons). Normally, Bowser throws a fixed number of rocks before bursting out in evil laughter and leaving himself vulnerable, but in the cycle in question, he never stops throwing rocks until you approach him and pummel him. (But you have to be quick, otherwise he’ll jump away.) You could always do that in all the other cycles of all the fights, but I never imagined until then that such a thing was possible. (Being able to control Bowser after the fight was also a pleasant surprise!)

And even though I’ve finished the game, I easily came to enjoy watching speedruns of it, primarily on account of how slick the movement is and how so many tricks are revealed that I never knew in my first playthrough.

Final verdict: There is no such thing as a perfect game, but Super Mario Odyssey comes very close.

 

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

I have been playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Whimsical Weekend #16)

…and I must admit that I’ve become quite obsessed.

Back in early August, I caved in and bought a Nintendo Switch bundle pack with Breath of the Wild (including DLC) and, ever since August 18 when I unpacked everything, I haven’t spent a single day without playing the game. (It is currently the only game I have for Nintendo Switch, but I might consider getting Puyo Puyo Tetris, and I definitely plan on getting Super Mario Odyssey.)

After 70 total hours of playing, my current progress is as follows:

  • All Divine Beasts freed
  • Full Stamina Wheel
  • 12 Hearts
  • 83 Shrines
  • 105 Koroks
  • 12 Main Quests
  • 23 Shrine Quests
  • 30 Side Quests
  • All Sheikah Slate runes, completely upgraded
  • All Towers activated
  • 4 Memories (out of the main 12)
  • 45 Hyrule Compendium entries
    • 20 Creatures
    • 16 Monsters
    • 5 Materials
    • 2 Equipment
    • 2 Treasure
  • 3 Great Fairies

In all this, I have and will, above all else, try not seek any help online. Granted, I did look up that there are 120 Shrines, 900 (!!!) Koroks, 15 Main Quests, 42 Shrine Quests, and 76 Side Quests…but simple quantities like that are acceptable in my book.

Despite that I got DLC with the bundle pack, I plan not to indulge in any of it until I’ve beaten the game normally, and I won’t beat the game normally until I feel fully prepared to do so (i.e., once I feel like I’ve discovered enough areas on the map, or at least recovered the remaining 8 memories and pulled out the Master Sword (in that order)).

Anyway, it’s been quite an adventure, honestly. If I had to describe the game in just a few words, I would describe it as an Elder Scrolls + Skyward Sword hybrid. That is to say, it has all the open-world goodness of an Elder Scrolls game, with bundles of aesthetics and mechanics reminiscent of Skyward Sword.

Not only that, but the puzzles within the shrines and such are brilliantly designed to require plenty of brain power (as in, not much hand-holding here) while not quite being on the echelon of a dedicated puzzle game. That said, I recall having trouble with more than a few portions of the game. Before I go on, though, note henceforth that when I say “I had to,” I actually mean “I felt like I had to.” Just think of it as an abridgement, really. Anyway, so…what exactly I struggled with:

  • Fighting a Guardian for the first time (in Great Plateau, with no ancient weapons or anything like that)
  • Surviving the path to Zora’s Domain for the first time
  • Fighting a Lynel for the first time
  • Immobilizing Vah Ruta without missing any shots (I thought this was mandatory at first)
  • In Sha Warvo Shrine (the one near Flight Range, along the path of the Vah Medoh quest), it took me way too long to realize that the penultimate platform block had an opening concealed from the view of the fan before it.
  • In my first fight against a Talus, I only used arrows and Lizal boomerangs, being blissfully unaware of the possibility that I could simply climb up on that enemy (when the time is right, of course) and go ham on its weak spot.
  • The Yiga Clan Hideout took me three tries to sneak through. Everything past the second guard is a huge pain, like a ridiculous jump in difficulty compared to the beginning. On the third try, I had to avoid everything except the Mighty Banana stash. As in, from the closest opening to the stash, I paraglided all the way to the final stretch, having to creep around the suspecting final guard. It was a struggle at first, believe me…but the final result felt so easy, despite feeling a bit wrong.
  • Climbing one of the towers (the one with the ancient sentries and the Pools of Malice) was a pain, and so was even finding Gerudo Tower (let alone without traversing the desert).
  • All those “Major Test” Shrines (and even a Savage Lynel that killed me) on the path of searching for Gerudo Tower
  • The two upper terminals of Vah Naboris were a humungous pain to get to. All I could think to do was haphazardly shoot arrows through whatever openings I could find near the Pools of Malice, and I eventually managed to find and destroy one of the eyes blocking my way.
  • Getting through Lost Woods—particularly the second part, where you have to follow the embers of a lit fire to get to the end
  • Facing intense cold and heat for the first time
    • In the case of intense cold, I didn’t know that Rito Armor existed until after doing the midair arrow shot training, so I had to keep a Torch with me at all times…until the training, during which I had to fight the bitter cold.
    • Intense heat was much tougher to deal with. I can’t imagine the intended way of going through it, but I went all the way to the southern mine of Eldin, making sure to keep healthy by way of healing items, Mipha’s Grace, and the hot spring near the southern mine…and then hunting down 10 Fireproof Lizards to complete the quest for the fireproof armor. (Side note: I tried to take a picture of one to take advantage of Sheikah Sensor +, but I learned the hard way that taking damage forcibly takes you out of camera mode.)
  • Wrapping my head around how the Goron cannons work, specifically that you have to hit the lever with an equipped weapon to get the cannons to turn
  • I used up 2 Ancient Arrows during the attack on Vah Rudania. On the path to the second cannon, I didn’t really think outside the box and ended up having to fire at two sentries that were giving me a hard time. The path to the third cannon was also quite a handful, but that was when I realized that the path to Vah Rudania is designed with a way to take out the sentries without engaging them in direct combat.
  • Rock Octoroks and phase 2 of Fireblight Ganon have a particular trait in common: They suck in their surroundings, and they fire a projectile that deals ridiculous damage. In the case of Rock Octoroks, I had to fire a precisely timed arrow between the interval of when they spit the projectile and when they hide in the ground. In the case of Fireblight Ganon, there was nothing else I could do. That was when I realized: If a monster sucks things in, simply feed it a Remote Bomb! Since then, needless to say, Rock Octoroks have become much easier to deal with.
  • Fighting the Igneo Talus on the isolated platform surrounded by lava (that thing knocked me into the lava so many times before I figured out how to fight it…)

So, those are things that I struggled with but ended up prevailing over. And even now, I still have some mysteries on the back burner:

  • The fourth Great Fairy
  • The Keo Ruug Shrine riddle
  • The Eighth Heroine (I plan to not fully explore Gerudo Desert until I complete this quest…however I do it)
  • Savage Lynels with clubs (seriously, I can literally only get a flurry opportunity from one of those attacks…)
  • How to snipe the eyes of the thunder and fire dragons, like sniping the eye of the freeze dragon after liberating it from the calamity

To end this off, I’ll try to think of particular things that I like and dislike about the game.

Pros:

  • Nods to other games in the series
    • The Divine Beast names
      • Vah Ruta is named after Ruto, the Water Sage of Ocarina of Time
      • Vah Rudania is named after Darunia (literally an anagram), the Fire Sage of OoT
      • Vah Naboris is named after Nabooru (and Urbosa even says that in the cutscene after freeing the Divine Beast), the Spirit Sage of OoT
      • Vah Medoh is named after Medli, the Earth Sage (is that even the proper term…?) of Wind Waker
    • Part of the Rito Village theme is remixed from the Dragon Roost Island theme of Wind Waker
    • Locations like the Linebeck and Mercay Islands (Phantom Hourglass), as well as Darunia Lake (OoT again)
    • Kass plays Epona’s Song (from OoT) on accordion when at a stable
  • The minigame music (that plays during the climbing challenge, footrace, and such) and Talus battle music are particularly catchy
  • Champion powers can be really helpful, especially Mipha’s Grace and Daruk’s Protection (that sort of mechanic is reminiscent of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, now that I think about it…)
  • Sidon is a cheesy yet somehow likable character, and baby Zora and Rito are adorable.
  • Stuff that I’ve already mentioned

Cons (take these with a grain of salt; I freaking love this game):

  • Random undead and Chuchus are pesky (especially when I try to sneak up on some random enemy or group of enemies)
  • Rain hinders climbing to a crippling degree
  • They removed Beetle’s signature “THANK YOU!!!” from Wind Waker…and now his most notable line is “Saa, saa!” (which is essentially Japanese talk for urging Link to buy/sell something)
  • That freaking blood moon… Well, that in itself isn’t too bad, considering it makes Lynel and Hinox drops significantly easier to hunt for, but it irritates me that the same old dag-blasted cutscene plays every single time after the first blood moon, and you have to press X and + to skip it. I mean, what’s so important about seeing it any more than once?
  • If you approach a Divine Beast while it’s preparing its attack on Ganon, the game moves you to one set point nearby. …Why not just have Link turn back and take a few steps, similarly to how the boat in Wind Waker makes a U-turn if you hit the edge of the map?

For now, this is the best that I can use words to express my admiration for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Next time I talk about this will probably be when I complete the game to a satisfactory degree.

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Flash Game Speed Marathon: My marathon debut (Whimsical Weekend #11)

Two months ago, I talked about submitting for Memeathon X, specifically with an unofficial category of Phoenotopia that I call “69 HP RTA,” but my submission didn’t make it into the marathon.

Fortunately, not long before the end of March (I don’t remember the exact date), I happened upon a more esoteric submission form posted by Twitch user LaserTrap_ in the 360chrism Community Discord. That form was for a marathon initially named “Flash Games Done Quick,” but they had to change the name mid-marathon because “Games Done Quick” is trademarked. Regardless, considering that a vast majority of the games that I currently speedrun are Flash games, of course this marathon would be the perfect fit for me. So, I submitted Phoenotopia 100%, Rock Bottom All Levels, and Chompy All Levels; and I ended up being one of only seven runners in the marathon (including LaserTrap_).

It was my first time doing live commentary while speedrunning (granted I rehearsed a bit beforehand), but I’d say it went over pretty well. Highlights can be viewed below:

Phoenotopia [100%] in 1:47:16 — https://www.twitch.tv/videos/137592161

Rock Bottom [All Levels] in 7:53 — https://www.twitch.tv/videos/137592857

Chompy [All Levels] in 6:22 — https://www.twitch.tv/videos/137593444

(Other highlights of the marathon can be found at https://www.twitch.tv/lasertrap_/videos/highlights)

Because I rehearsed so little, it goes without saying that there was at least a little rust involved in all my runs. Prior to the week before the beginning of the marathon, it had been six months since my last Phoenotopia 100% WR (1:44:08), five months since my last Chompy WR (5:09), and three months since my last Rock Bottom WR (6:17).

Since the games that I ran are so fast-paced (well, not so much Phoenotopia, but still), I can’t remember off the top of my head where exactly I messed up in each run, but I do recall that I unfortunately didn’t get the 1-minute skip in level 14 of Rock Bottom. Also, apparently my keyboard doesn’t like me pressing down, right, and Numpad 0 at the same time, so I had a tiny bit of difficulty starting the timer for Chompy.

Another thing: I’m not used to talking in general, so running my mouth for practically two straight hours caused my voice to hurt over the weekend. Thankfully, though, it was nothing major.

Bottom line: I dragged myself into a change of pace by becoming part of an esoteric marathon, and the highlights linked above are the results.

 

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

New PC + speedgames (Whimsical Weekend #8)

PC

I never really made this evident in any of my recent Vouiv-review posts, but I recently built a new PC! I spent roughly $1600 on all the relevant components, and it’s been working very well ever since I got the Windows 10 Home product key and Ethernet cable.

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This is my current setup. It may not be the most complex setup in the universe, but it gives me just what I need. As you may or may not be able to tell, in front of my bed, just near the window, I have a swivel chair facing a single table with the tower off to the right (which unfortunately hides the insides from view) and keyboard and mouse + mousepad in front of a dual-monitor setup on top. Because the monitors are of different sizes and odd angles (the 25″ one being HP brand and the 22″ one being Sceptre brand), I had to use Heroscape tiles (from my childhood) to adjust the heights and angles to my liking.

Also, since it’s a new PC with a resolution differing from that of the MacBook Pro that I would otherwise normally use, I decided that I would use a different wallpaper as well.

It’s from the same series as my laptop and phone wallpapers (that being Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo), and this particular image is from volume 11 of the light novel.

Another funky thing about the dual monitor setup that I have is that not only are the monitors of different sizes and odd angles, but they also produced different sorts of output in their initial state. Thus, I had to tinker with the settings of the 22″ monitor in order to make the outputs as similar as they can be. Even so, I’ve noticed that it’s easier to see darker colors on the 25″ monitor (a fact that I first came to realize while playing around with Phoenotopia Awakening Demo v0.06b), although the 22″ monitor actually has a speaker (whereas the other monitor does not).

How great it is to have a dual monitor setup with Windows regardless; it allows me to multitask better than I ever have before. For example, I can have a Twitch stream up on the 25″ monitor, some other form of web browsing (which sometimes involves writing, such as this post to this current instant of typing) on the left side of the 22″ monitor, and email and/or some other utility on the other side of the 22″ monitor. (Sometimes, I even have Notepad in the bottom-right corner with the rightmost Chrome window in the top-right.)

Speedgames

Also thanks to the new PC, I find it easier to toy around with OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) for better quality footage of the PC games that I usually speedrun (where I would otherwise have to use the MacBook Pro). I currently don’t have reliable sources for external audio or keyboard overlay with the PC like I do with the MacBook Pro, but the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. I mean, just look at this sample footage in the form of a demonstration of most of the first Prince Tower segment of Phoenotopia 100%:

The splits are just there on the side to show that I can use LiveSplit (while I would normally use Llanfair on Mac) to show all 35 splits at once. (I probably could have done something similar if not the same with Llanfair before, but I couldn’t be bothered to figure out that sort of thing.)

With that in mind, I might actually go back and improve my times in Phoenotopia (and maybe branch out to that one “Most Dangerous Arsenal” category that I mentioned in an earlier post, or maybe even the glitchless subcategory) with the new PC, and I’m heavily considering post-commentating the any% run so that I have a helpful video resource for that category (in a similar vein to the tutorial series that I made for 100%). However, the critical issue in that department is that I would have to get used to the mechanical keyboard. As it stands currently, I have a harder time performing brief inputs (notably short-hopping) with the mechanical keyboard than I have ever had with the MacBook Pro keyboard, so…yeah.

Phoenotopia Awakening Demo v0.06b

But hey, the original Phoenotopia wasn’t the first thing that I considered running on the new PC. As a matter of fact, not too long after I built the PC, demo version 0.06b of the upcoming remake (Phoenotopia Awakening) was released, and the first thing that I resolved to do was write a guide on the demo. The guide is totally completed (at least as far as I’m concerned) and can be viewed here, but…well, the developer’s most recent blog post says that download links for this particular build of the demo will be closed.

Regardless, while the game was fresh in my mind, of course I was the one to submit it on speedrun.com, and that even led me to submit a series entry for Phoenotopia. On the demo v0.06b leaderboard, I established three separate categories: any%, All Collectibles, and All Pearlstones. (I decided to make the third one a miscellaneous category because it’s less sensible of an objective than any% or All Collectibles (similarly to how All Moonstones is a miscellaneous category of the original Phoenotopia).)

By the way, All Collectibles constitutes the following (as far as I know):

  • 7 Anuri Pearlstones (should be left with 1 after unlocking all 6 frog seals)
  • 2 Heart Gems
  • 2 Moonstones (specifically from the breakable tomb and the Giant Slime)
  • 2 Antique Bracelets
  • Energy Gem
  • Slingshot
  • Crank Lamp
  • Bombs

My PBs in the three categories are 4:29, 10:27, and 6:58, respectively. My any% PB was initially 4:59, but a competitor with a 4:56 led me to rethink the route and improve my time.

Here be videos:

Rock Bottom

I don’t think I ever mentioned Rock Bottom in any of my blog posts, but that’s another game that I submitted to speedrun.com. To be honest, though, I didn’t continue beyond 7:45.97 for a long time, and it was back in early November 2016, before I had even bought the parts for the new PC, that I had established that time. Meanwhile, SRCom user CreepinAtMyDoor was out shredding my time to bits, even accidentally discovering a skip in level 14 that saves more than a minute, and ended up with a time of 6:22.1 before the end of that November. I felt at the time that WR was beyond recovery, but then, about a week ago, I had suddenly regained the inspiration to take it back. One day I got 6:35.43, the next day I got 6:30.67, and then finally I was able to take back the WR with 6:17.87 (after a 6:25 run that I opted against uploading).

This game is difficult as crud to optimize, so I am very happy with this time, even though I got spiked in level 12 (and at a very unconventional point too). Man, my heart was racing by the end of that run. Imagine what my reaction would have been if the recording had external audio. (The skip is at 4:15 in the video, by the way. If you miss the hard floor and hit the spongy surface, the run is pretty much over.)

Chompy

Another speedgame in my repertoire, although I haven’t run it since the time I submitted it to speedrun.com. My current record is 5:09.73, which notably includes two deaths in the 21-30 segment and a botched entry into level 11. So, even though I felt at the time that it was a solid run, there is still room for improvement, so I might actually try to get better.

Diamond Hollow II

This one is more of an up-in-the-air case. I don’t own the speedrun.com leaderboard of this game, and the owner of the leaderboard has been inactive for over a year (and it doesn’t help that said owner has no links to social accounts in his/her profile page). Currently there are four established categories:

  • Story Mode – Any% (all seven levels of Story Mode, anything goes)
  • Story Mode – New Save (all seven levels of Story Mode starting from fresh data)
    • The leaderboard owner also imposed a rule against “glitches,” but I honestly believe that the rule is arbitrarily imposed, especially considering the category name does not in any way imply the exclusion of glitches. Besides, I haven’t encountered anything resembling a “glitch” in the game, and I tried asking about it in the forum 9 months ago but still haven’t received a response.
  • Boss Rush – Normal
  • Boss Rush – Heroic

About two weeks ago, I submitted runs for Story Mode Any% and Boss Rush Normal, which can be viewed below:

I specified both real and in-game times because it was ambiguous which to go with, and I used real time as the submission time for the leaderboard because there was only one field.

I might do Story Mode New Save in the near future, but that seems like it would be difficult if not impossible to route out. (I’m thinking it will help to know all the Red Diamond locations, though.) Plus I would have to delete save data, and I’m reluctant to do so considering how long it took me to get a 100% completed file.

As for Boss Rush Heroic…no. No. Never. Forget speedrunning that category; I can’t even beat it casually!

Anyway, that’s all I have to say for now.

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

I have been playing Pokémon Sun ((late) Whimsical Weekend #6)

(So much to write for such poor time management, so apologies for the late post.)

I made this evident in my update post before Poké Monday 11/28/16 (Mimikyu), but I have indeed been playing Pokémon Sun as of recently, and I wish to dedicate this post to elaborating upon my experience with the game.

To start, here is the team that carried me through the Elite Four:

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As you can probably tell by the word “Objets” (pronounced ohb-zhay) in the bottom-right, I did indeed decide to play the game in French, just as I always have ever since they introduced language selection (which was in X&Y). Although French is a second language to me (my primary language obviously being English), having the game in French isn’t too hindering, and it’s also fun that way. Besides, from what I know, the Masuda Method (a trick to increase the chances of getting a shiny from breeding) is only dependent on the language of the game from which the foreign parent originates, rather than the true nationality of the game. (My copy is North American.) So, playing the game in French is not entirely lying to myself, and it also has its benefits.

Anyway, on to describing the team (which is severely underleveled, and I will explain why later). I tried to make sure that the team was packing at least the following types: Ground, Ghost, Flying, Fairy, Steel, Dark, Fire, Water, and Grass; and, as usual, I wanted to avoid repeating types. Along with the six final team members above, there are numerous candidates that I considered and/or carried along prior to the Elite Four, and I will talk about those as well.

To bring back a certain formatting style from my Omega Ruby progress report two years prior (I can’t believe it’s been that long): Pokémon, natures, abilities, and moves will be named primarily in English with their French names in [] brackets.

Final team members

Algancre the Dhelmise [Sinistrail]
Level after E4: 49
Current level: 64
Nature: Lonely [Solo]
Ability: Steelworker [Expert Acier]
– Power Whip [Mégafouet]
– Shadow Claw [Griffe Ombre]
– Anchor Shot [Ancrage]
– Giga Drain [Giga Sangsue]

While I was considering the Grass part of my Fire-Water-Grass core (I had already decided the Fire and Water parts), this candidate was where my final decision, which I made just before the Elite Four, rested. I encountered it at level 43 and could not be bothered to grind it against wild Pokémon, so I brought it in pretty much as is. While it hits really hard and technically has three STABs (thanks to Steelworker), it is weak to rather common types (including one of its own), is extremely slow, isn’t quite up to par in terms of bulk, and has missed Power Whip way too many freaking times. Name is a portmanteau of “alga” and “ancre” (anchor), because that’s probably what I would have named it if I were in charge of the nomenclature.

snek the Zygarde [Zygarde]
Level after E4: 52
Current level: 64
Nature: Hasty [Pressé]
Ability: Aura Break [Aura Inversée]
– Thousand Arrows [Myria-Flèches]
– Rock Slide [Éboulement]
– Core Enforcer [Sanction Suprême]
– Dragon Dance [Danse Draco]

“A legendary? Blasphemy!” I wouldn’t be surprised if that were a thought lingering in someone’s mind right now. Well, I had been using Zygarde ever since I was able to obtain the 10% Forme on Route 16, mostly because it serves as my Ground-type and has great synergy with the rest of my team. Back when it was 10%, it was very fast and reasonably strong, but also rather frail. Now, however, it serves as nothing short of a backbone for the team. Respectably bulky in spite of its defense-hindering nature, still reasonably fast in spite of its lowered Speed, and still just as strong as ever (well, with a slightly stronger Core Enforcer). Above all else, Thousand Arrows is awesome; Ground has amazing coverage as it is, and Thousand Arrows does neutral damage to airborne targets before they are smacked down. Speaking of airborne targets, Rock Slide has been helpful against some Flying-types (particularly the fiery kind) as well. The nickname “snek” is a deliberate misspelling of “snake” (based on a meme). When this Zygarde was 10%, though, it used to be named FrankerZ after the big dog on Twitch. As for 100%…well, I’m not considering advancing that far until I’m done with the current Zygarde. As I have read, if you combine all 100% of the Zygarde cells, there’s no going back. (Make no mistake, though, I have collected all 100 cells; I just opt to keep the 50% Forme around until further notice.)

Ao the Ninetales [Feunard] (male)
Level after E4: 51
Current level: 65
Nature: Bold [Assuré]
Ability: Snow Cloak [Rideau Neige]
– Ice Beam [Laser Glace]
– Dazzling Gleam [Éclat Magique]
– Psyshock [Choc Psy]
– Nasty Plot [Machination]

Like Algancre, Ao was another member whom I brought on board as late as just before the Elite Four. (Ao, however, was caught at a higher level: 47.) I was considering using the S.O.S. Battle mechanic to go for one with Snow Warning, but I decided that that Ability would be too much of a hindrance to my team as a whole. As for the reason why I included this member in my team…well, to be honest, I had been considering adding Alolan Sandslash to the team ever since my first encounter with Sandshrew, but, 3/4 through the game, I did some research and came to realize a vital and disappointing fact: Alolan Sandslash is Moon-exclusive.

I usually decide what version to buy based on the cover legends and how the titles feel in general, and that led me to choose Sun over Moon; in other words, I paid no heed to any other version exclusives such as Ninetales and Sandslash. To make matters worse, this isn’t the first time I’ve chosen a Pokémon game version preventing me from getting Sandslash; in fact, I would go as far as to say that the Pokémon itself has been eluding my version choices…even as early as Gen II, where I chose Silver (and Sandslash is Gold-exclusive). In Gen III, I chose FireRed, and Sandslash is LeafGreen-exclusive. So…well, after twelve freaking years, the curse of the elusive Sandslash returns anew. (Hey, man, I like Sandslash, and it would have been a great Steel-type addition to the team.)

Anyway, rant aside, since I was so bothered at being unable to obtain Alolan Sandslash, I decided to make do with what I had and get myself an Alolan Ninetales instead. It’s no slouch in terms of offensive prowess (and serves as the only dedicated special attacker of the entire team), but it’s actually slower than Zygarde, presumably because of Zygarde’s Nature advantage and extra EVs. The nickname “Ao” reflects the blue coloration of Alolan Ninetales, and it’s also based on an original character of mine (from a story that I discussed in a former Vouiv-review post) who is elementally affiliated with Spirit and capable of freezing things. (I mean, I couldn’t think of anything else to name a male Ninetales.)

Oh, and also: I had caught an Alolan Vulpix before the one that I ultimately settled upon, but I soft-resetted afterwards because I was not willing to put up with a Jolly-natured Ninetales.

Crusch the Skarmory [Airmure] (female)
Level after E4: 52
Current level: 64
Nature: Quiet [Discret]
Ability: Keen Eye [Regard Vif]
– Steel Wing [Aile d’Acier]
– Aerial Ace [Aéropique]
– Swords Dance [Danse-Lames]
– Autotomize [Allègement]

Named after Crusch Karsten from Re:Zero (my personal favorite character of the series) because of her affinity with wind and steel, this Pokémon was quite an oddity but also quite an asset to the team. I consider it to be an oddity because it possesses a terrible Nature and Ability and runs dual STAB with Double Dance (something that I never normally do in-game), not to mention I have never actually used Skarmory in an in-game team before. It has been of great help, though, with its awesome defensive typing, ability to take hits, and the occasions where it puts in work after setting up. It was caught on Route 17 at level 34, and it has served well since its debut.

Leonardo the Poliwrath [Tartard] (male)
Level after E4: 52
Current level: 64
Nature: Modest [Modeste]
Ability: Water Absorb [Absorb Eau]
– Scald [Ébullition]
– Brick Break [Casse-Brique]
– Psychic [Psyko] after E4; Poison Jab [Direct Toxik] currently
– Work Up [Rengorgement]

The Water component of my Fire-Water-Grass core ever since Brooklet Hill (granted it was after Lana’s trial), I caught this in the wild at level 14, and I was deliberately going for Water Absorb (and for a darn good reason). I also use this for super-effective damage against Normal-types thanks to its Fighting STAB (although it is a shame that I have to choose between Brick Break and Low Sweep—Focus Blast be darned despite the Nature), and Scald is arguably its best Water-type option in spite of the burn nerf as of the current generation. I had Psychic on it during the Elite Four, but after fighting Mina in Poni Gauntlet, I realized that having Psychic on Poliwrath was redundant with Ao having Psyshock, so I decided to replace Psychic with Poison Jab as I began to realize the value of having Poison coverage on the team. Work Up has come in handy on a few occasions, and my primary motive for using it is to prevent stronger Trainers from healing up if Poliwrath does less than half with any given attack. The nickname “Leonardo” comes from a chain association of Poliwrath with Battletoads and Battletoads with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I thought that the name “Battletoad” would be too predictable, so I shifted focus to TMNT and settled on the nickname Leonardo because both Leonardo and Poliwrath are associated with the color blue. (Another nickname idea I had was “Nyoron Cena,” but that sounded stupid the more I thought about it.)

Nyanta the Incineroar [Félinferno] (male)
Level after E4: 56
Current level: 67
Nature: Quirky [Bizarre]
Ability: Blaze [Brasier]
– Flare Blitz [Boutefeu]
– Darkest Lariat [Dark Lariat]
– U-turn [Demi-Tour]
– Flame Charge [Nitrocharge]

Goodness forbid, another anime-based nickname. It’s not even that good of a nickname for the final evolution, considering it’s awfully slow (although not as slow as Algancre) and looks more buff than its namesake, but hey, I couldn’t make a Cena reference because it’s been done before. I probably could have made a JoJo reference based on the French nomenclature of its Nature, but I haven’t watched nearly enough JoJo to dare to do so. I may have had something else come to mind, but I completely forgot, and it was probably dumb anyway.

Anyway, I settled upon the fire cat as a starter, simply because I’ve always been a cat lover. I was considering the grass owl as a secondary choice, but the second form of the evolution line turned me off. As for the water seal…to be completely honest, I just don’t like its design. I will concede that Primarina is the best final-form starter typing-wise and stat-wise, but the design is a like-or-dislike sort of thing, and I have to say that I am on the dislike side. At any rate, the fire cat has been strong throughout the entirety of its evolutionary cycle, but then it slowed down drastically when it hit the final stage of evolution. On most occasions, even Flame Charge couldn’t redeem its disappointing Speed. I think I was also using Flamethrower as primary Fire STAB before I got to Flare Blitz level, which is…perhaps not the best idea, although I would argue better than having to settle with the 95% accurate Fire Fang. The recoil of Flare Blitz is slightly detrimental, but the power side of the tradeoff is well worth the risk. Darkest Lariat is the best Dark STAB option, and U-turn in conjunction with Speed boosts from Flame Charge allows the fire cat to switch with style.

Regarding the name of Incineroar/Félinferno, I don’t really like the English or French name (especially English), but man, the German name, Fuegro, is freaking awesome.

Former team members

Note: These Pokémon are presented in reverse chronological order of being put into the PC. Also, the term “former” does not mean to imply that I did a Nuzlocke, because I didn’t. (I’m not masochistic enough to make a Nuzlocke of my first playthrough of a game.)

Doppel Jr. the Mimikyu [Mimiqui] (female)
Level: 47
Nature: Quiet [Discret]
Ability: Disguise [Fantômasque]
– Play Rough [Câlinerie]
– Shadow Claw [Griffe Ombre]
– Charm [Charme]
– Shadow Sneak [Ombre Portée]

Mimikyu was something that I’d been wanting to use ever since Acerola’s trial, but when I realized how popular it actually became later on, I decided to stray away from it while making changes to the team prior to the Elite Four. I will say, though: It has served well in spite of its subpar Nature, with its extremely useful Ability and awesome three-immunity typing making it a huge help in defeating Totem Kommo-o. (I will provide further detail later.) It’s had Shadow Sneak and Charm ever since I caught it (at level 30), whereas Shadow Claw was taught via TM and Play Rough was learned later, specifically after the Dragon trial (and I had to use Dazzling Gleam for Fairy STAB in the meantime). The nickname is inspired by the character Doppel from the series Monster Musume, and the “Jr.” part of the name comes from how Mimikyu’s disguise does not perfectly mirror Pikachu (contrary to the namesake of this one in particular).

Giroeuf the Exeggutor [Noadkoko] (female)
Level: 46
Nature: Quiet [Discret]
Ability: Frisk [Fouille]
– Grass Knot [Nœud Herbe]
– Dragon Hammer [Draco-Marteau]
– Sludge Bomb [Bomb-Beurk]
– Nature Power [Force-Nature]

I would have named it Girœuf if the in-game keyboard had a œ character, but alas I had to keep the “o” and “e” separate. (Regardless, I will henceforth write œuf because it looks nicer.) I had initially considered the nickname “Giriffraffe,” which is simply inserting “riff-raff” (branding for the craziest allowable posts of the KnowYourMeme forums) into the word “giraffe” (a creature that Alolan Exeggutor strongly resembles), because Alolan Exeggutor’s design is a literal meme. Later, however, I decided to keep it simple and just combine “giraffe” with “œuf,” the French word for “egg.” Like Algancre, it would have been a slow but strong and moderately bulky attacker, but I didn’t want to double up on Dragon-types and thusly ended up ditching Girœuf primarily in favor of Algancre. Speaking of Algancre, Girœuf was also caught at level 43, but since it was a temporary placeholder for the team prior to bringing Algancre aboard, it actually picked up a few levels.

Entoma the Charjabug [Chrysapile] (female)
Level: 41
Nature: Jolly [Jovial]
Ability: Battery [Batterie]
– Spark [Étincelle]
– X-Scissor [Plaie-Croix]
– Poison Jab [Direct Toxik]
– Thunder Wave [Cage-Éclair]

An odd little case, this one. First of all, its nickname is based on a character from Overlord whom I didn’t care about until the Ple Ple Pleiades special, just because it’s a bug and has an oddly shaped but likely-to-devour mouth. Second, I didn’t know how to evolve it at first (because I was trying to avoid looking anything up until just before the Elite Four, at which point I would reflect upon my team ideas and whether or not they’d work), so I just left it in its secondary form and slapped an Eviolite on it. Although I caught it at level 28 on Blush Mountain and took it through (I think) the entirety of Aether Paradise, it didn’t take me long thereafter to decide that its time was up. (I replaced it with Girœuf.) Still, it was fun to use with its paralysis shenanigans, decent bulk thanks to Eviolite, and passable offense.

Puff Mama the Cottonee [Doudouvet] (female)
Level: 36
Nature: Brave [Brave]
Ability: Prankster [Farceur]
– Giga Drain [Giga-Sangsue]
– Fairy Wind [Vent Féérique]
– Leech Seed [Vampigraine]
– Stun Spore [Para-Spore]

Terrible nature and meh nickname (I would have named it “Puff Daddy” if it were male, because the cotton aspect of the Pokémon made me think of the word “puff”), but this ‘mon has been a bulky asset to the team until I decided to replace it with Entoma after obtaining Doppel Jr. (because I didn’t want to double up on Fairies). If I hadn’t traded it off, I would have kept it until it learned Moonblast, but then I recently realized that only its evolution learns Moonblast by level-up (and, unfortunately, not until level 50). Regardless, it was a valuable asset, the Grass component of the imminent Fire-Water-Grass core, since I caught it in Melemele Meadow at level 10. Leech Seed is an amazing move in-game, providing gracious recovery and helpful passive damage at the cost of 10% inaccuracy and being ineffective against Grass-types (and Dark-types thanks to the Prankster nerf), and the STAB moves do wonders in withering down the opposition. Because I didn’t bother to evolve Cottonee while I had it, it was my primary Eviolite holder until Entoma came along, and it was respectably bulky when it acquired the Eviolite. Good times.

Harem the Dugtrio [Triopikeur] (female)
Level: 36
Nature: Naive [Naïf]
Ability: Tangling Hair [Mèche Rebelle]
– Magnitude [Ampleur]
– Metal Claw [Griffe Acier]
– Rock Tomb [Tomberoche]
– Growl [Rugissement]

I caught this as a level 8 Diglett in Verdant Cavern, which I had initially named Blondie (obviously after its hair color and partially after the artist), but then I had the wild idea of naming it Harem after its evolution (because, y’know, it’s a multitude of female heads, and that’s what a harem is all about). My thought process was that it would fill the Steel-type and Ground-type needs of my team, but I came to realize before long that it was too frail considering how much damage it could deal (especially with its low BP moves) and just couldn’t pull its weight as a whole. With that in mind, I eventually set it aside and had Crusch fill the Steel-type role and 10% Zygarde fill the Ground-type role.

Praline the Oricorio [Plumeline] (female, Pom-Pom Style)
Level: 36
Nature: Bold [Assuré]
Ability: Dancer [Danseuse]
– Air Slash [Lame d’Air]
– U-turn [Demi-Tour]
– Roost [Atterrissage]
– Feather Dance [Danse-Plume]

Caught at level 9 in Melemele Meadow, this ‘mon filled the Flying-type role for my team for a long time, and I wanted to believe that it could learn an Electric-type move as well, but its gimmick move Revelation Dance takes way too freaking long to learn (and it doesn’t get any other Electric-type attacks). I tried to make do with what I had, though, and I have to say: Even with a hindering nature and base 70 Attack, Acrobatics hit really freaking hard. That said, I decided to shift the moveset to one that plays more off its strengths and uses special STAB in tandem with U-turn and other supporting moves. Nonetheless, it ended up replaced by Crusch due to its way-too-long-lasting lack of secondary STAB and the change in formation of the team in general. Its nickname is based on a character of the same name in Bravely Default, specifically because of its tendency to dance, the white part of its body, and the similarity of its French name to the name Praline.

Agatha the Misdreavus [Feuforêve] (female)
Level: 30
Nature: Mild [Doux]
Ability: Levitate [Lévitation]
– Shadow Ball [Ball’Ombre]
– Psychic [Psyko]
– Charge Beam [Rayon Chargé]
– Taunt [Provoc]

Used to be my go-to Ghost-type until I obtained Doppel Jr. I encountered it at level 9 in the Hau’oli Cemetery, and its decent special offense and three immunities made it a respectable part of the team. Sadly, though, as it remained unevolved for the entire duration when I had it, it just couldn’t pull its weight as the game started to get harder (and Dusk Stone is awfully far through the game, Poké Pelago be darned). Generically named after the Poison-type member of the Kanto Elite Four who is also infamous for using Ghost-types.

MasterSensei the Machop [Machoc] (male)
Level: 21
Nature: Brave [Brave]
Ability: No Guard [Annule Garde]
– Brick Break [Casse-Brique]
– Low Sweep [Balayette]
– Knock Off [Sabotage]
– Foresight [Clairvoyance]

Served as a Fighting-type attacker since obtained via in-game trade at level 9, but it ended up being replaced in favor of Leonardo. I didn’t have any real fond memories of this thing, just that it was there in case Rock-types (or perhaps Normal-types) would become a problem. It would be named Macho if I had decided to play in English, but the French counterpart is MasterSensei (apparently).

Straw the Cutiefly [Bombydou] (female)
Level: 10
Nature: Sassy [Malpoli]
Ability: Honey Gather [Cherche Miel]
– Struggle Bug [Survinsecte]
– Fairy Wind [Vent Féérique]
– Absorb [Vol-Vie]
– Stun Spore [Para-Spore]

This was my designated Fairy-type between Route 2 and Melemele Meadow, before I realized that Cottonee was a better fit for me (and arguably a better Pokémon in general). Plus, its Ability and Nature are evidently sub-optimal.

le toucan the Trumbeak [Piclairon] (female)
Level: 14
Nature: Bold [Assuré]
Ability: Keen Eye [Regard Vif]
– Peck [Picpic]
– Echoed Voice [Écho]
– Growl [Rugissement]
– Brick Break [Casse-Brique]

This is the Route 1 bird, which I planned to keep until it reached its final evolution (hence the nickname), but I lost patience with it when an issue arose with the low BP of its STAB moves and the faultiness of its Nature (and, now that I look back at it, its Ability), so I replaced it with Praline, which had a superior typing and damage output.

Nermal the Meowth [Miaouss] (male)
Level: 7
Nature: Naughty [Mauvais]
Ability: Pickup [Ramassage]
– Bite [Morsure]
– Scratch [Griffe]
– Growl [Rugissement]

Just a seldom used 6th team member until I had a full synergetic team to assemble. Pickup is always nice, but I didn’t want to keep this around because I knew that the Fire starter would eventually evolve into a Dark-type (admittedly because I was spoiled before I started the game). The Garfield reference in the nickname is far too obvious, but I honestly couldn’t think of anything else.

Sacapatates the Makuhita [Makuhita] (male)
Level: 13
Nature: Modest [Modeste]
Ability: Thick Fat [Isograisse]
– Brick Break [Casse-Brique]
– Tackle [Charge]
– Focus Energy [Puissance]
– Fake Out [Bluff]

Haha, Modest physical attacker. This was my initial Fighting-type from Route 2 until the in-game trade Machop in the Pokémon Center thereof (although I believe I conducted the trade after completing the first trial). In spite of its terrible Nature, it served well for what it was worth. The nickname is a shortening of the phrase “sac à patates,” which can be translated to “potato bag,” because that’s just the type of wording I would use to describe Makuhita’s appearance as a whole.

Miracle the Magnemite [Magnéti]
Level: 11
Nature: Quiet [Discret]
Ability: Sturdy [Fermeté]
– Tackle [Charge]
– Thunder Wave [Cage-Éclair]
– Thundershock [Éclair]
– Magnet Bomb [Bombaimant]

Of all the nicknames that I have given in this playthrough, I would have to say that this is the one that I’m the most proud of. The chief reasoning behind it is because of the song Miracles by Insane Clown Posse, which contains the phrase, “magnets, how do they work?” It also fits well because of the Ability Sturdy, which allows the user to survive at 1 HP as if by a miracle. Anyway, nickname aside, this was my designated Steel-type from the Trainer School until I caught myself a Diglett. It was fun to use while it lasted.

Profiteur the Rattata [Rattata] (male)
Level: 7
Nature: Naughty [Mauvais]
Ability: Hustle [Agitation]
– Tackle [Charge]
– Tail Whip [Mimi-Queue]
– Quick Attack [Vive-Attaque]
– Focus Energy [Puissance]

Nickname is a reference to another Bravely Default character, mostly because of the moustache, buck teeth, and black outfit. Only saw a bit of action, specifically because I fear Hustle and, again, didn’t want to double up on Dark-types.

The rest are filler members: Nom the Yungoos [Manglouton], Foxy Grandpa the Ledyba [Coxy], and Wormy the Caterpie [Chenipan]. They honestly just filled up space while I was in the process of assembling a team of six.

Honorable mentions

Pokémon that I may have considered before but did not end up making the cut:

Fire-types that I would have considered using if I hadn’t picked the Fire-type starter.

Same as above, but substitute Fire for Dark.

My teambuilding process was so immunity-centric that I didn’t bother with types like Alolan Raichu, but perhaps I would have considered it otherwise.

The Water/Flying typing and regular access to Drizzle were tempting, but I’m sure I’ve used a Pelipper before, and I didn’t plan on using one again. Besides, Drizzle would have had bad synergy with my starter.

Similarly to Alolan Raichu, my teambuilding process was too immunity-centric for this thing.

I like the idea of Accelerock, but I find pure-typed Pokémon to be less preferable over dual-typed Pokémon.

An alternative Water-type that I would have considered if not for the reasoning above.

Ground-type and has an interesting Ability in Stamina, but again, it only has one type. Moreover, I couldn’t possibly grind a Mudbray up to a comfortable level for the Elite Four at the point I was at while deciding my final team.

I was a fan of stuffed toys when I was a wee lad (and I still have pretty much my entire collection), and Fluffy is a very interesting Ability, but I had already decided that Poliwrath was going to be my Fighting-type before I could even encounter a Stufful. I won’t knock the design of this one, just because of how funny it is in the anime (and the moments with the Bewear and Team Rocket led me to appreciate its appearance more than I ever could have imagined).

Definitely an interesting ‘mon in terms of its typing and unique Ability in Water Compaction, but I had the same sort of too-little-too-late syndrome to deal with as I did with Mudsdale.

I might have considered this if not for how late-game it is (in spite of its pre-evolutions being in the demo) and if I hadn’t already been using Zygarde and Poliwrath.

Hypothetical alternative team

You know, the previous section has me thinking: What if I had chosen Moon with Rowlet as my starter? Then perhaps the final team would look more like this:


Gaebora (Decidueye)
Ability: Overgrow
– Leaf Blade
– Spirit Shackle
– U-turn
– Roost

Cocytus [Hokuto if female] (Sandslash-Alola)
Ability: Snow Cloak
– Icicle Crash
– Iron Head
– Earthquake
– Protect

Kirche (Salazzle) (F)
Ability: Corrosion
– Flamethrower
– Sludge Bomb
– Dragon Pulse
– Toxic

Ty [Saya if female] (Pelipper)
Ability: Drizzle
– Hurricane
– Scald
– Tailwind
– Roost

Teddy (Bewear)
Ability: Fluffy
– Hammer Arm
– Facade
– Shadow Claw
– Pain Split

Intérieur (Krookodile)
Ability: Intimidate
– Earthquake
– Crunch
– Rock Slide
– Taunt

Legendaries and similar

Thought I was done talking about obtained Pokémon? Nah, man. I still haven’t covered the legendaries (and similar) besides Zygarde. (Note: All of them have their default movesets.)

During the main story, of course I had to catch this. Because I didn’t have any Adamant Synchronize users at the time, I had to soft-reset for the Nature the good old-fashioned way. It didn’t take too long, considering Quick Ball had a good chance of capturing and, failing that, I could just weaken it with snek and capture it in a Timer Ball or similar. The whole legendary-catching process makes me glad for two new mechanics:

  1. Upon capturing a Pokémon and being taken through the nicknaming process, you can view its status before sending it to the PC or including it in your party. This means no more having to put up with the rest of the game’s crud before being able to access the nearest PC. I feel like checking status could stand to be before the nicknaming process, but hey, you can’t win ’em all.
  2. Hyper Training means not having to worry about IVs anymore (barring Hidden Power types, and IVs kept purposely low (such as Attack for strictly special attackers and Speed for purposely slow attackers)).

I generically named this Solgaleo “King” for lack of anything better.

I don’t know whether to call this a legendary. There is only one, and it cannot be bred, but it can evolve into a Pokémon that has rather poor base stats for being fully evolved and is not banned in battle facilities or online play. Just as I have my doubts about it being a legendary, I named it “Gry” even though it’s not exactly a gryphon.

I also got the Nature for this one without Synchronize, and I went for Jolly, keeping in mind that I would evolve it into a Silvally. I mean, Eviolite Type: Null theoretically seems better, until you realize that not only is its Speed significantly lower, but it lacks reliable recovery. Taking that into consideration, my initial idea would be to run a Choice Scarf set with Return / U-turn / Parting Shot / Explosion (even though apparently Parting Shot, along with Memento, is banned from online play due to a glitch with Z-Parting Shot and Z-Memento that mysteriously causes the battle to disconnect…though I personally think it would have been a better idea to ban Darkinium Z). A set taking advantage of RKS System would be nice too, like with Ground Memory and a set of Swords Dance / Multi-Attack / Rock Slide / Fire Fang.

On the flip side, now that I reflect further on the potential of Arceus 0.5, perhaps a Timid nature could have worked with Z-Heal Block working as a makeshift Nasty Plot and benefitting its respectable Special movepool notably containing Tri-Attack, BoltBeam, Surf, Flamethrower, and Shadow Ball.

Prior to catching Nihilego was when I decided to go to the Hau’oli Market and go through the painful process of catching one Synchronize Abra for every Nature excluding Gentle, Lax, and the neutral Natures. Afterwards, it was obvious what Nature and nickname to give Nihilego. Its base stats have “Timid” written all over them, and its appearance has “Lilie” written all over it. (Her French name only has 1 L in the middle.) I decided to go for Hidden Power Ground as well, because it seemed to have the greatest coverage with its dual STAB. (I was also considering Hidden Power Fighting, but that Hidden Power is impossible on legendaries in Gen 6 and onward due to the mechanic of always having at least 3 perfect IVs.) This was reasonably easy to weaken with Leonardo’s Brick Break.

Because there were two Buzzwole in the Ultra Beast saga, I decided to get one Adamant and one Jolly, named “JOHN SQUITO” and “Protein” respectively. Base 79 Speed might not be all that impressive, but neither is base 53 Special Defense, even fully invested. It’s a shame that Pheromosa is Moon-exclusive (because Pheromosa is much more my style), but hey, at least Buzzwole presented a great opportunity for a Cena-inspired pun. I believe I weakened this one with Ao’s Dazzling Gleam and let Crusch take hits during the catching process.

Another Ultra Beast that presented itself as a pair. Obviously, I wanted both to have Hidden Power Ice, with one Timid and the other Modest. (The Timid one is named “Lanky” based on its body structure, and the Modest one is named “Créé” after another original character from the story I mentioned earlier.) This was easily weakened with the help of snek.

Okay, now this is just overkill. Not one, not two, not even three, but freaking four of the same Ultra Beast, let alone one of such a predictable nature as Kartana. Because it can really only play a role of semi-fast physical attacker based on its stat distribution, I decided to catch two Adamant and two Jolly—named “o,” “ri,” “ga,” and “mi” because I couldn’t come up with anything else. I used Crusch to weaken this one, and I have to say that Leaf Blade does impressive damage even when quad resisted.

Now this was a real pain to get, not only because of the reduced catch rate, but also because of the requirements that I imposed for it. Specifically, I wanted it to be Brave-natured with an exceptionally low Speed IV (0-2, tested based on turn order using Algancre’s Speed at the time) because…well, its stats are really weird, and I figured the best use for it would be as a Trick Room-based slow attacker. Its attacking stats are not all that impressive, but it is sluggish and lacks a reliable form of recovery, so an offensive set is honestly the best way to go with it. I was considering a set along the lines of: Draco Meteor / Crunch / Heavy Slam / Protect (with Life Orb). As for the nickname, I decided on “Utsu-P” based on their song EAT.

After the very annoying process of obtaining the right Guzzlord, it was the perfect time to redeem the event Magearna. What intrigued me most about this Pokémon is that it is the new slowest user of the rare combination of Trick Room and Volt Switch. With that in mind, of course I would go for Quiet Nature with low Speed. Surprisingly, after just a few resets, the Speed IV turned out to be in the 4-5 range! (No nickname, obviously, because it’s an event Pokémon.)

Then came the Tapus. Tapu Koko is another unfortunate case of having stats and movepool mixed up. Although its Attack is higher than its Special Attack, its physical movepool is pretty much limited to Electric/Flying/Bug (it gets Steel Wing and Thief, but those are pretty weak), whereas its special movepool is notably more colorful and actually has Fairy STAB. Sure, it could be possible to run a mixed set, but I felt like it would be better to go purely physical with a set like Wild Charge / Brave Bird / U-turn / Roost. Nicknamed “Falco” because it’s bird-like and lives on Melemele Island (which very much resembles “Melee-melee,” and Falco is a notable character in Super Smash Bros. Melee). By the way, I’m so glad that the game allows you to re-challenge Tapu Koko if you KO it after the Pokémon League.

Timid, please. Psyshock / Moonblast / Focus Blast / Taunt, or perhaps some other fourth move. As easy as it was to come up with a set for Lele, nicknaming it was not so easy. I mean, it’s supposed to be based on a butterfly, but what’s so “butterfly” about it? I dunno, I just ended up choosing its nickname based on the fact that it seems to be hiding in a pot-like shell…thing. Therefore, I named it “Magick Pot” (after an enemy in Final Fantasy Tactics A2 that behaves similarly).

Another addition to the physically-oriented-Fairy-that-doesn’t-get-physical-Fairy-STAB club. Honestly, why do they still not have a physical Fairy attack besides Play Rough? Regardless, I was debating what nature to run on Bulu, whether to just roll with Adamant or go with something bulkier, or perhaps faster in spite of its base 75 Speed. Even after a bit of research, I ultimately settled upon Adamant, and I nicknamed it “Wizpig” (after the villain of Diddy Kong Racing).

Argh, this one was such a pain to deal with. I had three difficulties in trying to get the right Tapu Fini:

  1. Catching it. I circumvented this difficulty using the Master Ball, and I will explain why. The primary reason is because of this darned move called Aqua Ring. The passive recovery makes it so that I would have to burn it to keep its capture rate in check, and obviously it’s protected from burn as long as Misty Terrain is in effect. My normal capturing process is to use Leonardo (taking advantage of the fact that Nature’s Madness is Tapu Fini’s only damaging move that works, courtesy of Water Absorb) to weaken it using Poison Jab and its STAB(s) to reduce it to as low HP as possible without KOing it, applying burn if it uses Aqua Ring. Even though all Tapus have the same capture rate (3), Fini is the only one against which I had occasions of failing to capture it before it KO’d itself with Struggle.
  2. Getting the right Nature (Timid). 50% is lower than you may think.
  3. Getting the right Hidden Power type. I was initially considering Fire based on research, but I feel like Ground has the best coverage overall. I mean, the only resistant typings to both of its dual STABs are Grass/Poison, Grass/Steel, Water/Poison, and Water/Steel; and Volcanion is resistant by Ability. Fire covers the Grass-types and hits Water/Steel neutrally, but it’s resisted by Water/Poison and (quad-resisted by) Volcanion. Sure, Shadow Ball hits all five neutrally, but Ground hits the Water-types super-effectively and the Grass-types neutrally. Regardless, of the 42 possible odd/even IV combinations on any given legendary Pokémon, 3 yield Ground, so the chances of getting such a Hidden Power are roughly 7%. (Note: Special Attack and/or Special Defense being perfect is a clear indication that it does not have Hidden Power Ground, so if it’s obvious which 3 IVs are perfect and SpA or SpD is among them, or if I see a characteristic like “Coquin” or “Un peu vaniteux” (which mean “Mischievous” and “Somewhat vain” respectively), I know to soft-reset and repeat the capturing process.)

Regardless, after many, many grueling attempts at getting the right Tapu Fini, I decided to nickname it “Kraken Zwei” as a reference to the Unlimited Fafnir light novel (specifically starting from volume 7). I don’t want to spoil too much, but the purple coloration, human-like appearance, and silvery hair are what influenced the nickname.

 

Dang, that was a lot, and it’s not even the end yet. I have yet to obtain Necrozma or Cosmog, but I will get to that shortly. Speaking of Cosmog, now that I think about it, Solgaleo with Z-Splash and Flame Charge seems awfully threatening.

Miscellaneous

My in-game identity is a male Trainer named Toru. The reason? I’ve been intrigued by that name ever since the first time I played FireRed, when I gave that name to my rival as one of the defaults. (Ah, the good ol’ days of playing as BEELEE♂…)

As for my experience as a whole, everything before the Elite Four was pretty much touch-and-go, barring a few select battles. Specifically, Totem Wishiwashi took a painstakingly long time to defeat (even with Puff Mama, which was my best bet for taking it on), and Totem Kommo-o was pure craziness. To elaborate further…

Against Totem Kommo-o, I led off with Mimikyu. Dazzling Gleam didn’t do much (especially with Mimikyu’s laughable Special Attack), and I learned that Kommo-o had Flash Cannon thanks to the Disguise. To make matters worse, Kommo-o even called a Scizor as an SOS Partner, so I just had to switch out. I switched specifically into Nyanta, which took negligible damage from Kommo-o’s Flash Cannon and Scizor’s Bullet Punch. Next, Kommo-o went for Sky Uppercut, which Nyanta survived at 1 HP thanks to its affection level and proceeded to destroy the Scizor with its Fire STAB. (I don’t remember whether it was Flamethrower or Flame Charge, but that doesn’t really matter.) Afterwards, I had to sac Nyanta to get a free switch into Leonardo, which inflicted chip damage with Psychic as Kommo-o summoned Hakamo-o and had it set up and clean up shop (mostly the former). Then I felt comfortable finally bringing Mimikyu back in, and it ended up barely surviving Flash Cannon (and apparently Hakamo-o had nothing to touch it) and securing the victory with Dazzling Gleam.

I have to say some of the music is good, especially these three particular tracks:

And speaking of the Elite Four, that is where I really started having problems. Throughout the prior stages of the game, I would use the Exp. Share sparingly, specifically only against Totem Pokémon and major Trainers such as the Kahuna, because of how ridiculous it was in Gen VI. However, when I realized how underleveled I was in comparison to the Elite Four, as well as how experience gain in Gen VII is more akin to that of Gen V, I wholeheartedly regretted not using the Exp. Share more often.

In spite of the circumstances, I did manage to push through the Elite Four without much worry (barring the way too many freaking times Algancre missed Power Whip), but the main issue was that freaking Champion. Honestly, his Primarina alone would have swept my entire team under ordinary circumstances, so I had to go into Algancre, give it my only X-Sp.Def at the time, and—get this—stall it out of Moonblasts. Yep, that was my strategy for eliminating that threat: just spamming healing items until it had used up all 15 Moonblasts. Braviary also gave me grief, considering Crusch was down (I think) and snek couldn’t take two Brave Birds, not to mention Ao wasn’t fast enough to outspeed. Thankfully, Brave Bird has the risk of recoil, which is what ultimately caused it to faint at the expense of Ao. But man, what a painful experience.

The post-game Dexio fight was also quite a bother. In fact, I was so ill prepared for it the first time around that I had to reset the game, and the last time I had saved was after beating the game. Heck, even when I actually gained some levels in the Ultra Beast saga, that Mega Alakazam darn near destroyed my team; I had to stall it out of Focus Blasts using Nyanta and Crusch, and then destroy it with a Darkest Lariat from Nyanta. Thankfully, though, that’s really all I struggled with (outside of the competitive facilities, for which I don’t even have a properly EV trained team). Now I know to actually use the Exp. Share instead of struggling to survive without it.

Another recent post-game project I’ve been considering is breeding for Snow Warning Alolan Vulpix with Freeze-Dry and Moonblast. I already did the Snow Warning part with the help of an Absol that I caught and made my designated SOS Battle abuser.

Kili the Absol [Absol] (female)
Level: 46
Nature: Jolly [Jovial]
Ability: Pressure [Pression]
– Night Slash [Tranche-Nuit]
– Bite [Morsure]
– False Swipe [Faux-Chage]
– Thunder Wave [Cage-Éclair]

Having looked up information about SOS Battles, I learned that three key components are essential: Adrenaline Orbs, the right Ability, and reducing the lone target to the right HP value. Thankfully Adrenaline Orbs are nice and cheap, and the Ultra Beast saga rewards you with a whopping 1 million PokéDollars, so I could just simply buy until I had 99. As for the Ability, Absol is the easiest Pokémon to acquire with any of the three SOS-provoking Abilities (Intimidate, Pressure, Unnerve) that also has access to False Swipe. As a bonus, Absol gets Thunder Wave to prevent a potential capture target (if applicable) from calling for further help and to make said target easier to capture. As for the rest of the moveset, since Dark-type moves have good enough coverage on their own, I decided to run two STAB moves while finding the right balance between PP, power, and not hitting both targets at once. Night Slash and Bite combined have 40 PP total, each having no less than 60 BP and only hitting a single target, making them ideal in this case scenario. Leftovers (stolen from a Munchlax on Route 1) helped in that I wouldn’t have to worry as much about damage taken, because I was hunting for Alolan Vulpix in Tapu Village (which also made it easier to tell whether an Alolan Vulpix has Snow Cloak or Snow Warning). By the way, the nickname “Kili” is another Unlimited Fafnir reference, and its namesake is pretty much the reason why I like the series so much in the first place.

So, with a Snow Warning Alolan Vulpix in tow (and a female no less), I just have to get the appropriate Egg moves onto it (and a better Nature considering it’s Jolly). However, therein lies a conundrum: The only conventional way to breed Freeze-Dry onto an Alolan Vulpix is by chain breeding from Aurorus to Lapras to Delibird, and Aurorus is not native to Alola. Therefore, the only (currently) possible way to breed Freeze-Dry onto Alolan Vulpix is by getting a Smeargle to learn it. Still, therein lies another conundrum: Double Battles are not as prominent in Alola as they are in other regions. The best way to circumvent this conundrum is through the use of SOS Battles. In other words, my plan for obtaining a Smeargle with Freeze-Dry is to get a Smeargle to 1 HP, bring in Glalie (which was the easiest way to get Freeze-Dry: to simply catch a Snorunt in the wild and give it a Rare Candy), and, on the turn the 1-HP Smeargle calls in a male SOS Partner, KO the 1-HP Smeargle with Freeze-Dry, allowing the other Smeargle to Sketch that move. As for Moonblast, I initially planned on using the SOS Sketch method (as I’ll call it for simplicity) with Tapu Lele for that move (which is what led to the recent catching spree of Tapus), but I would rather EV train Tapu Lele beforehand, and that would be a real pain considering I don’t even have Pokérus yet. So, I think I would rather raise a Sylveon to learn the move at level 37 (and perhaps make sure that the Eevee is Timid for Nature transfer purposes).

Finally, here are a few closing thoughts:

  • I can think of two minor annoyances in booting up the game:
    1. On non-New3DS systems, the game (as well as the demo) takes an exceptionally long time to boot up for the first time. It’s not as bad as Nintendo Badge Arcade, but still.
    2. I don’t see why you can’t use the touch screen to advance from the title screen to file selection. I mean, the intro starts off covering the bottom screen and leaving the top screen black.
  • How glorious it is that they got rid of HMs in favor of Poké Ride. I never would have guessed such a wonderful change in mechanics.
  • Pokémon Refresh actually convinced me to get into the whole business of affection, just because of the close calls and ability to heal off status conditions during/after battle (especially the latter). Something that annoys me, though, is how affectionate Pokémon tend to fall asleep when you move things around in the PC.
  • Festival Plaza is like Join Avenue 2.0, only it’s marked with a green (!) bubble in the menu when the residents want to talk to you (which is every freaking hour). Also, the shops don’t level up like they do in Unova’s Join Avenue; they’re just randomly suggested by Sophocles every time the Festival Plaza levels up (except for a few major milestones). The green bubble triggers me at times, but I can’t really diss the feature otherwise.
  • Poké Finder is a nod to Pokémon Snap (which, although I don’t remember fondly, I watch 360chrism speedrun from time to time) in that it involves taking up to six photos of one Pokémon and getting points for whichever photo you choose. I did actually get 1,500,000 total points for the Trainer Passport stamp, and the highest score I’ve gotten for a single photo (specifically the Mimikyu photo shown below) is just above 16k.
    mimikyu
    Something I noticed about Poké Finder is that the photos taken make a different jingle for 0-1000, 1000-3000, and 3000+ ranges of points.
  • By the time of the Elite Four, I was honestly expecting Acerola to have a Mimikyu, and boy was I disappointed.
  • Something I find annoying about the game is how it lags so much on any system not named New3DS. Double Battles, Battle Royal, Z-Moves… You name it, it lags the game. But hey, at least Sun and Moon are not New3DS-exclusive games, because that would be even worse.
  • As much as they lag the game, Z-Moves are quite interesting. Supposedly the attacking moves bypass accuracy checks, and some of the status moves have interesting effects (especially Splash and pretty much anything that grants an all-stats boost (à la Ancient Power).)
  • Admittedly, I laughed at every part of the Firium Z trial. Not just the photobombing of the Hiker and Salazzle, but I found the dancing Marowak goofy as well.
  • The Poké Finder segment just before the Totem Mimikyu battle spooked me.
  • Poké Pelago is pretty cool. Collecting beans, finding wild Pokémon from out of nowhere, growing Berries in the most convenient manner possible, hunting for treasures, training Pokémon, and increasing the happiness of Pokémon…all while being reminded of Pokémon who are normally left to rot in the PC. It’s good stuff. (But y’know, I find it odd that you can get Golden Bottle Caps but not regular Bottle Caps through the treasure hunting.)
  • Speaking of Bottle Caps, I feel like a complete idiot because I thought they were undersea treasures returning from B/W (and therefore sold them whenever I happened upon them). It took me until after beating the game to realize that they’re those things that allow you to Hyper Train.
  • It’s so weird that the Move Reminder is so far into the game (just before the Elite Four), but it’s understandable considering this one actually teaches moves that Pokémon have yet to learn.
  • My top three list of favorite characters:
    1. Lana
    2. Sophocles
    3. Anabel
  • My top three list of favorite Gen VII Pokémon:
    1. Mimikyu
    2. Alolan Sandslash
    3. Bewear
  • Overall rating? 9/10. I would say it’s the best installment of the franchise (mostly because I have a high tendency to prefer newer games), but it’s still not quite perfect.

 

Phew, 8000+ words and I’m finally done. What a whimsical weekend it was indeed, considering I had to delay my post until Wednesday. But anyway, I think that’s all I have to say for now.

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)