Thursday, February 23, 2023

Pokemon Legends: Arceus, Pt 2 - Verdes (Plus thoughts on Gen 9)


Damn, this N64 version of Pokemon is pretty awesome.

*holds earpiece* Wait, not an N64 game?

Well, it's time for more thoughts on modern Pokemon. AKA more Arceus, and some Gen 9.

Editor's Note: Reposted for closeness to the rest of the game, which I'm doing next.

We left off really early in this game, but I'm going to cover more of it. It takes a bold step into an open-world design for Pokemon, but unfortunately it stumbles a bit by locking new areas behind these research tasks.

At first I was pretty stoked about the research tasks because it gives you an impetus to fight and collect as many different types as possible to advance the game. Unfortunately, it tends to ask for way too much. Like catching one of a new Pokemon isn't enough, you'll need to collect a bunch of each one. A lot of people didn't have an issue with this because they were playing slowly and doing everything. In my case, I was just trying to progress the game and unlock new areas, so all of this busywork felt like artifical time-extension.

Rei (the rival) unleashes his most powerful 'Mon: The vicious Pikachu!

I send out my prized Rowlet.

Rei's Pikachu has a major problem: His temper. He randomly goes rabid and bites.

An interesting wrinkle (that didn't make it into Gen 9). Each move has 3 different versions of itself. The agile version does less damage but goes much quicker during the turn. The strong version is likely to take more time to cast, while being more powerful. Also, secondary effects (like statuses) are much more likely to trigger off of a strong version.

I like how this place is a proto version of Sinnoh from Generation 4. It's a good in-story reason for why most of the landscape is totally barren.

Laventon is momentarily distracted by the arrival of...

What the hell?

Nope, it's actually this mighty elk, which functions as your mount in this game.

Looks like I can't ride the elk until I find a certain item that'll let me call it.

More importantly than all of that, why does Professor Laventon wear a helmet all the time?

One of my favorite 'Mons in most of this series. Shinx/Luxio/Luxray is a formidable electric-type that I've never gone wrong with. Usually makes it into my final endgame party too.

Here's Adaman, leader of the "Diamond Clan", and Irida, leader of the "Pearl Clan".

Yes, this game had some synergy with the Gen 4 remakes that came out around the same time. Also, those games were terrible. This one is superior just for trying something new.

Adaman and Irida fight all the time. GET A ROOM!

I finally get to do something that you can't do much of in Gen 9 (or at all in the Gen 4 remakes) - Change outfits. Lots of outfits to choose from in this game. That's a big thing that was missing from Gen 9, no good outfits to wear outside of a small group of goofy-ass looks. At least this game has decent-looking shorts.

There's a tenuous alliance between the two clans, and all it'll take is a spark for them to break out into full-on civil strife.

They're all united in being suspicious of our MC since she fell out of the sky and all that.

Elsewhere, this chef explains the right amount of firm pressure to put onto pickles.

Man, she's just going on and on about pickles.

Cyllene, future Team Galactic founder and current "Galaxy Team" leader, has an "extremely dangerous" mission someone needs to carry out. Who better than this random teenage girl?

All those papers stacked on her desk must be "plzdon'tsue" waivers that she makes people sign before sending them out on death missions.

Another mild annoyance about this game is that your inventory space is constantly filling up. Luckily there's a guy who can add more inventory space...for a sizable fee.

Our hero does fetch quests for people as I desperately try to move the story forward.

It isn't like she has a choice, what with the mountain of busywork that the next area is locked behind.

More quests...they give very underwhelming rewards, like a single potion. I don't care how "super" it is, this shouldn't be a quest reward. How about some money so I can expand my NES-like miniscule inventory space?

Even though the landscape is largely empty, there's still an appeal to this game. Just wandering around is fun, though again, locking you into your current area until you meet enough busywork requirements is a mistake. Luckily Gen 9 would borrow a lot of this open-ness while getting rid of the busywork.



I run into another of the game's mounting number of annoyances: A lot of enemies run away immediately. You go through the trouble of chasing down a foe because you need to defeat or catch more of them, and they immediately flee the battle. This happens over and over. I think it gets worse as you outlevel the area enemies...which you will because the busywork requirements are so much higher than they should be. It forces you to stay in this first field area way longer than the place itself should really support.

I spot a Scyther, one of my favorite 'mons, and make sure to catch it.

This weirdo is a warden to the area boss. Generally you fight the wardens before the bosses.


Nope, I have to go do more busywork first.

I find a Pichu in the wild. I WANT IT.

Unfortunately Scyther is too powerful and knocks off Pichu in one hit.

I grind out more busywork while looking for another Pichu.

Pikachu? Yeah, this will do.

NOW my team is complete for now. Though two electric-types is a bit redundant...

I switch out Drifloon and welcome Pikachu to the team.

Now I lurk in the swamp for a while and catch Psyducks.

After enough busywork is done...

The battle is joined! I bet I totally outlevel his team at this point.

...I totally outlevel his team.

But wait! He still has his big uber-'mon. The deadly GOOMY.

Yep. There it is. Goomy.

I win quickly. I had to do all that busywork for THAT?

Our heroine gets a call on the cat-phone.

The helmet-wearing professor is up to no good.

Adaman decides it's time to give our heroine the flute she needs to call the elk.

Look at that noble elk! This is a game-changer and makes traveling around this open world a lot more fun.

Our heroine plays the flute while these two Team Diamond people look on creepily.

Next is an elk-riding minigame where you run through balloons.

Time to battle Irida. This should be a better fight than that kid a few minutes ago. Also, put on some pants!

She unleashes some Eevee-lutions, one of Pokemon's more timeless classic Pokemon sets.

After all that, we finally get to fight the area boss. That's right, not a gym leader...a giant monster.

These fights are the big bosses of the game, and consist of you running and rolling around while throwing balms at it until it calms down. That's like the most non-violent sounding boss fight I've ever heard of.

Rolling works just like in the Souls series, giving you some invincibility frames to avoid the boss' attacks.

Keep dodge-rolling until you have an opening, then open fire with balms! This depletes the boss' health meter aggression meter so it calms down.

After doing enough damage aggression-lowering, the boss engages you in a regular Poke-battle. Win this and it leaves the boss open to blast it with balms for a few seconds. This repeats several times before the battle is won and the boss runs off.

Rowlet is evolving! Oh man, I can't wait to see what this adorable guy turns into next!



Well then.

Not as prepared as Professor Laventon, with his helmet. Yeah, it's stuffy and miserable during warm weather. However, if he ever walks into a shorter-than-expected doorframe, he'll be well-guarded!

This guy has a sidequest I can't refuse.

Our heroine is all like, ready to help everybody. Well I'm not!

Gathering all the wisps...yeah, that sounds like too much trouble. BYYYYYE.

Elsewhere, Rei is trying to be more like a traditional rival, and becomes hellbent on defeating our herone.

He's gonna have to do a lot better than a Mime Jr though.

More on Arceus tomorrow. In the meantime, some quick Gen 9 thoughts. Played Pokemon Scarlet and had a good time with it.

Here's the world's most annoying gym leader...a Twitch streamer.

Though I deserve some credit for making my main character even more adorable in this one.

This game is interesting because it takes a lot of Arceus' new ideas that worked and refines them, while dropping the ideas that didn't work. For example, the entire world map is open from the get-go, rather than locking areas behind busywork. They also go for an Elden Ring theme by letting you tackle all the areas and bosses in any real order you want. Some are much higher-level than others, so if you run into problems in an area, just go somewhere else and keep leveling up.

Or you could do what Elden Ring haters do and: Keep fruitlessly dying in the higher-level area and then make a Youtube video complaining about how the game is too hard and all the bosses should be level 1.

However, I think the way Gen 9 is set up works really well, and I appreciate that they didn't give the enemies scaling levels or some other dumbing-down solution. Gen 9 is more challenging than the last few Pokemon games and it's very welcome. I felt like my team micromanagement and attention to detail actually mattered in terms of making progress, rather than just steamrolling everything with whatever (like in the Gen 4 remakes).

Also like that Gen 9 has more references to the history of the Pokemon world and the big war that took place in the past. Maybe at some point we'll get a darker Pokemon game set during that timeframe, or maybe it'll keep being an interesting component of the world's history that it can allude to.

Also, the story of Gen 9 is very interesting, especially towards the end. They did a good job with this one. Mainly I'm just glad the Arceus busywork is out of the picture. No more Research Tasks ever again please.

The best thing about Gen 9 is probably your rival. Maybe the most likeable character in this series?

She is, however, very clingy, to the point of stalkerish. "You don't need to duel anyone else! Just duel MEEEE"

She's also completely insatiable and wants to battle 24/7. Some people would run for the hills, but I call that "being fun".

"BATTLE MEEEEE" she says.

Well, Legends: Arceus doesn't have Nemona but it'll have to do.

1 comment:

  1. Your Dartrix is looking rather dapper.

    Nemona: "Hi, I'm Goku!"