The Let's Play Archive

Pokemon Shield

by Falconier111

Part 27: I Love the Snow So Much

Update 28: I Love the Snow So Much

Circhester - Pokémon Sword and Shield OST

Welcome to lovely Circhester, the local equivalent of Bath (it may also be related to Cirencester, but don’t quote me on that). The degree to which its inhabitants are obsessed with snow is kind of alarming; you’d think by now the residents would’ve gotten used to it, but no, a solid third of NPC dialogue is just talking about snow, while most of the rest talk about snow-related things.

I mean, I kind of get it, but still, how does he make a living?

I guess it’s just a foodie town. The devs must’ve gone, “we want a restaurant with a fire theme in the ice town, so let’s abandon any pretense at thematic naming and just call it Bob’s Your Uncle” . One of the NPCs mentioned you can buy curry ingredients here, but as far as I can tell they were a filthy liar.

Gym Lobby - Pokémon Sword and Shield OST

I was SO CLOSE, too. Down to her last Pokémon. I mean, I have some ideas on how to right that wrong next time, but…

This is the first time I’ve seen you really express negative emotion in a while. Feeling better?

Yeah, actually. I ran into Bede. D’you hear what he did at Stow-on-Side?

Mate, I watched the MC drag him away. Then I ran into him on my way through Hammerlocke.

Cor, really? How’s he doing?

I’ve never seen him so defeated. I actually felt sorry for the poor bastard.

I know, right?

You sound like you care.

We talked in Hammerlocke, too. He apologized, like, sincerely, and ended up spilling his life story after a bit of prodding. And… He’s kind of full of shit, isn’t he?

Excellent deduction, Sherlock!

Eh, fuck off, Watson. I think he’s so full of shit because Rose spoonfed it to him. If half of what he said about him was true…

Actually, I did some digging on him before I went to challenge the Ghost Gym. It’s kind of heartening to know Rose is a manipulative person, not just a businessman.

Exactly. And Bede was so BUSINESSLIKE about it, all “of course he denied me anything approaching parental affection unless I worked to earn his favor and then he gave me pat on the head” like that’s something normal people do. I’m not sure if it qualified as abuse, but it definitely qualified as emotional neglect.

Are you still attracted to him?

Gloria, I was NEVER attracted to him.

But you like pushy boys!

I mean, yeah, but not like THAT. God no. Now, though? I just pity him.

… To be honest, now I can’t stop thinking about who’s the Sherlock and who’s the Watson in our relationship.

Oh, that’s easy. I’m both.

Then what am I?

You’re the Mycroft.

Oh, I am AT LEAST the Adler.

With that out of the way, we have somebody to visit!

I heard a Wishing Star fell to you! That means you were chosen by the Wishing Star, and that also means I got a Pokéball for you!

He gives us a Moon Ball, which is more likely to catch specifically Pokémon that evolved using a Moon Stone. That’s boring. I mean, thanks, but I don’t even know which Pokémon it’d help me catch . Well, whatever. Let’s go face down the Ice Gym.

Gym - Pokémon Sword and Shield OST

Have you folks ever heard of the critical hit problem? It’s an issue that shows up frequently tabletop RPGs, where it’s more likely to cause a negative impact, but it can apply to other kinds of RPG in the right circumstances. It goes like this: if player characters and monster have an equal chance for their attacks to crit, the situation actually disfavors the players. Monsters are, by nature, disposable; in the vast majority of RPGs, players end up killing them in droves. A crit against a monster just makes it go down faster and the combat a little safer. However, a crit against a player character will have much more impact because a dead PC can completely throw off a battle plan, drain the party’s reserves to bring them back, or just pop someone the character they’ve been suspended knows how long developing. Likewise, if a monster prioritizes attack, its lower defenses don’t mean as much because you can always have another one around the corner; if a PC does so, they risk a lucky hit pasting them against the floor.

Ice is a lot like that. Ice-type moves are very powerful and often have a chance to inflict Frozen, probably the single most broken status effect in the game. On the other hand, Ice has a huge swath of weaknesses and it’s ‘mons tend to be fragile. While it’s hardly difficult to spec out your party to resist Ice, an Ice move at the right time can turn a fight and an Ice-type used strategically can cause a lot of damage.

The Ice Gym is the other Shield-specific gym, its Sword counterpart being Rock-type; both are potent Types with big weaknesses but a lot of damage potential. My first time through, this Gym fucking wrecked me. Let’s see if that holds up.

This time around, the Gym Challenge is an update of get another Pokémon/JRPG standby, the fragile floor puzzle (there’s probably a technical name for this but I don’t know it so I don’t care). Your goal is to navigate through an area without stepping on fragile parts of the floor, which will drop you to lower levels or send you back to the start. This time around, they hide the tiles and give you a couple of little dowsing rods you that let off purple rings every time you close in on one; if you walk onto it anyway…

… You fall in, complete with a split-second Looney Tunes air-run. It then just pops you back at the start or, after you beat someone standing on a middle platform, it starts you from there instead.

Once you beat one of the subsections, the camera pans over it, breaking all the tiles you missed. Because I was playing and writing at the same time, I ended up hitting most of those tiles in the first one.

For the most part, the trainers in here are about as intimidating as they always are, but they do have just enough of a bite to drain your PP little bit before you hit the Leader. PP is far more difficult to restore than HP, so each Trainer’s Pokémon taking several hits to go down – and there are more than a few Trainers in this Gym – starts to actually impede you. Not much, but hey.

The last of the three sections is covered in the same fog effect we saw all the way back in. They also pipe in disembodied voices that tell you to stay calm and keep moving. It isn’t very helpful. What IS helpful is that the tiles stay broken after you step on them, meaning you can just press forward and bump your way around the (impassable) holes you just opened up.

We do get an uncharacteristic fuck you from Shield right here; once you step on this last platform, the fog clears. See the purple there? That last bit of snow between the platform and Gloria is a breakable tile there to mock you. Granted, once you trip in you just go back to that platform, but it’s the closest thing the game is given me to a middle finger yet.

Still got past pretty easy.

You won’t be able to escape when I freeze you solid. And after that… Well, you’ll see. I think you’ll find my style is quite severe.

Love that ice rink light effect.

Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow - Battle! Gym Leader Music (HQ)
I can only find so many SwSh Gym Battle remixes, sue me.

So I go into this with a plan. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this, so I’ll lay this out now; you know those monster lists I’ve been posting? I don’t check them before the fight and instead go in blind. My plan, therefore, is based on the generic assumption that Melony here uses mostly Ice Pokémon .

We start by having Bruce hit this first Pokémon with a Pyro Ball to Instakill it, then switch out for something tailored to the next creature. Then I’m told I’m fighting something called a “Darmanitan” and I have no idea what that is, so I send out Baklava and it goes down easy. Next up is…

… That, which just looks fascinating. That ice cube head regenerates after taking a hit, letting it give Baklava a run for its money before it dies. It ended up dragging it down to one hit point before I got him back in his Pokéball and it out of the fight.

(Imagine you see little hearts flying out, I missed getting them even with my frantic screenshotting.)

Her final Pokémon is a Gigantamax Lapras, one of Gen 1’s signature Pokémon (and one of Ash’s in the anime). Or, at least, I consider it one of MY signature Pokémon from Gen 1. I especially liked one of its moves, Aurora Beam, just for the concept of shooting concentrated aurora borealis at an enemy. This Pokémon does not do that.

Instead, it does this. It’s an impressive display that could have taken Dietrich out in a second hit, and it might have taken out Bruce in one (I switched him out because Lapras is part Water-type). But it never got the chance. She outsped it and hit it too hard for it to get off another shot.

Well, I guess it would be more like falling from here, right?

… Young with such ability is quite grand. Here, take this sparkling Ice Badge!

For some reason, I can’t help but imagine my son challenging you after you become the champion. If that time comes… Give him a right thrashing, would you?

Her son is the Sword Gym Leader .

We won! Two more Gyms out of eight to go.

My first time through Shield, Melony picked me up and used my face to wipe the floor. She was completely Goddamn terrifying. In retrospect, I think I just didn’t kit my team out for dealing with Ice-types and kept getting caught by surprise every time it turned out I just assumed I understood the type interactions. She took out four of my Pokémon, twice as many as any other Trainer in the game (including the postgame); the only reason I won is because my two remaining Pokémon, both weak to Ice, had enough neutral moves to overwhelm what was left of her team. This time… This time, I brought Baklava. The last time a Pokémon savaged me so badly while I was trying to catch it was Murphy, but unlike Murphy, Baklava proved his worth immediately at the next Gym. Honestly, he was the turning point. Had I not tossed Mr. Blobby into the box, my team would have fallen into the same typing trap its predecessor did. I’m sorry, younger self. It turns out, strictly pre-planning your team and never cycling it out is inferior to setting up a rotating team of good Pokémon. Or, at least, it is when training new Pokémon up isn’t an interminable grind.

Also just realized I could have named him Mr. Krabbs.