The Let's Play Archive

Pokemon Shield

by Falconier111

Part 61: Take Good Care of [JAPANESE TEXT]

Update 62: Take Good Care of [JAPANESE TEXT]

As I was blowing experience candy on getting Snuggles and BartonWright (still the best name for Kubfu in the thread ) up to snuff, I abruptly realized The Golux had spent honest-to-God real people money on getting me a temporary Online Pass, and there’s no way I couldn’t reward them appropriately for blowing actual currency on an Internet let us play. So in honor of their sacrifice, I’ve devoted the bulk of this update to exploring this game’s online content.

The first thing I noticed after connecting was a parade of randos in equally stupid bike getups cruising around the island, visiting Berry trees and hitting up Dens. If you go up and talk to them, they’ll give you a little automatic response and some item, usually the sort of thing you can get off a tree or find on the ground in the area. The game only has so many responses to give, so I noticed a lot of these people seem to be waking up in the morning with items in their pockets they don’t remember putting there. I like to imagine they all regularly pull a John Mulaney and somehow found those items while blackout drunk. Tragically, either none of them have Pokémon following them around or (more likely) the game doesn’t register them on my console. I noticed a few players clipping straight through poor Zamazenta. Not that they’re special on that; I’m not sure how Zamazenta’s model interacts with the outside world, since it seems to sometimes have collision physics and sometimes let wild Pokémon waltz through.

You also have a couple options you can use to trade Pokémon over the Internet; the boring, reliable, good option of trading Pokémon with people you know…

Or you can sacrifice Sporkle to the altar of Surprise Trade for a Goddamn Caterpie . You initiate the process by selecting a Pokémon and offering it up to the whims of the Internet; the game will search for trade partners in the background as you do your thing and let you know when it’s found the match, giving you the above animation and letting you see whether you were the one being scammed or not. For me, it was actually a pretty even split. To celebrate the almost 3 month anniversary of the start of this LP, I traded away a lot of old Pokémon; Woolooloo, for instance, went for Escadrill’s unevolved form, that weird bug I caught in like Update 4 went for a Metapod, and Bartholomew, the Yamper I caught on Route 2, went for an honest-to-God Charmander. But my personal favorite?

I mean, in fairness, that Magikarp was level 40, so it’s not as big an insult as it looks, but, yeah. If I didn’t have all of its types covered between Mr. Blobby and Zamazenta, I’d definitely put this thing straight on my team. I think I’ll ask you guys to come up with a name for it anyway, just in case.

E: Didn't notice it was level one .

But that’s just one feature. The one I was most interested in? Team battles at Dens. Maybe it was just me, but the moment I activated the Pass the number of active Dens seemed to at least double, probably more. Those active dens almost always had at least a couple people crowding around them, presumably either waiting to start a fight or halfway through one. Naturally, the first thing I tried to do was join in.

And then I failed to connect and got booted from the fight. This happened multiple times; I just couldn’t seem to sign up for anybody else’s pending fights (though I managed to get it to work the next day). I had a similar experience in other people’s camps.

While you could visit NPC camps already, once you’re online you can visit the camps random players set up and interact with their Pokémon. In theory, you could also cook with them, but in a couple different camps I tried to initiate curry making with them only to sit there waiting for like 20 minutes. I’m not sure what I was doing wrong.

Setting up my own Den battles and waiting for other players to join worked just fine, though. Look at that Kyogre; I see somebody’s been playing Alpha Sapphire. I fondly remember wrecking shit with my Kyogre back in Gen 3, even though the fact that I always chose the Water starter made it kind of redundant. It’s like meeting an old friend.

Worth noting: you only get three minutes of wait time before the game starts the battle automatically. If you haven’t filled out all four Trainer spots by then, it subs in NPCs to make up the difference.

Taking human Trainers along in these fights changes them from grindingly difficult to generally piss-easy; unlike NPC Trainers, humans are actually smart enough to throw out powerful Pokémon and exploit Type advantages. The only problem with all this? As long as it’s active, the game lags atrociously. Well, in fairness, it isn’t that bad compared to a lot of online games, but I hadn’t realized how smooth the gameplay was until it started stuttering. Between that and my desire not to have my screenshots photobombed by random chucklefucks in ugly-ass bike uniforms, I may spend most of my time with it off . I’ll check in from time to time to milk the system’s a little more, though.

Speaking of which, I know I haven’t covered even half of what I can do with a functioning Pass. That’s because most of those feature direct interactions with other players or friends, and since I have no friends would like to exercise some quality control over who I interact with, I’ll be calling on thread luminaries later on to help me show those features off.

But enough mechanics. Let’s get back to the plot, and by that I mean different mechanics.

Right now, our job is jacking up our Kubfu’s Affection high enough to convince our master we’ve formed an eternal bond with another cloud of ones and zeros. To speed this up, the game offers a series of viewing sites that massively boost its Affection as long as your Kubfu’s following you around when you talk to them.

It’s entirely possible to farm Affection for it in the traditional manner, the game doesn’t care, but why wouldn’t you make use of this shortcut? Unless you get sick of tracking down students, they can be hard to find.

In another gambit to get us to explore the island, each student is hidden away in some hard-to-reach location that requires some delving just to find. Once you locate one…

…They have you stare out at some local vista, which apparently is just delightful to our kickbear. Of the four places you can visit…

… Some of them are genuinely impressive. Others…

… Not so much. It took me maybe 20 minutes to find them all, much of which I spent investigating other things.

Such as the second coming of the gigantic Wailord. Who knows how that works.

Oh hey, a Starmie! This was Misty’s signature Pokémon all the way back in the first season of the anime; she was the first of the endless cycle of love interests Ash cycles past in that show. Is she still around? I don’t know. I remember buying a CD (remember those?) with a bunch of PokéAnime-inspired songs on it, half soundtrack and half something like a tribute album; one of them featured a female singer who was supposed to be Misty despite sounding nothing like her singing about being a tsundere, culminating in her stumbling just before breaking out the big L-word and winding to a close. Fakeedit: I found it on Bulbapedia in like five minutes despite thinking it was lost forever. People may have short memories, but the Internet sure doesn’t. Damn, that was the first Pokémon soundtrack released in English all the way back in 1999. I wouldn’t say that makes me feel OLD, per se, but it sure makes me aware of my mortality.

On our way back to Mustard, we pass a cutscene featuring Honey ruminating on something. If we ask her about it…

Of course you do! You’re such a pro at all this, Gloria! I’ll have you know that the Watt business is positively booming right now around here. They say that those who hold the most Watts hold the key to success!

But both my darling hubby and my son are more the indoor types, you know? And it’s pretty hard for me to collect that many Watts all on my own… If you ever happen to have some Watts to spare, Gloria, I’d be glad to take them! Oh, but I wouldn’t ask you to give them to me and not get anything in return! This would be a business transaction, of course. I’ll reward you for your generosity!

By giving her pretty substantial Watt donations we can have the dojo upgraded with various services. The first…

… Yeah. But we also get a PC and a vending machine that sells sodas and such for rock-bottom prices. I can’t imagine getting an overwhelming amount of use out of all this, but I have tens of thousands of Watts burning a hole in my pocket and I have no idea what else I would spend it on. So now we have a hairdresser, a PC, and a vending machine.

Kubfu’s really become more confident. How wonderful! I daresay I think you’re both ready. Follow me, you two.

Now then, Gloria! And Kubfu! If you want to become stronger… there are special training grounds just for Kubfu!

Kubfu’s fighting style will change depending on the tower you choose... And the types it gets will change as well! Think carefully! Each tower’s five stories tall, and each floor has a tough opponent waiting for you.

Remember, we need a name for that Charmander and that Honedge (unless someone can translate that Japanese name).