Pokémon Shield Playthrough Notes IV

You know the drill, more thoughts on Pokémon: Shield Version. I’ve now beaten gyms 5 and 6, and am hanging out in the neighbourhood of the snowbound city of Circhester. Cir- how do you pronounce that? Sir-chester, Kir-chester, Chir-chester? Just… however you think it’s pronounced, assume that I’m pronouncing it wrong.

  • Opal, the elderly Fairy-type gym leader of Ballonlea, appears to have taken a liking to Bede – initially because of his bright pink clothes, but also because she senses some kind of hidden depths in him. She seems to like that he’s not really good or bad all the way through.
    • Opal has recently been vetting all of her gym challengers as potential successors (after all, she’s in her late 80s, I mean, she’s 16; how could you possibly think otherwise?). Seems like Bede might have just shot to the top of her list. His type specialisation is wrong, but… eh, Fairy, Psychic, what’s the difference, anyway?
  • While I was passing through Hammerlocke on the way to the next gym, there was some kind of disturbance at Chairman Rose’s power plant in the centre of the city. Sonia has detected the manifestation of a “power spot,” one of the special nexuses of energy that allows Pokémon to become embiggened. This raises the… slightly worrying prospect of multiple embiggened Pokémon rampaging uncontrolled through the city.
    • Good thing that doesn’t sound like any mythological accounts of terrible disasters from Galar’s history that we know of.
    • Sonia and Leon are pretty sure it’s all, like… fine. They’ve insisted that I not worry about it and get on with the gym thing.
      • Oh, now you stop leaning on children to solve all your crises? Now, after twenty-three fµ¢£ing years?
  • Geographically, Circhester is in what should be Wales, but it feels like it’s based on Bath; it plays up “classical” influences, and there’s an ancient bathhouse built around a hot spring. The architecture even looks like the historic city centre of Bath. According to legend, the heroes of Galar rested in Circhester’s healing waters after they saved the region during the Darkest Day.
    • Carvings on the walls of the bathhouse are tentatively identified as Persian (I assume the Pokémon, not the real-world culture) by a bystander, but they look to me like wolves. Presumably these are representations of Zacian and Zamazenta.
  • Some random restaurant in Circhester has a fifth tapestry from the same collection as the ones in the Hammerlocke Vault, just… hanging on the wall, all tattered and grease-stained.
    • this is like if a lost fragment of the Bayeux Tapestry were rediscovered in a fµ¢£ing Nando’s in Swansea
    • when I become the Champion I’m shutting down this entire region and cavity-searching every man, woman and child for looted antiquities
    • This tapestry shows the two heroes next to what look like gravestones, emblazoned with sword and shield symbols. Sonia comments that they look sad. This seems like a much less triumphant coda to the happy ending portrayed in the tapestries from Hammerlocke.
  • Still thinking about how well the difficulty curve works with Exp. Share always on. Almost all the trainers feel just a couple of levels too low for the fights to be actually interesting (Melony, the Ice-type gym leader, was hard, but I have an all-Grass team, so that’s kind of a freebie). The wild Pokémon, though, are consistently a similar level to mine, or even higher, so I don’t think this is just Game Freak messing up the balance; I think this is a deliberate decision that wild Pokémon should be more dangerous than trainers.
    • On the one hand, thematically this kind of makes sense, and it fits with the feel of the Wild Area, where you can just wander into areas with wild Pokémon that completely outclass your team. On the other hand… I don’t think it works with the basic structure of the Pokémon games. Wild Pokémon are easy to avoid, and they kind of act like a “resource” in that any wild Pokémon can join your team unless it’s dramatically more powerful than you. Sun and Moon made this work with the Alolan Trial system, where you can’t catch wild Pokémon or run away from them. I don’t know that Sword and Shield make this work.
  • Hop seems like he’s got his mojo back, and has put his Wooloo partner back on his team – now evolved into Dubwool, which has long curvy ram horns. His starter Pokémon is also fully evolved now into Inteleon, who has a kind of secret agent aesthetic and a signature move that fires a “bullet” of water from its fingertip. Pretty slick!
  • New Pokémon!
    • After spending over an hour messing about with apple-based curries, convinced that Applin’s evolution would be related to the curry minigame in some unbelievably convoluted way, I finally stumbled onto a little side quest where a lovesick boy in Hammerlocke just gives you the special apple that you need to evolve the bloody thing (or at least, one of them; it’s definitely a split evolution because there’s an empty space in the Pokédex).
      • Thus, I now have Appletun: half dragon, half lattice-topped apple pie.
      • According to the Pokédex, not only does it produce sweet nectar, but “the skin on its back is especially yummy. Children used to have it as a snack.”
        • …Game Freak, I love my new apple dragon and I’ve wanted a Grass/Dragon Pokémon forever, but can we please not talk any more about children eating its skin.
          • please
    • Galarian Meowth evolves into Perrserker, who still has the same basic body shape as Meowth, rather than looking like a traditional Persian. It’s now clear that this Pokémon is a Viking, in reference to the Viking invasions of England in the 9th century AD.
    • Falinks, which similarly to Exeggcute is made up of a group of smaller Pokémon – a bunch of little Kirby-looking doofuses with helmets and shields who march in a line. They live in an ancient ruin near the town I’ve decided is probably Bath, so I’m guessing they’re supposed to be Roman soldiers.
      • A phalanx is a Greek tactic, but… y’know. Whatever. Nobody cares.
    • Silicobra evolves into Sandaconda, who… well, clearly the reason it’s so miserable is because it’s tied itself into knots. Its huge nostrils, on the end of its snout propped up by a big coil wrapped around its own head, for some reason make me think of an artillery piece.
    • Snom is a cute little ice grub.
      • I would die for Snom.
    • Snom evolves through methods yet unknown to me into Frosmoth, one of the Pokémon on Melony’s team. It has a kind of ghostly, ethereal feel to it.
      • I would not die for Frosmoth. However, I do stan.
      • Ice/Bug is interesting, but with double-weaknesses to Fire and Rock, seems so terrible.
    • Eiscue is another of Melony’s Pokémon, which the Pokédex puts further north. It is… a penguin with its head stuck in a huge block of ice.
      • what the actual fµ¢£
        • I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not even wholly against this, but
        • what the actual fµ¢£
      • Eiscue’s block of ice shatters when it is hit by an attack, preventing all damage in the process. It seems to work like Mimikyu’s Disguise… but, on the basis of my battle with Melony, I think the block of ice regenerates when the weather changes to Hail. Pure Ice is much weaker than Ghost/Fairy, so I think it’s fair for Eiscue to do Mimikyu’s schtick a little bit better.
    • Pincurchin looks like it should be the evolved form of Pyukumuku, but is nowhere near it in the Pokédex and is an Electric-type (albeit with some Water attacks). I kind of wonder if it could be, like… a pre-evolution of some kind of Galarian Qwilfish. Must experiment.
    • Darumaka and Darmanitan are Ice-types in Galar! And Zen Mode seems to turn Darmanitan into an enraged Ice/Fire-type. This might fix one of the main problems of Zen Mode as I see it – it doesn’t make sense for the aggressive form to be used at full health and the tanky form to be used while injured.
    • Dreepy – spirit dragon! This was used against me by a trainer; the Pokédex says it only lives on an island in the Wild Area, and I still don’t know how to cross water. This adorably derpy little guy comes close to what must be the end of the Galar Pokédex, so I’m thinking this might be generation VIII’s pseudo-legendary.

Current state of the team:

Donkey the Rillaboom
Level 45, male, Quirky
Brick Break, Screech, Drum Beating, Knock Off

Oddment the Vileplume
Level 45, male, Careful
Giga Drain, Moonblast, Acid, Sleep Powder

Samba the Ludicolo
Level 45, male, Bashful
Nature Power, Zen Headbutt, Giga Drain, Surf

Blight the Trevenant
Level 44, male, Hardy
Phantom Force, Will-o-Wisp, Horn Leech, Leech Seed

Douglas Fir the Snover
Level 39, male, Quirky
Ingrain, Razor Leaf, Mist, Icy Wind

Honeycrisp the Appletun
Level 40, male, Lonely
Apple Acid, Body Slam, Recover, Dragon Pulse

6 thoughts on “Pokémon Shield Playthrough Notes IV

  1. That Snover reminds me that I have a “Professor Douglas Fir” penciled in as a blatant expy of House MD based on the infamous “Arceus created the world” line. (It’s the main wood used in construction and by extension houses)


  2. Ahhh… Frosmoth. Let me tell you a funny story:
    Not really a spoiler: but Gen 8 adds a new type of entry hazard, it doesn’t have a good name but it’s just a Steel-type Stealth Rocks. Which means that due to Frosmoth’s type, it’s possible to lose 100% of it’s HP just from switching in. Since it can hypothetically take:
    50% from Stealth Rocks
    25% from Stealth Steels
    25% from 3-layers of Spikes.

    Also Galarian Darmanitan may have fixed Zen Mode to an extent. But it’s other possible ability is absolute h i l a r i o u s l y broken.


    1. Note that the damage is rounded down, so you can survive as long as your HP isn’t divisible by 4. And there are enough other places where this fact comes up to make it worth gaming the system that way. Still just as hilarious as when it happens to Shedinja.


  3. Circhester is absolutely Bath. Through playing Sword I have come to the conclusion that Galar is GEOGRAPHICALLY upside-down Great Britain, but the SETTLEMENTS still vaguely match regular Great Britain (with the exception of Wyndon as London, because we can’t have the climax of the game ending in dingy old Glasgow, now can we?). Postwick and Wedgehurst are so obviously Wales it’s hilarious, right down to the constant blockades of sheep. And I should know, I spent 4 years studying in north Wales.

    Liked by 1 person

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