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The Game Is Out, Time To Discuss

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I've seen that claimed a lot but haven't seen much data to back it up. I've similarly seen it claimed that the host has a guaranteed catch rate but well, that's not how it went for me when I hosted one.
The catch rates are on Serebii and seems to follow from my experience. All solo-offline and non-event max raids have a 100% catch rate regardless of Pokeball. When the non-Gigantamax Pokemon that appears in the dens come from events (e.g., non-Gigantamax Snorlax), you have the standard species catch rate, and a base catch rate of ~20 for Gigantamax events offline.

For multiplayer, Gigantamax catch rate is ~20 for the host and ~3 for the other players regardless of whether it's an event or not. Standard Pokemon have the species catch rate for everyone, except for non-event standards which has a 100% catch rate for the host.
 
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Since I just finished playing Shield (this is actually the quickest I have ever finished a game after its release - although some of that may have to do with the lack of content) I thought I might do a review. This seems as good a thread as any to do a review, but if it isn't the right place, someone can move it. This is the least spoiled I have been on a new game since, well maybe Gen III, I was thinking Gen IV, but the anime spoiled a lot of Pokemon then. That being said, I haven't read anything anyone has had to say about the game yet, so don't @ me if I say something way off the general consensus, I wanted to get this review out first so that my thoughts aren't influenced by others before I go ahead and read what others thought. Of course, like most things I write, it ended up longer than I wanted, so sorry.

I love this game, but. The word but is going to be a key theme for me, because there are so many places where the game is so close, or just missing something glaring. In fact, I want to touch on that fact that I almost never think about a game's quality (granted, Pokemon is really the only game I play) while I am playing it, I usually play and enjoy the experience/immersion, and then later I will think about the quality. Unfortunately there were a few glaring items in this game that had me thinking about quality while I was still playing, some of which I will touch on throughout this post.

I guess the first thing to touch on is the region. The region is marvelous, beautiful, fun, and engaging, but it is also quite a bit smaller than expected and there is an incredible amount of places you can't even go into. For example, Glimwood Tangle is probably one of my favorite Pokemon game locations, I was enjoying the heck out of it, and then boom, I was in Ballonlea. The mines are really short, straight paths, very unlike underground locations of old. There also was very little to explore post-game, the only interesting place I can think of where you go back to see more is the lake by Magnolia's house. This is crazy to think about, Sinnoh, Unova have tons of places to explore post game, huge caves, etc, and I can't think of anything but Gen 1 Kanto that has as little as Galar. Considering the Switch is supposed to support a lot more content, I couldn't believe the region was so small. The amount of buildings we can't enter is astonishing, the amount of background locations we can't even approach is shocking. Remember people losing their shit about not being able to enter the power plant in Kalos? Almost ever town in Galar has multiple Kalos power plants. Turrfield literally only has a Pokemon center and a gym you can enter, Monostoke has two identical looking stores on the same strip (neither of which you can enter), Hammerlocke has that grouping of really interesting old buildings that can't be entered, Spikemuth is basically just all scenery. BUT WORST OF ALL WHY THE F* CAN'T I GO ON THE F*ING FERRIS WHEEL? What a cruel tease, the ferris wheel is something I just adored about BW (I still wind up on it any time I play BW/2 for a few days), I know it is pretty meaningless, but why even put the thing in if you aren't going to let people on it? Maybe if you hadn't had a ridable ferris wheel in the past, but since you did, its just silly to put a non-ridable ferris wheel in. I have similar (slightly less emotional) feelings about the lighthouse, but I was prepared for that, considering we couldn't get in in SM either, but another thing that looked so cool in HGSS, and they can't be bothered to let us in anymore. One last point on the region, let me start by saying the battle backgrounds have gotten really cool, and really make you feel like you are where you are, but my first time in Monostoke I was exploring, as I always do, and wound up in the alley down all those stairs and decided to try to fish at the surprise fishing spot. What I couldn't believe was that the background for the battle is the route 3 background (I hadn't even been on route 3 yet), which made no sense at all and completely wrecked my in game vibe. I played gen 1, I have a good imagination, I don't need to be shown something specific to be immersed in a game, but when I am shown something completely incorrect, that kills the immersion. I'm pretty sure Lumiose got a specific battle background, but this Shield has a generic, blank, background (the one you get when you battle at those bakeries), so if anything just use that, rather than using something completely wrong.

Next I will talk about the content. Again I really enjoyed the content, the gameplay was fun, I was even extremely impressed that the beginning of these games isn't as tedious with explanations as the last few titles, but the amount of content was shockingly low. I was expecting a lot more content from the switch, but instead we got less than normal. Think about it, if we take away the amazing graphics, and boil this game down to what it would have looked like in any generation we compare to, it doesn't really compare favorably until we go back to Gen 3 (even Gen 3, which has off-map locations, contests, battle facilities, etc, has an argument). There just isn't all that much to do, outside of gym battles. Alola games did a great job of having dozens of little optional side quests, in Galar I think we have like 3 or 4 of these (unless I just missed a whole lot, but I'm pretty anal about going to every spot, so I don't think I did). Again, people may not notice, because of the leveling system getting your levels up so high, but the number of battles is really low for this game, and there really isn't all that much to do but gym battle, next route, gym battle, etc. I couldn't believe that there was no evil team/general controversy engagement at all until almost the post game (Team Yell doesn't count, and even if they did the engagement with them is pretty minor). Really no Pokemon game has ever been this straightforward, just on to the next route type style before.

Next I want to expound on the amount of stuff/extras. I have been increasingly disappointed since Gen VI started by the decrease in the ability to interact with the world around you, and this game continues that trend. Although I can sit down on a few benches, I can almost never learn anything about posters in rooms, books on shelves, there are no cute TV programs anymore, still no Hall of Fame (the excuse for not having one in Alola made sense, here not at all), no way to grow berries(which is a huge deal to me, especially EV reducers), no GTS!!!! (hoping Home has both this and berries), you can't pet your Pokemon in camp, Pokemon can't follow again (even though they seem to have a lot of what they would need already created), and so many more. The excuse for a lot of this type of stuff being lighter in the 3DS era (at least what I thought was the excuse) was the lack of space on the cartridge, especially during SM when there were so many Pokemon. Yet this game we only have 400 Pokemon, even with Dexit, I was expecting a lot more than that (we're talking the least Pokemon in a game since Emerald - released over 15 years ago in Japan), did they use that extra space to make a larger region or add in more content than past titles? Of course not. Even the wild area is shockingly smaller than I expected, routes are short, towns are small, buildings are few, and extra content is at an all time low. It really feels like the laziest they have ever gotten, I felt the peak for Pokemon was Gen V, with each generation better than the last prior to that, but Gen VI and VII weren't really a significant drop off, in some ways Gen VIII is starting as a pretty big drop off. The games are still fun and enjoyable, but when compared to their predecessors, they really fall flat.

Next I will cover game mechanics. I have always hated the change from exp share to exp all, but I had been told before to stop complaining because I can just turn it off, well now I can't, which leads to rampant over-leveling (even in a game with not many battles). I am really disappointed with a lot of the "make the game easier" changes because they take away from making the games feel real. I don't like that everyone gets experience from battles they aren't participating in, I was pretty upset about hyper training too, because the idea of IVs made a lot of sense (yeah you can work really hard - become level 100 - but at some point not having the capability to be as good as another Pokemon with better genes is realistic), but being able to change natures totally takes the cake, I mean it is really absurd and goes towards turning Pokemon more into the set of numbers they are in the video game, and not to the realistic companion the game is supposed to strive to make them feel like. I find myself missing HMs as well, because it was cool that you used your team of Pokemon to help you travel around the region, not so much when your magic bike with a Pokemon you didn't even catch is what helps you overcome obstacles. I also really dislike dynamax, it is a cheap gimmick, and while during game play I can pretty much ignore it (because you don't really need it for the story), it is going to completely wreck competitive for me. The new online trading method is awful (i.e. you can't even see what Pokemon your trade partner is scrolling through, so you literally can only see what they specifically offer). As for a positive game mechanic, I really did enjoy wild Pokemon. First, I barely need repels, which is nice, and it is cool that different wild Pokemon acted differently in the overworld. Early on I was having a bit of fun taunting strong wild Pokemon (whistling at them and running away), and it was a lot of fun when I was mercilessly hunted down by a Liepard (because they are extremely fast in the overworld). Stuff like that did a lot to help immersion/making the world feel real, so I really did appreciate that. That being said, the wild area isn't all that fun after a while. Its basically the online play for this game, have internet on, run around to tents and holes, but the tents are no where close to as fun as secret bases, the raid battles get pretty old after a while, and as I said before, trading is hugely lacking, so it really isn't as fun as I think it could have been. I do love making and trading trainer cards though, so that is a pretty cool new feature.

Next I want to cover the story & characters a bit, although I'm not going to get very in depth, I'll still put in in a spoiler tab:
Let's start by saying the story was enjoyable, if not a bit light. The one big thing I don't like about the gym challenge is the feel it gives that you have to be endorsed. Now I don't feel like an underdog from a small town at all, I feel privileged beyond other trainers I encounter, which really isn't a vibe I want. Gym's having missions is an interesting idea, trying to take what was different about trials from SM and adapt to the new games, but the problem is a lot of these missions are really no different than gym puzzles we have had since gyms existed, so its kind of a lot of hollow talk. Much of the game, then, is pretty generic, just go to gym, do route, a little research with Sonia. To be honest, I don't mind that too much, it was getting a little old that every post Gen 2 game needed some earth-shaking catastrophe, so I kind of liked this calmer game. Finally you get to the finals of the Pokemon league, and I find myself talking to the rich, powerful, respected owner of an incredibly successful business the night before I battle his protege and his unusually strong Charizard in the final of a league, holy crap, I'm playing the XY anime. So yeah, the story was fun, but it felt recycled, with elements of XY and SM. And what Rose does really doesn't make sense anyway, he wasn't really a bad guy, just made a big mistake trying to help, but it just made so little sense it wasn't funny. I found myself really confused about his motives. I was also really confused when Hop and I were sneaking into this meeting and getting battled by employees, just because dinner was late - I mean they were going for the evil team vibe, except they aren't evil, so it was really all quite odd (although the music playing during that part was downright awesome - my favorite track from the game, which is saying something because unlike other aspects, the music for Pokemon games has always been, and continues to be stellar). Then we battle Eternatus, which I find out contains all the energy to allow dynamaxing, where have I heard this before, oh its Galarian Necrozma, really creative (that was literally 1 game ago - don't @ me about let's go). So yeah, I guess after 23 years you may have a lot of repeat content, but maybe repeat stuff that wasn't so recent.

As for characters, Hop was fairly dull to me. They hadn't struck gold with Hau, so I don't see why they had to make another character so similar. He was around way too much, and he got old really fast. Leon was so-so to me. I really liked Marnie quite a bit, also enjoyed Piers and getting to spend time with both of them during gameplay was a treat. I really liked what they did with Lillie in SM (kind of like an anime travel companion), and for this game they didn't quite go that far, but did allow you to have parts of your journey with other characters, which I really like. Bede was also enjoyable, maybe because he felt like Blue, and I think the way they finished his story was quite alright (big kudos for going a very different route with a rival). The personalities of the gym leaders were mostly good, and they gave all of them personalities, which was great (if you haven't flipped their trainer cards, you should, the stories are interesting). I like that there was mention that the gyms are more of a test than battling all out, its always been something fans assume, but rarely explicitly stated. On Rose and Oleana, I was actually getting the feeling Rose was more of her puppet, she seemed like the more devious of the two, with Rose seeming pretty absent minded and relaxed, so I guess they kind of tricked me there (or at least a lot closer than they got with the very obvious Lusamine in SM). Either way, the two of them were fine as characters, just like I said before, the motivation for the darkest day (and not realizing that it would be really stupid) didn't make a lot of sense to me. Sonia was a really good character, I enjoyed her becoming the professor and all the co-journey moments with her. Other characters weren't really memorable enough to get a mention, but I thought characters for the game were quite good on the whole.

A few other random notes on spoiler-type stuff. I was pretty surprised at the lack of references to other regions and games, I sure feel like that was at an all time low. I get SM had a ton due to being on the 20th anniversary, but this game really only had small, passing references. I'm sure the swimmer that said you can swim to Kalos will really get people going. (But Kalos wasn't in the post game - I'm so shocked [sarcasm]) Like I said before, I couldn't believe there was only 400 Pokemon. As always, Kanto got a good representation, plus the best representation on additional forms (Galar and Gigantamax), but I was shocked at just how many Unova Pokemon there were. I'm sure someone has a tally, I will have to look at that after this, but I'm guessing Unova may be the most represented old region. I'm sure Sinnoh not having many will support ideas for DP remakes next year. Sinnoh would look great in these graphics, although I fear they will pare stuff down to fit their "lack of content" quota.

Back to the Pokemon, I did kind of get crushed by the number of steel types on good trainer's teams, just because the Pokemon I liked from the new region are all quite poor against steel types (well that's true of most regions, but I typically like some fire, water, or electric types). By the end of the game (after I replaced my Nickit with Frosmoth) I didn't have a single move that was even neutral to a steel type, so I had some tedious battles. The team I wound up with was Eldegoss, Alcremie, Cinccino, Ponyta, Hattrem, and Frosmoth. I only used Cinccino because I was quite a way through the game and not really enjoying a lot of the new Pokemon, so I wanted something to add to my team to have stability instead of rotating so much. One of the issues with so few spoilers is not knowing what the Pokemon look like, once my Scorbunny evolved, I just couldn't use it anymore, but I was able to save and reset to avoid the same fate for Nickit, Ponyta, and Hattrem. Alcremie's forms are cool, not as cool as Vivillon though and I don't see myself collecting all of them. Side note, my Eldegoss has Cotton Down, which is a cool new ability, but can be really annoying. My first ever double battle in the game and I got hit 5 times with fury swipes, leading to 15 separate speed drops.

Finally I want to mention I am pleasantly surprised by the number of new Pokemon I was okay with (at least after starting the game, because about a week in I was hardly liking any new Pokemon). I am going to do a review of how I feel (fully subjective, 100% opinion, what I like personally, I'm not trying to rate quality) about the design of each Pokemon below. The anime almost always makes me like new Pokemon more, but since the anime isn't in Galar this time that will hurt, but at least time and getting used to newer Pokemon, plus learning more about the origin/story behind them, typically improves how I feel about them too, so this list would probably be better if I did it in a year, but I felt like doing it now anyway. There are five categories, and within each category is NOT a ranking, it is just in Nat Dex order:

Love
Galar Ponyta
Nickit
Gossifluer
Hattrem
Alcremie

Like
Galar Darumaka
Galar Darmanitan
Rillaboom
Scorbunny
Eldegoss
Wooloo
Dubwool
Yamper
Centiskorch (especially its Rayquaza form)
Frosmoth
Copperajah
Zacian
Zamazenta

So-So
Galar Farfetch'd
Galar Weezing
Galar Corsola
Galar Zigzagoon
Galar Linoone
Galar Yamask
Galar Stunfisk
Rookidee
Corvisquire
Corvikinght
Dottler
Flapple
Appletun
Cramorant
Sizzlipede
Hatenna
Hatterene
Obstagoon
Perrserker
Cursola
Sirfetch'd
Runerigus
Milcery
Pincurchin
Snom
Indeedee
Morpeko (would be like, but hangry mode creeps me out)
Cufant
Dreepy
Drakloak
Dragapult
Eternatus

Dislike
Galar Meowth
Galar Rapidash
Grookey
Thwacky
Cinderace
Sobble
Drizzile
Inteleon
Skwovet
Blipbug
Orbeetle
Chewtle
Drednaw
Boltund
Rolycoly
Carkol
Coalossal
Applin
Silicobra
Sandaconda
Arrokuda
Barrackewda
Toxtricity
Clobbopus
Grapploct
Sinistea
Polteageist
Falinks
Stonjourner
Eiscue
All new fossil Pokemon
Duraludon

Hate
Galar Mr. Mime (but that's how I feel about regular Mr. Mime too)
Raboot
Greedent
Thievul (might be this low just from the shock of how much worse it got after Nickit)
Toxel
Impidimp
Morgrem
Grimmsnarl
Mr. Rime

So that about wraps up what I have to say. I think I will remember more thoughts later, but its probably for the best to not write anymore. I tend to write more about the frustrating stuff than the good stuff, but I do truly like these games, there are just some hugely disappointing factors where I felt they could have been better with really just a little more effort. I think older fans like me need to kiss goodbye the idea of a Pokemon game with as much effort and devotion as Gen V and realize that we are never going to have that again, since they still make plenty of $ with less effort, but I do at least hope we can get a little more effort in the future, instead of continuing down this decline. I am having a really hard time deciding about how I am going to handle the postgame. Usually I have a Pokemon game that I consider a "hub" for my Pokemon activity, where I send a lot of Pokemon and do my online play, play around with Pokemon I didn't get to use in the game the first time, etc. Since that really isn't possible here (due to dex limitations), I think I may stay in Gen VI/VII for a lot of that type of stuff. I do feel like Gen VI online features (since they are better than Gen VII and free unlike Gen VIII) are having a bit of a renaissance, since the last few times I have played Gen VI games I have had no trouble getting online battles, so I guess it is time for me to move on from "hub" games and just try to get enjoyment where I can find it.

EDIT: I have to come back and mention, since I just found out, that I think its appalling they got rid of so many moves. Again, just pure laziness, really no excuse for it. I'm guessing its going to be an impediment for bringing Pokemon from Home, all in all just another inexcusable, lazy move.
 
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Summer Belongs to You
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I'd just like to say... I hate Hop's snorlax. That thing is the only roadblock in his entire team (well, before the post game, at least. Then he get's another road block.)

Also, Bede is frustrating in post game too, despite having only 4 pokemon. This is what I get for not having any fairy coverage.
 
Sobble must hold an Everstone
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toxtricity will clear up that bede problem real quick
he also learns throat chop for the psychic-types
 
#Shield
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I finished Shield but there are still things I haven't tried out yet. I really enjoyed these games. They were alot of fun, the pokemon are awesome. The story was ok. It wasn't bad but I think it could have been deeper. I feel they could have done more with co-op stuff. Like have more things to do as co-op. It would also be nice to see in the future, co-op grass battles. Maybe against a horde of pokemon. And I would like to see the online players function in the wild area go smoother and expand to other parts of the game. It would be nice if it was easier to connect with your friends in the over world of the wild area too.

I still think the Hoenn games (my favoriate) still beat Galar in my opinion. Galar has to be my second favorite in all honesty. Johto follows close after. Just alot of fun.
 
Summer Belongs to You
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I caught a Gigantamax Centiscorch. I also encountered (but did not catch) a gigantamax Snorlax.
 
I <3 Kabu and Raihan
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I've been having a decent run of luck with G-Max forms lately. Repeat Balls are based when all you have left to complete the Dex are Sableye and Zamazenta. Over the weekend, I caught G-Max Gengar, Lapras, Appletun, and a second Centiskorch, as well as a couple extra Snorlax that I sent out over Surprise Trade (I'm doing that with any duplicates I get).

However, I failed to catch three other Centiskorch, two other Snorlax, two Charizard, two Alcremie, two Copperajah, a Coalossal, an Orbeetle, a Lapras, a Machamp, a Hatterene, a Corviknight, and a Duraludon. Ah well.

Ultimately I still need Kingler, Machamp, Garbodor, Flapple, Orbeetle, Coalossal, Hatterene, Grimmsnarl, Alcremie, and Copperajah to complete my Gigantabox. (And I need to get around to picking up the gift Eevee.)
 
Summer Belongs to You
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Sweet jesus the Wild Area was infested with G-Max Centiscorches today. I didn't catch any because I have one already gut jeez.
 
Blast Turtle
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Do you think in the Pokemon universe that instead of Puritans leaving for the New World, it was people that didn't like sporty Pokemon battles? Like, all the nerds left Galar to start up a colony in Unova.
 
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Do you think in the Pokemon universe that instead of Puritans leaving for the New World, it was people that didn't like sporty Pokemon battles? Like, all the nerds left Galar to start up a colony in Unova.
Since Unova's just about the second-most sporty region I'm not sure that worked out so well...
 
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I forgot about that.

Maybe they prefer human sports to Pokemon ones... ?
I suppose, though it’s hard to really assess because there really is nothing different between Unovan Pokémon battling and Galarian Pokémon battling other than Dynamax (and realistically that’s just because the Unova games predate the notion of regional battle transformations) and the Gyms being public stadiums (but if the lack of that is an indication of a general lack of interest in Pokémon battling, then one could argue that no regions other than LGPE Kanto and Galar, and I guess Alola for different reasons, care that much about Pokémon battling - at any rate, it seems unlikely that Unova cares any significantly less about Pokémon battles since Team Plasma’s whole intention was sway the entire public to their will by flexing N’s Trainer cred of “can catch a Legendary” and “can beat the Champion”).

Personally, I’d even argue that the spectator aspect of Galar’s battling *would* be right at home in Unova. Not only do they already have that affinity for sports (and Pokémon battling itself is a sport), but like, I always headcanon-assumed that Champion battles were televised, because it just made a lot of sense to me to think of them as the kind if thing people would crowd around to watch - just look at the anime - and specifically in Gen 5, if people could see the battle between N and Alder unfold in real time rather than having to read about it in the papers or on PokemonLeague.com the next day. That’s how you stun the people into a state of awe that you can exploit. It would also work nicely with Team Plasma’s framing of Pokémon battling as a systemic evil - they could claim that Pokémon are suffering for peoples’ entertainment as well as the gratification of their Trainers. And besides that... Unova is America. Sports are utterly, titanically massive here.
 
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Summer Belongs to You
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I think they left because of the darkest day. Sure that doesn't at all lime up with the real world timeline but sue me.
 
Summer Belongs to You
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Caught a Rotom. Didn't even know they were in the game.
 
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