Pokemon Black, Day 7

Yesterday, lots of cutscenes and I got the bridge open, met another hated gym leader, and went down to explore Cold Storage.


Back to the plot. The guy at the door says Clay’s making us look for Plasma because he’s testing us. Because he’s a lazy dumbass more like.

Cheren keeps chattering about if strength is really the most important thing. I hate his subplot.

Inside, the workers there keep battling me even though I’m trying to do their city’s job and catch criminals. They’re also really weak, around L23 or L24. I feel like I may have overleveled.

At the end, Team Plasma and I guess one of the sage guys is hiding in a container. Continuing our “they’ve totally pathetic and I am utterly blah about them” protrayal, the sage is whining about cold and telling the other people to huddle.

This sage seems to believe things, explaining pokemon are N’s friends.

While we’re taking care of them, we can’t let any harm come to them here.

…So they battle to drive us off. Not sure you thought this quite through, but on a less pedantic level I’m just happy to see someone playing the plot straight.

They’re all the same basic levels as the guys outside.

Team Plasma: The Pokemon that work with people may look like they’re having fun, but the truth is they’re suffering. There’s no doubt about it!

Only the grunts battle. The sage guy just sits behind them all. Halfway through the gym battles and still not a single fight with one of them?

Then once I’ve done all the work Clay shows up. And now he’s being complimentary. Shut up I hate you.

Cheren says that the idea of separating people and pokemon is “exactly the same as not having pokemon at all” and says they’re a waste of oxygen. You know, this is just painfully ironic. We’re getting forcefed a message of tolerance and diversity and how wonderful it is people have different opinions, but also the people who disagree about trainers are just flat out wrong.

On to the gym…

Where a horde of Team Plasma guys and Ghetsis are waiting.

Ghetsis: Clay. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I am Ghetsis, of Team Plasma. I’ve come to pick up my associates who are in your care.

Clay: I don’t need no thanks, now. Yer buddies were tryin’ to steal some folks’ Pokemon.

Ghetsis: What’s this? It seems as if there has been some misunderstanding. We only free Pokemon from wicked people.

Clay: Well, that sounds real nice if it’s true. I may not talk purty, but at least I’m an honest man.

Oh wonderful, an anti-intellectualism bit.

You’ll notice that you very rarely get to see another articulate person disagreeing based on obvious logical merit. And when you see someone disagreeing without being articulate, it’s rare to see them just going on “I can’t explain why but pretty sure you’re still wrong” but instead playing up the simple-honest mold, in contrast to the lying smart people.

You talk real nice, but what yer sayin’ kinda sounds like lyin’. So tell me plain, what are ya tryin’ to say?

Ghetsis: Team Plasma also has an interest in Driftveil City. And we have many, many more members besides those who are here.

Clay: …Well, I can’t tell if yer lyin’ or not, but I reckon you’ve won this without a fight.

…huh?

I mean, I see what Ghetsis is saying here, which is that he’ll come back with more if he doesn’t get the ones now, but I don’t see why that’s convincing. Don’t they have a police force? Are they really at the mercy of any gang that’s big enough? Plus, if Clay doesn’t even think it’s true, why go along with it? Does he roll over for anyone who claims to have an out of sight and unverifiable army? Because let me tell you Clay, I have an army and they take issue with the thing where you’re blaming me for you being a screwup, and also your stupid face.

Hrrmph. Fine. Take ’em and git!

Ghetsis: A decision worthy of a businessman called the Miner King. Your grasp of the situation is outstanding. Well then, we will be taking our colleagues off your hands…

Zinzolin: Ghetsis… Thank you very much…

Ghetsis: Don’t worry, my fellow servant of the king. We are two of the Seven Sages, are we not? Well then, everyone, I expect that we will meet again somewhere.

Clay: Sorry to let Team Plasma go after you tracked ’em down, fellas. Say, why don’t we cheer ourselves up with a Pokemon battle? Don’t keep me waitin’!

HATE

HATE

HATE

Cheren: Well, we avoided a fight in the middle of the city, anyway.

Oh god, first Bianca and now you’re doing it too. We avoided a fight BY NOT FIGHTING THE BAD GUYS. This is not a victory!

Still, I can’t help but think Ghetsis isn’t jut an ordinary person.

…Cheren did you sleep through the plot? He’s a seven sage guy and he seems to be the one giving all the orders. Since when did we think he was ordinary?

The fifth gym has an elevator thing going on. It’s almost a puzzle! I spent maybe thirty seconds trying to figure out where to go next at various points.

Ooh, when I exit it’s raining. That’s cool.

Gym battle!

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L29 krokorok
L29 palpitoad that will not die
L31 excadrill

Anyway, tough battle. I approve. So now I have five badges? And I still haven’t seen one decent dungeon area. No secret hideouts, no giant caves, nothing.

He orders me to Route 6 instead of just giving me the customary TM.

So I heal and head there, and then Bianca catches up. At least she knows we’re supposed to battle, unlike “let’s work together” Cheren.

L26 herdier
L26 panpour
L26 musharna
L28 servine

And now I have the fly HM. Thanks, Tranquill’s moveset has been lacking.

Current team:

PhotobucketSandile L28
PhotobucketWhirlipede L27
PhotobucketTranquill L26
PhotobucketHerdier L31
PhotobucketPignite L29
PhotobucketDwebble L27

Onward to the route and its lovely grass full of new pokemon.

Foongus.

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It lurs people in with its Poke Ball pattern, then releases poison spores. Why it resembles a Poke Ball is unknown.

Deerling. That’s a bit too disney for my tastes.

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The color and scent of their fur changes to match the mountain grass. When they sense hostility, they hide in the grass.

They seem pretty aggressive, actually.

And herdier is finally evolving! Yes.

Into even more hideous stoutland. Wow. Herdier was barely tolerable. This thing is not, at all.

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It rescues people stranded by blizzards in the mountains. Its shaggy fur shields it from the cold.

Game, I don’t think you understand. I’m not saying it’s an evil pokemon, I’m saying it’s ugly and I don’t want to look at it. It is not pleasing to have on my screen. It will not become pleasing no matter how many people you say it rescued.

Checking the dex for what pokemon to raise next. Tympole seems a decent choice. There’s also darumaka, but I think I’ll wait on that in anticipation of kicking piggy off the team on evolution, and I’m hoping scraggy’s evolved form can just be caught. Same for trubbish. It also looks like yamask evolves.

Minccino? I’m suspicious it might be a stone-evolution. That can wait for now. And there’s the goth pokemon, but I don’t much like it.

Back to the route.

Karrablast.

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These mysterious Pokemon evolve when they receive electrical stimulation while they are in the same place as Shelmet.

That sounds complicated, so I’ll be keeping it off my team until I get a better explanation.

Also, there’s apparently a scientific station here devoted to studying deerling, which change appearance based on the season. They want me to bring one in now then come back later when the season changes.

Oh, and now I’m running into fake pokeball foongus. That’s cool. I wonder if they respawn. And found a leaf stone! Wonder who that’ll evolve?

Then I find a hiker.

Chargestone Cave seems like a complicated maze

YES DUNGEON TIME

but actually it’s a straight road.

why you do this

Then there’s some old guy.

Here on Route 6, there’s a place called Mistralton Cave.

Is that another place that seems like a decent challenge to explore, but actually isn’t?

Supposedly, deep in that cave you can find an amazing Pokemon called Cobalion, who was said to have protected Pokemon from a sea of fire in ancient Unova.

That does sound cool. The guy explains I’ll need a surfing pokemon first, though.

Speaking of surf, the dowsing rods keep pointing to areas I think I need surf to get to. So am I going to get that soon?

At the end of the route is a cave mouth with a shiny yellow web over it.

But my pokemon are exhausted and I need to go back to the pokecenter to get the deerling too. Also, looks like none of the pokemon I have evolve by leaf stone.

I get nothing for delivering the deerling, either. They could at least make it easier by having a place to swap pokemon right there.

Back to the cave again!

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Clay shows up to remove the web with his pokemon, and then he gives me the bulldoze TM, and also a pep speech. Then, blessedly, he goes away.

And there’s N! Yay for subplots and cutscenes I don’t hate. Apparoaching, two guys pop out of the ground. They are rather tacturn and … types.

My lord N, we brought the one you wanted.

…I was like five feet away. Walking toward him.

This could actually have been kind of cool if they’d actually had it happen properly. You enter a cave and then suddenly you’re dragged a good distance in.

Anyway, they then ninja-vanish again.

N: Ah, yes. That was the Shadow Triad, just now. Ghetsis enlisted them in Team Plasma. Apparently, they were the ones who prepared the Galvantula nest at the cave entrance.

Chargestone Cave… I like this place.

So do I, actually. Just from the screen or two I’ve seen so far, there’s cool blue rock everywhere and this awesome charge effect. Very nice design.

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Formulas express electricity and its connection to Pokemon… If people did not exist, this would be an ideal place.

Uh… So we’ve graduated from “pokemon must be freed” to “kill all humans”? Well, okay, N. I still like you better than the rest of the plot, so I’ll go with this.

You have been chosen, you know. Does it surprise you I said that?

Hm. Well, no, you’ve clearly been impressed with me, and also I’m an awesome trainer.

Hmph. If you don’t understand what that means, it’s not likely to surprise you. I told Ghetsis about you and your friends.

You mean my pokemon, or the two failrivals? Because let me tell you, N, I wouldn’t exactly call the latter “friends”, and I say this as someone who prefers to let most of her team fight to the fainting point before healing them.

After I did, he apparently used the Shadow Triad to find out about you. Cheren is pursuing the ideal of strength. Poor Bianca has faced the sad truth that not everyone can become stronger.

Seriously? Seriously, they make the female rival just to be a message about failure?

And you are now swayed either way– more of a neutral presence.

Never have the failings of the RPG elements been so obvious.

The game gives you a very blank slate protagonist, which can work. But you can’t also say I’ve been behaving in a certain way. Of course I’ve been pursuing strength, with a side order of my usual magpie tendencies about getting all of everything. There haven’t been any points in the game where I even could have behaved differently.

Either the game needs to stop ascribing things to me, or it needs to have scripted events that relate to whatever traits it’s saying I have. I’m perfectly happy to play out the game of the trainer who was in the middle ground or whatever, but that requires the character have some personality of its own.

Which is apparently a good thing.

…? You don’t sound that convinced. Why do you think that, then?

Team Plasma will be waiting for you ahead. Ghetsis wants to see what kind of Pokemon Trainer you really are.

…he’s going to do that by having pokemon battles, isn’t he? I’d really like for “what kind of pokemon trainer you really are” to at some point involve a factor other than how strong you are. Especially when such other factors are a major piece of the plot.

He walks out of sight. And that means now I can walk! And run into pokemon.

Ferroseed. Ooh, a grass/steel type.

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When threatened, it attacks by shooting a barrage of spikes, which gives it a chance to escape by rolling away.

I walk toward a floating blue rock. Right as I was about to touch it, Bianca appeared to explain it moves when you touch it. God damn game just shut up and let me do things. And she’s followed by the makework professor.

She mentions she’s researching the origins of pokemon and the “era” they appeared, which makes them sound quite recent. She also gives me a lucky egg. Cool.

Joltik. I bet that evolves into the pokemon that made the web.

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Joltik that live in cities have learned a technique for sucking electricity from outlets in houses.

Wait, these guys live in cities? It’d be cool to run into them there.

Klink. They look dumb. And somehow they can use bind.

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The two minigears that mesh together are predetermined. Each will rebound from other minigears without meshing.

The stone puzzle turns out to not even be a puzzle. The floating rocks will only move toward the large glowing rocks, so it’s impossible to make a mistake. That makes Bianca showing up to explain it to me even more infuriating. It’s not even like the game is treating me like I’m a kid, because I was playing these games back then and they had actual puzzles!

Maka’s evolving! Into a krokorok!

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Deal with it.

They live in groups of a few individuals. Protective membranes shield their eyes from sandstorms.

There’s also a trainer who’s got an archen like mine. No sign yet of the other fossil pokemon.

And tympole is evolving now too.

Palpitoad.

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When they vibrate the bumps on their heads, they can make waves in water or earthquake-like vibrations on land.

Unfortunately the pokemon were beating up mine in the process of getting those lovely levels, so I’m going to have to retreat and heal.

Current team:

PhotobucketKrokorok L29
PhotobucketWhirlipede L27
PhotobucketTranquill L28
PhotobucketPignite L31
PhotobucketDwebble L28
PhotobucketPalpitoad L26

2 Comments

  1. purplekitte says:

    That gym battled kicked my ass so many times too. I don’t know why the horrible, obnoxious Texan is the hardest gym leader.

    Yeah, Minccino’s a stone evolution. Karrablast is a weird-circumstances trade evolution.

    Oh game, I didn’t mind you putting words in my mouth about beating up Team Rocket or wtf Earth does not need more ocean, but if you’re going to start on subjects where I actually have an opinion on, stop.

    1. Farla says:

      I won by using some revival herbs. I’m thinking of making a no-items-in-battle rule, though – in past games I just wouldn’t have access to so many healing items so soon, and with the amount of money I’m getting I’ll soon be at the point where I could theoretically win fights by spamming revives until the other side runs out of moves.

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