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Hugh Likes Video Games: Pokemon Sword

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Pokemon Sword
Published by Nintendo
Developed by Game Freak
Played on Nintendo Switch

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The Skinny: Pokemon’s eight generation is a mix of familiar mechanics and exciting new ideas in a charming Pseudo-British region.

It’s another holiday season, which means another Pokemon game has descended from the from the Heights of Mt. Nintendo. This year’s is Pokemon Sword and Shield, the second Pokemon game for the Nintendo Switch, and the first non-spinoff entry on the system.
Set in the new Galar region, a charming, fully 3D rendered world based on The British Isles. Starting with Pokemon Black and White, the series has leaned far in to the cultural associations of each region, and this game is no exception. From catching Teapot ghosts to Team Yell, a team of hooligan antagonists, to enjoying a nice curry with your pokemon, the game feels very British. Or at least, reflective of how the Japanese developers view British culture. You play as a young trainer just starting out, chasing the footsteps of your neighbor, Galar champion Leon. Other rivals include the champion’s cheerful kid brother Hop, A goth trainer supported by Team Yell, and a stylish orphan working for a shadowy businessman. All in all, the plot is very familiar. Collect eight gym badges, do some unpaid cataloging work for a local scientist, and battle your way to the championship. The added spice is in the way the gym challenge plays out. Instead of fighting Gym Leaders One-on-One in some thematically decorated room, you take take them on in packed arenas in front of crowds of screaming fans. The gyms themselves are a mix of old school trainer battles and Sun and Moons unique missions, which strikes the perfect balance when topped with a dramatic battle on the pitch.
While Pokemon Sword and Shield does a lot right, let’s get to the nitpicks, and they’re probably not the one’s you’re expecting if you paid any attention to fan grumbles before launch. The game does a good job of letting players discover mechanics, such as Camping, Cooking, and the Poke Jobs system at their own pace, but the gym challenge is totally on rails. You have to visit towns in a certain order, and can only explore more of the map once you’ve collected the requisite badges. With the vast wilderness of the Wild Area to explore to explore, it feels a bit of a throwback when you are forced onto a lockstep path of Routes and Caves. Also, there isn’t as much customization in your party as I would have liked. Every pokemon in your party gains experience, which is great if you’re grinding to take on a gym, but not so great if you are trying to evolve a difficult Eeveelotion at low level.
The other problem is the online functionality. Mystery trade works great, but any other form suffers from a complete lack of communication. You can see other trainers running around the Wild Area, but they essentially become NPCs with canned dialogue. This can be somewhat overlooked. It is a game meant for all-ages, and Nintendo tends towards caution when it comes to protecting minors online. But without any way to communicate, trading becomes a frustrating process of laboriously showing a pokemon to your trade partner and hoping they somehow pull out one you’re looking for and don’t cancel the trade. Even a rudimentary system like in the DS games would’ve been more useful here.
With a mix of new and old systems, Pokemon Sword and Shield are a great little pair of RPGs full of monsters to collect and secrets to uncover in a charming new 3D setting. You can download the game from the Switch eshop, or buy the physical cartridge from your local game store.

Podcast – DDoA – Everyday Drabbles 03: Wendigo

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Welcome to day three of the Dog Days of Advent!

Today’s story is Wendigo.

Read Everyday Drabbles on Wattpad!

Everyday Drabbles: Winter in ebook from Amazon.com

The Ephemera Reading Series

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Podcast: CCRC56 – It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

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Tonight your hosts, Hugh, Rich the Time Traveler, Jurd, and Opop, hunker down in the pumpkin patch.

Click HERE to listen to the Commentary Track!

Chrononaut Cinema Reviews is presented by http://skinner.fm and http://hughjodonnell.com, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

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Podcast – Everyday Drabbles 02 – The Last Tree

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Everyday Drabbles Day Two: The Last Tree

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Everyday Drabbles: Winter in ebook from Amazon.com

 

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Podcast – Everyday Drabbles 01 – Fire Arrow

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Hello and welcome to this first day of The Dog Days of Advent podcasting challenge.

Everyday Drabbles Day One – Fire Arrow

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Everyday Drabbles: Winter in ebook from Amazon.com

 

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Fiction: The Axe

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The Axe felt good in her hand. That was the first trap. But there was something about the weight that felt satisfying, a potential gravity when she held it. It wanted to be swung. It wanted to chop.
She knew that the axe was cursed. That it would change her as she swung it, it would infect her with a darkness. Wielding it would be a devil’s bargain, but her family was cold and hungry. She would gladly pay that price for them.
She was the greatest lumberjack that ever lived, but few ever knew the torment in her soul.

This story originally appeared in Everyday Drabbles, a daily free fiction project on Wattpad. Visit the link for over a hundred free stories. And if you enjoy my writing, support my work by buying me a coffee!
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The first collection of Everyday Drabbles stories, Winter, is now available as an eBook from Amazon! Enjoy over 90 short stories for less than two dollars!

Stay tuned to this space over the next month as I’ll be winding down the year by producing audio versions of my favorite Everyday Drabbles as a part of the Dog Days of Advent!

Podcast – NP47: Sneaky Training

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Welcome to Nostalgia Pilots! This episode, Hugh, Jason, Jurd and Spence brace themselves for Gundam Wing episode 47: Collision in Space!

Tonight: Howard’s unnamed assistant is metal as hell, Zechs has performance anxiety, and Duo breaks the fourth wall. Plus, The Peacemillion is bigger than we thought, and the real crushing blow is yet to come.

Stonebriar Casefiles 182: Bad Alchemy by Laura Nicole

Everyday Drabbles: Winter by Hugh J. O’Donnell

Promo: Glow in the Dark Radio

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