Good Morning, Galar!
Welcome to the show and thank you for joining us! My name is Reporter Gillian and, along with Cameraman Tevin, we are here with Craig Wilson from Split Screen to talk about Pokémon Sword & Shield. Craig, thanks for taking the time to chat with us here at Macro Cosmo Television studio.
Well, hello, Gillian. It’s my pleasure to be here.
Terrific. Before we talk about Sword & Shield, let’s talk about your breaking-in story. What is your earliest memory of Pokémon?
Oh, well, that would be getting the Pokemon Blue & Red Gameboy games for Christmas back around ’99. My older brother got Red and I got Blue and we shared the Gameboy. I still have it in fact, even the link cable.
Terrific. Who was your favourite Pokémon? And do you have any fun trivia to share?
I’ve always been a Haunter fan. As for trivia – and I don’t know how I learned these in early 2000 before the internet and great sites like Helix Chamber – did you know that Gengar and Clefairy were going to be paired up as a sort of shadow/light pair? Hence their similar silhouette. GameFreak must have changed direction and instead made Gengar the slightly wonky third evolution of Gastly and Haunter. I always prevented my Haunter from evolving into an ambulatory joke of a spectre.
Fascinating. Speaking of haunting: what memory haunts you to this day, slashing your tranquil night sleeps like a Stanley knife?
Well, that would be when my childhood friend Christopher Rodgers started a new game on my Gameboy, irrevocably overwriting my save which had all 151 Pokémon. Sure, I had to glitch a copy of Mew from my other friend Scott who caught a Mew by attending some Nintendo event. But still. He started a new game AT MY BIRTHDAY PARTY and I lost all 151.
As all my exes know all too well, I’ve never fully recovered from that loss.
Heartbreaking. And yet you’ve remained a fan ever since?
Yes and no. I played Pokémon Gold & Silver perhaps as much as Red & Blue, but I’ve never played any other game from the main series. I’ve dabbled a bit in Pokémon Go, but that’s not worth me boring any of the lovely Macro Cosmo Television viewers.
Interesting. You played the first two generations of Pokémon games from the early 2000s and have made the much-anticipated return to Generation 8’s Pokémon Sword & Shield nearly twenty years later.
Can you sum up the new game in a word?
Before I get to that, I enjoyed playing Pokémon Shield. I’d pick it up between taking care of my newborn daughter and sitting up with my wife during the many feeding sessions in the wee hours. Shield was a soothing balm for my sleep-deprived mind short on time.
But my gosh, did it confirm everything I’d heard about generations 3 through 7: it’s the same old game with marginal quality-of-life improvements. The story and characters were abysmal.
Does Sword & Shield tell a thrilling story of good versus evil where—
No, sorry to interrupt but I don’t think you can legally call this a ‘story’. It is a sequence of scenes with no real motivativing drive. The evil antagonist only enters the fray in what is essentially the final sequence in the game. Your “rival” is your best friend, Hop. What? Where’s the drama in that? Yet, he still is an annoying git who frequently interrupts what little narrative flow exists.
As is tradition, my character sets out on a journey to become the Champion of the Galar region’s Pokémon League. Because… that’s what they do in these games. Fine, no problem. Most Zelda’s start the same.
Along the way, I made new friends (3) and rivals (2), and battled against the villainous Team Yell. Except Team Yell is kind of nice. They’re “hooligans”, but all they do is block the path ahead until you fight them in a Pokémon battle. Which is what everyone does, from postman to school children. Fighting in Pokémon battles are handshakes and hellos in this world.
Team Yell is just another obstacle plonked in the way. A world of obstacles.
What about the new region: Galar? Did you enjoy it being based on the United Kingdom?
As I said, a world of obstacles. And it’s not the UK, it’s only bits of middle and southern England. I think one character had a kilt and red hair so that’s the Scotland box ticked, I guess.
Lake District, Manchester, London – it’s fine but they really squandered the football stadiums. Rather than fighting in space Pokémon gyms to earn badges, you travel the region to compete in these large stadiums with roaring crowds. Except there is no league, you just hit each stadium one after the other.
Each stadium battle ends in the Dynamax gimmick where Pokémon turn into collasol versions of themselves. I can see how it should feel climactic, but in reality it makes the ending of each fight samey.
Thinking back, I don’t think Shield ever surprised me. I started with a map with every route and town listed, and I travelled from the bottom to the top in a single line with no deviations. There was no SS Anne to board, or interesting backtracking, no Safari Zone. Just a single line of progression.
So I imagine the Wild Areas were a breath of fresh air? A ‘breath of the wild’, perhaps?
Don’t do that. I don’t get why these areas were called “free-roaming” or “open-world”. It’s just the same as any other route. And my god, the lag that was caused by the multiplayer-lite presence of other players was borderline unplayable for me. They spread an already thin amount of gameplay over a wider area. It was never going to end well.
Oh, um, well did you enjoy the sights and sounds?
The first house you see is lovely. A cottage with lush green ivy and a garden to die for (I played this game during the lockdown and had garden furniture envy). Every other house/shop/building is a copy/pasted stock item with stock characters with stock dialogue. I played the game on mute so I can’t comment on the sounds. Now, different towns had a pleasing aesthetic but behind each of them is the same stock stocky stock news stocked full of sto—
My producer has a question! Maybe this will lighten the tone – Oh, it’s a question from a fan. Do you like shorts?
Yes, they’re easy and comfy to wear.
Speak to the significance of that line.
That’s a line from Red & Blue that I enjoy. It’s something a trainer says after they lose a battle. It’s honestly more engaging to me than most trainers you fight in Shield.
Ok, well, well, what did you enjoy? You did say you had a pleasant time.
It’s the same old game and I like that old game. To spice things up, I tried a Nuzlocke run, which if your viewers don’t know means:
- You can only catch the first wild Pokémon encountered in any section of the game. If you fail to capture it, then that section is void and you move on.
- If a Pokémon faints in battle, it is effectively dead to you and must be released.
- You give all Pokémon a nickname.
Rules 1 & 2 are ways of adding some difficulty to what remains a rock/paper/scissors level of tactics.
Rule 3 was meant to help me form an attachment to the little critters but it means that I didn’t learn the actual names of any of the new Pokémon. There’s an electric Corgi dog which I called Sparky but is apparently called… Googling now… Yamper.
This is a controversial question. Pokémon Sword & Shield was the first game to not support the transfer of every previous Pokémon from every previous game. You could transfer a Pokémon from first generation to seventh generation, taking a 2d sprite into a 3d character model, complete with animations, with the original stats intact.
Do you agree that this is a crime against humanity?
Oh, worth mentioning, the animations here are, again, inconsistent. One attack literally wiggles the static character model and has the audacity to call it a “double kick”. I thought reducing the number of Pokémon would have helped give them the love and care needed to bring them to life.
The complete collection of all Pokémon is called the National Pokédex or “National Dex”. It’s not something I’d devote any time or money to so it wasn’t a factor for me. So, no it’s not a crime. Be reasonable.
So you’ve never wanted to complete a Dex?
No, no not really. I don’t have the time nor money for that.
You’re never spent any time or money in completing a Dex? Your words, Mr Wilson.
I’m sorry, I don’t quite understand. Was I not clear?
Are you “on the Go”?
What? What’s going on here?
Mr Wilson, what would you say if I told you we here at Macro Cosmos Television have acquired evidence that contradicts your previous statement?
Quite frankly, I don’t know what you are talking about. I think this interview is over—
Mr Wilson, you have indeed not built a Dex in Pokémon Shield but what about your Pokémon Go account?
I was told this interview was about Pokémon Shield only…
Viewer discretion advised: This report contains scenes of a shocking nature.
Woah- I’m sorry who said you could put that heading here?
I’ll be asking the questions here. What is a “Living Dex”, Mr Wilson?
I fail to see how this is relevant. I mean the SEO won’t pick up on anything this far down the page surely-
Answer the question. What is a “Living Dex”?
To complete a Pokédex, you need to have in your possession one of each Pokémon at some point. For example, if you catch a Gastly and evolve it into a Haunter and then evolve that into a Gengar, you have ticked off three Pokémon in your PokéDex but you only have one Gengar in your collection. There’s no Gastly or Haunter.
Well, in a Living Dex, you would have a Gastly, a Haunter, and a Gengar all as separate Pokémon creatures in your collection. It’s the true epitome of “Gotta catch them all”.
Please describe the following screenshots.
These are from my phone. How did you get these?
This is my Pokémon Go account. Roll the interview back, I said I dabbled. There’s nothing wrong with that.
So I’ve started a Living Dex of the first 151 Pokémon. So what? It’s a free country.
Free country perhaps, but not a free choice. No, this has come at a cost.
Please describe the following screenshots:
That is, ah, an invoice from my iPhone. I should really have my lawyer he–
Showing several purchases of PokéCoins, the in-game currency of Pokémon Go. Also, the fact that you bought and refunded Stardew Valley has been reported to the relevant authorities.
So I bought some coin? It’s a free downloadable game, those developers deserve to eat.
No one is arguing that. How close are you to completing this Living Dex?
I’m at 150/151. I’m missing Kangaskhan.
What’s stopping you from catching it?
You can only catch Kangaskhan in Australia. I live in Scotland.
We have airport security footage and confirmation from border control that you were in Australia in 2019, correct?
Yes, but that was for Alan’s wedding. I was busy being a good friend. I was taking in the culture-
You forgot to catch it, didn’t you?
No, no, you don’t get to judge me.
I take no joy in asking this: Is Pokémon Go like The Simpson’s: Tapped Out?
Don’t mention that name to me. I’ve conquered my demons, I tells ya. I’ve learned… I’m better now. Better now! I can’t breathe! Get this microphone off me and get ou—-
Mr Wilson, no! Put down that chair! It’s no Pokéball! I’m not a Kangas—