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            Can you handle it?
by Ethos

PokéParty Update 04 – Smugleaf Edition

Monday, March 14th, 2011

My (fairly short) Scatter Storming is basically finished, but since I’m at work and can’t photoshop the cover from here, I thought I’d do a party update. Especially because EVERY POKÉMON IS DIFFERENT! Well, mostly, but the only ones that are the same have evolved. Let’s go!

Fraxure lvl 40 – This one is a little weird to have in my party because I know I’m going to replace it with a Dark/Dragon-type that you can find in Victory Road.

This guy is just a regular Dragon-type, and he’s suitably strong, but he’s just biding his time until I encounter that aforementioned badass.

I’m a little annoyed that I spoiled said badass’ final evolution, but it did confirm that the guy is a certified monster beast. And it’s Dragon/Dark. I already mentioned that, but it’s worth mentioning again. Especially because I ended up begrudgingly getting rid of my super-powerful Crocodile thing, even after it evolved. Too many good Pokémon. Speaking of…

Jellicent lvl 40 – I have to admit, I’m disappointed in how this guy evolved. He just did and his previous form was a lot cooler-looking.

This picture isn’t even accurate because I have the male version, but it leaves the same impact: “meh”.

However, I can’t imagine this dude is going anywhere, despite not loving the design anymore. Its base stats may very well be the weakest in my party, but it truly doesn’t matter. Jellicent is a Ghost/Water-type and that’s all I need to say. What a killer combination. Only weak to 4 types, but resistant to 5 types, immune to 2 types, and because of its ability it absorbs Water-type moves. So. Good.

Victini lvl 40 – I always feel a little uneasy about using Legendary Pokémon or ones that are only available through special offers or for a limited time, so in normal situations, I wouldn’t even consider Victini.

However, Victini is adorable, I can’t find any other good Fire-types for the life of me, and it’s a dual Psychic/Fire-type, so the positives have added up to making this exception.

It’s tiny, but super-potent and super-adorable. I’m not necessarily opposed to swapping it out if I find a cool Fire-type on my own, but I feel like I’m too spoiled by its power for now.

Unfezant lvl 41 – Once again, this picture is inaccurate. I have the male-version which I prefer. Either way, both final forms are the best yet for this bizarre Pokémon set, and I’m glad that Game Freak decided to switch it up a little from the Pidgey/Starly formula.

Still, I want this guy out. I would have loved to get rid of my Unfezant before my ultra-badass Krookodile, but I’m held down by Fly. I need that move. A Flying-type is nice against Fighting, but I have Victini for that, so if I could teach Fly to ANYONE else in my party, Unfezant would be gone before you could say “simultaneously regal and ugly”.

I also haven’t come across any other Flying-types that I’m interested in enough to replace Unfezant with, so we’ll see. I’m just waiting for a chance to boot him out, despite the fact that he’s actually pretty powerful.

Cobalion lvl 42 – Yes, I just said that I rarely use Legendary Pokémon, but my first playthrough is a small exception, and the three Legendary in this game are sweet!

I mean, just look at this dude. You can tell it kicks ass, but at the same time, you’d totally invite it over to watch the game or have an Arrested Development marathon. Then afterward, you’d hop on its back and you’d run through a meadow laughing like the best of friends.

Plus, it’s a Fighting/Steel-type. Win.

I actually haven’t had a big chance to use it in battle yet because of my OCD leveling habits – I caught it at level 42 – but I’m excited to.

I actually also caught the Fighting/Grass-type version of this guy, and it is even cooler. But I just resisted because I couldn’t make a redundancy on…

Smugleaf lvl 41 – That’s right, assholes. Smugleaf has evolved again, and it is eating your soul. Smugleaf one-hits your Pokémon, absorbs your health, and embarrasses your party.

Smugleaf will coil its new dragon-body around you and slowly squeeze until you can feel your guts spilling out of your pores. Smugleaf will take that opportunity to inject painful poison into what’s left of your blood to make sure you know nothing but agony as it slowly and meticulously drains the life from you.

Smugleaf’s alternate name, Serperior, is actually pretty decent too. That’s because Smugleaf can do no wrong.

Don’t expect this party to change too much beyond the things I already mentioned. But you never know…

PokéParty Update 03 – Smugleaf Edition

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

I’m on a roll today. Enough content in one day from one person as we usually crank out in a week. And I’ve been working all day. FUCK laziness. I haven’t even had time to eat lunch today.

Sandile lvl 24 – I just added this into my party, hence the lower level. Yes it’s sad, but I had to ditch Liepard. It was a badass, and strong enough, but I can’t deal with single types. And by only evolving once, that makes it a little weaker in the long run.

Sandile is not only a dual-type, but I cheated a little to confirm that it evolves twice. I don’t know what the final evolution looks like, but I’ve seen its first evolution in game, so I’m not worried. But what I am worried about is…

Palpitoad lvl 28 – Look at this ugly-ass mother fucker. Not only did I not expect this dude to be so hideous, but I didn’t even notice that he’s a dual Water/Ground-type until I already switched out Liepard for Sandile. Ugh.

So the point is that I don’t care that it evolves again, I’m getting another Water-type as soon as I can. I don’t care if this abomination is strong or has a powerful dual-type.

Conkeldurr lvl 28 – Yup, I skipped a step. While remaining relatively spoiler-free, I do get paranoid about how the new Pokémon evolve. So while I don’t look at pictures or names, I try sneak a peak on Bulbapedia from time to time to see if my team evolves by level, stone, trading, or other means.

That turned out to be very helpful in this case because the moment Tumburr evolved into whateverthefuck its evolution is, I traded it to Abe80 to make it evolve into this beast and traded it right back. Just a solid fighting type who gets the job done.

Also, his name is Conkeldurr. CONKELDURR.

Zebstrika lvl 28 – I was right. Look at this warrior. I know I just mentioned that a single-evolution Pokémon wasn’t as strong, but I’m willing to make an exception with Zebstrika.

Beautiful, bold, powerful, badass. While I like to make my party as efficient as possible with dual-types, Electric-types are usually an exception. Water and flying are just too common, and Electric is just too powerful. That fighting beast I just drooled over a second ago is more at risk than Zebstrika is, to be honest.

Tranquill lvl 28 – Not much more to say here.

I mean, like Abe80 pointed out, we should all be a little uncomfortable with the pose its making with its wing in this photo…

…I’m still holding out hope that its final evolution will somehow be pretty. But I’m a little scarred after that Water/Ground nightmare above.

I just…I won’t know what to do if I don’t have my Flying/Normal-type in my Elite Four party…

Smugleaf lvl 27 – Smugleaf will rip open your chest and suck out your arteries. Smugleaf will enjoy your brain as noodle soup in front of your family. Smugleaf will steal your girlfriend and make her forget you so fast that she won’t recognize you ever again. Not if you re-introduce yourself. Not if she ends up being your boss and sees you every day. You are GONE from her brain.

Don’t fuck with Smugleaf.

The final form of Smugleaf is coming…

…Be prepared.

PokéParty Update 02 – Smugleaf Edition

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Pokémon Week starts next week, and I’d still like to put a few more titles on my hype list, but here’s your quick Party Update.

Liepard lvl 22 – Well what do you know? That cute little cat did end up looking badass. It was actually a bit of a bitch to train up to this point. But it’s pulling its weight around a little better now.

I’m still hesitant, however. I can’t keep it around just for aesthetics, especially when it’s just a Dark-type with no second type to round out my team. Especially especially when I just caught a Dark/Fighting type. Liepard is really cool, but she’s on the fringe right now.

Timburr lvl 22 – Speaking of Dark/Fighting, this dude is just a Fighting-type. I like efficiency in my team, but I’m attached to the gal. Based on Pokédex logic, it looks likely that she evolves twice as well.

Argh, I forgot how tough a time I had managing my party. It’s especially difficult with new ones of which I’m not sure of the potential. I really, really like this new batch. I’m running into far more awesome designs than duds. Even the Bug-types are cool this generation.

Tympole lvl 22 – Can anybody say Poliwag? But dumber looking? I ditched that stupid monkey thing and when Lillipup evolved (into something less cool than I expected) and when Patrat evolved (into something more awesome than I expected), I ditched them like I said and picked up this likely-to-be triple-evolution as well.

He’s on thin ice, though. I’ll drop and replace based purely on aesthetics if he doesn’t look cool. Yup, I’m that PokéShallow.

Blitzle lvl 22 – This is the badass I was talking about in the last update. This picture doesn’t do her justice. She kicks ass and takes names. She’s a fucking electric zebra for fuck’s sake!

I can just imagine that Blitzle will evolve into the Electric Rapidash. Elegant. Powerful. Beautiful. I will settle for nothing less.

Tranquill lvl 24 – What an ugly bitch Pidove turned out to evolve into! Definitely no chance of him leaving, however. If you’ll notice, he’s the only one to not be level 22. I generally like to keep the levels no more than 1 apart. My OCD flares up otherwise. But Tranquill is definitely powerful, and my current best bet against Bug and Grass-types. Man, I need a Fire-type. I found one, but it’s stupid.

Let’s just hope that this stupid thing doesn’t somehow continue to get uglier.

Smugleaf lvl 22 – Still Smugleaf. Still awesome. Evolved. Gunna beat you up. Gunna make you feel like dirt. Gunna tear out your esophagus without hesitation and laugh while you writhe around in the dirt in complete agony. Smugleaf will defeat you. And Smugleaf knows it. Do not fuck with Smugleaf.

That’s that!

I mean, I could also talk about how Awesome Hat is a much better movie than the trailers would suggest. Especially because they seem to call it “The Adjustment Bureau” for some reason. It’s nothing spectacular, but it’s funny and the lead actors’ chemistry is great.

Scatter Storming. Issue #046

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Well folks, I’m tearing myself away from the INFINITE AWESOME that is Pokémon: Smugleaf Version to give you all a Scatter Storming. I actually have lots to get to, so let’s do it!

Updated Dragon Age 2 Hype

So since its addition to the hype list, I completed the Dragon Age 2 demo and then went back and played a good 5 hours more of Origins. After that experience, I’m a lot less worried about the series getting the Mass Effect 2 treatment.

By that I mean that the battle system hasn’t really changed at all. I mean, the moves are flashier, but you’ll still die if you just mash “attack”, you’ll still do a lot better if you manage your abilities and your party’s abilities, but now being a mage is completely badass.

Not just that, but – unlike Mass Effect 2 – the leveling up actually seems to be MORE complex when compared to its predecessor. A level will still just produce 3 skill points to be distributed how you’d like to your stats, but the skill tree is more interesting now. Or at least it seems to be at first sight. This IS just a demo we’re talking about.

Also, the demo doesn’t allow access to the inventory screen, so I hope that hasn’t been nerfed. Based on the other menu screens, and the loot I was picking up, I’m not too worried about that.

What I’m not too found of is the switch to the Mass Effect style main menu. I never liked it in the Mass Effect series and I don’t like it now. The old menu interface sufficed just fine.

One double-edged change is the new graphical style. Playing the two games so close, I have to say that while there’s not a huge difference in the visuals, Dragon Age 2 is slightly more stylish, and it’s largely the better for it. Environments seem to have the potential to be more interesting, and character models have a bit more flair.

No. I mean, yes, but no.

Although that’s where the other edge comes in. I’m a boob guy, anybody can tell you that, but when every female character has a bust that could have kept the Titanic afloat, I’m taken out of the experience a bit. Stylish is cool, guys, but let’s have a small sense of believability please.

Anyway, the final noticeable change is the dialogue wheel. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the dialogue wheel, and that I prefer that the main character talks now. However, I did like that Dragon Age was different from Mass Effect in the sense that “good” and “evil” wasn’t really the point of your decisions. It had way more to do with how the people around you perceived you and individual relationships.

And while upper choices will still tend to be noble and lower choices will make Hawke (the protagonist) be a prick, each decision had a symbol to accompany it. And there were more than 3 different symbols. This not only implies that there’s more than just “good”, “bad”, and “neutral”, but will hopefully alleviate some confusion if you’re not sure how your choice is going to be perceived.

My dive back into Origins made me really excited for Dragon Age 2, especially after that promising demo. The demo didn’t seem to run too much better than the original – despite Riddles’ claim otherwise – although the framerate definitely didn’t screech to a halt at any point like Origins had a habit of doing. Speaking of Riddles…

I’m cutting him some slack

Yup, it’s true. I know it’s fun to poke fun of him and call him a lazy fuck, but the truth is that he literally works twice the number of hours that I do during the week. It’s nice when he’s able to show his face around here, but it’s understandable that I’m going to be posting a lot more than him when he’s working this much. I love the little guy and don’t want him to break his spirit!

PokéParty Update 01 – Smugleaf Edition

Yup, it might be Pokémon Week next week (don’t worry, Dragon Age is getting its own week after that), but I got the game today and so I’m giving you the first update now, bitches!

Purrloin lvl 13 – Oh man! A dark-type this early in the game? Sign me up, cuz! Maybe it’s a cute little cat, but I’m sure it evolves into some ugly badass dark type. Or if I’m lucky, it’ll still be cool-looking. And don’t let me know! I know I might be spoiling to even have this list, but I’ve been so good at evolution spoilers. I’ve only looked up the starters to make sure that Smugleaf turned into the best one too. It did, of course. By far. Smugleaf for president.

Panpour lvl 13 – I was just given this fucker. Like, I didn’t have to catch it. I didn’t have to battle for it. It was handed to me by an apparently very stupid character. It’s a water-type, so I’ll take it. Not sold on her yet, but we’ll see. I’m sure she’ll stick around until I either warm up to her or find something way more badass.

Smugleaf lvl 12 – Smugleaf now. Smugleaf forever. Smugleaf is the greatest starter Pokémon and will be until the end of time. Nothing could have ever convinced me to go with a Grass-type starter until Smugleaf’s existence. Smugleaf evolves into some certified badasses, but even then, it will still be Smugleaf. Do not fuck with this Pokémon. Smugleaf will take you out and give you a permanent and significant inferiority complex at the same time. Do you hear me? You’ll be concussed and convinced that hobos are better at life than you. FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

Lillipup lvl 13 – What a cute li’l guy! Because there are no older Pokémon mixed in with the over 150 new ones during the main quest, there are all-new replacements for the typical Rattata-esque Normal-type dudes you catch at the beginning. There’s no way this guy and his inevitable evolution will stay in my party for long, but it’s my first playthrough. He’s getting his 15 minutes. Plus, I like him a lot better than…

Patrat lvl 13 – This guy is the new Bidoof, but somehow not nearly as ugly. She’s just as strong though, and actually my current go-to powerhouse Pokémon if I want to end a battle quickly. Still, just like Lillipup, Patrat will only be around until it evolves. Especially because I’ve already caught the most badass Pokémon ever, just waiting to join my party after I’m done with my OCD training of these two normal types.

Pidove lvl 13 – I’m assuming this is the new Pidgey/Starly, and I’ll keep him around until the Elite Four after which it will have evolved twice. It’s cute, but I’m doubtful that it will top the Starly trio. Sorry Pidgey. I know you have nostalgia on your side, but Starly kicks your ass. We’ll have to see about Pidove, though. I can’t imagine how this thing will evolve into something that rivals Pidgeot, not to mention Staraptor.

Anyway, unlike a typical second playthrough, my party is maxed out. I’m too excited about the new creatures. I can’t wait until my next update when it will include the badass Pokémon I talked about. Plus ones I have no idea about! Smugleaf forever!

Ethos’ Hype List: Mass Effect 3

Wow, I’ve already written a lot, so I’ll keep this semi-brief.

I really liked Mass Effect 2, and it was my favourite game of last year, but I easily prefer the first entry. Better worlds, better exploration, better near-end game, better RPG mechanics, the Mako dune buggy, and deeper battle system. Especially if you play as an adept, like me.

Still, the second game had incredible writing, a much stronger cast, better pacing, and some jaw-dropping moments.

Make Mass Effect 3 the best of both worlds, plz.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that it’ll just be even more watered down. That would suck.

Anticipation Level: 21/27

Oh man, that’s it for me. I wrote more than I expected, and I think I had more planned. Still, that’s a lot and I was taken out for dinner by a friend half-way through, so I’m pooped. Seriously, he treated to me to a delicious feast. Talk about unexpected and amazing. Goodnight, assholes!

PokéParty Update 03

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Here we are! The last update of the week. I’m about to get my 8th badge, and I still only have 5 Pokeymans in my party. I’m thinking of getting a Horsea to teach it the overwhelming number of stupid water HMs I need to learn, but then I have too much water and electric in my party.  Oh well, here you go.

TyphlosionTyphlosion lvl 36 - I know, I know. I’ve wanted to get rid of this guy forever. He’s actually pretty strong even though he looks like a dork. Still, if I can ever figure this Safari Zone thing out (the new Jhoto version is confusing even with the internet), I’ll ditch it for Houndoom in a second. If only fire wasn’t so hard to come by.

AmpharosAmpharos lvl 36 - Bloo-ya! It finally happened, and he’s just as strong as I remember. Only thing is, because of a strange twist of unexpected fishing events, I now have two electric types in my team which I wouldn’t prefer. So now I’m placed in the bizarre position of wanting to drop the Pokémon I’ve been waiting since the original Silver to have in my party again. Fuck you, Lanturn! Speaking of…

LanturnLanturn lvl 36 - If only this little random wasn’t so good. Very few Pokémon are good against it, and dual water-electric is insanely useful. Her moveset is perfect and her stats are good, so she’s not going anywhere. But it’s almost too perfect. I don’t want to teach her Waterfall because it’s physical, and I don’t want to teach her Whirlpool, because it’s a piece of shit. Also, Ampharos knows Strength and Thunder Wave (for catching wild Pokeymans), so ugh…I might end up with Lanturn/Ampharos/Seadra. Maybe to balance I’ll need to get rid of…

StantlerStantler lvl 36 - This guy has surprised me! After learning another move so I don’t have to ration so hard, Stantler has been a powerhouse. Still, I know normal-type Pokémon are largely doomed, and if I end up with half my party as water and electric, he’ll need to leave to make room for more elements. Sorry, bizarre, tough little deer.

PidgeotPidgeot lvl 36 - Nothing else to say about this dude. I guess I could comment on his ridiculous “hair”. I think I prefer Staraptor. Sorry, Pidgeot, I know you’re classic, and you’re going to stick around in my party, but the new guy is better.

Well! Wasn’t that fun! Maybe very few of you care about Pokémon, but at least I can update about the game I’m playing during its theme week. Riddles will have a Soapbox for you later. Or so he says, I’m not holding my breath.

PokéParty Update 02

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

It’s that time again! I fucking love this game.

QuilavaQuilava lvl 25 - This guy is still biding his time…I got the suggestion to incorporate Houndoom, and I loved the idea, so I’m banking on that now. I dropped the Vulpix idea when I realized that Ninetails isn’t as badass as I thought. I also taught the thing cut so that I was able to drop the deadweight, Bellsprout.

FlaaffyFlaaffy lvl 25 - Still a pro, this little sheep. Still waiting for a more powerful electric move, but he knows Strength and Headbutt to supplement his ThunderShock, and Thunder Wave is super-helpful in capturing endeavors.

PidgeottoPidgeotto lvl 25 – Same bird, slightly higher level. I don’t know Fly yet, so I’m a little anxious for that, but Pidgeotto is still holding his weight.

StantlerStantler lvl 26 – Surprise! I’ve decided to open up myself a bit. So that means not always having an identical team to every other time I play. I also used to have some sort of moral opposition to Pokémon that didn’t evolve, but I’ve loosened up about that. This guy is super-strong and definitely worth having for now. I highly doubt this dude will make it all the Pokémon League, but it’s a nice change of pace from the Raticate. Only bad thing is that he doesn’t learn a lot of good moves, so I’m running out of PP fairly quickly. Oh well. Also, this picture doesn’t do him justice. He’s actually quite regal and badass-looking.

Oh, and Riddles? Try actually contributing content during God of War III Week before complaining about my Pokémon Week, at least I’m producing daily relevant content. Nice to see Hey! Look! Listen! return after a 6 week break, or whatever it was.

PokéParty Update 01

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Yes, I’m serious. This is happening. You all get to see who I currently have in my party, and it won’t be the only time. And if you think you have a choice to read this, YOU DON’T!

QuilavaQuilava lvl 22 - As much as I love the Silver entry, it easily has the worst three starting Pokémon. I am not keeping this asshole around until the end. What a boring fire rodent thing. He leaves the moment I get my Ninetails.

RaticateRaticate lvl 22 – This is a bit of an odd one for me. Usually I’d get rid of my Rattata before she evolved, but the classic rats have stuck around for 3 gyms so far. She’s definitely getting the boot before the end, but she’s been useful so far. I seriously don’t expect her to be in the next PokéParty Update, though.

FlaaffyFlaaffy lvl 22 - As you can see, I like to keep my Pokeymans at consistent levels. Flaaffy is a bit of a princess, but once it evolves into Ampharos, these electric sheep are unstoppable. Had them every time I played through Silver, and this time is no exception. This baby’s never leaving my party.

Pidgeotto Pidgeotto lvl 22 – Another staple. I always have a Pidgey or Starly in my team until the Elite Four and sometimes they’re even in my final party. Fast, strong, good against fighting, and pretty badass as well, working toward a Pidgeot is a no-brainer. Expect to see this one in all the updates.

BellsproutBellsprout lvl 12 – This asshole’s only around because I need the HM cut, and I’d rather not teach it to any Pokémon I actually use. Plus, in the beginning, I rarely fill out my 6 slots. I’d rather gather the experience in a team I largely expect to go the distance. Bellsprout is actually pretty good, but excepting Roselia in Platinum, I rarely have any grass on my team.

VulpixVulpix lvl 13 – Yeah, baby! I forgot you could catch these in Silver! I’ve never had one before. I’m not going to use it until I get a firestone and make it a Ninetails, but you can bet that the moment I do, it’s goodbye Quilava and hello Ninetails. Or maybe I’ll just use it now since Ninetails doesn’t learn any moves. We’ll see!

Well, time to play more! I’m loving that you no longer have to hold down “b” to run, and that you can register two key items! Fishing rod and bike easy-access for the win!