What I'm Playing - No. 11
Image source: XXSS IS BACK

What I'm Playing - No. 11

Welcome back to another weekly wrap-up of the games I’ve been playing over the past week!

Be warned, spoilers are contained within this week for Pokémon Ultra Moon! I spoil most of the Episode Rainbow Rocket post-game content, so read at your own risk!

Games contained within this post:

  • Pokémon Ultra Moon (3DS)
  • Spider-Man (PS4)
  • The Sims 4 (PC)

Pokémon Ultra Moon (3DS)

My postgame adventure continues, I began the week by catching another of the island guardians, Tapu Lele.

This one I was much better prepared for than the last, or maybe I just got lucky, but it only took 2 or 3 Ultra Balls to catch it. It was paralyzed before I started throwing Ultra Balls, I’m guessing that helped quite a bit.

it only took 2 or 3 Ultra Balls to catch it Tapu Lele

I went to the Game Freak offices in-game afterward, and challenged two of the in-game Game Freak employees. I beat them handily, but it was a fun battle. The double battles here always remind me of the limits of the 3DS though…the framerate really suffers when 4 Pokémon and 4 Trainers are all displayed at once.

Two of the in-game Game Freak employees
Two of the in-game Game Freak employees

their castle

I finally decided it was time to begin Episode Rainbow Rocket, and played through all of Episode RR this week. The Rockets have made their castle where the mansion once stood on the grounds of Aether Paradise. To get to it, I had to fight a couple Rainbow Rocket Grunts. I have to say, it’s really cool to see the classic Team Rocket uniform again. I think it looks great in Ultra Moon.

Rainbow Rocket Grunts Rainbow Rocket Grunts

The Grunts were easy to beat…but I also had to fight Aether Branch Chief Faba right before the castle. It was no surprise he was evil again. The battle was really close, his team nearly beat me. His Bruxish in particular was just destroying my team. In the end, we narrowly prevailed.

Aether Branch Chief Faba The battle was really close, his team nearly beat me

Once inside Team Rocket Castle, I was excited to see Guzma appear and team up with me to fight some Grunts in a double battle. Guzma wants to help rescue the Aether president, Lusamine, who has been spirited away somewhere by Team Rainbow Rocket. For whatever reason, Guzma is probably my favorite character in this game. His theme music is awesome. After schooling those two grunts, Guzma stands guard at the entrance, and I pressed onward exploring the castle.

The castle is pretty cool, there are a number of Grunts to fight, all of whom use classic Team Rocket Pokémon, like Persian, Muk, Tentacruel, Golbat, and Fearow.

There are also some neat puzzles, like a teleporter maze similar to the kind seen in the original Pokémon games.

Teleporter maze

There was also a cool Meowth Statue puzzle. You have to avoid walking in front of the Statues’ line of sight, and each statue can be turned to face a single different direction if you can get behind it. So those required a little puzzle solving to make it through, and were well designed in my opinion. It’s also not a type of puzzle I remember encountering in any other Pokémon game.

Meowth Statue puzzle
Meowth Statue puzzle

They also brought back the puzzles with the arrow tiles that send you spinning when you step on them. So, basically all the classic Team Rocket dungeon puzzles were here, which is really cool!

puzzles with the arrow tiles
Puzzles with the arrow tiles

There were a couple surprises waiting for me in the castle too: the bosses from each prior Pokémon generation, each of whom uses a legendary Pokémon from their generation in battle. The backstory of these bosses in Episode RR is interesting as well, they’ve all been summoned from their parallel dimensions. What’s interesting is the dimension they each come from is one where they succeeded with whatever dastardly plan their Team had cooked up, and several make remarks when you beat them about how maybe things would have been different in their world if a trainer like you had existed.

One of these, Team Aqua boss Archie waited on one end of the castle, and I had to battle his team which included Kyogre! On the opposite end of the castle, fittingly, I met and battled Team Magma boss Maxie, which included Groudon.

Team Aqua boss Archie Kyogre
Team Magma boss Maxie Groudon

You also battle representatives from X/Y, Black/White, and Diamond/Pearl, and having played each of those generations, seeing the old baddies return with the a signature legendary Pokémon of their generation was neat.

Of course, the final boss of Episode RR is the leader of Team Rainbow Rocket, none other than Giovanni himself. One thing I’m not clear on is if this is the original Giovanni from Red/Blue/Yellow, or some parallel dimension Giovanni. I really don’t know the chronological timeline of the Pokémon games, but I do know it exists.

Giovanni himself
Team Rainbow Rocket's leader, Giovanni

Anyway, his team gave me some trouble, his Rhyperior took down several of my Pokémon, and likewise when he sent out Mewtwo and mega evolved it into Mega Mewtwo, he had me down to 2 Pokémon. Luckily I had some Max Revives! I managed to take him down, somehow.

Rhyperior mega evolved it into Mega Mewtwo

Afterward, Aether Paradise goes back to normal, and your reward for saving the day is 55 Big Nuggets. Pretty cool! Of course everyone is unharmed after things settle down.

After the earlier fight, Giovanni mysteriously vanishes. We see him plotting future evil deeds in a cutscene before he vanishes into thin air again.

plotting future evil deeds
Plotting future evil deeds

Then, that’s it. The end of Episode RR.

The end of Episode RR
The end of Episode RR

It was a fun bit of post-game content, and took me several hours to complete! I’m not sure what other post-game content awaits me in Ultra Moon now. Episode RR was the only thing I was aware of, so I kind of consider myself “done” with the post-game, but I’m probably wrong about that. I’ll probably keep Ultra Moon installed, and play it here and there, but I think this one is going in my “Completed” category on HowLongToBeat now.

Spider-Man (PS4)

I finally returned to Spider-Man to finish what I started! When I last left off, I knew I was close to the end of the game, but I had no idea how close. I started playing, started the next story mission…and realized it was the last one. I was done with the game within 30 minutes, but what a cool 30 minutes they were. Like many superhero movies, Spider-Man ends with a cool confrontation against the bad guy, Spider-Man struggles and faces a tough fight, but he prevails.

Spider-Man struggles and faces a tough fight
Spider-Man struggles and faces a tough fight

There was some cutscene after the final battle, several scenes played out. Honestly, the last scene felt a little rushed. Time jumps forward 3 months, Pete and MJ talk in the diner some more, and then it just cuts to the credits. So that felt a little weird, but in the end Pete and MJ are tentatively back together again I think, so I guess that’s good. I don’t really know what else I was expecting. Since I did spend so much time away from Spider-Man before finishing it, it could be that I’m forgetting earlier scenes where things were tied up and resolved, etc., I’m not really sure. Either way, I have officially finished the main story in Spider-Man.

I have officially finished the main story
I have officially finished the main story

It was a ton of fun. As a AAA game, it has a ton of production value. The story was a really good superhero-movie type story, this version of Peter Parker and Spider-Man were really well done and the voice actor for him was the great Yuri Lowenthal. Swinging around was also awesome, and the rest of the game was solid too. I probably won’t do a full review of the game, because it’s pretty obviously a good AAA, open world game. My biggest complaint remains the MJ/Miles missions, those were a drag. If you’ve played other AAA open worlds, you know what to expect with Spider-Man.

I will say that it is everything I wanted in a true Spider-Man 2 video game successor, which is honestly something I didn’t think I’d ever see.

The Sims 4 (PC)

With the mystery of StrangerVille solved, I’ve turned to playing as my original Sim on this save, Demario Covarrubias. Eternally a young adult, in the past he’d built up quite a family tree, with many children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren to his name. Then I messed all that up when I installed the powerful MCCC mod, which contains tons of features. I used one of these without thinking, and wound up removing a lot of sims from his family tree. The living Sims themselves are still in the game, but many of his direct children were already ghosts by then, and the MCCC utility I foolishly ran deleted these, breaking the links on Demario’s family tree.

Demario's broken family tree
Demario's broken family tree

Oh well, time to start working on it again!

Demario’s first target was a young woman named Maki. Despite initial failures at wooing her, eventually Demario was able to charm her. After successfully Trying for Baby with Maki, Demario continued his quest to broaden to lineage.

Despite initial failures at wooing her Demario was able to charm her

Suffice to say, a trip to the bar and several Try for Baby sessions with several different Sims in the closet on-site, Demario’s quest was well on its way. I sped things along with MCCC, advancing the pregnancy stage of all the Sims Demario had hooked up with. Jaqueline, Wendell, Jonathan, Samuel, and Case were all born within a few days of each other.

Jaqueline Wendell Jonathan
Samuel Case

Thus was the seed of Demario’s family tree sown.

Ben

(bsinky)
Ben
The self-proclaimed "Guy with the Backlog", as of this writing his Steam backlog is slowly growing to the point of consuming him. Meanwhile, he spends most of his time trying to catch up on the retro classics he missed, as well as replaying the games he grew up with.

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