Posted by: metinahurricane | October 24, 2011

Rool Review — Farfetch’d

Farfetch'd has a leek and is happy

Rool Review – it’s alliterated! Hopefully the first of many, because I’m proving very incompetent at keeping up with my comments and will have to compensate by shooting for quality over quantity. And that means… what? A review I can be happy with? A review Warlord can be happy with? A review LoL can be happy with! Well, but, I haven’t fully figured out what you prize in a moveset… you’re a middle-ground, no-extremes sort of movesetter, capable of both dizzying complexity and sophistication and elegant simplicity and feasibility. I mean, I loved Teferi, but I also loved Gallade.

[This review feels awfully lonely after those roundtables… Not even Baloo’s here to keep me company!]

So for the first leg of the review, I’m going to tug at nitpicks. It’s not usually my favourite way to comment a set, but there are a few reasons nitpicking can be useful: first, because a lot of people can be pulled straight out of a set by a relatively small issue that could probably be fixed with minimal editing and it’s going to hurt your reception; and second, because I personally, when looking back at my own movesets, am most bothered by essentially nitpicks. Little piddly issues in specific moves, or specific moves that just don’t slot in as they should, or animations that seem incongruous… Things that are unnatural, in other words.

So much for the lengthy preamble that’ll get me accused of trying to pad my review by Warlord. Onto the play-by-play!

PART I – READ-ALONG WITH ROOL

  • No introduction to the character? No array of contradicting Pokedex entries? Well, I guess it’s kinda funny how the picture of Farfetch’d seems to be all the introduction you think we’ll need. It’s a duck with a leek!
  • Farfetch’d respawns with the leek in his beak… but presumably not if the leek is just lying around somewhere on the stage? Or in the foe’s possession?
  • The UAir involves a midair grappling hitbox – that is, you make contact, the foe is very briefly in a sort of grab state (as Farfetch’d scrambles over them). Generally I disapprove of these, even though I’ve made them myself plenty of times. A hitbox is a hitbox is a hitbox and when we’re in midair especially we should strive to keep it that way.
  • Aha, that Jab Sand Attack! The character stops for a moment to rub the sand out of his eyes? Do not like! It’s a status effect, essentially! It feels forced and overrides the player’s control and just has whatever effect is convenient for the playstyle, etc, etc. I’ll see effects like these hounded out of MYM if it kills me.
  • Moving on to Combat Farfetch’d, can I assume that Air Slash moves feathers around? Or does it just destroy them, which would almost make more sense considering how insubstantial they are and how concentrated the move is?
  • The three swipes in Farfetch’d’s Jab could probably use some fleshing out, a bit of description. And yes these very short and supposedly “generic” attacks are hard to nitpick at. x_x

Well, that was short. Good on you, I suppose! Now let’s move onto the part where I gabble the playstyle back at you to make sure I’ve got it straight and to flesh out what this moveset is all about.

PART II – PLAYSTYLE TALK

Farfetch’d doesn’t seem to know what his playstyle is! I mean, there are two sections, two apparently authoritative playstyle sections, one of which paints him as a speedster clinging to his leek for dear life and the other which portrays him as a dynamo brandishing it as a weapon (and quite willing to toss it if that’s what’s called for). The question is whether the two playstyles can fit fairly seamlessly together, because they’re not supposed to be looked at as separate forms, I reckon – they can switch too quickly, on-the-fly, to be thought of separately.

I always had this problem with Zelda/Sheik, that the transformation was too slow and bulky and that maining both of them simultaneously was simply less efficient that just using one or the other. Switching in the midst of a battle, presumably to damage rack with Sheik and KO with Zelda, simply didn’t work, because Sheik could KO just fine and Zelda could damage rack just fine, given the right circumstances. The movesets need to be more lopsided than that, and this is something that you mostly did achieve here. Agility Stance is all very well and good for dodging about and frustrating the foe, but it has such low offensive capabilities. Swords Dance Stance is a little bit more dangerous, and I think that some Farfetch’d mains would focus on it fairly exclusively – but as a combo character, he does need that additional mobility, those crutches that the feathers provide, the ability to strike from more or less any angle. If he’s played as a traditional berserker combo character, he’s going to get shut down in short order.

Now, those feathers – I don’t know whether you gave them their due in the end, because they seem to me to be pretty pivotal. In fact, I almost want to say that Farfetch’d’s simple leek swings should kick them up, not only because it’s what would logically happen but also because it’d allow him to play an even more interesting brand of comboing, where he craves this unfair advantage, this cocoon of down, and any attempt by the foe to break his assault is simply cancelled out by the feathers he constantly has swirling around him. It’s kind of silly and pathetic, which is why it’s so good here.

And as we all know, Farfetch’d is a schizophrenic Pokemon. Nobody can say for sure what his behaviour or motives are. He doesn’t even know himself. Very clever, then, to give him this sort of divide in his playstyle, where even the player himself can change gameplans and behaviour seemingly in mid-attack; unpredictability is where Farfetch’d really shines, not only with his ridiculously versatile aerial game in Agility Stance but also with the many ways he can emerge from or launch into a Feint.

PART III – RESERVATIONS

Now this is the part where I talk about why people might not love this set. “People” may include me, but probably not, because it seems that whenever I really tear into the flesh of a moveset I end up sold on it. Often for this part I’ll specifically address concerns that others have raised in their comments. (See? There was a reason for the long wait on this review! I was just waiting for FA to get his thoughts out there! (WARY))

A pretty common train of thought is that the two stances are not sufficiently brought together and presented as complimentary or, better yet, inextricable. It’s funny and fitting that you have the two contradictory playstyle sections there, but the third one, which should marry them, is a little light and frothy and maybe not so convincing. If you had highlighted the glaring weaknesses of each form a little bit more… and maybe referred directly to moves in the other set, combos that potentially emerge, swoops and glides that transition smoothly into strings of aerials… I mean, when I made King Hippo I gave him a “Combos” section (as in fast food combos! Ha! Ha! Ha! but seriously I mean Brawl combos) specifically because combos tend to be pretty well-hidden in a wall of words and as naturally and fluidly as they’d emerge if you had the game to fiddle around with, they struggle to be noticed here unless they’re specifically drawn out. The simpler a move, in general, the cooler it’d be to mess around with and find applications of in a practical setting – but the more drab it looks on paper.

Warlord mentioned that the two movesets could probably be combined into one to cut down on filler and streamline his options, and it’s a valid enough point, even though I’d say that it would dial up Farfetch’d’s complexity as his moves would either need to account for both leek-in-hand and leek-in-beak or simply do away with the latter, which would A) destroy the schizophrenic characterization and playstyle that you drew out so nicely and B) vastly cut down on the unpredictability that’s at the gooey center of his particular brand of comboing. Again that playstyle section drops the ball a bit, although having a line or two in some of the shorter moves (read: all of Swords Dance Stance) about applications would both dull his concerns and give me more stuff to nitpick about so that my nitpick section doesn’t look so pathetically short.

And this is also a very little set. It’s not flashy, not grandiose, and not going to draw a lot of attention. It’s a humble work, and the kind that tends to get faint praise and increased excitement for your next big set.

PART IV – IN WHICH I SPEAK FRANKLY

Everybody seems to want to know what I really think of their movesets, quality-wise, and I’m not usually obliging. I don’t like comparing movesets to one another in quality – it’d make me a hypocrite to criticize Warlord’s rankings, even if it’s on a much smaller scale. I don’t find it helps me to organize my thoughts, nor do I particularly want to organize my thoughts (although it might be a useful practice…) But see here, this is a review, and I should at least give you a little blurb!

The bottom line: As a character piece, this is every bit as admirable as your Gallades and your Teferis. I was a very big fan of your collective MYM X output, as you know, LoL – and that means the less-liked sets that allowed themselves to be propelled by their creative specials and/or mechanics, too, the Yanmegas and Puccis and Shepards. Farfetch’d is even braver in some ways, because his creativity is entirely down to the player, or in this case, the reader. His playstyle is not quite crystal-clear, but that’s surely part of your intention. He’s so ridiculously unflashy that he begs a detailed read and a long, long review to get one to sort out one’s thoughts – but he’s also very rewarding. Well, I guess Teferi was rewarding too, both on a surface level and a deeper level. Funnily enough, Teferi is so much more complicated, but in MYM it’s a much more accessible set; it’s this sort of approach, that everybody can appreciate but few can love, that takes guts to embark on and some real dexterity to make work. I’m not sure I can say that I love the set (Farfetch’d seems to resist such passionate reactions), but it’s definitely another great entry in your impressive oeuvre and a set that I’ll keep in mind when voting rolls around.

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Responses

  1. Warlord’s “stitch the two sets together” complaint is sorely familiar to me. It was the exact complaint levelled at Donna three years ago.

    I still wish Farfetch’d’s movesets switched when you threw/pick-up the leek.

  2. Warlord, Daddy, did you two list through all of my reviews and rate them one-star or what? I’m going to kill you. I will come to England and to America. I will bring all of my fury.

  3. Nope, just me. Twice.

  4. I’ll leave England alone, then.

  5. I guess I have a reason to pay attention to the news now.

  6. Warlord is big enough to have his one-stars be counted as votes by two people.

  7. Ha, your fate is sealed.


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