Pokémon do not mess around in the ancient Hisui region. Life might not be nasty, brutish, and short, but it’s far from breezy in Pokémon Legends: Arceus. That’s especially evident in some of its more RNG-based side-quests, where hard work and determination can’t overcome bad luck. Arceus does a lot right, but forcing you to spend hours hunting Buizel is not the way.
If you’ve been playing the latest Switch Pokémon over the weekend like so many others, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. A villager “request” (what the game calls missions) very early on called “Big Buizel, Little Buizel” tasks you with finding a specimen of the orange sea otter that’s at least 2'8" big. Sounds simple enough! Pokémon in Arceus come with lots of variation, so catch a handful of Buizel and see which one’s big enough.
But while some players have lucked into a big Buizel (or Alpha Buizel) in just a few tries, others have been harvesting armies of Buizel to no avail. “It took me 63 buizel to finally find one. Not 10 minutes after, there was one of those mass encounters and an alpha appeared,” wrote one player on the game’s subreddit. On Twitter, one player even found a Shiny Buizel before they found one over 2'8". The whole affair is made even worse by the fact that you can’t check Pokémon sizes until you’re back at camp.
One of the more sure-fire ways to complete the request is to wait until after you’ve defeated Kleavor, the first Noble Pokémon you face and effectively Arceus’ first boss fight. After that, all Pokémon in the Obsidian Fieldlands will have a chance to start spawning in their Alpha form which are almost always bigger, on average, than their standard form. But since “Big Buizel, Little Buizel” is one of the first requests you get in the starting area of the game, players have been hammering at it early on and watching a chill time turn into a grindfest.
There are some other requests along these lines in Arceus which aren’t hard so much as painfully contingent. “Wurmple’s Evolved!” requires you to show a villager a Silcoon, which is a rare spawn out in the wild but doubly hard to evolve since it’s predicated on a seeming combination of chance and the Wurmple’s underlying personality type. “To Bloom or Not to Bloom,” meanwhile, requires you to max out the Pokédex entry for Cherrim. That in turn requires you to either evolve it from Cherubi which spawn only in certain trees or catch one later in the game and record it using petal dance over and over (which requires level 47).
While RNG has always been at the heart of what playing Pokémon is all about, Arceus’ traditional Monster Hunter-like RPG structure has filtered that logic down into even some of the most benign-seeming quests. I’ve grown to appreciate playing the Shiny lottery as part of Pokémon’s self-directed end-game fun, but I do not need that bullshit in the game’s official to-do lists.
I haven’t yet encountered anything as bad as the despair-filled hunt for Mythoclast in Destiny 2’s Vault of Glass raid (some players have done it dozens of times and still never gotten its most prized loot), but Buizel hunting was already enough to put me on edge (I’m still searching for my large, adult Pokémon). To anyone else still after Schrödinger’s Buizel, good luck and godspeed.