Pokemon Sword & Shield Review (Nintendo Switch)
The 8th generation Pokemon games are on the Nintendo Switch here in the form of Pokemon Sword & Shield after such a long wait. Consumers had big hopes from these games as they eventually brought the core Pokemon titles to the hybrid-portable home console. Is Pokemon Sword & Shield meeting those expectations? Read on for information.
I think we need to be clear on one key thing before we get started, Pokemon Sword & Shield aren’t the big game-changers that many fans expected it to be. Actually, I wrote numerous posts on fan ideas and wishlists that had viewers with super high expectations seeking a Breath of the Wild-like series evolution.
Looking at Pokemon’s place in Nintendo’s portfolio, this was quite unlikely to happen. Pokemon is one of the most popular and “safest” brands Nintendo has ever released, is selling, and will continue to sell. And it’s unlikely that Nintendo and The Pokemon Business will change the games much. Over the past few months, fans have been confronting developers Game Freak about how creative and “same” the games are, since Pokemon Sword & Shield was released, but when you think about it, it’s not even their fault. Now with that out of the way and our hopes in order, let’s think about how Pokemon Sword & Shield really is like playing.
Pokemon Sword & Shield takes place in the Galar area, loosely based on UK in terms of art design and culture portrayed. The games add 81 brand new species of Pokemon along with 13 existing regional variants of Pocket Monsters. Like the previous games in the series, because of “Dexit,” you’re missing the chance to “catch any Pokemon,” a phrase you may have heard before. Game Freak was unable to bring back every single Pokemon because of the move to the Switch and the large amount of changes available in Pokemon Sword and Shield. There’s still a big variety of Pokemon that you can use in the game but your pick may not have made it depending on you.
In lieu of Dynamaxing, Sword & Shield also forgets Mega Evolution, which increases Pokemon’s size and gives them extra strength. There’s also Gigantamaxing, a more uncommon type of Dynamaxing that gives an altered appearance to certain Pokemon. The games also mark Wild Areas debut, which are wide open-world areas that link cities with a free camera, raid battles, and more. They make a better-than-ever return on Sword and Shield where Pokemon Sun and Moon have eliminated gym battles. Gym battles are taking place in the latest games in the stadiums, full of fans cheering you on, the whole atmosphere is very incredible, to be honest, and to make every fight feel different.
The structure of the gameplay is exactly the same as planned and discussed earlier. Before Let’s Go, the game plays similar to games, with players having to fight Pokemon to catch them rather than just throwing a pokeball. The key strategy for the story campaign is quick and straightforward with the multiplayer being the only place where you always have to think as usual about your movements. The Wild Areas, however, are very enjoyable to play with because you can run into Pokemon at a far higher level than your squad, definitely was an interesting experience when I ran to level 25 Onix in the first Wild Area with my average group level of level 12.
The games also feature a lot of quality-of-life improvements that make the gameplay experience very smooth as you now have Escape Rope as a Key Item unlimited usage, you have quick travel before you reach the first gym and you can cross water without pause among the many other improvements using your transforming bike. My personal favorite is that every Pokemon Center now features a Move Deleter / Reminder guy. Also, there is the normal Exp. Share which is now mandatory, and which you can or may not like, can not be switched off.
I won’t talk much about the story as its fairly forgettable, with an irritating Hop competitor. However, it doesn’t matter much because for the hard-hitting story, not many people are playing these games, or I don’t at least.
I decided to go to Pokemon Sword & Shield with low expectations because I knew I wasn’t going to get the big reboot-like shift I’ve been waiting for so long, but the game features enough new changes that I ended up actually putting in about 50 hours. Although the game will prove relatively enjoyable for series veterans who are playing the annual Pokemon title, if you haven’t played a Pokemon game in a couple of years then you’ll have a blast with Pokemon Sword & Shield.
Pokemon Sword & Shield Review (Nintendo Switch)
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are 2019 role-playing video games developed by Game Freak and published by The Pokémon Company and Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch.
Final Score – 8/10
I was trying to go into Pokemon Sword & Shield with low expectation due to the realization that I wasn’t going to get the huge reboot-like change that I’ve been waiting for so long, however, the game does feature enough new additions that I ended up actually putting in around 50 hours into it.