Review by Rydershigh
DISCLAIMER: This Review is for the play-through from Route 1- End Credits and is not reflective towards post game. Furthermore all fan biases are disregarded and aren’t relevant towards the game
Pokemon Sword and Shield are the 8th Generation of pokemon games and the first $60 Generation games in the series. With a boost in hardware and price does it take advantage of its new found tools to craft the ultimate Pokémon experience?
After Generation 7 approach to ditch the Gym formula for something new proved to be too ambitious for the developers to do anything fun or creative with, The Gym formula makes a expected return and GF made it into a massive spectacle with crowds and fanfare galore. However this is still the essential gym experience with the same hit or miss puzzles before the Gym leader. They are as one note as they were generations ago the major difference is how it’s seen from the world which gameplay wise, doesn’t add up to anything
another difference is Dynamax, all gym leaders use this at least once and a bit of a pine cone in the salad bowl, satisfying to use due to the few amount of times you’ll use it, it just isn’t as strategic as Mega evolutions and comes off as bare bones
A Major selling point of the games is the Wild Area, take on Raid battles and “socialize” with other trainers. It is fun at first but after a while it’s not so interesting, combined with the corridor routes the Franchise has been plagued with since Gen 4, it’s strange how Gamefreak didn’t make the whole game wild. Otherwise its a logical step to ditch wild encounters as a whole and a welcome change
Two major issues I had with the game is lack of social elements, or lack of refinement as Ycomm May compare favorable to last years WiFi plaza but PSS still reigns supreme and difficulty. This was a missed opportunity to really make player interactions interesting and effective compared to PSS. Exp Share expectedly made the game fast and easy which is a major turn off for some fans but allows some easy swap outs if needed, but that’s not because of the Exp Share that’s because the level distribution in the game is beyond ridiculous. Trainer battles and wild Pokémon tend to be equal if not lesser than wild. This was probably due to making grinding as easy as possible but comes off as poor game design as you can catch a full team of capable monsters in a corridor routes without training them undermining the point of keeping Pokémon. As far as difficulty goes theirs about 2 maybe 3 fights that pose a threat varying on your team and your either under-leveled or over-leveled if your the ladder the lack of viable exp is sparse at best if you don’t like raids. Otherwise raids give out Exp candy...which makes the Pokémon your leveling less rewarding as a result
The story is terrible and half baked, unlike most features in the game with some logical Justifications , the story and characters are a massive step down from Sun and Moon and maybe even XY. Team Yell is underdeveloped and uninteresting, Hop is most likely the worst rival, and most of the others come off as one note. The obligatory catastrophe moment, in this generation feels very last minute and has zero build up compared to Galactic and Plasma. Which is a massive shame as the fights during said Catastrophe are highlights just a shame they were giving zero polish or build up
Curry n’ Camp is quite intriguing. Heals your party and boosts friendship it’s nice to see all the Pokémon out and about. It’s a nice addition far superior than Amie. Just wish they did more like player interactions
I Expected performance issues which at a point were ignorable but after a while they just seem like blemishes a constant reminder of lack of polish. And this game sure does lack that classic “Nintendo Polish” despite being a Gamefreak game. Character models are severely outdated, transitions from The Fly Taxi and the trains are lazy and uninspired and I’m sure I’m missing some. Pokémon honesty look more lively in the wild and at camp then in battles which is a strange. OST And city designs are top notch I’ll give it that
The Question remains, does Pokémon take advantage of its new found tools to craft the ultimate Pokémon experience? Short answer: No
The game is so samey and formulaic to the point of being predictable, the progression is a bore after the wild area due to uninteresting trainer battles Corridor routes, and mostly unintimidating Gym leaders. Story is bland and undercooked even by “Pokémon standards” and the “New Generation” using 6 year old dated assets doesn’t aid it in its distinction as a new generation.
the roster is solid as ever, and the locales are good. If you remove the wild area this game would be a contender as the worst generation trapped in its own formula to do anything interesting with. As Pokémon games go it’s not bad. But it could be better so much better
Pokémon isn’t a game to get better over time, as the future with its questionable design ethos and the Dex scandal proving to be factors for the future. This game proved to me that it’s quite hard to mess up a Pokémon game with a prewritten formula as it was legitamitly fun. But $60 fun for a 19 hour story and the same song and dance as previous generations ? It falls flat
Product Release: Pokemon Sword (US, 11/15/19)
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