Review by P1Falchion

Reviewed: 12/02/19 | Updated: 12/10/19

Welcome to the Galar Region

It’s that time of year again when we get another Pokémon game. Getting to Pokémon Sword and Shield was quite the ride. From fans being disappointed by the amount of Pokémon being in the game to the Game Freak saying that there would be new animations only to find out that there weren't that many new animations instead Game Freak was using the same animations, they’ve been using seen Pokémon X and Y. I was just ready for a new mainline Pokémon for Switch and when the trailer for Sword and Shield came out I was excited. As we got close to the release of the game my excitement was still there but I also saw some of the complaints people had and some were legitimate complaints towards the game. The game is now out and I have become the champion of the Galar region and in the end, I had a lot of fun with this game. There were a lot of new additions to the game I hope to carry over to the next games but there are still areas where Game Freak can improve on.

Pokemon Sword and Shield story takes place in the Galar region and like with other Pokemon games you are ready to start your Pokemon journey and become the best trainer. You see the professor of the region and then you get to choose a Pokemon. Your choices are the fire type Pokemon Scorbunny, the water type Pokemon Sobble, and the grass-type Pokemon Grookey. Your rival is your friend Hop and both of you are ready to compete in Gyms and like with past games there are 8 gyms to compete in and the game ends with you facing off against the undefeated champion Leon. The gym battles take place in stadiums filled with crowds and before you face the gym leader you do trails similar to the ones from Pokemon Sun and Moon. Story-wise again if you are familiar with Pokemon games then you know what to expect at this point. There is another story going on in the game and it’s an interesting story to tell but, the way this game tells it, isn’t exactly the best way to tell that story.

The presentation of Pokemon Sword and Shield looks like an HD version of Pokemon Sun and Moon. I love the look of this game and I love the Galar region but, I do think Game Freak could do better. One of the issues I have with the look of the game is while at the moment I loved the look of the game after I beat the game I couldn’t help but think we still haven’t seen what a true home console Pokemon game can look like. The presentation of the game has been a big issue for many people and I fall into the camp that I like how the game look but, it could be better. This game also introduces an open field called the Wild Area which has Pokemon everywhere and there aren’t just low-level Pokemon you can encounter, you can also come across high leveled Pokemon. I love the idea of the Wild Area and it’s especially great when you are connected online and you see other trainers exploring the Wild Area. As you explore the Wild Area you can find items and take part in Raid fights which has you and other trainers fighting against Gigantamax Pokemon.

Gigantamax Pokemon is another new feature in this game which is Pokemon becoming giants in battles. Gigantamax is a big element in Gym battles seeing how the last Pokemon used by Gym Leaders are usually their ace Pokemon. Gigantamax Pokemon can only stay big for 3 turns after those turns pass they revert to their original size. Again this another addition to Pokemon I enjoyed especially in Gym Battles because the music changes once Gym Leaders are down to their final Pokemon and not only does the music change but the crowd gets excited and you can hear their excitement. The way Gym Battles are handled in the game is just excellent. I always liked how Gym Battles were handled in past games but Sword and Shield just might be my favorite ways these battles take place. There is a feeling of excitement when I do these battles and it's even better when we have two Gigantamax going head to head. The only other time you can Gigantamax Pokemon is when you take part in raid battles which again is another fantastic feature in this game. It's exciting when you are up against a high leveled Gigantamax Pokemon and it’s even better when you have friends helping you take down these giants.

There is a lot to love about Pokemon Sword and Shield but, there is a lack of depth. I love the look of the Galar region but there isn’t that much to do in the game when you get to all the different routes. It’s almost like you are walking in a straight line with no chances to explore branching areas and its the same with the towns you visit. An example with the towns you come across a castle area and you would think this is going to be an area you can explore and once you get in and there are only like 2 areas to explore and that’s it. The only time you have an area you can explore because it has branching paths is near the end of the game.

The lack of depth isn’t just an issue with the areas you explore, but it also carries over to the characters. The designs of the Gym Leaders are among my favorite in the whole series and it’s just unfortunate that in terms of their personality, it’s lacking. Two Gym Leaders come to mind that show off their personality and it's unfortunate to see that other characters didn’t have a chance to show off their personality. Thankfully characters like your rival Hop and the Professor of this game Sonia are really good characters that change as you play the game. Hop is one of my favorite rivals in the series he starts as a generic happy rival but as you play the game you see that he is trying to become a better trainer and with every battle, you see that he changes up his team to improve.

One thing people following Pokemon Sword and Shield couldn’t escape from is the complaints surrounding the National Pokedex. Overall there are a total of 890 Pokemon and if you include different Pokemon forms it comes to around 1000 Pokemon. This game introduces about 80 new Pokemon and from what I’ve seen so far I like the new Pokemon. And from the ones that made it to the game from past Pokemon games again I was left satisfied. If you are wondering if your favorite Pokemon made it to the game then I advise you to look up that info for yourself.

Overall I had a blast with Pokemon Sword and Shield. I do believe that Game Freak will do much better with the next game but as of right now I was left satisfied with this game. I love the Galar region and while I wish there were more times I can explore in this region for what was given I did like it. And the same thing with the characters while I love the look of these characters I wish my love for these characters also carried out into their personality. This game is filled with so many things I love about this game that I hope will carry over into the next games in the series. For now, I will treasure the time I put into this game because there was a sense of excitement that I have not gotten from a Pokemon game in a long time. Discovering these new Pokemon was a great feeling and the stadium battles made battles in this game feel grand which is something I have not felt in any other Pokemon game. Again this game has its issues but this is a Pokemon adventure I will never forget and I’m excited to see what Game Freak will do next with this series.

Rating: 7

Product Release: Pokemon Sword (US, 11/15/19)

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