Review by _pigzigaccount5

Reviewed: 12/02/19

Insultingly bad and unpolished, feels more like an ripoff than an official entry

Never have I played a game so insulting bland and uninspired as Pokemon Sword/Shield. Call of Duty taking you to different time periods in each title feels like bold art compared to this. Sword and Shield actually takes countless features out because Game Freak simply didn't want to bother. This review was going to be titled "1..2..and ta-da! Game Freak forgot features", but I realized they didn't forget, they did it on purpose. Less Pokemon, less moves, shorter story, less interesting characters... what's actually improved here? The answer is quite legitimately, nothing. Here's a quick rundown.

Gameplay - 3/10

The big selling points are the raid battles and making your Pokemon grow larger with Gigantamax/Dynamax. Firsly, Gigantamax/Dynamax is poorly balanced and replaces Mega Pokemon and Z moves entirely. It's balanced so poorly, competitive players are thinking of banning it outright. In casual play, it's just not as fun to use compared to Megas or Z moves. Raid Battles are too easy and require no thought, but could've been polished into a good feature.


Graphics - 2/10

Lets start with the stars of the show, the Pokemon themselves. They have never looked worse in 3D. Sword and Shield have the exact same models as the 3DS games but blown up on a larger screen. Lets Go had a chibi artstyle that was unexciting but never looked too weird. But here in the midst of more realistically proportioned characters, all the Pokemon essentially look like inflated balloons. They don't even look like living monsters at all, just parade balloons. You can't unsee it. These models have not translated to high definition well and need replacing. But even the new Pokemon aren't well animated, though some of the new designs are surprisingly good.

I don't think the Pokemon are correctly proportioned in battle either here, even Lets Go did that. I wouldn't be surprised if they did that on purpose to try and make Dynamax seem more exciting. If large Pokemon species like Wailord were properly proportioned to start with, Dynamax would be even less impressive than it already is.

This region is apparantly inspired by Britain, but you wouldn't know. It looks more like Disneyland's Toon Town. The now infamous tree texture that looks like it came from an N64 game is only the start of the unpolished garbage you'll encounter on your adventure. To put it simply, not a single aspect of the game looks good. Even the UI is oversized and unappealing. The most unappealing part of all for me had to be the fairy gym, it looks like pink cake mix spilled all over the stadium. Both stylistically and technically this is not pretty. Two points were awarded for character customization options.

Story - 0/10

I feel like I am trying to rate an olympic diver out of 10 when he just fell off the board and hurt himself. What do I even give this? The villains motivation has blatant holes, somehow it's even worse than Team Flare from XY. Marnie is the waifubait character but surprisingly doesn't even show up much. Hop though, he can't stop showing up and dumping text at you. Admittedly story is not too important to Pokemon, but it's not like the gameplay features are saving this game either.

Music - 3/10

The music is eargrating. While not all of it is offensively bad, the worst tracks seem to play the most. Notably the wild battle theme sounds like a kid wailing on instruments. Props to Game Freak for at least adding the option to turn music down while keeping sound effects on, that's something. Some tracks are good but they don't play nearly as much as the bad ones. It's the frequency of the bad music that really drags the game down. You know you're playing a bad game when it has some repetitive beep boop playing over and over.

Pros
-Has some new Pokemon, and there are some decent designs

Cons
-Lacking features of previous games
-New features like Dynamax are less interesting than what previous games had
-Story is downright nonsense
-Annoying characters get in the way
-Music is a mix of bad and good, with the bad playing often


Verdict
Save your money and buy any other RPG on Switch. I mean literally anything else. The game is as bad as the naysayers say it is. The lowest possible score is the only appropriate score for this game. I could accept a bad game that tried, but SWSH feels downright unfinished. I thought features being removed from video games and sold back as DLC was bad, but damn, there can always be new levels of low. Here the features are just gone outright. And you know the icing on the cake? Even if you enjoyed it, they'll probably release an improved version in two years anyway, so you still wasted your money.

Rating: 1

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

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