Pokémon Sword Review
Nintendo have given Pokémon a complete face lift with their latest installments Sword and Shield. With an entire new region to explore and Pokémon to meet we were excited to get our hands on it. I am happy to say that it does not disappoint.It's clear that Nintendo have listened to criticism from previous installments and built on them. Firstly long gone are the days of 8 bit blockiness! In addition Sword and Shield have a smoother feeling and a game much better suited for the 21st Century.The story line appears to be softer also, instead of having a rival that you encounter throughout the game, it's now your friend Hop with whom you engage in some friendly competition. Gone are the days of random encounters in long grass, similarly with Pokémon Let's Go you can see them walking around which encourages the impressiveness of the world.
Zacian and Zamazenta
The imagery for Sword and Shield heavily features these legendary Pokémon, every game seems to have legendary Pokémon now and they're frequently mentioned as these allusive and strange Pokémon. In Sword there's an early encounter with Zacain in the forest in your home town, but I've not encountered it again since.
For the nostalgic player such as myself I was happy to see that some of the original 151 make an appearance but with a twist. Due to these games being set in a different region they may not look how we expect. The all new Pokémon are just as strange as ever and with over 1,000 Pokémon throughout all 8 generations it's not surprising.In keeping with the other generations your choice of starter Pokémon consists of three options. The grass type Grookey, the fire type Scorbunny, the water type Sobble.
The premise of the game is the same as always, you're a young trainer just starting your journey. You have to traverse the map and collect gym badges and battle against a villainous team. In previous generations we've had Team Rocket, Team Aqua, Team Galactic and more. In Pokémon Sword and Shield we have the rather irritating Team Yell. They are the super fans of Marnie, a rival trainer you encounter throughout the game. They cause trouble by crowding hotel lobbies, blocking transport links and yelling distractions at trainers in battle. So far pretty harmless compared to their previous generation counterparts.
Dynamax and Gigantamax
A new feature of Sword and Shield are Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing, early on in the game you get a Dynamax band which in certain areas will give your Pokémon the ability to Dynamax. The size and strength of your Pokémon is drastically increased, however will only last 3 turns and can only be used once per battle. Dynamaxing can also be used in the wild area when participating in a Max Raid Battle. Whilst any Pokémon can dynamix only specific ones can Gigantamax. Using this feature changes their appearance and allows use of an exclusive move called G-Max Move.
The gym battles are held to a higher regard in this region, they take place in giant arenas and the gym leaders are treated like celebrities. As part of the story to be able to battle in gyms you need to be sponsored by a Champion. To reach the gym leader you need to take part in challenges and puzzles. In the lobby of the arena there's a PokéCentre where you can stock up on potions and revives - odds are you're going to need them.
Is It Worth It?
I have always been a fan of Pokémon games ever since the beginning. The fact that they now have better graphics and on the Switch, for me it's a no brainer. It's different enough to appreciate it being a new game, but familiar enough to pull on the nostalgic heart strings.Have you played Pokémon Sword or Shield? Let us know what you thought in the comments!