Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield were released on 15 Nov. for the Nintendo Switch, marking the first time that a core Pokemon game was released on a home system. Up until now, all main series games have been released to Nintendo’s portable gaming systems. With the Switch, fans can embark on a new adventure on their TV screens.
Sword and Shield take place in the Galar region, which is based on real-life Great Britain. The games are littered with references to British culture, from the dialogue to the Pokemon themselves. This eighth generation of Pokemon introduced 81 new species, bringing the total number of Pokemon to 890. Including the 81 new Pokemon, 13 old faces had their designs revamped. Beyond their appearances, Pokemon like Ponyta and Weezing also had their type changed.
Like other Pokemon games, Sword and Shield remain the same as players play “to be the very best like no one ever was.” However, these renditions introduce new features to freshen up the game. The most notable change is Dynamaxing and Gigantimaxing, battle mechanics that replace Mega Evolution and Z-Moves from previous games. Dynamax and Gigantimaxing change the size and appearance of Pokemon, raising their stats. But, both new mechanics can only be used in specific events like gym battles. The games also include Max Raid Battles, where four trainers work together to take on a Dynamx or Gigantimax Pokemon. Although fan-favorite features such as a Pokemon companion following closely behind is missing, Pokemon Sword and Shield freshened up the series for the better.
While Pokemon Sword and Shield bring exciting changes to the series, fans can’t get over one major flaw: the removal of half of all Pokemon. Earlier in the year, the developers of the games, GameFreak, announced that not all of the Pokemon would be in their newest release. This struck a chord with many fans, but not because of the missing Pokemon. Instead, they were upset that the cuts were made supposedly to improve graphics and animations. As trailers were released for the games, people were not impressed. Pre-orders were canceled and #GameFreakLied trended on Twitter days before the release. Now that the games have been released, I think previous complaints about the quality of the games seem unjustified. But, loyal fans still deserve to complain about the lack of clarity on GameFreak’s end during the promotion period.
Pokemon Sword and Shield are by no means perfect games, but they are still Pokemon games. They are still fun to play and enjoy as you embark on your next Pokemon journey. But, fans still have the right to protest the games. Clearly, GameFreak is disconnected from its customers and must work to repair the rift that grew with the production of Sword and Shield. However, the negativity surrounding the games shouldn’t deter people from enjoying them. With upgraded graphics and new mechanics to discover, Sword and Shield are the next step for future generations in the Pokemon franchise.