Pokémon Sword & Shield: Worthy of Praise

In the newest installment of the Pokemon franchise, Sword and Shield has dual  expectations. From one side, the promise of an “open-world” game is  enticing. It would be the first of its kind in the Pokemon genre. However, restrictions on the number of Pokemon present in the game brings  a bad taste in the mouths of long-time players.

Many have criticised these games for their lack of creativity, a lack of adding all available Pokemon, and seemingly simplistic nature that tends toward that of a child’s game. This is no child’s game. Rather it fulfills its goal as a game that all ages can enjoy. I can personally recommend it for all ages.

These main series games will be utilizing the Nintendo Switch platform. With the ability to connect the Switch to the TV, Pokemon can now be played on the big screen. This is the first main series Pokemon game which can be played both on TV and handheld.

New mechanics include: raids, an “open-world” section, and “Gigantimaxing”. Raids are special zones in which players can team up with others in real-life to battle a giant Pokemon. The open-world portion features multiple biome sections all gathered into one giant piece of the map. Now Gigantimaxing is its own beast. Every Pokemon has different sizes, just like real animals. However, there are very few taller than 10 feet. Gigantimaxing is a regular Pokemon that is blown up to the size of a skyscraper! Side-note: in the previously mentioned raids, Gigantimax Pokemon are what appear, which explains the teamwork required to beat them.

Like most entries in the Pokemon franchise, this game plays off of similar mechanics. The basics being: the ability to catch and train Pokemon, battling in special arenas called “Gyms”, and attempting to stop a rogue organization. Surprised by the last one? That’s what makes these games special!

Unlike most other video games, Pokemon offers the opportunity to kids and adults alike to explore a fantasy environment, collecting and bonding with a vast multitude of unique creatures. Alongside the exploration, it rewards acts of heroism by pitting the players against evil organizations, intent on taking over. By implementing this duality, it is a chance for the players to expand their imaginations and live as a hero or idealist collector.

How does this apply to Sword and Shield?

Every part of the game enhances its “enjoyability”. The new Pokemon range from cute to creative, adding a sense of “This is a new, fresh game.” The progression of the game is slow at first, but speeds up when necessary. The “Gyms” are a nice mix of challenging and rewarding, allowing for success when a player needs it most.

This game does not hold your hand.

Unlike many criticisms directed towards this game, I believe that Sword and Shield are challenging enough and do not give the player success, without earning it first. One common complaint is the addition of a permanent item called an “EXP Share”. “EXP Shares” do as they sound, share EXP among every Pokemon in your party. 

EXP is given to a single Pokemon every time it defeats an enemy. I personally do not see a problem in allowing every Pokemon in a team to get a share of the EXP after every battle. The Pokemon that it is first awarded to still receives the most. It also keeps the player’s team partially levelled up throughout the game to avoid imbalanced levelling, present in past games.

The graphics of the game are high quality, the content is balanced, and the soundtrack is amazing! Every Pokemon game has had its one or two memorable tracks. However, both Sword and Shield possess fitting themes for every environment, rival, and battle. This can range from piano-based tunes, to guitar, all the way to computer-generated notes. Not many games can provide such a wide array of fitting and down-right memorable compositions.

  Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield are like sculptures. The larger the “game” becomes, the more flaws can be seen. In fact, it’s the flaws that make the game! Sculptures are beautiful because of their rough textures and features, while presenting an overall beauty. 

Without the various quirks in dialogue or the hilarious excuses for Pokemon designs, these installations or the franchise itself would not be where it is now. 

In order to find out more visit: https://swordshield.pokemon.com/en-us/

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