Having grown up on Pokemon games, I was extremely excited to hear about one coming out on the Switch. The Switch being a console much more powerful than the 3DS means better graphics and a more alive world. It definitely accomplishes this.
Sword and Shield is the first pokemon game I know of where the main motivation and story isn’t saving the world from an evil organisation. Your first goal from the start of the game is to join the gym challenge and become the strongest trainer. This means the world is built a little differently to the rest of the pokemon games.
The game is also set in what is essentially the UK which means there are plenty of English phrases and terms, that being and English person I found kind of amusing. This world was immediately endeering to me and I loved exploring and talking to people to hear what they might say. The new pokemon are both adorable and scary with a huge variety of looks that we always love in Pokemon games.
One of my favourite changes this game makes it the freedom it gives you. Previously you needed pokemon for certain abilities, surf for riding on water, fly for fast travel, that kind of thing. Sword and Shield changes this up, there is now a flying taxi service for fast travelling, and everything else your bike can do. This isn’t a huge change, but ultimately allows you to build your team exactly as you would like without needing a dump pokemon to give all your travel abilities.
This combined with an area called the wilds gives you a huge freedom of exploration and team building. Your ability to explore areas is only constrained by your progression in the story. New areas mean new pokemon, and new pokemon mean new teams which can sometimes be useful when fighting certain gym leaders.
Not to mention, though it isn’t a new addition to the franchise, your characters clothes and hair are customisable so your character can look exactly as you would prefer. I love this feature and spent a lot of time shopping for clothes.
It wouldn’t be a Pokemon game is you didn’t have a rival and gain friends along your journey. Sword and Shield is no different. From the start you have your best friend Hop taking the same journey as you in a fight to be the best. There are also other friends you meet but I won’t spoil there relevance in the story.
Facing gym leaders is no new thing in Pokemon games, so naturally they needed to do something new. The added freedom of movement changes the way gym challenges can work. You will face trials like herding sheep and playing giant pinball that are unique to Sword and Shield. Add this to the new ability of Dynamaxing and even the fights become unique.
Sword and Shield is exactly the change Pokemon needed. The feel of the game is great, the story is enjoyable and the overall enjoyment of the game is everything the old games have and more. With the new release of DLC I can’t wait to see where the game will go.