Greetings Pokemon trainers, today we will be discussing the latest installment of the well loved and established Pokemon series. With the release of Sword and Shield last Friday, I have been consumed with playing the game. As someone who fondly remembers first playing the Pokemon games on the DS and collecting the cards, there is always a sense of nostalgia in playing a new game. However, this game has not been without criticism. With no national dex and some changes in the technical aspects, people have been up in flames about the whole franchise. After putting some serious hours over the weekend on the game, I believe that Sword and Shield are the best additions to the game since Diamond and Pearl.
I picked up Pokemon Sword, and I started off with the fire starter. The game is immediately challenging, as high level Pokemon appear even when you start at a low level. One of the new aspects that I adore is the open world portion of the game. Instead of running around aimlessly waiting for an encounter, Pokemon appear in the overworld, making them more visible to catch and avoid. In one area dubbed “the wild area”, Pokemon of all different kinds spawn, with powerful Pokemon appearing alongside their weaker brethren. This is part of the lure of grinding, as you can only catch certain levels after beating certain gyms. These powerful Pokemon act as a tempting reminder of the power one can achieve after hard work and grinding.
Another feature I have greatly enjoyed is the whole dynamax and raid feature. Dynamax is a brand new concept, where a certain action causes Pokemon to grow in size and power. They are able to release blistering attacks. Raids are wild dynamax Pokemon, which four trainers take down. Unlike Pokemon Go, which requires people IRL, the raids in Sword and Shield can substitute in AI to help battle these Pokemon. The rewards are extremely lucrative, dropping items that help level up your Pokemon greatly. Currently, I have been using an all Ghost team, with nothing less than level 40 between all of them, and I am barely halfway through the game.
The third feature I enjoy is all the new Pokemon. While you cannot catch the some 1000 Pokemon that are in the game, the 400 in the game are so unique and diverse that I honestly have not noticed. Some great Pokemon have come out of the game, with my favorite so far being Runigris, a hulking pile of rocks animated by a spirit. There are so many unique Pokemon to catch that I always feel like I am catching something new and exciting.
The final feature I have loved playing around with is the camping and cooking mechanic. Unlike the previous games, you can set up a camp in the wild, and cook curry to help heal your Pokemon. You can also play with them by tossing a ball or waving a feather duster. There is nothing more delightful than watching my Gengar run around to catch a ball. It also gives your Pokemon Xp, and makes them friendlier towards you giving additional bonuses in battle.
Overall, I did not agree with the media backlash of the game. It is well crafted and so much fun to play. While I will miss not getting a salamence or Rayquaza, the game is balanced and there is so much to do. If you are someone who owns a Switch, definitely ask for this game for Christmas!
Until next time,