Pokémon Sword and Shield
Summary: Despite some alleged controversy, Pokemon Sword and Shield is a highly appreciated entry for the series. Making its home console debut on Nintendo Switch, the series maybe could've taken a bigger step forward, but it's still the best entry in years according to most.
New Ways to Catch 'Em All
Wild Areas and Dynamax creatures are a fun new twist on the formula.
Game Freak has modernized the battle system for the better.
Plays It Safe
Not without new features, some were expecting a bigger leap for the series' first home console entry.
Top Critic Average
Pokémon Sword and Shield are not bad games. But fun character arcs and inventive, creative designs of new ‘mon are often offset by poor pacing and restrictive world design. The world of Galar is charming, and is a Pokémon interpretation of Britain I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid, but between gating what Pokémon you can catch behind Gym Badges, some half-baked route/City designs and a modest amount of post-game content, Sword and Shield can only be called ‘good’ Pokémon games… not ‘great’ ones.
It's a huge step forward for the Pokemon franchise and demonstrates GameFreak's will to change the classic formula. But, in the end, it's not as flawless as we might have hoped.
Pokémon Sword and Shield have a lot of great ideas and fun creatures, but the stark lack of content, rough performance, and a concerningly large number of minor issues keep them from being the definitive home console Pokémon games that myself and many other fans hoped for.
Pokémon Sword introduces some welcomed features, but the game feels as if it would be more at home on the 3DS, with the dated visuals, lacklustre animations, and a lack of polish that leaves you wishing they had taken more time on the game.
While there’s a huge step forward in regards to player freedom and additional activities for the player to indulge in, it still feels like the more things change, the more they stay the same in places where the formula needs to be shaken up.
GOOD - I’ve had a lot of fun with Pokémon Sword exploring the Wild Area and catching fully evolved Pokémon wandering around there. There are plenty of issues and it’s far from perfect. Despite that it’s still enjoyable to jump back into the wonderful world of Pokémon with Arcanine by my side.
Pokémon Sword & Shield is a worthy inheritor to the franchise's best traits and a wonderful first step forward into the future with a few stumbles.
The introduction of the Wild Area, while far from perfect, could be the genesis of something truly ambitious for the franchise. As it stands, even if it relies on old tropes, Sword and Shield improves in the areas that are the most important. There isn’t a better time to embark on an adventure and catch them all once more.
Ultimately, I think Pokémon Sword and Shield are some of the best games in the franchise. With fun multiplayer features, the ease of setting up a competitive squad for me to play online with fantastic visuals, solid music, and an acceptable story, I think grabbing Sword or Shield is an excellent idea for most Pokémon fans.
A mediocre yet strangely compelling game that proves two things: that the Pokémon formula is incredibly strong and that Game Freak needs to rethink how they present their games.
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