Pokémon Sword and Shield brought many changes to make them the most personalized, immersive and efficient main series installments yet. The newest additions to the franchise boast a truly unique experience, offering new ways to interact with pokémon and explore the UK based Galar region.
New Region, Story, and Features
The Galar region's heavily based upon the UK and as such it boasts a rich and ancient history as the story unravels. The regional inspiration adds a distinctive element to the titles in itself, but the empirically immersive experience introduces tons of new features and revamps the old. For instance, roaming town in a third-person view makes for a more individualized experience and all the more captivating. It presents repeated opportunities to show off the many painstaking details put into the towns and landscape designs.
Trainer personalization, first introduced in Pokémon X and Y, is even more customizable in the Galar region. The various clothing stores offer different selections of apparel while the salon allows trainers to apply make-up, or color and style their hair. Trainers are even asked to choose a number for their Gym Challenge uniform and have the option to purchase further uniform customizations later on.
Gyms have gotten an overhaul as well. Dynamaxing makes the Gym Challenge a hugely intricate part of the region's culture, so Gym battles in the Galar region draw in a sea of live spectators. Fans have gotten so ravenous that a certain challengers' entourage makes up this regions' team of Grunts. An interesting spin on the usual diabolical organization plotting regional domination, Team Yell has no real leader. Instead, the overzealous Grunts rally in support of Marnie, a Gym Challenger who doesn't seem to hold any malicious intent and would rather her rambunctious supporters tone it down. Aside from the massive social emphasis placed on the League in this region, Gyms also put in place Gym Missions: mini-challenges that break up the monotony of defeating Gym Trainers in order to reach the Leader.
Team Yell is just a taste of the modish events taking place in the Galar region. The initial storyline is proving more intricate than past generations, incorporating several bits of side content, or at least several ends that will eventually tie together. Sword and Shield shake up the usual story formula by writing a more personal connection between the main characters and the champion. Indeed, it is the champion who bestows you and your rival with starter pokémon rather than the professor. There is a vastly elongated intro to include a Dynamax explanation. The additional plotline is rather engrossing, leading the trainers through beautiful British inspired landscape in order to meet Professor Magnolia. It also ties in side-story between the Galar region champion and the professor's granddaughter.
As with every region, there are new pokémon to befriend.
This charming pokémon embodies a Welsh Corgi, the Queen's favored pet. Not only is this cheeky little fella adorable, but it packs a shockingly paralyzing punch. Yamper's evolution Boltund boosts its already high-voltage, taking charge of the battlefield.
Both Yamper and Rookiedee can be found early game, but both are sturdy additions to a trainer's team. Rookiedee's final evolution Corviknight got a lot of build-up in the game's promo trailers and rightly so. It's dual steel and flying type make the entire evolution line steadfast fighters that peskily harass opponents.
With all of the re-hashed Pikachu designs, you would think the effect would've worn off. But Morpeko is cheek-crushingly endearing! This bipolar mouse is a dual electric and dark type, altering its energy depending on the rumblings of its tummy. Morpeko's multiple personalities make for a fun twist within the game.
The All-New Wild Area
The Wild Area reintroduces the Safari Zone concept in a big way, providing a fun means of encountering pokémon throughout Galar. It harbors a cornucopia of different pokémon along with 'very-strong' ones that may dwarf the trainers' team by ten plus levels. Capturing these pokémon is so lucrative to building a pokémon team that it almost feels like cheating. The variety of wild pokémon paired with the new mechanic allowing players to see them roaming around, maximizes the efficiency of the training grind.
The Wild Area also introduces Dynamax Dens and a new camping feature. Dynamax Dens utilize a real-time co-op match mechanic, grouping online trainers together to defeat a wild Dynamaxed pokémon within. (Offline trainers will be granted NPC allies.) Camping was introduced to serve as a reprieve from trekking through the Wild Area. It boosts pokémon HP, XP, friendship levels, and heals status effects through cooking and interactions.
Change Can Be Good
Pokémon Sword and Shield maximizes efficiency on tasks like training while leaving time to enjoy little things such as playing with pokémon, accessorizing, and enjoying the scenery. The story shakes up tried and true formulas and through all of these innovations, the developers have created a wonderfully immersive experience within the pokémon world.