Pokémon Sword and Shield have been out only for a short time now, but players have been digging through the games getting as many hours as possible out of them. That is, at least, going by the recent financial success the games have seen. The games have been surrounded by controversy but since it is Pokémon, the most expensive franchise in the world, after all, it was bound to succeed in sales.
The national dex cut among many other complaints has more than just simply irked some fans. However, there are at least some features of the game that seem fresh as well as those that don't. Here are five features we wish were in the old games and five that we don't.
10 Want: The Wild Area
By far the most innovative and biggest step forward, not just in the games Pokémon Sword and Shield, but for the whole video game series, is the inclusion of the Wild Area. The Wild Area is the "open world" part of the game in which you have free control over the camera and can go about finding and catching--certain level--Pokémon with a combination of finding them randomly in the grass and the overworld.
You can take part in max raid battles with Dynamax Pokémon species. It would be great to have seen this feature in the older generation games, even though it would be difficult to implement due to the two-dimensional pixel graphics and art, but it could still function in those games as a "Safari Zone 2.0." This could have even seen implementation in the Nintendo 3DS games starting with X and Y.
9 Don't: Excessive Cut Scenes
This, unfortunately, has been a feature heavily emphasized in the Pokémon video game series fairly recently. Specifically, in the seventh generation's Alola region with Sun and Moon. Since the year 2016, Game Freak seems to have fully embraced the more hand-holding kid-friendly nature of the series by incorporating frequently intrusive cut scenes that direct the player from point A to point B.
These, needless to say, have become a nuisance to the player that has constantly stopped the pacing of the game and cut down on the actual do-it-yourself gameplay. Unfortunately, this has mostly carried over into Sword and Shield as well and are thankful they are far and away from the older games.
8 Want: Regional Variants Of Pokémon
This is another feature that is emphasized to an extent and features in the newest installments of the video game series, Sword and Shield, but was introduced three years ago in Sun and Moon. Like the Wild Area, this has got to be one of the freshest and most innovative ideas Game Freak has had in a while.
It reinvigorated older species of Pokémon, thus taking the pressure of constantly having to think of hundreds of new species designs. It makes older ones exciting again with overall design overhauls complete with type changes to accommodate the new region. This would have certainly been welcomed in the older games.
7 Don't: Dynamaxing
Dynamaxing is definitely one of the biggest "gimmicks" of all the new features introduced in the latest games. Much like Z-Moves, these are most likely a one-shot feature that will only see the light of day in its native Galar region. And thankfully so because it really doesn't add anything too exciting to the games from a design perspective.
Granted, it might shake up the competitive scene a little but in the end, it won't matter. That is because, again, it will likely be cut in the next generation. All this did from a design perspective is simply make your Pokémon bigger. That's it.
6 Want: Cutting Out Tutorials
Cutting out some of the most basic tutorials is something the hard-core fan base has been asking for quite some time now. Veteran players have quickly grown tired of having to go through the same old tutorials for mechanics they have known since they were kids playing the games themselves.
Thankfully, Sword and Shield have cut back on this particular issue, although with the caveat that there are excessive and intrusive cut scenes to sit through. Finally, you don't have to be forced to stand there pretending to the NPC that you do not know how to catch a Pokémon. We certainly would have appreciated the option to skip on these tutorials since, well, generation two.
5 Don't: Gigantamaxing
Now, this entry may seem cheap since this is very similar to the earlier concept and "gimmick" feature that is Dynamaxing, but there is reasoning behind this inclusion. The same previous reasons behind as Dynamaxing apply for why Gigantamaxing shouldn't be in the old games. It is lazy, adds barely anything new, and flat out wouldn't work in the old games anyway.
However, Gigantamaxing is slightly different from Dynamaxing, in that it gives the select species the ability to change physical forms. That is why Gigantamaxing seems like the more direct replacement of the mega evolution concept than Dynamaxing, and the general consensus is that mega evolution was a far more innovative feature that didn't deserve to be cut out.
4 Want: Co-op Raid Battles
Adding more multiplayer features than just battling against each other and trading is certainly interesting. Sword and Shield added the ability to engage in max raid battles in the Wild Area, which allow you to another form of interaction with other players online.
The idea of battling a special, super-powered Pokémon species with other trainers online is a fun way of adding to the multiplayer experience. However, since Dynamaxing is a feature listed as a "don't," something as simple as a stat-buffed Pokémon in the older games would suffice.
3 Don't: The Overly-Friendly Rival
If you ask fans about this particular feature, you will likely get an answer that this has been a bigger problem since 2013's Pokémon X and Y. In those installments of the series, you were actually given multiple "rivals"--and that term is used loosely--that constantly followed you on your adventure and were overly friendly to the point where they weren't rivals at all.
A rival should be a healthy mix of a friend and someone you want to prove your strength to in battle. Not to pander to the first generation, but Kanto's rival, Blue, is a good example of this. Even the second generation's rival, who wasn't really a "friend," was a good rival because it was a battle of ideologies.
2 Want: Over World Wild Battles
Certainly, this would have taken Game Freak more time to implement in the older games, namely the GameBoy through Nintendo DS games, but it would have been worth it. Overworld wild battles were introduced in 2018's Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! and were a great "quality of life" introduction.
It ended up making the game experience far more immersive, making the world feel alive with different creatures. It would have certainly been a welcome addition to the older games even if it meant a longer of a wait.
1 Don't: Hallway-like Environments
Extremely straightforward and linear Pokémon gaming experiences began to be more emphasized during the Alola region's Sun and Moon games on the Nintendo 3DS. Unfortunately, this has carried over into this year's Sword and Shield. It makes the adventure's path feel like it sticks to a line from point A to point B, whatever those points may represent at the moment.
This is a problem because it seriously takes away from the exploration aspect of the games. The lines in the games may get sinuous and curvy at times, but at the end of the day, a hallway is still a hallway.