Pokémon Sword and Shield nearly started a war between Pokémon fans over many controversial cuts. However, now that the game is out it is easy to see where all of the efforts went and why Galar easily stands as the best region to be introduced to the Pokémon world.
Being tightly based around the UK, the games stand apart from previous generations in a variety of aspects. The decor and landscapes are spot-on for one, with accents like door knockers and cobblestone pathways. Players are instantly taken in by lush green hedges and ivy clinging to buildings. When players venture out they are met with quaint British farmland, full of activity as Butterfree flutter through the skies and domesticated Wooloo roam the fields. Strolling the towns alongside the trainer in a third-person view further immerses the player within the world.
There's tons of diversity to be had within a single town. For instance, the player's character resides in a humble thatched-roof farmhouse while Hop, the best friend and rival, lives in a much larger stone house. This distinction is made likely to signify this is also the home of Galar's regional Champion, who happens to be Hop's older brother. Mash-ups to the long-sustaining plot formula Pokémon followed for roughly twenty years, makes the Galar region truly original. Taking the theme a step further, written dialogue incorporates tons of British phrasing including "a spot of", "having a chin-wag", and of course, the ever-endearing nickname "mate".
The Safari Zone Returns
The Wild Area within Galar re-implements a Safari Zone mechanic, allowing trainers to encounter a vast array of pokémon. Some are 'very-strong' outranking the trainer's team by many levels. The assortment of species, coupled with the new mechanic of being able to see- and avoid- wild pokémon is hugely efficient.
The Wild Area also introduces exciting new features like Dynamax Dens where trainers can battle Dynamaxed pokémon with a Dynamaxed teammate of their own. Dens incorporate a new real-time co-op match feature that allows players to team up online. No worries if solo play is preferred, NPCs will join up instead. To provide respite from these new grueling endeavors, Mom provides the trainer with Camping Gear before setting out. This allows players to cook for and interact with their pokémon through a set of mini-games. Camping can heal health and status effects as well as increase the XP of pokémon on a trainer's team.
Aside from the Wild Area, mines in the Galar region are gorgeous and also provide ample training. They are a lot easier to train in and maneuver through than the dark and hard to navigate caves of old.
Galar: Come For the Pokémon, Stay For the Scenery
Though many were wary over the drastic pokédex cuts, the developers really poured their efforts into making the Galar region the most immersive and captivating region yet. There's more to do than in previous regions and the experiences with the remaining pokémon are much more personalized.