Saying that Pokémon Sword & Shield are controversial would be an understatement. Ever since Game Freak announced that the latest installments would not support all Pokémon, there have been many discussions and arguments about the topic.
Now that the games are almost out, some people managed to get their hands on early copies and started to leak game details onto the internet. Unfortunately, through their leaks, a lot more problems showed up. In an attempt to bring those problems to light, we have compiled a list of them, as well as offered solutions that could have been implemented for a better experience.
10 No Sound Options Until You Speak To An NPC
also something that was totally baffling to me was that the sound control settings were locked behind a key item. This key item is obtained from a random totally optional NPC. So if you want sound control, find this guy in Motostoke. #SWSHLeak pic.twitter.com/PTwqvOrQsl— TD (@thatdude433) November 12, 2019
All of today's video games have an "Options" menu that allows players to tinker with the game's settings until they are comfortable with the selections. Those include adjusting the brightness, sensitivity, special effects, and of course, sound. However, Pokémon Sword & Shield do not have the sound option until players talk to a random NPC. In other words, if a player wishes to adjust the in-game sound, they will not be able to do so until they acquire the Hi-tech Earbuds from that NPC. The NPC in question is of no significance to the story and serves no progression purpose.
The solution is pretty simple, albeit obvious - include the sound option from the very start! Why is the option locked behind an item (which is locked behind a random NPC)? There is absolutely no need for that. Just have it available along with all the other options; it's that simple.
9 Mediocre Quality Graphics
One would think that in 2019, Nintendo games would be able to implement modern graphics, or at least try to. Sure, the Nintendo Switch isn't as powerful as the Xbox One or as the PS4, but that's no excuse to use cheap and low-quality graphics in Pokémon Sword & Shield. Games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey manage to take advantage of gorgeous graphics and deliver beautiful results, so why can't Pokémon Sword & Shield?
Game Freak needs to realize that high-quality graphics is something players anticipate and love to see in this modern day and age (along with gameplay, of course). As a result, the obvious solution is to invest in a better graphical engine, and seeing how much of a big deal Pokémon is, should be no problem.
8 Shiny Pokémon Don't Appear In The Overworld
Every Pokémon game has a group of players known as the Shiny Hunters. Those players dedicate a lot of their time obtaining every shiny Pokémon. Although Pokémon Sword & Shield will have Shiny Pokémon, they will only appear as Shinies during battle. In other words, if players come across a Pokémon in the overworld, they won't know if it's a shiny or not until they engage in a battle. Not only does the entire experience become a nuisance, but it also forces Shiny Hunters to engage with every single overworld Pokémon just to check if it's a Shiny or not.
Having overworld Pokémon appear as Shinies would be adequate. In return, the feature would entice all players to try and capture them, while making Shiny Hunters' lives a bit easier and the experience more manageable.
7 144 Deleted Moves
According to datamines from people who got Pokémon Sword & Shield early, 144 moves have been removed from the games. Some moves are pretty iconic like Flash, Hidden Power, and Pursuit while others like Egg Bomb are exclusive to certain Pokémon. Not only do the removed moves limit gameplay (to some extent), but the decision to remove them could potentially affect the competitive side of Pokémon Sword & Shield. Competitive players who relied on certain moves in the past may not get to use them in the latest games.
This does beg the question as to why the moves were scrapped. Yes, some were exclusive to certain Pokémon, and with those specific Pokémon not in Pokémon Sword & Shield, having those moves absent makes sense. It doesn't, however, make any sense to remove moves that could be used by multiple Pokémon. A good solution would be to remove exclusive moves for Pokémon that are not in the game while keeping moves that can be learned by those present.
6 Exp Share Is Always On
This past week, while speaking with Dutch site InsideGamer, director Shigeru Ohmori explained why Exp. Share is always turned "ON" in Pokémon Sword & Shield. According to Ohmori, since "most" players had Exp. Share turned "ON" in past games, the development team decided to leave the feature "ON" permanently in Pokémon Sword & Shield. Those who wish to level up one specific Pokémon will have to deposit the rest of the team into the PC.
In the older games, Exp. Share was an item that one Pokémon could hold at a time. In return, that Pokémon would receive experience points from battles without participating in them. After Pokémon X & Y came out, Exp. Share became a key item and all Pokémon on the team would gain experience points as long as the option was turned "ON" (players could still turn it "OFF"). This is something that Pokémon Sword & Shield should have stuck with. Some players have stated that the option to leave Exp. Share "ON" permanently would make the games too easy and create a hand-holding experience from start to finish.
5 Constant Graphical Issues And Pop-In Effects
(This one can be a bit tricky to explain, so bear with us as we try our best)
Whenever a person is playing a video game and they are in an area, textures pertaining to that area load and show up on screen. The rest of the game world, however, is completely absent. If a player goes from one area to another, textures in the newly-arrived area will load while those in the previous area will disappear; this is how loading screens work essentially.
Pokémon Sword & Shield seem to suffer from a lot of texture and graphical issues. As one can see in the GIF above, the three small trees appear on the screen when theoretically they should have loaded off-screen (when the player entered the area). Other situations include Pokémon battles, towns, and a lot more.
Older games like Silent Hill managed to deal with this issue by relying on a fog effect. Basically, Silent Hill used fog to not just create a horror effect, but to also spawn characters within the fog so that when players got close, the characters would already be loaded into the game, scene, or area.
Another example would be The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. That game would use draw-distance - anything that wasn't in the main area of the camera would appear blurry (but would still retain its shape). Once the camera shifted or changed, the blurry textures would load properly and quickly.
Pokémon Sword & Shield don't do anything to mask the sudden pop-in effects of their textures, nor attempt to. The fact that the games will run at 30 FPS and be playable on a Nintendo Switch (which is a far more powerful console than any of the Nintendo 3DS') means that Game Freak could have easily implemented a technique to deal with the graphical issues and sudden pop-in effects, but clearly chose not to. Solution? Find a way around the issue, even if it means using a similar technique from any other video game.
4 Little To No Post-Game Content
It may be hard to believe but those who got the games early, already managed to beat them. Aside from taking approximately 14-20 hours to beat, Pokémon Sword & Shield have almost no post-game content. For instance, Pokémon Emerald had the Battle Frontier while Pokémon Diamond & Pearl had the Battle Zone. The newest installments won't have any of that.
According to some of the leaks, the only post-game content players can interact with is a few Dynamaxed Pokémon they can battle and the Battle Tower (and all of that takes about 1-2 hours). However, the Battle Tower isn't the same one as in past Pokémon games. Players won't be able to participate in any Super Single Battles, Super Double Battles, nor Triple Battles. There will also be no tower bosses of any kind.
Implementing something similar to the Battle Frontier or the Battle Zone would be perfect. This will allow players to engage with more content, explore a lot more additional areas, catch more (and hopefully new) Pokémon, and so on. Otherwise, what else is there to do once finishing up the main game?
It was only a matter of time until we mentioned perhaps the most controversial decision to affect Pokémon Sword & Shield: not every Pokémon will make it into the newest games.
After it was confirmed that not all Pokémon would make it, many fans were devastated simply because they would not be able to play the games with their favorite Pokémon. Whether it was because they had fond memories of those Pokémon, preferred them over the other ones, or had a tradition to use the same ones in every single game, it was clear that that wouldn't be happening in Pokémon Sword & Shield.
Referred to as Dexit, people started the #BringBackNationalDex on social media, as well as voiced their displeasure wherever they could. In response, Game Freak told everyone to pretty much deal with it and just because certain Pokémon wouldn't appear in Pokémon Sword & Shield, doesn't mean they wouldn't appear in future games.
Again, Pokémon Sword & Shield are releasing for the Nintendo Switch which is a system that can easily handle all Pokémon and their animations. Being more powerful than a Nintendo 3DS, the Nintendo Switch can easily accomplish that task. Simply put, including all Pokémon in the latest games will make a lot of people happy, even if it means taking a bit more time to code.
2 No Global Trade System
The GTS, otherwise known as the Global Trade Station, is a feature that was present in almost all Pokémon games for about 10 years. The GTS would allow players to trade with one another from all over the world as long as they had a Wi-Fi connection. This would allow them to receive version exclusives, as well as Pokémon that could only evolve via trade.
Unfortunately, it appears that the GTS may have been removed from Pokémon Sword & Shield. According to a discovery by a data miner, the only code-strings that refer to the GTS are leftovers from Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu & Eevvee codes. In other words, part of a code from those games was transferred over to Pokémon Sword & Shield along with the the GTS code. However, it is not fully implemented into the games which means it's simply not there.
Many are predicting that the decision to remove the GTS was in order to implement Pokémon Home. Introduced during the 2019 Pokémon Press Conference, Pokémon Home is a cloud service that allows players to store and trade Pokémon on the Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, and Pokémon Bank for the Nintendo 3DS. The catch is that Pokémon Home will be a paid subscription service, meaning that in order to get certain Pokémon, players will need to pay extra (on top of the $60 for the game).
Something like that can be seen as very anti-consumer because it's almost like Game Freak wants players to pay them in order to fully complete Pokémon Sword & Shield (when it comes to collecting Pokémon). Removing the GTS can potentially create more problems since not everyone will be able to afford or care about Pokémon Home. The solution is that the GTS should have stayed - just how it did in previous Pokémon games.
An issue that was recently discovered revolves around Game Freak reassuring everyone that the reason for removing most Pokémon was because the development team wanted to focus on "high quality" animations for Pokémon already in the game. That, however, allegedly turned out to be untrue.
Data miners who got the games early have presented evidence that the models in Pokémon Sword & Shield are nearly the same (if not exactly the same) as the ones in Pokémon Sun & Moon. In other words, the models were copied from one game, and then pasted into the other game with little to no effort.
Once the information hit the internet, social media blew up with #GameFreakLied and fans started accusing the developers of lying to everyone. This ultimately caused some of the fans to cancel their pre-orders.
Interestingly enough, there are two solutions to this major problem. First, re-work all the animations. If Game Freak said that the animations weren't recycled and were built from scratch, then it's best to actually put in some time and effort into the animations. Another solution would be to keep the same copy-pasted animations, but bring back all Pokémon into Pokémon Sword & Shield. Not having to create brand new animations for all Pokémon will save a lot of time and make all players happy since their favorite Pokémon will be in the newest games.