REVIEW: Pokemon goes in a new direction

Nintendo’s Pokemon Sword and Shield

By Adam Robles

After a very controversial marketing campaign that split its fanbase in two, Pokemon is back with new games in the franchise. 

Fans of the series were worried about the direction this franchise took when it was announced that some Pokemon from previous generations would be non transferable to Sword and Shield. 

Along with that cut, only about half of all Pokemon would be catchable in these games.

This was a controversial direction for the series to take because one of Pokemon’s best features is the ability to migrate the creatures from older titles. 

This migration feature has been available in most of the games, and would always allow the player to bring all Pokemon from past adventures to come back. 

After playing through the game, it is apparent that the temporary removal of half of the Pokemon is not the worst idea. 

This creates an emphasis on exploring the new region and discovering the new Pokemon that are in the game.

“Pokemon Sword and Shield” were developed by Gamefreak and have seemingly taken the safe route and seem to have a very generic story. 

That aspect can be forgiven because exploration is better than ever. Normally for these games, wild Pokemon were encountered by stepping in grass patches that were placed along routes that led the player to the next city or town.

In these new games, the wild area has been completely redesigned for the better. The first wild area is  very nice scenery and gives the player the feeling that they are exploring a living and breathing world. 

This is an excellent way to inform players what to expect in next wild areas. 

The player gets to explore this place before taking on the first gym leader. This means that the player will have weak Pokemon at this time. The part that’s so unique is that the player can see Pokemon walking around and may even startle them by walking too fast. 

This may lead to Pokemon getting angry at the player and chase them down to battle. 

It’s very cute to see these creatures chase the player down because this experience has never been done before. 

Along with that, creatures in the wild area can be much higher leveled than what the player has on his or her team. 

It’s a very intense feeling to battle a high-level creature, because this is also a first. Usually in past games, the wild Pokemon would start off at a very low level according to the route the player is on. 

Having various levels of Pokemon in every wild area makes the game feel more alive. 

It gives the sense that the player is exploring a world that functions with or without the player being there. 

It also gives a reason to go back to the beginning wild areas, even though the player’s journey has moved passed that section.

The new techniques that replaced the mega evolutions and z-moves from previous generations are the ability to dynamax and gigantamax. 

These features are limited to certain battles, usually ones that are held in stadiums or raid battles.

It is a fun gimmick because it allows players to enhance the size of a Pokemon of their choosing making a small Pokemon look like a monster from a Godzilla movie. 

It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but since it doesn’t need to be used, it’s more of an optional spectacle.

“Pokemon Sword and Shield” doesn’t have an insanely new shift that will change the series forever, Gamefreak played these ones safe, but Sword and Shield are the first of many games that will come to the switch. 

There will always be room for improvements, and these games are still fun even with some removed features.

Just from exploring half of the game it is obvious that Gamefreak made an honest effort to try to get in as many Pokemon as possible. 

There are over 800 Pokemon in total at this point and wouldn’t make sense to be able to catch all of them in a single region. 

 “I’d like to make one thing clear: even if a specific Pokémon is not available in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, that does not mean it will not appear in future games. 

“The world of Pokémon continues to evolve. The Galar region offers new Pokémon to encounter, trainers to battle, and adventures to embark on. 

“We are pouring our hearts into these games, and we hope you will look forward to joining us on this new journey,” Junichi Masuda, Gamefreak game designer, said.

With this type of reassurance, fans should stop reviewing these games extremely on metacritic and try to enjoy what the game has to offer. 

It makes sense to be upset over removed features, but the game doesn’t deserve to be review-bombed for trying to give the newer creatures the spotlight.

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