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Pokemone Sword and Shield; a fun and colourful, yet hollow, introduction to main series console games.

Gamingtodaynews1b - Pokemone Sword and Shield; a fun and colourful, yet hollow, introduction to main series console games.

So I wanted to wait until the hate and hype of the latest installment died down before I did one of these, and my opinion may line up with many.

First off, I want to say I did moderately enjoy myself with this installment in the franchise (I played sword), but some things left me shrugging my shoulders.

TL;DR: 6/10, Too expensive for a short game, DLC suffers from same issue. Lazy animating and writing. Fun enough to finish, not enough to play a second time. Felt zero attachment to pokemon or characters. Game railroads you to multiplayer. Still nice to see childhood favourite on the home console. Nostalgia played largest factor in this purchase. Would not recommend to long time fans, would to new trainers and younger players.

Story In a nutshell:

•You play as a young Pokemon Trainer, just starting their adventure to become champion in the Galar region, while trying to unveil the mystery of two legendary heroes who fought in and ended a war many years ago. Along the way, your rival/best friend, Hop, will challenge you as well as play as a makeshift navigator to the next town/event. Joining Hop is Sonya, Prof. Magnolia's assistant who is studying the ancient heroes and the phenomena known as Dynamaxing/Gigantamaxing (A pokemon reaches Kaiju size to fight other D/G-Maxed pokemon) and acts to drive exposition. You'll also meet: Hops older brother, and current league champion, Leon, Marnie and her fans known as Team Yell, Fairy-type trainer/rival Bede, and the chairman of the Pokemon league, Rose (the antagonist) and his subordinates. Rose is after another legendary Pokemon, Eternatus (the driving force behind D/G-maxing) and harness its energy to avoid a future energy crisis. In comes the two heroes, who turned out to be pokemon, you join forces with the box art mascot of your chosen version, defeat Eternatus and Rose, defeat the league, become champion.

•Post game is a small side story of two siblings who claim to be descendants of the "real" heroes of lore, you defeat and humble them, and catch the box art legendary.

•Isle of Armour is the first of two planned DLCs, taking place in large wild area (will touch on this in a sec). The storyline follows you joining a dojo under a man named Mustard, performing fetch quests in competition with one of two new rivals (depending on your game version), acquiring the legendary Pokemon Kubfu, evolving it to one of two forms of Urshifu, and then defeating Mustard. That's about it. $30 CAD.

If you read all that and thought "that can't be it"… Sorry, that be it.

New game mechanics:

• Wild areas: between Galar and the Isle, there are areas where Pokemon roam free in the overworld and habitat varying locales ranging from desert areas to wetlands. In these areas, you can camp, where you spend time with (and cook curry (small mini game) for) your Pokemon to bolster your bonds, and earn watts to purchase rare items from special vendors. You can also find "Dens", which house Raid battles against D/G-Maxed Pokemon.

•Raid battles: you enter a "Den" in one of the wild areas, you and up to three other trainers (either NPC or other online trainers) take on a D/G-Maxed Pokemon. These Mons are strong, can generate shields and eliminate stat changes, and if your team faints four times, will run away. If you defeat it, you have a chance to capture it and earn rare items as rewards.

•Dynamaxing/Gigantamaxing. As stated above, this is an option in league and raid battles to make your Mon's grow to massive size, and in the state of Gigantamaxing, will even change shape. The moves of these Mon's are explosive versions of the moves type. After three turns, your Pokemon will revert to normal size. Can only be used once per battle.

Okay now my review/point. I'm going to start with the good because I feel like everyone's heard the bad a billion times:

• New Pokemon: there's a lot of awesome and cute new Pokemon, as there is with each new region. I really liked a lot of them, a few are far too anthropomorphic for my liking (Lookin at you football rabbit), but in general this was another great batch of Mon's


• Galar region: I liked the layout! Each area felt so different than the last, and a few were downright beautiful such as Ballonlea.

• character customization: this has been a trend since X and Y and I hope it continues, I love making my trainer my own.

• bright and colourful: self explanatory, it may not be the most clean or graphically beautiful game available in the switch, but everything seems to catch your eye.

• Way easier to collect em' all: with the introduction of Pokemon Home, it's become sooo much more easy to collect your favourites. Lapras goes from a "one per cartridge" Pokemon, to a catchable one! This may take the allure of certain mons away for some, but I personally like the availability.

Now for the cons… First let me say, a lot of the griping you've hear online, albeit blown out of proportion, is true.. which brings me to my title. I will say, I had a moderate amount of fun playing this game. But the flaws were so upfront and hard to ignore that no matter how much I love this franchise, it left a sour taste in my mouth.

• Lazy animating: you've heard this before. A water type Pokemon will launch hydro pump out of its chest rather than its mouth. A kick attack comes from a punching animation. And far too many attacks don't even have an animation altogether, simply moving the character model side to side. Really ruins immersion, if immersion in this title was at all possible.

• Poor writing: absolutely none of the characters are memorable. Hell, I had to google what Magnolia's name was while writing this. Even the story, it is so cliche Pokemon that they just threw a random team in there to fill their "Quintessential Pokemon Game" check list. They have nothing to do with the story, nor does Marnie, or the rival in Isle of Armour. There was no sense of urgency, and in all honesty, no sense of adventure.

•Depature of past gimmicks: So just like that's mega-evolution is no more? Does this mean we have to adjust, tolerate, eventually come to like, then say goodbye to more gimmicks in the future? Is Maxing temporary? What was the point of introducing something so important to an entire entry just to sweep in under the carpet and move on?

• Multiplayer over world building: this has been a problem for many entries in this franchise. Competitive play was an inevitability given the context of the games, but they gloss over things like lore, character building, and story writing altogether, to get you through the main story as fast as possible to get to the (in my opinion, worst) part of the game where you can now build your online team. I have never been a competitive player, although I understand the draw. You wanna be the very best, I get it! However, it does irk me as a strictly story player to have the portion of the game I enjoy the most, take me 10-20 hours as they railroad me to the end-game competition portion. The games have become a shiny number generator, complete with a meta that renders more than half the mons in the nearly 1000 unit roster useless, rather than a cross country adventure where you forge and strengthen bonds with magical animals.

• No national dex: I mean really?????

So in conclusion, Pokemon Sword and Shield are a decent, albeit half-assed, entry into the Pokemon franchise. A short and not-so-sweet story line filled with emotionless mannequins shooting fire out of their sternums rather than their mouths, that railroads you to an non-existent post game that uses the competitive scene as filler for content. Followed by an equally hollow DLC that costs way too much for 5 hours of gameplay. At this point, I'm not sure if there's a way to fix the "too big to fail" franchise, as money talks and we keep buying no matter how lazy the installment, but I'll remain cautiously optimistic about future installments listening to their fans.

6/10, bought cause it's Pokemon, but it's beginning to feel less and less like Pokemon and more like fancy stamp collecting.

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