After taking a break from being frustrated over the state of my blog, I’m finally back! During that time, I have completed two video games, namely Pocket Monsters Sword and Shield. As you would expect, these games are probably the most controversial. It’s not too surprising since Game Freak cut a large number of Pokémon from the games.
Now that I finished the main story, it’s time to share my thoughts. Is the game really that bad people make it out to be?
The main story focuses on the main character who lives with their mother. They set out to challenge the Pokémon League in the Galar Region. Your friend, Hop invites you to meet his big bother Leon, whom is the champion of the Galar League. After receiving your starter Pokémon from him, you follow Hop to chase after a runaway Wooloo into the Slumbering Weald.
Inside the foggy forest, you run into a mysterious Pokémon that you can’t attack. After Leon rescues you and Hop, you receive an endorsement, which allows you to participate in the Gym Challenge after Professor Magnolia convinces him. Shortly after, two wishing stars fall from the sky and the professor converts them into Dyanamax Bands. With that, you begin your journey challenging Gym Leaders to become the next Champion.
As expected, Pocket Monsters Sword and Shield is the first main series home console Pokémon release that is not a spinoff. With that, it comes with a lot of improvements aside from graphics. The player’s character is in a closer third person view as you would see in other Japanese role-playing games with detailed and extended environments. This is especially the case with the wild area, which you will spend most of your time. The wild area is a big wide area that you can encounter wild Pokémon and explore. You can move the camera to view other parts of the area.
While the graphics is a huge leap from Pocket Monsters Sun and Moon, it’s not perfect. It seems that Game Freak had some growing pains while making the transition to the Nintendo Switch, it’s perplexing since Pocket Monsters Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee was their first core game on the console despite being a spinoff.
Somehow, they still have trouble. Besides that, infamous tree that disgruntled fans point out, the animations look the same as previous games. Also, there are noticeable pop in/pop out issues, which doesn’t exist in other games. Moreover, the battle scenes do not match the current area that the player is battling the trainer at. Not only that, the caves are really short and feels like a hallway simulator. Lastly, you can’t fish anywhere there is water, but only in specified fishing spot.
On the other hand, the story is a mixed bag. Sure, Bebe, who is the person that Chairman Rose endorsed is a jerk and even destroys an ancient site, thus disqualifying him from the league challenge, it’s not that amazing. Rose apparently used Bebe to collect the wishing stones so he can use Eternatus to enact the second Darkest Day. The reason why? He wanted to provide Galar with near infinite amount of energy supply. Yep, he is the embodiment of corporate greed to gain at everyone else’s expense and possibly destroying the Galar region.
As expected, Team Yell of course is not really a villainous team, but mostly harmless as they are zealous fans for Marnie. They eventually help you enter the Rose Tower.
While the story is mediocre, it doesn’t mean that the core gameplay is not fun. Actually, it’s really enjoyable, especially with the quality of life improvements. Some of the improvements from Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee and Sun and Moonmakes a return such as the accessible Pokémon Box from the Party, character customization, ability to ride a bike, experience candies, experience share, and Hyper Training. Of course, there are others such as ability to change natures, passing off egg moves without breeding new Pokémon, and Pokéjobs, where you can gain items, experience and effort values.
In addition to being able to access your Pokémon everywhere, you can also heal as well. You can do this through the Pokémon Camp feature. With the camp feature, you can play with your Pokémon and cook them food as well. As in previous games, playing with your Pokémon with a Poke Toy increases the friendship. This time, by playing with them, they can gain experience while you can possibly earn watts if you camp in the Wild Area.
Moreover, you can cook curry, which is a mini game very similar to making Pokéblocks or Poffins in the previous games. Depending on the result, you can restore your Pokémon’s HP, status conditions, PP Points, and sociability while gaining experience points. Up to four players can play this minigame.
Of course, the most notable addition is Dynamaxing, which replaces Z Moves and Mega Evolutions. In certain battles and Max Raid Battles, you can Dynamax your Pokémon to make your Pokémon giant. By Dynamaxing your Pokémon, it will become powerful and it can use powerful moves. Some Pokémon like Eevee, Pikachu, Meowth and several others has special forms called Gigantamax, which has an exclusive move not seen on other Pokémon. You can increase the max HP when your Pokémon Dynamax by giving your Pokémon Dyanamax Candy.
However, the Dynamax only lasts for three turns. Even so I have to admit that I enjoy doing Max Raid Battles that I spent most of my time doing them instead of beating the game. In most cases, you can catch Pokémon using any ball in Max Raid Battles, except for special events.
As a whole, while Pocket Monsters Sword and Shield while has a lot of flaws, is still an enjoyable experience. Sure, the online multiplayer functions are a mixed bag with missing features such as GTS, which Game Freak moved that functionality to Pokémon Home, it’s not the worst game in the franchise ever.
Of course, people voiced their grievances when it comes to the Pokémon cut, removed moves, promises of better battle animations not delivered, and even the random mouse pointer in the credits, but that does not make this game the worst game. Sure, Game Freak could have made the game better by delaying it. But now that they are releasing an expansion pack, which will add more content to the game, maybe this will address the shortfalls of the game.
Despite this, I enjoyed Pocket Monsters Sword and Shield despite being flawed. It shows with some of the female character designs, most notably the female player character, Marnie, Sonia, Nessa, and Bea. This is evident with the amount of fan art created, so there is that.
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