For 23 years, gamers have been trying to “Catch ‘em all.” In the newest Pokémon release, Pokémon Sword and Shield mark a significant change for the long-running franchise. For the first time, the full series is headed to a console, Nintendo Switch, rather than its regular residence on a Nintendo handheld.
Many gamers have been clamoring for a full-fledged Pokémon game that plays like a console RPG for a while now.
Despite the trolling on Twitter and Reddit, as a whole, reviews for Sword and Shield have been mostly positive. Many of the outlets are singling out the new Pokémon and the attempt at an open-world game.
Sword and Shield succeeds in the gameplay department
By now, the formula for the Pokémon games is well-traveled. And this one is no different.
You play as a young adventurer and set out on a journey in a fantastic world to be the best like no one ever was. The player will be collecting and fighting in turn-based battles with monsters called Pokémon, and battle crime syndicates along the way. This time around, the player is traveling the land of Galar which is said to be loosely based off of Great Britain (it’s called Sword and Shield because…oh, now I get it).
Across the board, every reviewer compliments the gameplay and how fun the turn-based battles still are after more than two decades. As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Game Informer points out in their review that the series hasn’t lost its identity and that’s a good thing. “Despite the technological leap forward and the aforementioned experiments, the core tenants of the Pokémon series remain intact,” Game Informer’s Brian Shea says. Shea also speaks high praise of Sword and Shield’s new Dynamax feature, which is something that he says adds a bit more strategy to the battles.
And speaking of new features, in the game, you can now camp and level up your Pokémon. After all, it makes sense if you’re traveling with a ton of creatures, you’re going to want to sleep on your journey. EGM’s Ray Carsillo complimented this by saying, “It serves as a nice distraction from constant battling, and I admit it’s pretty fun to play catch with your favorite Pokémon.”
Other features receiving praise are the Wild Areas, which have all sorts of Pokémon and give players a real sense of wonder. NintendoLife kept saying how they “kept going back to the Wild Area because they wanted to” shows how addicting it is to players.
Graphics and presentation are also solid in Sword and Shield
If there is one thing that is always exciting about the Pokémon franchise, it is the design of the creatures themselves. And that is an aspect GameSpot’s Kallie Page highlights in her review. “There are also the aesthetically-inclined Pokémon, like the incredibly goth Corviknight or the adorable electric corgi Yamper, to inspire collectors. Throughout my journey, I was consistently delighted to discover each new Gen 8 Pokémon and the Galarian forms of older ones.”
EGM compliments the overall graphical presentation of Sword and Shield, saying it “looks absolutely stunning,” and that, “Every location you visit is incredibly detailed, and the world feels more lived-in than most other Pokémon games with many more people and homes to explore.”
Overall, a solid adventure for fans and newcomers alike
As stated earlier, nearly all of the reviews for Sword and Shield are positive. GamesRadar notes that it “perfectly captures the spirit of Pokémon in a way that no game in the series has done before it.
However, if there is any review that sums it up for longtime fans, its Kotaku’s Gita Jackson.
“The magic of Pokémon is that it lets you tap into a sense of wonder that becomes more and more difficult to access as an adult. Sword and Shield do that more successfully than any Pokémon release has in years.”
Pokémon Sword and Shield release on November 15 for Nintendo Switch.
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