Complete and detailed review of Pokemon Sword and Shield: Three years after the release of the Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon on the console, fans of the Pokemon universe met a new release from Nintendo Switch named Pokemon Sword and Shield.
To unprepared gamers, it may seem that nothing unusual has happened, but this is not so. The fact is that the new version was the first game from the main cycle about pocket monsters, which visited the large Nintendo platform. About how the old franchise moved to a new platform, read our detailed Pokemon Sword and Shield review.
The islands of Alola are left behind, the action of the new game takes place in the Galar region. Unlike the wild archipelago of Sun and Moon, here people are actively developing technology and industry, but at the same time they do not forget about “pocket monsters”. They are used in the household, as pets, and, of course, take an active part in the regular competitions of the pokemaster.
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The main character is a classic Japanese child, whose appearance and gender can be chosen independently. The plot concept is also standard for the series: the path to the Galar title. And he runs through a rather long story campaign, divided into many locations, among which there are both small settlements and wild places.
There is only one large city, but if you take into account the specifics of the game, then this is quite normal. All the fun happens away from populated areas. In one of them, the player encounters an extremely rare Pokémon – perhaps one of a kind. This storyline is woven into the main story and intrigues much more than the constant tournaments and rivalry between the Pokemaster.
In general, the plot of Pokemon Sword and Shield is too standard even compared to other parts of the series, and this is perhaps his main problem. Sun and Moon, too, could not boast of a great story, but at least it had a cool “Hawaiian” setting. But the world of “Sword and Shield” is somehow ordinary, or something … In general, as before, the game relies on gameplay.
Gameplay Pokemon Sword and Shield inherited the classic franchise formula. The player travels around locations, engaged in catching Pokemon, collecting items useful in the household and competing with other pokemaster. As before, the gameplay is simple, but incredibly additive, and all thanks to a well-balanced balance and a well-thought-out combat system.
Battles take place in a step-by-step mode and are conditionally divided into two types – battles with Pokemon and Pokemaster. In the first case, the player’s task is to weaken the Pokemon and catch it with the help of pokeball. If the “pocket monster” is already in the collection, then you can simply “nail” it for experience points. In the later stages, such a “farm” becomes mandatory, but this is a generic disease of the entire series.
If the battle takes place between the Pokemaster, then you need to defeat not one Pokemon, but a whole detachment, which can include up to six creatures. And here everything is already serious: you need to take into account the characteristics and skills of each individual Pokemon, plan the order of entry into the arena of pocket monsters, use healing items and amplifiers. Here you will need a dream team, the collection of which is the main challenge of the game.
Between uncontrolled collecting and fierce battles, you can go into the city or any other settlement to replenish supplies, cure wounded Pokémon and chat with quest characters. Multiplayer in the game is also there and acts as an end game content. After completing the story, the players participate in tournaments among themselves and try to get to the first lines of the leaderboard. It’s still more complicated, and the requirements for the team are higher.
In the passage, multiplayer, of course, is, but it is presented mainly in the format of a cooperative. On locations you can see special points where rare Pokémon are found. You need to catch them in a team of four people. True, the audience of the franchise is quite hardcore, so everyone tries to go through the “plot” as soon as possible and fight in tournaments. So sometimes finding a team for a cooperative battle can take up to ten minutes.
Every fan of the universe knows very well that the new parts of Pokemon are not waiting for the plot at all, but to see the new generation of “pocket monsters.” In Sword and Shield, it is already the eighth in a row and includes both new creatures and long-familiar ones. if you expected that the new Pokémon would only complement the already giant roster, then, alas, everything turned out differently.
At the time of the release of Sun and Moon, the franchise consisted of more than eight hundred varieties of Pokemon. In the new generation, their ranks have considerably thinned out – only 400 Pokémon are available in the game. At the same time, about 80 pieces are absolutely new among them, and the rest migrated from the previous part. Of course, many fans are upset when they hear this, but in fact, everything is not so bad.
The fact is that the series has long been in need of good cleaning. In the past generation, there were many “garbage” Pokémon that were not used by anyone and were intended for collecting, inferior in combat qualities to other, more “running” Pokémon. In addition, no one excludes the expansion of the list of available Pokémon during post-release support.
Despite the smaller species diversity, collecting is still one of the main gameplay elements of the series. Collecting and searching for Pokemon captivates from the very first minutes, and the development of each Pokemon is thought out and balanced. Almost every Pokemon is useful in its “weight category”. However, only a few dozen of the very best fell into the tournament metagame.
A Sword or Shield?
An untrained user might think that Sword and Shield are two different games. Indeed, the developers again released two editions, entitled Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield. Which one to buy? What is the difference? Are they compatible with each other? So many questions in my head and so few answers on the box with the game!
In fact, everything is very simple. These are two different versions of the same game, which have a number of differences, and all of them relate to the plot in one way or another. In both games, the plot revolves around a rare Pokemon. In the case of Sword, this is Zamazenta, and in Shield, it is Zacian. Some events differ along the way, as well as meeting meetings with pokemaster in the wild.
So if you want to get the most complete gaming experience, you will have to buy both Sword and Shield. Hardcore fans of the series will surely do so . What about the rest? The answer is simple, like a pokeball: buy any version to your taste.
Developers prudently did not split the player base into two parts. This means that if you purchased one of the versions for the most part for multiplayer, then buying an alternative edition does not make much sense. Both versions work on the same servers.
Alas, the subtitle turned out to be rather sarcastic, because … in the Galar region, there are really no special beauties. The game world is divided into many locations, and visually they are very different from each other. The landscape on the horizon changes every hour and a half, and that’s great. However, the diversity of pros ends, and cons begin.
Graphics in Pokemon Sword and Shield made in full 3D, but for such a luxury had to pay for detail. Low range of drawing, low-quality models of many objects, lack of smoothing – all this is impossible not to notice in the first minutes of the game. Even the Sun and Moon with two-dimensional “backs” looked better on the small 3DS screen.
Later, meager animations are added to them, especially characters and reuse of content. For example, Pokemon models migrated straight from the 2013 Pokemon X and Y, even with better textures.
Here we could refer to the fact that the game was made for a portable console, but the Nintendo Switch is able to produce an order of magnitude higher quality picture, just look at the recent Luigi’s Mansion 3 . If we talk about games with open locations, then we can recall the gorgeous portThe Witcher 3 and a great remasterDragon Quest 11 . WellBreath of the Wild , which has been knocked for two years, should not be forgotten either.
There are much fewer complaints about the sound, in fact there is only one – there are too few tracks in the new Pokémon. The same themes from battle to battle quickly become boring, and you want to turn them off or at least turn down the volume. But this is nitpicking.
And yes, this is another major release on the Nintendo Switch without Russian localization. The texts in the game are simple, for understanding the dialogs, knowledge of English at the school level is quite enough, but the descriptions of some abilities without deeper knowledge may not be entirely clear. It’s a pity that they forgot about us again.
Gather Them All Again
Pokemon Sword and Shield is a rather typical continuation of the series, which builds on its past games, adding only a few innovations from itself. This time they were cooperative fights and the long-awaited eighth generation of Pokémon, which got rid of many not very useful Pokémon, but did not lose the charm of collecting at all.
Although the game was visually performed far from what I would like, I still want to recommend it. Especially if you are an ardent fan of the Pokemon universe. For everyone else, this is also a good buy, but with some reservations.