Pokemon Sword and Shield

  • Genres : Adventure, Role-Playing
  • Publisher : Nintendo
  • Developer : GAME FREAK
  • Players : 1-8
  • Consoles : Nintendo Switch
  • Languages : Japanese, French, German, Chinese, English, Spanish, Italian, Korean
  • Realise date : November 15, 2019

Between Pokemon and me, it’s a love story that lasts since more than 20 years! Yes, it is with the Pokemon licence that I really got into the RPGs and into video games in general. So, I am always there when a new version is released.

Pokemon Sword and Shield is the first RPG licence to be released on Switch. I do not count Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Evoli in because I consider them more a spin off than a true RPG.

Anyways, in 3 weeks, I spent 168 hours on the game. I am on sick leave because of a small health issue and I have to say it was released at the perfect moment to entertain myself. Let’s get onto the test in itself.

It’s the first time I saw so many critiques on Internet for a game that wasn’t even released. Honestly I find that it is a shame to make so many critics on suppositions or what the players where awaiting. But that is the way it is! Personally, I ignored all of that to immerge myself completely in the adventure… adventure that I loved!

As each time I get into a new Pokemon video game, my adventure unrolls in five steps: discovery, getting used to the gameplay, adapting my style of game, the story and the adventure after the game.

The discovery phase

For this version my discovery phase lasted for 2 to 3 hours. It corresponds to the adventure until my arrival to the wild area. During those few hours of game, I could appreciate the graphics of this new area that I loved. I think that it is the first time that you see so much details in the horizon: the neighbouring city, the house of the professor… Those details appear during your route on the different roads but also during your Pokemon combats. It’s really nice! I also found my character cute and with more fluid animations, especially for the movements which are less robot like than in Sun and Moon.

The Pokemon combats also have this perspective of the scenery and animations a little more elaborate: for the trainer and for some attacks. Going from two screens to a single one is smooth thanks to intuitive menus and also during the combats.

The graphics stay faithful to the Pokemons on 3DS. They are more refined and fluid and go closer to the one of the animation series.

We catch a glimpse of the Pokemons in tall grass like in Let’s Go. It’s nice and makes the game more realistic. I also appreciate the part of mystery that is kept with the Pokemons staying hidden in each zone. I am also glad to return to the standard capture system: weakening of the Pokemon in combat and standard capture by throwing a Pokeball unlike in Let’s Go.

Let’s get to the last feature of this discovery phase, the music. The soundtrack is well done and mixes the styles: more dance and motivational for the arena combats or chill out while strolling in the “Wild Area”. I appreciated each one of them especially the ones during the combats against the arena champions that creates a challenge-like ambiance. Thre is only the music at the end of the raid that bored me a little. It is repetitive and I did, maybe, a little too many raids.

Anyways, a very enjoyable and exotic discovery phase that took me to the heart of England… I meant Galar.

Phase 2 : getting used to the gameplay

This part consists for me to take control of all the novelties and tools that the game proposes us in order to see in which direction I will be going to appreciate the game to its fullest.

Let’s begin by the menus, they are very easy to take into hand. Something that surprised me is the number of setting options. It’s a trifle, but it’s really nice to be able to tweak so many things. I took the opportunity to disable the automatic saves. I never needed them on Pokemon. End of the small anecdote, let’s get back on track.

In terms of functionalities, the multi-exp is present and activated by default, no way of deactivating it. It’s a functionality that I find nice because it allowed me to make multiple Pokemon teams with different Pokemons and evolve others in order to fill my Pokedex.

Other nice functionality, the shortcut during the combats allowing you to choose and to throw a Pokeball without having to go through the menu of the bag. It is really useful and improves the game’s dynamic. Especially when one is an addict of the capure of Pokemons! A real time gain!

Likewise, we are able to access the storing of the Pokemons from nearly everywhere. This option allows you to optimise your team at each instant. The counterpart is that it made an incredible mess in my boxes. Actually, the last used box becomes the container for all the new captured Pokemons. As such, when you choose a Pokemon for a raid, for example, the box in which it was (or the following one if it is full) becomes your box by default. I really have to take the time to clean them up ^^’

The biggest change stays my discovery of the Wild Area and the raids. I was completely lost upon my arrival. The zone seemed “huge” compared to the routes we were used to. I wasn’t lucky because in my case I arrived in the zone during a storm… result, I couldn’t see 10 meters ahead… as if in real life. And here comes the drama! I don’t know what to do anymore: right, left, straight ahead… so happy, but really too many choices. I was especially scared to miss an element or Pokemon… That’s most certainly for this reason that I pitched my tent there for a good number of hours. So much that I knew the zone by heart. I explored everything thoroughly: zone after zone and by all sorts of weather possible to catch them all!

I also participated to a bunch of small raids to get myself a collection of Dynamax Pokemons. Actually the Wild Area became my pex, my reproduction (there is a hidden Pokemon pension) but also, my coop combat zone with friends during the raids! I loved teaming up with my friends, it’s another way playing with other players than the Pokemon combats. I preferred the coop to PVP. Thanks to Discord, we were able to chat at the same time or elaborate some strategies and it made the raids a lot more fun.

I am looking what I could add in the big novelties that influenced my way of playing, but I can’t see anything really. I think that I summed everything up. Now, let’s get onto the following chapter.

Phase 3 : adapting my style of game

So, after 20 years of Pokemon games I end up by knowing the system pretty well. So, I decided to modify my style of gaming a little, in order to make it not harder but give it another interest. There is, as far as I know, two option: The Nuzlocke or getting into the conception of a strategical team. The Nuzlocke is a way of playing in which the player fixes its own complementary rules to make its progression more complex. Personally it is an option I haven’t retained, because the most known rule consists in only capturing one Pokemon per zone… for me it was simply impossible, I am a collector at heart. So, I chose another option, the creation of strategical teams.

I tried to apply the basis of the conception of strategical Polemon. I still have a lot of things to learn but it gave me an idea. Seeing that I found the Pokemon strategy very interesting, I told myself that I was going to propose you small guides as I learn. To share my tips and tricks or information that I will have discovered and applied.

As you might have understood, I did a little bit of strategic breeding in parallel to the main story, but also chased after the Pokemons. Why also chase the Pokemons? By pure pleasure in a first time, I love filling up my Pokedex and in a second time for having the choice in which Pokemon to pick from to create my strategic teams. I also discovered that the raids could ask for a particular strategy different from the one used against players or the one of the tower combats.

Phase 4 : going through the story in Sword and Shield

Like in any RPG, the story is the guiding thread of the game, the one that allows you to go on. So I am not going to get into the story into every single details, but I liked it. I found that there was an effort on the personality and the place each character occupied in the story. Each arena champion has its own reason for being there, they weren’t simply put there as in the first versions. Your rival, Nabil, is less annoying (even though a bit over the top) than the ones before and he managed to surprise me during one combat.

After, the story stays pretty basic in itself. I would have liked to see a double reading like in the Disney movies for example. The nice and interesting side of the story really comes from the characters and it becomes so after the 4th arena badge. We then see different interactions created between the main characters. It’s a part I enjoyed.

However, what bothered me when I played was the blocking of the capture level of wild Pokemons depending on the number of badges. I understand its necessity, but I would have rather preferred being able to catch all the Pokemons I saw, their levels being blocked by the badge and not the opposite… It’s not very clear… let me explain myself:

With two badges you can capture Pokemon with a max level of 30. As such if you attack a Pokemon level 31 even if you weaken it you weill not be able to throw a Pokeball… It’s frustrating!!!

Apart from that, I had fun in the story that has a few interesting twists and turns.

Final phase: after the story

Here I am talking about finishing the story completely even the “after game”, that is to say the passage after the league.

When you completed the main story, there is a few missions left:

  • Verify that you collected every single in game items
  • Complete your Pokedex
  • Build your strategical teams for he combat tower

I am exactly at that point. I caught every single Pokemon, gathered plenty of items by talking to everyone. Now I am building my strategical team step by step to go and attack the combat tower. I want to do it correctly so I need money and/or patience to train my Pokemon correctly and test my strategies out.

That’s it! The game is a long way from begin completed for me and I have to say that I already had a load of fun and that I am still having as much fun.

Conclusion

Frankly, the game is nice. The story is simple, but the characters are nicely developed. I love doing raids with my friends while using discord to chat and trying to capture Pokemons in their Gygamax form. Furthermore, the raids are a very good way for you to test out your strategies with your friends.

I loved the freedom the Wild Area and the diversity of the Pokemons that one can find there. The raids allowed me to share nice moments with my friends and to catch nice Pokemons. The new items as the aromas or the one I discovered like the destiny knot will allow me to go smoothly into the Pokemon strategy.

So to sum up, I love this game! It’s a mix between novelties, nostalgia and basis of the series that I particularly enjoyed. For me, those two versions announce a beautiful project for future ones. I am impatient to see what they will look like. In the meanwhile, I am going back to work on my strategy. I leave you with Altris and Zephon who are two friends with who I shared this adventure with the most so that they can also give you their opinion.

See you all very soon.

Friends’ opinions

Opinion from Altris, El Captain Altris: blog elcaptain :

This new opus is a nice start for the Nintendo Switch. We have the opportunity to discover the new game mechanics and especially the characters that have a little more depth. Indeed, we don’t necessarily have a rival that just want to be stronger without taking care of their Pokemons.

Concerning the difficulty, I think that this game has a certain level of difficulty for children, but for me, an adult who grew up with the game, I find it a little too easy.

In short, this Pokemon is a nice surprise and I stay persuaded that the future updates, or opuses, will surprise us even more in the future.

Opinion from Korwentenn alias Zephon:

Before giving my opinion, I think it important to point out something that I consider important: I never inquired on the game before it got released and even the first time I did the story through a “Blindlock”. I also asked my friends not to tell me anything as well as dodging the spoils online.

Personally I really appreciated the game on many aspects:

  • The graphics are magnificent in its whole (I know that the tree trunks in the Wild Area are not of a very good quality but it can be ignored if one wishes for a good fluidity)
  • I found the music nice and they immerge you into the ambiance of the game
  • The part in the Wild Area is a nice innovation (maybe not “open world” that a lot of people are waiting for, but it is a first step)
  • The story is nicely written

However, it is not perfect:

  • No “voice overs” making itself particularly noticed in this version especially with one of the champions (let’s avoid the spoils)
  • A trade and combat system with only a four-digit password (it is often that you find yourself with another person that you wished to do the trade or the combat with). A 6-digit password could have done the trick.

Anyways a good game in my opinion

Don’t hesitate to give me your opinion, whether you like the game or not. Have nice holidays!

See you all very soon!