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[Review] Pokemon Sword & Shield (Nintendo Switch)

Updated: Sep 20

I know i'm late to the party but here is my wacky pokemon sword and shield review.

For the purposes of this review , I went with Pokemon Shield. Shield isn't the superior game , I chose it because I don't want to fight in "Rock" or "Fighting" type gyms. Also I wanted to fight against the Snow Waifu.


Pokemon sword and shield is the first Switch Pokemon that isn't a remake, so alot of people are excited and upset due to lack of National Dex and the whole Pokemon Bank replacement service. Currently in the game there is 400 Pokemon in the Pokedex.


I don't really want to get into the controversy, however I will say this , the game has 400 pokemon which I feel is quite enough to make this game enjoyable. I undertsand game freaks approach, they've got the resources to put every pokemon in the game. If we think of pokemon as species of animals , there isn't a country in the world that has all animals, so I feel that there shouldn't be a region that has all pokemon to date. Hot take I know.


The pokemon that are present in the game are tailored to the Galar region and UK, with pokemon based off the Queen's Corgis or our love for a spot of tea and a slice of sponge cake.

This game is spot on with English and Scottish Culture , without insulting our making a mockery of us on a global stage. For that I'm thankful.

You've got trains being delayed for silly reasons , a cup of tea in your living room and top it off the game's text is written in British English, where the word "mum" is spelt, correctly. That was another hot take.





All jokes aside , it's the little things like these that kept me excited during my first play through.


I chose sobble because he is best boy , the bestest pokemon ever. I honestly don't want him to evolve , because I don't like his evolution, or any of the starter's evolutions for that matter.


I will give a pass to Gorirandā aka Rillaboom (Grookey's final evolution), only because I named him to Harambe


(*Rest in Peace my sweet Prince, I know people have have forgotten about you but me and the lads haven't)


Enough with dead memes, (no pun intended) , Sobble looked like he need a friend, and I was there for him, I'm totally ride or die for sobble


I may be somewhat biased but I absolutely love the Gallar Region , it's well designed, with an array of bright and vibrant colours, as well as architecture inspired by iconic British cities and towns.





Gameplay


If you've played pokemon before, then you are familiar with the battle system. The battles have remained the same, but we get something new in the form of max raid battles in the new wild area. Max raid battles, have you against humungus versions of wild pokemon that are often high level, with a group of 4 people. Your friends or randoms can join in and help you catch the pokemon. The multiplayer aspect of Max Raiding is awesome ... when it actually works, I've only managed to get into 2 max raids and they were both with friends, I can't join randoms.


That being said the reason why I love max raiding , is because it encourages co-operative play , instead of battling your friends all the time.





Let's discuss the other issues plaguing max raid. Firstly Pokemon you select for max raid, is revived even if it's fainted from a prior battle, you can abuse this and stay in the wild area as long as you want, without using any revives or ever visiting a pokemon centre. I don't know if this is a glitch or they intended this to occur, I still think this is stupid, regardless.


Secondly the wild area has alot of frame rate and lag issues , even when playing offline. Displaying that many players and pokemon at once, causes the game to stutter, drop frames, making for a less than enjoyable experience.


Customisation


All that negativity aside , let's talk about customisation, this game has more purchasable items than you can shake a stick at. Each town and village has different clothing shops, that sell different garments, similar to the Grand Theft Auto series. Speaking of GTA, they even got a beauty salon where you can go in and add makeup and change your hair style.


These bits don't add or takeaway from the core gameplay , but they add charm to the game and adds to the bond you may have with your protagonist. This game is just oozing charm, the references to the UK are great, however I can only imagine that they can be obscure to those living in places that aren't accustomed to British or Aussie slang.


The baddies in this game , team Yell , aren't bad at all , they don't really have any nefarious motives. They just seem to be mega fans of a trainer, similar to those who are mega fans of football (soccer).


I love that about this game !


Visuals


Here's another Hot Take ... I don't like the graphics, it doesn't do this game justice. The game's over visual style is amazing but the graphics aren't on par with it. Some people have stated that this game looks like a late ps2 title, I think that's a little harsh. I don't 100% disagree either, the character models look like they've been ripped from previous entries, and that they would somehow look better on a 3ds screen.


This is more noticeable while playing docked, the fact that Leon's sponsors are blurry on the back of the cape is upsetting. To my knowledge pokemon let's go didn't have this issue, so here's hoping gamefreak can release a patch to fix this visual problems.


Animations in this game are lacklustre and are clearly reused from past games, which isn't an issue for me , but some people find it infuriating, especially after dropping £55 on this game. Same goes with the lack of voice acting


Voice acting


Personally I prefer Pokemon Games not to have any voice over work, it would cause too much effort and time, especially considering that the game is offered in alot of languages. I understand that people want the pokemon themselves to speak like they do in the anime, however the pokemon don't always share the same name in all regions. Would that mean pokemon would speak in the language from the game they were caught in etc ? It doesn't make sense. The final reason why I'm against pokemon being individually voiced , is that i don't want to hear Drowzee, say his name in that stupid voice of his; it annoys the hell out of me.


Anyway stick around for a Pokemon Sword & Shield Episode on the Podcast next year, where me and the lads get more in-depth with our thoughts on the game.


Without further a do , here is the verdict


This game is far from perfect , but I'm really enjoying this game (despite the fact I'm not a hardcore Pokemon Fan)


9/10


+ Beautiful British Scenery

+ Well Designed UI

+ Healthy Pokedex Size

+ Lovely Customisation Features

+ New Useful Quality of Life Features

+ Loveable Starter Pokemon


- Wild Area Framerate Issues

- Annoying Online Game Notification System

- Poor Graphics Compared to Pokemon Let's Go

- Unplayable Online Max Raid Battles

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