For the last 23 years Pokémon has been a blight on parent’s wallets all over the world. With over 800 pocket monsters introduced in over 122 games, separated into 7 generations, developer Game Freak has continually captivated gamers and created life long fans, some of which have passed their Pokémon collecting obsession onto a new generation of potential Pokémon trainers and gym leaders. In 2018, Pokémon, Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee! released on the Nintendo Switch. Basically a remake of the classic Pokémon: Red/Blue, Let’s Go! simplified the game play of it’s predecessors while incorporating elements of the wildly popular Pokémon GO mobile app, with commercial success. Will Pokémon Sword and Shield be a return to a more traditional style Pokémon game or will Game Freak continue making innovations to the monster collecting RPG franchise?
What region does Sword and Shield take place in?
The story of Pokémon Sword and Shield will unfold in the UK influenced Galar Region, a region filled with beautiful farmlands and small towns to the south, while large cities and snow capped mountains are found in the North. A region where Pokémon and people live and work closely to better everyone’s lives and develop the industries that make the region thrive. Like the Alola Region from Pokémon: Sun and Moon, this new region in the series will be a departure from the Japan inspired settings of previous Pokémon adventures.
Visually, this is the best looking Pokémon game to date, surpassing Let’s Go in both graphics and detail, yet it still has a long way to go if the franchise ever wants to be on par with over RPG’s on the market. There appears to be a lot of static backgrounds in this game, but as of now, it is uncertain if these static backgrounds are parts of cut scenes, or gameplay footage. In the official trailer, it appears that weather effects, such as rain and snow, will be seen in the game, but it is unknown at this time if they will play a role in the game mechanics.
Who are the new starter Pokémon?
Every game in the Pokémon franchise offers the player a choice of three powerful starter Pokémon, and Sword and Shield is no exception. In this new iteration, gamers have to decide between the water-type Pokémon Sobble, fire-type Scorbunny, and grass-type Grookey. Not much is known yet about these new additions to the Pokémon roster, but after watching the game trailer and interviews with the creators, players are given a small glimpse into these interesting starter Pokémon.
According to the developers of Sword and Shield, each of the three new starters has their own abilities and personalities, not unlike previous games in the series. Sobble is described as being a timid lizard that appears to be able to turn himself invisible, an ability that may prove highly effective in battle, while Scorbunny is a fast moving, fire-footed bunny who looks to be a bit of a trouble maker, and Grookey is described as a mischievous monkey Pokémon with a boundless curiosity.
The battle system
There are still many unanswered questions when it comes to the battle system, but from the game-play footage in the trailer, it seems that both random encounters and battling Pokémon till their health is low enough to be captured have returned in Pokémon Sword and Shield. Have the developers at Game Freak completely abandoned the Pokémon GO approach to seeing Pokémon before encountering them? In Pokémon, Let’s GO Pikachu/Eevee!, budding Pokémasters were able see the Pokémon surrounding them, saving them the time and hassle of encounter monsters that they didn’t want or need. Will there be a toggle feature where the player can enable this function, or will the random encounter grind of previous games in the franchise be the only way to catch ’em all?
Trainer battles return in this installment, as well as gym battles, but one sequence in the trailer for Sword and Shield depicts a Pokémon trainer entering a stadium or arena in what appears to be an official uniform. Will there be official tournaments or possibly a real “Pokémon League”? Will this game introduce special arenas for multiplayer battles? Did Game Freak barrow elemants from previous spin-off games like Pokémon Battle Revolution or Pokémon Stadium? Unfortunately, Nintendo is being very tight lipped about a lot of the elements in this game.
As seen in the trailers for Sword and Shield, many of the long time franchise favorite Pokémon return for this installment. It is unclear at this time just how many of the 803 current pocket monsters will appear in the Galar Region, but there are some who have been confirmed. Picachu, Lucario, Tyranitar, Zweilous, Rowlet, Snorlax, and Wishiwashi are just a few of the known Pokémon that will be featured in this game, but will players also be catching some of the newer additions such as Meltan and Melmetal from the Pokémon GO and Pokémon, Let’s Go Pikachu! games?
Another question that should be addressed is whether or not players will be able to import their Pokémon from previous games through an app like the Pokébank, which gamers currently use to access their Pokémon from previous handheld editions of the franchise?
At this time, there isn’t an exact release date for the game. Developers have stated the game will reach players in late 2019, speculatively before the holiday season, if previous Pokémon game releases are any indication. Till then, players will have to be content with playing Pokémon GO on their mobile devices, Pokémon, Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee! on their Switch, Pokémon: Sun and Moon on their Gameboys, or the Pokémon TCG at the table with their friends. How ever will they survive?
Though little in known about the next installment of the Pokémon franchise at this time one thing is certain, when the game does release Nerd Bastards will have a review of it!