I Enjoyed Pokemon Sword and Shield But It's Kinda Hollow

 "Spoiler Alerts. Spoilers are in this review. Read at your own caution"

Pokemon Sword and Shield have been out for about a month now and has been a big hit. Fans new and love the game alike despite some fans criticizing the game before its release. As a long time Pokemon fan, I've played the game, beating the main story at 38 hours, and will give review the game from a fair standpoint that acknowledges the game's pros and cons.



Pros


Less Pokemon
With Sword and Shield being the 8th game in the main line Pokemon series, fans will always be skeptical and hopeful for new and returning features. Of the new features, I am fondly glad that the Pokedex has been limited to only 400 Pokemon. Catching 800 plus Pokemon is not the wave. Where would the space for all of these Pokemon be? Gamefreak found a good mix of Pokemon to put into the game without frying our Nintendo Switches. Now I don't agree with some Pokemon being in the game over others (Maractus, Stunky, Qwilfish) but nonetheless, they were able to incorporate a decent amount of Pokemon from the previous Gens into the game.


Wild Area
Speaking of multiple Pokemon, the Wild Area is the best feature Pokemon has implemented in years. Instead of extending the Routes and squeezing so many Pokemon into them, creating an area dedicated to catching all types, levels and species of Pokemon is genius. Not only this but the WA is split into geological sections with revolving weather patterns. The area is great for farming and battling. Not only that but the higher level Pokemon that can only be seen in certain areas in certain weather conditions fill you with a little surprise when you encounter those Pokemon. I had fun randomly coming across Milotic, Glaceon, and Lapras when I was expecting Gyrados and other common Pokemon. The Wild Area truly feels like Pokemon is open world with the choice of catching what you want to. I'll miss random encounter but I hope the Wild Area features stays for further Pokemon games.



Consistent Rivals
All Pokemon games have a rival. In Pokemon Sword&Shield Hop is your main rival. Hop is extremely energetic compared to rivals in the past. Besides Hop, Marnie and Bede also show up further down the story and become your rivals. I thought this was a great concept as it truly embodied the Pokemon League spirit. Ash always had one main rival but when the League came around, he had multiple people gunning for the same goal as him. It's dope to have 3 pretty decent rivals to face off against in the story, each with their own personality and fighting style. Seeing Sonia (the region's professor), Lee, and all 8 of the Gym Leaders  interact with you throughout the entire story was amazing to me. I didn't feel as if I was playing the typical Pokemon game but a game version of the anime.

Gym Missions
Before you challenge for a gym badge you have to participate in a Gym Challenge. In these challenges you have to complete a task or solve a puzzle while battling the Gym's trainers. Each Challenge is different and mildly fun. I think this is a great addition to the game as you don't rush into the gym, beat the challengers, and then the Leader like in previous versions.

Tournament
Normally in Pokemon games, once you beat the 8 Gym Leaders you challenge the Elite 4 and Champion. In Galar, once you gain all 8 badges, you participate in the Pokemon League Tournament like Ash does in the anime. You face Hop, Marnie, and Gym Leaders before eventually facing the champion. I love this style because It truly felt like a tournament. You battle back to back with gaps in between to heal and sort your Pokemon but overall it was fun. I actually prefer playing this way over the Elite 4 simply because I enjoy fighting multiple opponents. Overall this is a dope feature which I hope returns in the next game.


Cons

Shallow Story
The story of Galar is fairly simple. The Darkest Day took place hundreds of years ago where Pokemon all across Galar started to Dynamx and run amok. The Hero of Galar took up a Sword and Shield and defeated the Dynamx Pokemon saving the day. In present day Galar someone is using Wishing Stars to randomly Dynamx Pokemon in order to destroy Galar. Along the way there a plot twists and sub stories that all tie into the main story. Now, although I enjoyed the story overall, I have to admit that there are a few low/shallow points.

Bede was endorsed by the Chairman of the Galar Pokemon League similar to the player and Hop being endorsed by Lee. Bede has his own character arc and purpose that is very interesting yet it doesn't get fleshed out. Marnie is the younger sister of the 7th Gym Leader Piers. He's pretty much the leader of Team Yell yet  Team Yell aren't the villains in this game. I like that little switch but Piers, Marnie and Team Yell also have a story to be told that isn't fleshed out. Marnie clearly has some form resentment towards Piers, Team Yell and their hometown Spikemuth. Yet nothing comes of any of it. Hop is having an identity crisis the entire game as he's stuck in his older Brother's shadow. Hop's story is resolved by the end of the game yet it would have been nice to get a better view of his story. We only got it in bits and pieces after we battled him.



We see all 3 of these characters for about 60% of the story yet we rarely get any info into their character arcs. Once we do get info, it's only a small bit. And that's pretty much the entire story of the game. Gamefreak gave us dope concepts but it fails to follow through on all of them. They promised us a full course meal but only gave us leftovers from the last guest's meal. I found the twists and turns of the game rather fun but it held back on moments that should have been defining for the game. This is the best story of Pokemon yet but Gamefreak could have took a leap of fate and extended the story, putting in on par with other RPG's that have a better, concise story. As I said, its fun but you're left wondering what if after every character interaction.

I've been playing Pokemon for 20 years. I know how to play the game. I was always one step ahead of the rivals, gym leaders and Champion. I never lost to anyone. My rivals battle me every single time I make it to a new area, sometimes multiple times in each area. I'm fine with the rivals appearing story wise but I battle them way too many times. I beat them easily each time. Hop changes his lineup several times just to get one shotted by only two of my six Pokemon. We didn't need to fight them so many times, especially since we're going to fight all 3 of them in the finals. It was way too much.


Minor/Personal Cons

Fossil Pokemon are ugly
These Pokemon are ugly. They also make no sense design wise. They literally cut Pokemon in half and sewed them to other Pokemon. I think the typings of them are cool but overall they're ugly as hell.



Including all of the new features, the enticing story, good characters and attention to the animation, this is shaping up to be the best Pokemon game yet. I had a lot of fun with this game by myself as well as with others. Scrolling through my Twitter timeline in between plays and seeing people react to all the cool new features was another dope aspect of the game. I honestly feel sorry for all those people who skipped out on the game because all 800+ Pokemon aren't catchable. They truly missed out in a great game.
I Enjoyed Pokemon Sword and Shield But It's Kinda Hollow I Enjoyed Pokemon Sword and Shield But It's Kinda Hollow Reviewed by Tyrone Dismuke on Friday, November 29, 2019 Rating: 5

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