Pokémon Sword and Shield Review

If you have played any of the deliveries of the Pokémon saga, probably the following scene sounds familiar. After obtaining your initial Pokémon, the creatures that will accompany you against the tide in the adventure ahead of you, your rival – a restless and energetic kid who burns in desire to become the best there will ever be – challenges you to a fight I have always thought that these introductory fights are a terrible introduction to the game: a Pokémon against another Pokémon, with the result of combat depending solely on whether one of the two attacks faster than the other, that the not-too-intelligent artificial intelligence fail a turn and tip the scales in our favor. In the first battle of Pokémon Sword and Shield, our rival does not have a Pokémon but two: the Wooloo that accompanies him from the first moment of history and the initial one he has chosen, which will be of the unfavorable type to ours because the kid, apparently, is going to face the challenges. Our Pokémon – in my case, Sobble – will use its scant set of moves to win a victory against the sheep, and when this happens, as if by magic, we will gain the exact amount of experience needed to level up. At that level, our Pokémon learns the first movement of the type to which it belongs: my Sobble acquired a brand new water gun to use, now yes, against the Scorbunny of my opponent, with which he finished in a single stroke thanks to the advantage that the attack granted. The challenges are going. Our Pokémon – in my case, Sobble – will use its scant set of moves to win a victory against the sheep, and when this happens, as if by magic, we will gain the exact amount of experience needed to level up. At that level, our Pokémon learns the first movement of the type to which it belongs: my Sobble acquired a brand new water gun to use, now yes, against the Scorbunny of my opponent, with which he finished in a single stroke thanks to the advantage that the attack granted. The challenges are going. Our Pokémon – in my case, Sobble – will use its scant set of moves to win a victory against the sheep, and when this happens, as if by magic, we will gain the exact amount of experience needed to level up. At that level, our Pokémon learns the first movement of the type to which it belongs: my Sobble acquired a brand new water gun to use, now yes, against the Scorbunny of my opponent, with which he finished in a single stroke thanks to the advantage that the attack granted.

Tell you that the very small tutorial that we have had at the beginning of each game since the very first installment of the saga has undergone a design change that, although almost negligible, makes its mechanics be understood much better, it is nonsense and at the same time not It is at all. We had years with a Pokémon too aware of the burden behind him, one who was afraid to break with his own conventions in case getting rid of what had been his identity at some point made him unrecognizable. Sword and Shield, as if the platform jump had made them look at everything with new eyes, understands that the fact that things have always been like this is not a valid excuse to oppose progress, and decides to be breakthrough with small details that individually they seem of little importance,

Nor are we going to give the game more pats on the back than necessary: ​​the truth is that it is still a continuation of the renewal movement that has already happened in Pokémon Sun and Moon. If Sol and Luna dipped their feet in the water to see if it was cold, Sword and Shield throw themselves into the pool with glasses, fins and no float, and each and every one of their moments of brilliance comes from the hand of overflowing imagination with which he knows how to reinvent himself, of the absolute joy with which he celebrates what was already well based, and of the hundreds of tons of affection that overturns the player who has been here watching him grow his whole life.

If an element of the game should be pointed out as a differentiator, the truth is that the most drastic change will be found in the structure. On the surface, both the story and the map work as usual: we start in our initial city, we are entrusted with a mission and we are overcoming the different gyms to end up reaching the Pokémon League. The layout of the Galar region, linear as these places have been for almost a lifetime, takes us from one city to another, cuts us paths when it is not convenient for us to go through them, and always gives us the necessary tool to cross them after a transcendent confrontation for the plot or for our career as a star coach. But there is something new, a transgressive addition that changes in a certain way the way we approach progress within history: the Wild Area, this kind of gigantic area of ​​semi-open world that crosses the region almost from end to end and where we will find wild Pokémon more regularly, in addition to being able to participate in raids, alone or with friends. Far from being an addition to the end of the game, we will take our first steps in the Wild Area in the initial stages of the title. While it is true that there is a noticeable graphic difference between the routes and the Area, which has a lot worse optimization and graphics, in general, that does not impose less when we get there. A terrain that seems comparatively gigantic unfolds before us,

It’s a good time to explain how wild clashes work in the game. Espada y Escudo keeps Let’s Go the mechanics that the tall grass areas show us through tiny 3D models the Pokémon that appear in each section. Unlike the previous installment, however, the Pokémon do not appear and disappear after a few seconds but are there for a while, and will usually only change when we catch or defeat them – when we “run out” the bugs in each grass – or when we change zone and come back again. When we approach them, they will be alerted to our presence and come to persecute us. The frequency and speed with which they do it depends on the type of Pokémon: there are some who are more interested than others, of course. We also have an option to whistle to attract them directly, if we look for gresca, or to walk very slowly to go unnoticed. And yet, what we see is not all there is: when we move through the grass we will sometimes see exclamations, small hidden marks of Pokémon, usually rarer than visible Pokémon, which will also run to attack us before we can identify them .

But what we were going to. The issue that the Pokémon in each grass are visible, which is a design decision with as many friends as enemies, makes perfect sense when we move through the Wild Area, an area so wide and with a fauna so varied that, If not for the explicit way in which the game tells us what we are going to find and where, it would be totally and absolutely impassable. And even with that, it is very easy to spend hours and hours circling when we get there, observing the way in which dynamic time affects one area and another, changing the Pokémon that live there. If we do this, we will soon realize something: we cannot fight all the battles that are presented to us. A good handful of wild creatures will be more or less at our level, but in a first approximation, many will also take us up to twelve or twenty levels. This fulfills a double function. On the one hand, it shows that the game has lost its ancestral fear of confronting us with Pokémon that have a higher level than ours. That defeat is now something we can contemplate as possible, as in any other RPG worth its salt. And on the other, he tells us that what Espada y Escudo is looking for is that we return to this area again and again, that every time we advance a little, we will reexplore that territory to face challenges that were previously impossible. It will not be until the end of the game when we can really inhabit this area in all its depth, trapping all the Pokémon that inhabit it and exploring all its corners. It shows that the game has lost its ancestral fear of confronting us with Pokémon that have a higher level than ours. That defeat is now something we can contemplate as possible, as in any other RPG worth its salt. And on the other, he tells us that what Espada y Escudo is looking for is that we return to this area again and again, that every time we advance a little, we will reexplore that territory to face challenges that were previously impossible. It will not be until the end of the game when we can really inhabit this area in all its depth, trapping all the Pokémon that inhabit it and exploring all its corners. It shows that the game has lost its ancestral fear of confronting us with Pokémon that have a higher level than ours. That defeat is now something we can contemplate as possible, as in any other RPG worth its salt. And on the other, he tells us that what Espada y Escudo is looking for is that we return to this area again and again, that every time we advance a little, we will reexplore that territory to face challenges that were previously impossible. It will not be until the end of the game when we can really inhabit this area in all its depth, trapping all the Pokémon that inhabit it and exploring all its corners. He tells us that what Espada y Escudo is looking for is that we return to this area again and again, that every time we move forward a little, we will reexplore that territory to face challenges that were previously impossible. It will not be until the end of the game when we can really inhabit this area in all its depth, trapping all the Pokémon that inhabit it and exploring all its corners. He tells us that what Espada y Escudo is looking for is that we return to this area again and again, that every time we move forward a little, we will reexplore that territory to face challenges that were previously impossible. It will not be until the end of the game when we can really inhabit this area in all its depth, trapping all the Pokémon that inhabit it and exploring all its corners.

This does not mean that we will not be able to make use of this Area before passing the League. During the adventure we will return to it once and a thousand times, in search of leveling up, making some occasional raid to catch a rare Pokémon or to catch new bugs to add to our team or to our collection. In part, if we can use the Area in this way, it is because the game has a very strict policy of not wasting our time. The fast trip is unlocked from the first moment, the bicycle will let us move more agile almost from the beginning, and some conventions of the saga, such as returning to the Pokémon Center to heal or change our equipment, are eliminated by concrete additions. We will have access to the PC from the device menu at all times,

The mix between the Wild Area and the new structure of the gyms gives enough variety to the game so that, being more or less the same as always, it seems that we are playing a title that brings new things constantly. On the gyms, in particular, there is not much to say: the story that we are competing in a kind of televised and massive league instead of a small-scale challenge adds some excitement to the matter, but little else. More interesting are the Gigamax forms, the mechanics with which the game has decided to replace the Mega Evolutions and the Z forms that did not finish convincing in the previous deliveries, and that for a series of argumentative reasons we can only use in the gyms or in the very, very important clashes. The Gigamax will be the cornerstone of the gymnastics and league matches, and makes them have a new strategic nuance without completely disrupting the rest of the game’s fighting. The Gigamax form of the Pokémon lasts three turns, and makes them a little more resistant and much stronger; in the end, that the adversary enlarges his Pokémon will almost force us to enlarge ours to stand up to him. The game here is to get ahead of the adversary, to transform ourselves before him to win one or two turns of advantage in which they will be unprotected before us. In the battles against other players – real, not the game – it has a special nuance of predicting the opponent’s movements that, without complicating the metagame too much, makes it a little deeper. Without going further,

The elephant in the room, and the reason why Pokémon Sword and Shield has been a cause of suspicion and criticism since many months before its launch, is the number of Pokémon included in the Pokédex. The exact number of Pokémon that it includes – all of them catchable during the adventure – we can’t reveal right now, but it’s a very, very similar figure to the number of Pokémon that can be captured during other deliveries. While it is true that during the game we do not miss any important name, when we do the accounts there are great absences that may not sit well with some players, especially if we consider the competitive mode. However,

Because if something is clear to us when we finish the main story of the game, there is a lot, a lot of room for more. The set of all these elements mentioned, and especially the Wild Area with all its hundreds of Pokémon and, in addition, its incursions, give rise to a delivery with a solid and long post-game as we had not seen in the franchise for a long time.

The raids, in particular, play a more interesting role. They consist, basically, of facing a Pokémon in its Gigamax form with three more players – real or controlled by the AI ​​- to end up catching it and obtaining rewards. We could say that they have a double function: on the one hand, lengthen the game, get new objects and rare Pokémon – which, already confirmed by Nintendo, will be renewed monthly in a similar way to Pokémon Go – and on the other, facilitate the advance . At first, the raids that we can access will be very simple, but as we move forward in the game we will find more and more powerful Pokémon. Even so, and even if we have just started, we can join the advanced incursions of other players at any time. We can help the most rookie players in their raids with our strong Pokémon; and even if we don’t have friends to play with, as a reward for overcoming them we will win, in addition to MT and evolutionary objects, orbs of experience. The orbs of experience, with a formula that we would dare to point out as inherited from Yo-Kai Watch, are exactly what they seem: they give a fixed amount of experience to the creature we want when we consume them without the need to fight. Thus, the game limits the “grinding” that we have to do to get on our level bugs, facilitates the task to those who play looking to complete the Pokédex rather than fight, and in general it allows us to constantly rotate our equipment as we incorporate new creatures to our campus. and even if we don’t have friends to play with, as a reward for overcoming them we will win, in addition to MT and evolutionary objects, orbs of experience. The orbs of experience, with a formula that we would dare to point out as inherited from Yo-Kai Watch, are exactly what they seem: they give a fixed amount of experience to the creature we want when we consume them without the need to fight. Thus, the game limits the “grinding” that we have to do to get on our level bugs, facilitates the task to those who play looking to complete the Pokédex rather than fight, and in general it allows us to constantly rotate our equipment as we incorporate new creatures to our campus. and even if we don’t have friends to play with, as a reward for overcoming them we will win, in addition to MT and evolutionary objects, orbs of experience. The orbs of experience, with a formula that we would dare to point out as inherited from Yo-Kai Watch, are exactly what they seem: they give a fixed amount of experience to the creature we want when we consume them without the need to fight. Thus, the game limits the “grinding” that we have to do to get on our level bugs, facilitates the task to those who play looking to complete the Pokédex rather than fight, and in general it allows us to constantly rotate our equipment as we incorporate new creatures to our campus. The orbs of experience, with a formula that we would dare to point out as inherited from Yo-Kai Watch, are exactly what they seem: they give a fixed amount of experience to the creature we want when we consume them without the need to fight. Thus, the game limits the “grinding” that we have to do to get on our level bugs, makes it easier for those who play looking to complete the Pokédex rather than fight, and in general it allows us to constantly rotate our equipment as we incorporate new creatures to our campus. The orbs of experience, with a formula that we would dare to point out as inherited from Yo-Kai Watch, are exactly what they seem: they give a fixed amount of experience to the creature we want when we consume them without the need to fight. Thus, the game limits the “grinding” that we have to do to get on our level bugs, makes it easier for those who play looking to complete the Pokédex rather than fight, and in general it allows us to constantly rotate our equipment as we incorporate new creatures to our campus.

In this way, Sword and Shield aspires to please everyone. But not in the negative way in which this expression is usually used: it literally has a little bit of everything for each type of player. I do not think there is any Pokémon fan that may not feel at home at all in this installment, so consistent and so adult in so many things that it is a delight to play from any prism. A delivery that takes care of us and simultaneously respects us, that poses complex challenges but does not want us to bother more with things that do not matter, and that to some extent is more Pokémon than ever in a million aspects. And if what tops this page is a silver and not gold seal, it is because there is still a small loose end, something that is not bad, but that will definitely be better in the next installments, that we want and want to be absolutely essential. Seeing what we have in hand is very difficult not to think about how it can evolve in the future, and if we continue on this line, if we play on this concept, what comes from now on will be totally and absolutely extraordinary.