Pokemon Sword/Shield (Switch)



  • The Toby Fox track
    Youtube Video



  • @Axel I'm sure someone will get Shield. I just locked Sword in last night so I could get it preloaded up. No turning back now.

    @dmcmaster Toby did a good job bringing his own style to it while it still wraps into sounding like it belongs in Pokemon too.



  • New Japanese Commercial that apparently officially reveals some new Pokemon, but with the games only a week away I'll personally be skipping it until after launch. They have a bad habit of giving too much away right before launch.



  • I'm flip-flopping on this game, I've come across some details (not content like Pokemon included, fear not, just "features") which are making me reconsider my purchase once again.

    Apparently, thanks to the exp share being always on, your team is constantly over-leveled, even without grinding, meaning there's little to no challenge to any fight. Sure, you can artificially restrict yourself by only traveling with one or two Pokemon at a time or whatever, but it completely goes against the spirit of the game and players shouldn't have to go out of their way to find some challenge.

    Another thing: you can't catch Pokemon if they're a higher level than what your current badges allow. Let's say with my 2 badges I'm allowed to catch Pokemons up to level 25, if I encounter a level 30 Pokemon I can't catch it, at all, zero chance. So those who thought they could explore the Wild Area and through clever strategies and teamwork defeat a high-level beast and capture it, don't even think about it.

    I understand why they did it, if you get extra lucky you could capture a level 50 near the start of the game and it would trivialize the entire campaign from that point on. Just like other RPGs may require you to be a certain level to use a certain weapon, they want to ensure you can't cheese your way through.

    BUT, this is such an inelegant way to go about solving that issue, and again flies in the face of the entire premise of the Wild Area. Why even bother exploring high-level areas if there's nothing to be gained from it? Sure, I guess you can still defeat enemies for XP, but then... you'll end up with an over-leveled team anyway, which will trivialize the game, the very thing they're seemingly trying to avoid by preventing you from catching them...

    As much as I understand their struggle to include 1000 Pokemon in the game and refuse to blame them for it, I can't so easily forgive them for all their archaic design decisions in a post-Breath of the Wild world.

    A game that allows you, in theory, to run up to the final boss and beat the game in half an hour if you're skilled enough. I'm not asking every game to be as open as BotW, of course, it requires the entire game to be designed around the idea and it wouldn't necessarily apply to Pokemon. It sure as hell couldn't be done with a 2-year development cycle, so it makes sense that they stick to their proven overall formula (even though I'd love them to shake it up).

    A better example, then, would be the Fire Emblem series. Permadeath had always been a deterrent for many people, way too punishing and daunting. So they made it optional! That plus difficulty levels, and you can even mix and match! Hard without permadeath, easy with permadeath, it's up to you, it's your game, play it how you want! Everyone's happy.

    And next to those you have Pokemon, which has only one mode: easy, linear, restrictive. Why they refuse to simply add a "veteran" difficulty level is beyond me, it can only be stubbornness at this point. Unlike creating 1000 Pokemon, this wouldn't require crazy manpower or time or budget, just a handful of decent designers.

    So there's no excuse, it's a whole design philosophy that I find really hard to agree with. It's too jarring to see such old-school limitations in a game these days, when others have tried and succeeded in being modern.

    And if they think they're doing this "for the kids", then they're completely out of touch with what kids like these days. Minecraft, Roblox, and the like are all about self-expression, freedom and creativity. Sure, Pokemon will still sell amazingly well thanks to the sheer power of its IP, but it'll be despite itself.

    I'll stay on the fence until reviews come out and validate / invalidate my fears. I want to love this game so bad but I'm really worried I'll end up not having any fun with it at this point.



  • I've got a lot of problems with everything I've seen and heard about Sword and Shield and I genuinely wish they were as simple as the dex purge. (Though, just as a quick aside, I don't think cutting pokemon is excusable. All they had to do was keep them transferrable from previous titles. Nobody would have really cared if half the pokemon were missing from the region entirely if they could still use them online or something. This isn't the first time a pokemon game has done a soft reboot even if not to that degree, look at gen 5 for example.)

    I feel like these games have been getting worse every year for a while now, really. It's gotten easier, it's gotten staler, it's gotten more linear. When I was growing up I always heard people say that when pokemon had a mainline console release it would be the greatest thing since sliced bread, and when the Switch was revealed that sentiment only seemed to grow louder. But now that we're here it feels like the games are, at best, still suffering all the issues the last few gens have had. Realistically they look even more unremarkable and unpolished than usual, and I think that's because they aren't a big fish in a small pond anymore. Pokemon isn't the #1 system seller anymore, it has to compete with Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey.

    I've got no doubts that GF stretching themselves thin by working on Town didn't help, but at the same time I feel like that's not excusable. Pokemon isn't this rinky-dink little series, it's the highest grossing franchise in the world. If they wanted to focus on a passion project they should have either found some way to get a gap year they could do it in or hired on a bunch of outside talent to fill in the gaps their main team was leaving in the process. It's not like it's just another pokemon game. Let's Go was essentially a test for the Switch, this is THE mainline console debut of Pokemon. It feels like Game Freak showed up to the ball in sweatpants and a dirty t-shirt.

    I know I'm just badmouthing Game Freak and doomsaying this game left and right, but I'm just kinda venting about how bad it's looked from all the leaked stuff I've heard and seen so far. If you're looking forward to the game, don't mind me. Just let me vent a bit because I swear I probably won't talk about this game again on these forums in the near future at the very least.



  • @axel said:

    I've come across some details

    I worry for how reputable this information is, since the only people who'd have the game now besides reviewers that I assume are breaking embargo, are people who obtained it illegally through someone dumping the rom online or people pretending to have the game to badmouth it ahead of launch.

    Apparently, thanks to the exp share being always on, your team is constantly over-leveled, even without grinding

    I know the EXP system has the same scaling as Gen 5 and 7, so it should mean once your Pokemon start becoming overleveled they get significantly less EXP to curb this, but obviously I don't have the game yet, so I can't say how effectively this is handled. All I could suggest if it gets bad is to keep swapping your team members out for new Pokemon to keep them on par with your opponents, but obviously that's not ideal.

    Another thing: you can't catch Pokemon if they're a higher level than what your current badges allow.

    those who thought they could explore the Wild Area and through clever strategies and teamwork defeat a high-level beast and capture it, don't even think about it

    This sound like blatant misinformation. The Wild Area has specific challenge encounters you're not allowed to catch that appear in lower level areas than the level of the challenge encounter, but there shouldn't be anything preventing you from catching actually higher level Pokemon off in higher level areas that aren't these challenge encounters.

    Why they refuse to simply add a "veteran" difficulty level is beyond me, it can only be stubbornness at this point.

    They really should, given they refuse to do stuff like Battle Frontier anymore. Just take the better AI you'd encounter in that normally and apply it to every trainer, while bumping the level of their Pokemon up a bit more or maybe tweaking the EXP formula so you get less per encounter. Or you could give every NPC Trainer a couple more Pokemon or make the moves they use stronger. There's lots of hard mode romhacks that do stuff like this. It is entirely possible.

    I'll stay on the fence until reviews come out and validate / invalidate my fears.

    Normally I'm all for believing the general word of mouth over just what critics think, but because of the weird situation of people actively trying to sabotage these games out of spite, I think you really are best off waiting for the big critics you can believe to put out concrete info about the games through their reviews. Word of mouth right now is very dangerous and unreliable.

    @Hanabi said:

    I feel like these games have been getting worse every year for a while now, really. It's gotten easier, it's gotten staler, it's gotten more linear.

    I'm not sure it is quite that easy to draw a downward line of quality, but we're definitely overall in a decline period between ORAS, SuMo, Ultra SuMo, and Let's Go. Some people don't even like XY, but I'll defend XY because they honestly added a crazy amount of mechanics for those games and were clearly trying even if the story didn't resonate with most, and the EXP Share on top of the double starter combo mixed with the brokenness of Mega Evolution made the games too easy for most.

    When I was growing up I always heard people say that when pokemon had a mainline console release it would be the greatest thing since sliced bread, and when the Switch was revealed that sentiment only seemed to grow louder. But now that we're here it feels like the games are, at best, still suffering all the issues the last few gens have had.

    Unfortunately the Switch isn't a switch to Pokemon suddenly being outstanding console games. GameFreak has to relearn alot of what they know to adapt to console releases, and it is still going to take some time before we see the fruits of this, but we should start seeing improvements from each game to the next now, and if we don't see any improvements, then that's when we worry and question what's going on with them internally.

    I think that's because they aren't a big fish in a small pond anymore.

    Not sure I'd call the handheld markets they were in before small ponds. In some cases they were bigger than some console markets, and if anything it is good that the pressure isn't on GameFreak this time to sell the Switch itself.

    I've got no doubts that GF stretching themselves thin by working on Town didn't help, but at the same time I feel like that's not excusable.

    Toby Fox as well as GameFreak themselves many times over confirmed that Town was a very small company project with a very small team even working on it at all. "Pokemon is so bad, because GameFreak spent all their time on Town" is one of those harmful incorrect rumors being spread around, and we clearly saw that wasn't the case from the state of Little Town Hero's release. It wasn't the first side project game GameFreak has made while developing Pokemon still, and I'm sure that had next to zero barring on the state of Sword and Shield besides all the misinformation going around caused by people speculating because of the mere existence of it and early impressions seeming to over inflate the scale of it.

    If they wanted to focus on a passion project they should have either found some way to get a gap year they could do it in or hired on a bunch of outside talent to fill in the gaps their main team was leaving in the process.

    It clearly was not their focus, especially when only such a small team was working on it ever. I believe GameFreak basically said it falls under their new system for sideprojects, which is basically a main three people being in charge of it. I'm sure more than three people worked on it, but the team was overall very small.

    Let's Go was essentially a test for the Switch

    Given they had to do zero planning around the design of the region and stuff for Let's Go and just had to translate it up to a new level of graphics while adding minimal stuff around it, Let's Go was akin to an extended Tech Demo they ended up selling. One they expressed in interviews they weren't happy with after the launch of stating many times over how difficult it was for them to get used to developing for the Switch. Sword and Shield definitely would've been much rougher games had Let's Go not existed, but it also is only a second shot at finding their footing in the console market with HD assets and such that they're still pretty unfamiliar with. It'll get better over time, and I think there's a clear leap from Let's Go to Sword and Shield already, so the leap should keep pushing forward as they make more games and get more familiar with both specifically the Switch hardware and HD console development in general.

    I know I'm just badmouthing Game Freak and doomsaying this game left and right, but I'm just kinda venting about how bad it's looked from all the leaked stuff I've heard and seen so far.

    I've read much worse than what you're putting out, and I don't find anything you said really offensive towards the developers working on the game, even if some of it like the Town stuff was parroting misinformation. That's not entirely your fault either though, since people are on such a crusade against these games they're intentionally spreading that shit to try and prevent people from buying the games to pressure GameFreak into bringing back the National Dex. GameFreak clearly is in a catch-up period, and Sword and Shield are by no means perfect games. That's obviously clear, even before the launch of the games. It isn't so much doomsaying to acknowledge that and the recent failures as it is just careful and cautious with the new product.

    By all means, if you and @Axel aren't comfortable preordering the games yet, hold off for the official reviews from the big name websites or friend word of mouth from people you actually know and can trust. There's honestly no sick preorder bonuses you're going to miss out on for waiting. The best incentive for buying the games early stretches into sometime next year I believe, so you have time to play wait and see if you're not convinced of the quality yet. I wish more people had treated Let's Go that way, as I saw tons of buyer's remorse with that set, and those were all sales that encouraged GameFreak continuing that lacking level of quality going forward which probably led to stuff like the forced EXP Share in Sword and Shield.

    Whether you want to believe me or not, I'll be sure to share my own potentially biased opinions post launch myself, and I promise I won't mince feelings on any of the matters, just as I didn't after Sun and Moon when people were gushing praise, and I was minority arguing with people on these very forums over all the problems I saw that others were glazed over on until they had to replay through them when Ultra SuMo came out. I hope this topic overall comes alive with lots of opinions and discussions on the games postlaunch. I'm sure there will be some heated back and forths, but should function as a decent gauge for around the level of quality the games actually hit overall.



  • @Mbun I should have sourced my info, it came from a reddit thread from someone who watched a streamer play the early hours of the game, and those things (the over-leveling despite not grinding at all, and the level-restriction on catching) were observed first-hand. I believe the stream itself has been taken down but there are videos of the early playthrough on YouTube (huge spoiler warning obviously).

    I quickly clicked through them to see it for myself, and sure enough, the level restriction is a thing. I made my own quick and dirty screencaps, they're spoiler-free, simply showing the messages related to the level restriction:

    Spoiler
    0_1573460225205_poke1.PNG
    ! Spoiler
    0_1573460544774_poke2.PNG

    Now maybe there's a misinterpretation, but it looks pretty clear-cut. Of course, in itself, this isn't a deal-breaker, but it's the addition of little things like this that could sour the experience for me. Although I'm sure I'll still have a good time with it if I get it.

    In any case, as you suggested, that's why I'm waiting for reviews and credible sources to get more detailed and unbiased info. You're right in saying that currently some people are on a crusade to tear this game down every chance they get, so let's just wait and see!



  • @axel said:

    Now maybe there's a misinterpretation, but it looks pretty clear-cut.

    No, that's definitely a change from the old dialogue about Pokemon up to a level obeying you. That's a bit scary if you ran into a shiny you couldn't catch now. Guess I'll be crit pathing through the early game to get badges to a point. Thanks for taking the time to make the less spoilery screencaps. I didn't look too long, so if there's spoilers in them I missed them. In the old games, those level caps (for traded Pokemon) were always well above the levels of Pokemon you'd run into at that point, but this certainly does prevent you from going into a higher level area and getting an ace there. Hopefully, outside that, it won't affect normal play. Sad that this is how they chose to wall it off, and it feels like this is different than what GameFreak was telling us before launch, but I guess they never clearly said we could either. I hope this means there's a beefy postgame to explore, but that's almost certainly getting my hopes up too much. Depending how bad this overleveling is, I might actually for the first time ever try and avoid trainer battles. Could still just be a streamer who faints every random encounter he meets, and that's why he's overleveled though. Need to hear more than one share of experience on that matter to be sure.

    You're right in saying that currently some people are on a crusade to tear this game down every chance they get, so let's just wait and see!

    Luke from Twitch chat just told me a friend sent him a video and told him to boycott the game, so yeah that shit is in full force right now.



  • Since I'm on blackout, I can't really look for myself, but some web app thing called Wild Area Search was released that supposedly lets you explore a virtual Wild Area dealio and discover Pokemon within it? Obviously, it'll probably contain Pokemon they haven't showcased officially yet, so be weary checking it out if you also want to go in fresh.

    Edit: It doesn't show off any new Pokemon that aren't long since officially revealed. Took a spin through it and it was pretty fun if you like dioramas.



  • Somewhat spoilery new trailer that reveals at least two new Pokemon, some new locations, and some backshots of new NPCs. Doesn't seem to have the usual week of release postgame spoilers at least, but I guess there's still time for them to mess that up. If you talk about the new Pokemon in the trailer, remember to use spoiler tags as some will be skipping trailers this close to launch.

    Edit: Here's the Japanese Trailer, which contains the same spoilery stuff plus at least one new activity and some interesting "songs". Note that the Japanese trailer is actually labeled as the Final Trailer, so it seems like these are the last big official reveals before launch, and we don't have to worry about GameFreak themselves officially spoiling postgame content this time.



  • According to Metacritic, the review embargo will be lifted on Tuesday, 6am Pacific. Not long to wait.



  • Looks like it's tomorrow now.



  • https://opencritic.com/game/7899/pokemon-sword-and-shield

    80 Opencritic with 19 reviews so far.

    Some glowing ones like IGN that feel like they only scratch the surface, and some scathing ones like Eurogamer which feel much more in line with my personal tastes.

    I'll wait for a few more opinions, including from EZA and people here, before I take the plunge - or not.



  • @axel The IGN review was terrible. The Gamespot one was a positive review that was better written. Eurogamer review crushed me and was very well written. Currently from all I've read, I'm estimating these games to be better than Sun and Moon but worse than XY. They seem very comparable to XY, but with less ambition and too much streamlining in places like no dungeons.



  • Having seen some footage of the game, hahahahaaaa holy shit this game is hilariously low budget.
    Like geometry popping in ten feet away in mostly barren areas. Animations for some moves are just shaking or bouncing the model a bit.

    I know I shouldn't expect much from Pokémon at this point but jesus christ



  • @el-shmiablo said:

    geometry popping in ten feet away in mostly barren areas

    Their first attempt at doing open world, even though it is just a section of the game, and clearly they don't have a proper grasp on it yet.

    Animations for some moves are just shaking or bouncing the model a bit.

    That's pretty common in games honestly, and very forgivable in a game with like a thousand moves to animate when only afew are like that.



  • Yeah Pokemon needs to chill on cheap shorthand animations. It's such a pet peeve of mine.

    Still might try this game but I had waaaaaay higher hopes for a console Pokemon.



  • Something weird about animations is mentioned in the IGN review: she says she's not allowed to talk about the new animations yet (apparently there's a second layer of embargo for all reviewers that will be lifted on launch day for specific content), but that we should take her word for it and they're great.

    So it sounds like animations for new moves in particular, or Dynamax moves, can actually be quite impressive (and some of those can be seen in trailers/reviews), while others are still basic.

    I also saw that clip of Scorbunny (I think?) doing a kick move and the animation being nothing more than the model weirdly shaking, but I then read that this was "fake" because the person playing basically had combat animations turned off on purpose. I haven't found footage of the "real" animation of that move though, so who knows.

    Point is, there are many people cherry-picking and even misrepresenting parts of the game and extrapolating those to make the whole thing look worse than it is.

    So take things like this with a grain of salt, and if you're still on the fence like me, wait until the dust settles in a week or two and we have definitive information from reliable outlets and not internet randoms with dubious agendas.

    Edit: Here's 6 minutes of gameplay from Gamexplain. In it, you can see the "animation" for Scorbunny, it's indeed nothing. However, all other moves in the video seem fine, and the Dynamax ones are unique and impressive.

    Youtube Video



  • @axel said:

    she says she's not allowed to talk about the new animations yet (apparently there's a second layer of embargo for all reviewers that will be lifted on launch day for specific content), but that we should take her word for it and they're great.
    So it sounds like animations for new moves in particular, or Dynamax moves, can actually be quite impressive (and some of those can be seen in trailers/reviews), while others are still basic.

    I read another review that mentioned something similar, like the game has new animations mixed with old ones, and the new ones look great while the old ones look dated. A review was mentioning the same for cutscenes, some are really good while others are the old style of psycho smiling MC through every situation with minimal animating of the characters. This game sounds weirder the more you dig in. I don't know if they're just gradually transitioning everything from the old to the new over the course of multiple new games or they really just ran out of time and had to halfass a bunch of stuff to hit a deadline.

    Either way, there's way too many Pokemon and Moves for us to ever get really advanced animations for the attacks where Pokemon are physically connecting with one another in a convincing way. Again, too bad Pokemon spinoffs are stuck in mobile hell right now, because those used to be where this kind of thing could exist.

    I was looking at the credits for the Director of Sword and Shield, and I'm starting to get the feeling he's just bad at directing. They should put Takao Unno back in charge of the games. I don't love his Pokemon designs, but I feel like he excelled when he got a chance to direct before, but who really knows? All kinds of factors could've contributed to the games under his lead coming out great while the more recent ones have been a mess, but Masuda said he's done with directing, so I hope they try some new people out going forward.



  • Well, I didn't know there was a lot of extra discussion around the animations but its surprising to hear. Regardless, I just expect more from a 3D open world game. Pokemon has a lot more potential than what we get sometimes.

    Having watched the GameXplain video, at least the "cut scenes" have better blocking.