Pokemon Sword/Shield (Switch)



  • I'm not the type who plays online battles, but sounds like they screwed those up too: (strong language warning)
    Youtube Video



  • Youtube Video

    Very eloquent and thorough review from the master himself Ben Moore.



  • Finished last night. I really liked it, but I also always like Pokemon games. That central loop will never not be fun to me, and I think this is the strongest batch of new pokemon since gen 4 in terms of design. That said, when all is said and done it felt more like a 3DS game than a Switch game. To be fair, I remember feeling that way about X and Y when they came out - sure, there was a graphical leap, but there were still several sections where your character movement was limited to 8 directions. Here, we got the baby step of having camera controls in the wild area (!!), but we're still limited in how we experience the rest of the world. The gating in this game is also frustrating; I'm not sure why there are caps on the level of pokemon you can catch, or why the only thing preventing your progress through certain areas is Team Yell arbitrarily deciding no one can leave. Call me old fashioned, but I miss the days of HMs requiring you to explore environments in new and exciting ways.

    The most egregious flaws in this game for me have to do with sound - the music has some solid compositions, but the synth quality is BAD. I'm about 90% sure it's the same synth set that was used in the 3DS games, and even then it was starting to show its age. The game needs real instruments. It also needs voice acting. I never thought I'd care about this, but the cutscenes felt really dated without it. Some of the NPCs in this game are genuinely charming and are able to display a surprising amount of personality with a limited set of facial expressions, but they would be much more memorable if they had voices to express their character.

    The scene where Piers saves the day by throwing an impromptu concert could've been a really funny moment, but fell completely flat because there were no audio or vocal cues to accompany his actions.

    The "vocals" used during the gym and championship battles are very unnatural sounding, and annoy more than they inspire excitement. This all added up to me playing the game mostly on silent, opting instead to catch up on podcasts.

    Despite the flaws, I don't think the game warranted all of the vitriol it's received. Yeah, it's a bummer that I can't raise a Meganium, but it felt like there was more variety on a single route in this game than any prior. The developers clearly put a lot of effort into making sure that this Dex is varied, allowing for the opportunity to build a wildly diverse team regardless based only on what you can catch or trade for in-game. I've never been one to complete a dex, but this one actually feels doable to me. I also don't buy the reused models criticism - sure, the wire frames might be the same, but these are designs that haven't changed since the Pokemon were created, so it's fairly obvious to me that they would maintain the same geometric shapes. How they are rendered and animated is clearly very different from what was in the 3DS games - if they weren't, we wouldn't have this gem (

    ). None of this is an excuse for the myriad of other flaws and archaic/simplistic game design, but those ultimately don't detract from the fact that this game is fun to play. If you're a fan of the series or a newcomer, I think it's still worthwhile to play this game. If you were never a fan, well, this certainly isn't going to change your mind. Hope the next one reaches for greater heights, but I'm still happy with my time in Galar.



  • @naltmank said:

    To be fair, I remember feeling that way about X and Y when they came out - sure, there was a graphical leap, but there were still several sections where your character movement was limited to 8 directions.

    I still think 8 directions should always be an option, even if it isn't the default option.

    Call me old fashioned, but I miss the days of HMs requiring you to explore environments in new and exciting ways.

    As much as I hate Sun and Moon, they got it right with Ride Pokemon. They just needed to evolve that, so the Ride Pokemon are actually your Pokemon.

    The most egregious flaws in this game for me have to do with sound - the music has some solid compositions, but the synth quality is BAD.

    I've heard other complaints about the music and reusing classic sound effects for move hits and stuff. Guess it just didn't bother me. I didn't like all the music, but there were tracks I enjoyed, never sounded low quality to me. The only song that did bother me was during a part near the very end where the music just didn't feel like it fit what was going on in the game.

    The "vocals" used during the gym and championship battles are very unnatural sounding, and annoy more than they inspire excitement.

    I enjoyed those too, but maybe they could've evolved more?

    Basically agree with the rest of what you said though. Those camp animations are so fun.



  • @mbun said in Pokemon Sword/Shield (Switch):

    They just needed to evolve that, so the Ride Pokemon are actually your Pokemon

    100% agree. I have this idea in my head where instead of a ride-call system, each Pokemon you catch has innate "field abilities." For example, water pokemon of a certain size threshold will allow you to surf, flying pokemon allow you to fly, etc. That way you still need to build your team to explore the world, but HMs don't take up a spot in your moveset. There could even be more secretive abilities. Imagine if ape-like Pokemon gave you an ability to climb mountains/trees to reach hidden areas and get hidden items, or if psychic Pokemon could let out a pulse to temporarily freeze all Pokemon/trainers in the field to give you safe passage. I feel like that would be a great next step, but it would require a substantial overhaul of the basic game structure.



  • @naltmank Basically Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and yeah it would be sweet.



  • Just started the game. Scorbunny hype!



  • There really is some great QoL stuff for meta endgame. Just dumb they thought that meant we didn't want the game before it.

    But yea, I'm going through weeks of tweets I avoided until I was sure I'd seen all there was to see without getting spoiled, and there's some real interesting stuff:

    Oddly, the official Pokemon site released the specifics themselves on shiny hunting and Brilliant Pokemon (yellow aura) hunting for Sword and Shield. Very much worth the read, and it isn't like any previous game. For shinies, you don't have to maintain a chain anymore, simply chip away at an all time record of catching or fainting a species that forever boosts rates involving that species and can be progress checked in your Pokedex. Fishing does work like chaining sort of, except it no longer boosts shiny encounter, only Brilliant encounter, and it doesn't matter what species you get, just that you keep fishing and fainting what you fish up without messing up.

    Despite having your Shiny Charms, Masuda Method, and extras for boosting shiny encounters such as this info, I kind of like that there's no super easy path to shinies in Sword and Shield like some previous games, besides hacking of course. That'll be ruined once trading comes in though, but still nice to see them better balanced than Let's Go where fucking everyone gets a dozen shinies just for playing to credits. Not showing that a Pokemon is shiny on the overworld was a good decision, even if it makes very little sense, and I love that they went out of their way to code that Pokemon you can't catch yet can't be shiny, so people without enough badges don't get trolled. The new super rare shiny square animation thing is low effort and dumb though, but even despite that, overall they did a good job handling shinies in Sword and Shield. They're still rare and very much not "free", but there's multiple paths you can work down towards increasing your chance of getting one.



  • I bought to for my little brother for Christmas. I'll borrow it when he's done. I gotta say, after hearing the Easy Allies talk about it, I seem less interested.



  • The clown show continues.