Review: Pokemon Sword and Shield

The Best Game in the Franchise Yet

Nintendo Switch

Developer: Game Freak

Publisher: The Pokemon Company, Nintendo

GenreRPG

Platform: Switch

Rating: E for Everyone

Price $59.99

Finally, we have the first, full, RPG Pokemon game on Nintendo Switch. Fans are excited, because Pokemon Sword and Shield is simply too excellent to miss out on any of its moments. 

Content Guide

Positive Themes 

The entire Pokemon game is very colorful and family friendly from beginning to end. It encourages players to try different builds, to explore various regions, and to learn from failures or mistakes throughout gameplay. 

Review 

As a player who played Leaf Green and Ultra Sun, Sword and Shield is definitely a wonderful upgrade for the Pokemon game franchise. You don’t have to suffer from playing on the Gameboy or DS system any more. Instead, you can now comfortably play it on your big screen TV with a controller!

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Of course, you can take your game anywhere now, thanks to the portable design of the Switch. It is the best way to play a Pokemon game, and we  fans appreciate all the hard work and thoughtfulness that went into it. 

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The game is set in a fictional world based on British culture. You are able to visit various landscapes and environments such as green, wild pastures, stone, mighty castles, freezing, hailing, icy lands, etc. You can customize your character with different skin colors, hair styles, or clothing fashions throughout the game. You will feel more unique and engaged with your character, because no two players look exactly the same. 

Unlike previous Pokemon games, players can quickly meet up with the three starter Pokemon and even start to catch some wild Pokemon early on. Always keep some Pokemon balls with you, for you will use them a lot if you want to catch them all. With the generous in-game currency system, you won’t feel like you run out of money often at all. 

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My husband and I played different versions of the game, but we both ended up spending about 30 to 35 hours to complete all the gym challenges. It takes another 5 to 10 hours to reach end game content. I didn’t feel like I had to do some intense grinding in Sword and Shield. By going through the routes, exploring the areas, checking out regional Pokemon, and battling trainers along the way, my Pokemon naturally leveled up very well. 

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I also switched my team Pokemon more often than previous games, thanks to less painful grinding and more welcoming experience candy. You can get experience candy from Raid battles in the wild areas. Each experience candy can help your Pokemon level up several levels within seconds.

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Local and online cooperative battles are easy to access through internet. I had a lot of fun battling and trading with my friends. You can team up with strangers all over the world or participate with assigned AI in battles. Besides experience candy, you also will receive Poke balls, TMs, potions, and other important loots. Dynamax is fun to play, but be careful using its 3-turn Pokemon transformation feature tactically.

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One of the drawbacks is that you have to create a 4-digit code for private battle or trade with friends who know the code. However, sometimes you may run into random strangers who happen to use the same code and they jump into your arrangement. The system is not perfect, but workable most of the time. 

Sword and Shield have various differences, like exclusive gyms and  Pokemon. I love the gym mission, which makes battles along the path to gym leader more fun and diverse. You need to complete mini-puzzles and battle gym trainers. Each gym has its own unique mechanic; never a dull moment. One thing is consistent, though. Your rival, Hop, is very friendly and encouraging throughout the game. What a great friend! 

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The interface is very user friendly. You can even decide which icon goes where depending on your needs and preferences. Everything seems so clean and easy to use. I appreciate the developers putting a lot of thought in how to maximize the best gameplay experience for players.

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Quality of life improvement is great and welcoming, including things like land and water transportation, accessing both party and box anywhere, automatic full health restored after each gym leader battle, beautiful map illustration, no random unnecessary wild encounters, etc. All the improvement make the game so smooth, you just can’t stop playing. 

Poke-job is something unique in Sword and Shield. Think about this, instead of letting Pokemon sit in your box doing nothing, you are now able to send them to complete jobs. Each job provides experience for the participating Pokemon and items for you.

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Do pay attention to the job description, so that you can send out the most suitable candidates for the job. Some jobs can reward you $2000 or even $18,000 in-game currency, while others simply give you balls or potions. 

Additionally, you can set up camp with your Pokemon, cooking tasty curry and playing with them. By doing this, you increase the bond and experience of your Pokemon. You can also visit your friend’s camp and hang out with them. It is a wonderful feature to make your Pokemon trainer journey closer to real life.  

For the super hard-core fans, playing rank battles will be both fun and challenging. In order to get perfect stats on Pokemon, you have to spend time on high level rank battles or breeding eggs. Occasionally, you may receive a perfect one from a surprise trade. But one thing is for sure, your Pokemon journey does not stop at end game credits—the true challenge awaits after. 

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No matter whether you are a veteran or newcomer to Pokemon, Sword and Shield provides the perfect balance of having casual fun and being serious as a real trainer. It is the best in the series so far, and I can’t wait to see what is next for Pokemon. With this welcoming and fun entry, we can confirm the Pokemon community will only grow bigger and bigger.  

 

The Bottom Line

 

No matter if you are a returning veteran or newcomer to Pokemon, you will find a lot of quality time playing alone or with friends; a must have for your Switch game collection.

 

9.5

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Karen Kennedy

Born and raised in China, living in the Southern United States. Educated with Doctoral degree of Professional Counseling. Passionate to put positive energy to the gaming world, and devoted to Christian ministry for the gaming community. Founder and Leader of Mighty Grace Positive Gaming. Love video games, board games, role play, table top, drawing, anime and manga. Stream on Twitch.tv/mightygrace Favorite superhero is Wonder Woman. Favorite Pokemon is Pikachu. Favorite Game series are the Elder Scrolls, all Blizzard games, Horizon Zero Dawn, Assassin's Creed, and Zelda.

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