Although Pokemon Sword and Shield were released in November 2019, I didn’t get my copy until Christmas which means I’ve had a lot of Pokemon adventures to catch up on. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been pouring my time into Pokemon Shield and exploring the new features, settings, and pokemon available in my edition of the game. Now turned out the perfect time to be playing through the game as well as there was a Pokemon direct announcement yesterday which revealed that Nintendo will be releasing Pokemon Sword and Shield DLC in June 2020 and Fall 2020 which will bring two new areas full of adventures, friends/rivals, and pokemon which is very exciting.
Until then, I’ve got quite a bit of the game left to play and wanted to share with you all my first impressions of Pokemon Shield. I hope you enjoy and, if you also have a Nintendo Switch, feel free to add me!
I’ve played roughly 20 hours of Pokemon Sword so far and feel as though I might be just less than halfway into the game, although it’s pretty tricky to tell. I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with having different Pokemon on my team (something I almost never do), making trips back to the open-world Wild area to catch Pokemon, and making my way along to each town to fight at their respective gyms. The setting for this gen of Pokemon is the Galar region which is inspired by Scotland so there is a lot of wide-open spaces, mountainous regions, UK-inspired Pokemon and, unsurprisingly, bagpipe music!
In addition to the overall Scottish-inspired setting for the game, each town has its own unique feel including the agricultural town of Turffield and the coastal harbor town of Hulbury. I’ve just arrived in Ballonlea which is definitely my favourite! As well as the small towns which you visit to battle at each gym, you also have bigger cities like Motostoke and Hammerlocke which have huge stadium gyms, coffee shops, train stations, clothes shops, and barbershops.
With each new generation of Pokemon game, we also get new Pokemon and I have been having a blast collecting the Pokemon in Sword. Normally, I experiment a little bit with my team in the beginning but settle on a team and stick with it for the rest of the game but in Sword, I have been having a really hard time choosing which Pokemon to have on my team because I love so many of the Pokemon I’m catching in the Wild area and around the different towns so have been constantly switching new Pokemon in and out. For the first time ever in my Pokemon playing (of around 20 years), I’ve also swapped out my starter pokemon (Grookey) in exchange for something else that I liked better. Although I love the base form of the starter Pokemon in Shield and Sword, I don’t love their evolved looks as much as I like some of the other Pokemon and their evolutions. My favourite Pokemon so far include: Corviknight (Gen 8), Boltund (Gen 8), Pumkaboo (Gen 6), Hattrem (Gen 8), and Galarian Ponyta (Gen 8).
I loved the introduction of bought clothes into the Pokemon games a few generations back and have been blowing my money on clothes in Sword because there are so many great looks and hairstyles. A few towns ago my character was rocking a sporty tracksuit look with a cap on and she now wears a green and purple varsity jacket, navy tartan skirt and green high tops with pink plaited pigtail hair.
Other features I’m loving:
🌿 Camping – I love the introduction of the camping tent which you can pitch up to spend time hanging out with the Pokemon in your team and experimenting cooking different types of curry to fill up your Pokemon’s bellies and your curry dex
🌿 League Cards & Stadiums – For the first time, battling in pokemon gyms actually feels like taking part in a proper competition thanks to the introduction of league cards which you make and collect, huge stadiums complete with an audience, and a league uniform that you put on whenever you enter a stadium match
🌿 The Wild Area – I’m a bit in two minds about the wild area but I do enjoy having a huge area that I can repeatedly visit to catch different types and levels of Pokemon. Each area within the wild area also has a different feel (such as some areas which are snowy whilst other areas are desert) and this combined with alternating weather means you have reasons to keep going back to catch Pokemon that only appear in certain areas, at certain times, and during certain weather. There are also various activities you can also do in the wild area such as upgrade your bike and compete in bike races, and battle dynamax pokemon with your friends (or a randomly assigned NPC team) which you find in Pokemon nests
🌿 Co-op opportunities – so that you can play with your friends in a similar way to doing raids on Pokemon Go! I would love to see this expanded more so that you don’t just battle or trade with your friends but could visit their camps as well
A few niggles:
🍂 The Wild Area – It’s something I both enjoy and am not entirely sold on yet. I’ve found that because the wild area is so big and you are encouraged to keep going back to it to catch Pokemon, the Galar region seems (and possibly) is much smaller. There isn’t as much of a distance to travel between each town so I feel as though I’m progressing through the game really quickly and not leveling up quite enough each time as there are fewer people to fight on the way, meaning I have to return to the wild area to get experience
🍂 Not being able to change your league uniform – I love the league uniform and enjoy being given each gym leaders’ uniform style when you defeat them. But, rather annoyingly, you can’t actually change your league uniform which means you can only wear the other league uniforms out of battles…
For the most part, I’m really enjoying Pokemon Sword and am intrigued by the overall storyline which I am slowly beginning to unravel as I venture forward. I’m also pleased that they seem to have fixed the leveling in Sword as when I played Let’s Go Eevee last year when I first bought my Switch, I flew through the game because I was leveling up way too fast which meant I ended up 10-20 levels ahead of all of the gym leaders?! This time though I am comfortably within the same ballpark as everyone I battle, with a few exceptions, and helps me to feel more invested as the game as it’s not too hard or too easy. I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the game progresses and definitely looking forward to the Sword expansion pass in June 2020!