Pokémon is probably one of my favorite video game series that I have and ever will play in my life. I have never been disappointed with any of the past generations of games. Whenever a new game/generation is announced, I always look forward to seeing what new adventures, new Pokémon, new challenges, and new game mechanics I will be playing within the new game that I am going to play. This past Wednesday, Nintendo released a Pokémon Direct video. After taking some time to watch and think about the Pokémon Direct, as well as talk to others about it, this is what I think about the new game that was announced.
This was a 17-minute video showcasing the upcoming Pokémon Sword/Pokémon Shield game. This video gave us a solid release date for November 15th, 2019, as well as a few details about the game as well as the Galar region of this eighth generation of the Pokémon game franchise.
The game is looking gorgeous. I had a thought that the open world shown took inspiration from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The open environments are quite breathtaking. Seeing the Pokémon roam around in the free world is really incredible. The landscape shown was vast, and you able to see Pokemon on screen has you roam around was amazing. It looks like its no longer a top down perspective looking at the character and surrounding area. You don’t feel as constricted as you did in the past Pokémon games, were you have to remain on a specific path or are stopped by seemingly invisible walls or an NPC or barrier blocking you from going to another area. I’m really hoping for the gym leaders (or champions) are now are to be fought not linearly and challenge any gym leader at any time. The thought that then you can overpower and find types that are stronger than a gym leader might make the main game to be overall shorter. This is just the start of the Pokémon Sword/Shield reveals, I’m sure we will get more about the game. If Breath of the Wild can pull it off, I can’t see why Pokemon can’t do this as well.
Dynamax battle system looks interesting. This seems to be the next thing to keep a new twist on Pokémon’s turn-based battling eight generations later. I’m assuming that you need a specific item or a watch you will get some point in the game. This only last three turns before your Pokémon will revert back to its original form. Like Mega Evolutions from Generation Six and Z-crystals and moves from Generation Seven, this is a new way to battle in the game.
I’m looking forward to this game mechanic as it seems to have some massive and exciting battles maybe even exclusive moves for certain Pokémon. I can’t help but feel that this is just going a one-time thing for this game like the other game mechanics introduced starting from the sixth generation of Pokémon. Where it won’t be continued when the next Pokemon Generation game comes out.
I liked the Mega Evolutions from Pokémon X/Y. I liked the idea on a one-time evolution in a battle and would have liked more Pokémon get this treatment in the later games, but only 46 Pokémon can Mega Evolve. It’s not a low number at all, but right now, there are 800+ Pokémon, it feels like a select few got the Mega Evolution treatment. I really wanted to see some other Mega Evolutions of other Pokemon. It seemed like Mega Evolutions were dropped once Pokémon Sun and Moon came out. Then Sun and Moon introduced Z-Moves, an unusual move that unleashes an attack based on a Pokémon’s type or if the Pokémon has an exclusive attack. There doesn’t look like there are any new types of Z attacks, but at least this look to have every Pokémon covered vs. the Mega Evolution mechanic.
Max raid battles look to be fun. Another new battle format which teams you up with three other trainer’s to take down a wild Dynamax Pokémon. Only one of the four of you can use the Dynamax feature during this battle. You can connect online or over local wi-fi. It looks like you can play this offline and have three other NPCs join you. I feel like this not only is an excellent opportunity to capture rare and maybe even shiny Pokémon but another way to make the leap of the world of Pokémon to be an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game). Pokémon seems like a game franchise that could pull off being an MMORPG. I’m hoping that this could be a way to get their “feet wet” in this type of gameplay. I don’t mind running in an open area with other trainers and battling Pokemon that I see in the open. Team up with friends to take down a legendary Pokemon or even stop a Team like Team Rocket or Team Galatic in a quest to prevent them from evildoing.
We didn’t get much in character reveals, but some famous people are introduced from the Galar region. The Pokemon professor of this region is Professor Magnolia, an elderly woman who looks very stern and severe in her demeanor. The champion of the Galar Region Leon, and his younger brother Hop who is your rival in the game. I didn’t feel I had much to go on with them, but how could parents name one kid Leon, then call another kid Hop? Hop is your rival in the game. I do like the potential story of the younger brother trying to live up to his older brother’s potential. I’ll have to see where that story will go.
We also got a glimpse of a gym leader who specializes in Grass Type Pokemon, Milo. Upon first glance, he looks like he may also specialize in bug type Pokemon as well. Despite have a disappearing and reappearing nose, he seems to be the same in terms of gym leaders of the past. You get some back story, you get a badge, and move on. I do like that the gym battle takes place in a stadium. I wonder if instead of fighting other Pokémon trainers before the gym leader battle, you have to do trials like in Pokémon Sun and Moon to be able to take on the gym leader. I do like that the battles are taking place in a stadium like an event. The idea of an audience watching your battle as it adds pressure but also the importance and empowerment for you to take down your opponent and win.
The New Pokemon introduced are fine. Most of the Pokémon games in the past had introduced Pokemon species accurate to the area that they represent. Galar is supposed to be London inspired. I’m sure that there are going to be Pokémon creatures and plants that mimic their real-life counterparts. Dreadnaw and Corviknight are my new favorites in the design and name. Wooloo is OK and feels like it’ll be the common Pokémon of the game. The legendary’s Zacian and Zamazenta, look great, but I prefer Zamazenta’s looks better. Zamazenta’s mane looks like a shield, and I think that it’s really well designed the way it retracts in defense is really sweet looking. Zacian looks like its holding a sword in its mouth like a dog that found a stick and won’t let it go. I can see why the body couldn’t be more angular or sword looking. It’s not bad, but I think I’ll have to get used to that artistic design.
If you plan to purchase or pre-order, there are a few available options. The full game will cost $60 and tax at launch. I’m fine with this and pre-ordered Pokémon Shield, but what I’m not OK with is the 2 pack that was announced. It’s Pokémon Sword and Shield in a two-game package. I don’t get why this has to be $120 and tax. You are not getting anything special with this. No collectors edition or special packaging, not even any extra savings, download or a shiny Pokemon (at least not at the time of this article). I know Nintendo has done this in the past and they never included anything else, except for one time that they offered to start a new game with 30 potions. There are better offers to buy both games separately vs. the 2 pack, and I would stick with that. I did write an article on how to save money on Nintendo Games promotion for Nintendo Online Subscribers. You could get both games digitally for $50 or maybe even less if you want to look at how I did this: Click or tap here to read that article. (This deal in that article does end on July 31st, 2019)
This is just the start of the reveals of Pokemon Sword and Shield and the Galar region. I can’t wait to see what Nintendo and Game Freak have in store for us between now and November 15th.
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