Unless you’ve been living under a rock, far away from the clutches of social media, you’ve probably heard by now that Nintendo are giving us the next generation of Pokemon. Available on the Nintendo Switch, the new games are titled “Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield”.
The game takes place in the Galar region, inspired by our very own Great Britain. With its vague, fairly short release via a “Pokemon Direct”, it’s left to the fans to speculate and ponder on what they want these new games to provide.
It’s mutually agreed upon by all Pokemon fans that the recent Pokemon games have descended into something mind numbingly simple and effortless. It’s very rare that you’d struggle in Pokemon Sun & Moon, Pokemon X & Y, or either of the two Pokemon Let’s Go games. The latter justified its straightforwardness through focussing its attention on the catching element of Pokemon games, but there has been a noticeable lack of challenge in the latest games.
Making these games easy is a requirement in order to engage younger gamers, but that doesn’t change the fact that the gamers who played the older Pokemon games were young too, and appreciated the challenge. A healthy compromise would be to somehow implement difficulty settings.If you want your exploration of the Galar region to be a breeze? No problem, you can opt for that. If you want your exploration of the Galar region to result in your Pokemon being slaughtered by opposing trainers left right and centre? It’s your funeral. It could be argued that difficulty settings would not work in a game like Pokemon, which has a competitive scene alongside the base game where people battle online, but there’s easy ways to work around and solve those issues.
I miss being destroyed by my opponent and having to do the walk of shame back to the Pokemon Centre. I want Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield to publicly disgrace me when I lose a Pokemon battle against an obnoxious child, is that too much to ask for?
When they announced Generation 8, they also treated us to a brief look at the three starters we can choose from at the beginning of the game. Anyone who knows me is very aware that I have instantly gravitated towards one of these three, that being Grookey – the chipper and sprightly grass monkey. Sobble, the timid and shy water lizard, invokes a strong desire to defend and protect him, whilst Scorbunny, the energetic fire bunny, is forgettable at best.
Of course, this is all my opinion and may not be correct to others (though it absolutely is), I’d love to have a close relation with these three starter Pokemon. Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver implemented the first opportunity for players to walk with their Pokemon in-game, and Pokemon Let’s Go furthered this by allowing us to explore the Kanto region fully realised in 3D, with our Pokemon either following us or we riding atop them. It also allowed us to play with our chosen starters, Pikachu or Eevee, and granted them a more realised personality than any of the previous games had made an attempt to.
It’d be adorable to have an intimate connection formed between our protagonist and the chosen starter. If I can have Grookey sat on my shoulder or head throughout my adventure, then the game doesn’t have to do much more to keep me interested. I hope Nintendo are reading this.
Stunning visuals and locales
The most exciting aspect of Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield will be that they’re the first original games – the Pokemon Let’s Go variations were essentially remakes – being released on the Nintendo Switch. The Galar region will be fully realised with graphics the Nintendo Switch allows, ignoring the restrictions once in place for the games released on the Nintendo 3DS.
Pokemon Sun and Moon and Pokemon X and Y were pretty games, there’s no doubt. The Hawaii-inspired Alola region sustained its aesthetic throughout your adventure, and the Europe-inspired Kalos region showed us how far the series had grown visually when one of the Pokemon gyms was in a skyscraper very reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower.
It’s needless to say that Pokemon has been getting prettier and prettier to the best of its ability when trapped on a handheld such as the Nintendo 3DS. However, moving onto the Switch has granted them far more visual freedom for us to enjoy. With the Galar region being inspired by Great Britain, the trailer showed us some Industrial and Victorian architecture, and even hinted at a train system that players may potentially get to use. The player also begins in a very rural, countryside town that looks so adorable.
However, they could do so much more. For instance, recreating the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben as a Pokemon Gym where we battle a gym leader that looks eerily similar to Theresa May. I’m sure many people would like to beat Theresa May in a Pokemon battle, I know I would.
Image: Pokemon Sword & Shield | Nintendo