Pokémon Sword and Shield brings fully realized world to Nintendo Switch

The most recent installment of the Pokémon franchise has created a world that allows players to truly feel like the trainer they’ve dreamed of being.

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Pokémon Sword and Shield brings fully realized world to Nintendo Switch

The world of Pokemon Sword and Shield is chock full of surprises and things for players to do. (Nintendo of America/TNS)

The world of Pokemon Sword and Shield is chock full of surprises and things for players to do. (Nintendo of America/TNS)

TNS

The world of Pokemon Sword and Shield is chock full of surprises and things for players to do. (Nintendo of America/TNS)

TNS

TNS

The world of Pokemon Sword and Shield is chock full of surprises and things for players to do. (Nintendo of America/TNS)

Jenna Post, Arts Reporter

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Nearly everyone I know was hit with a wave of nostalgia upon the release of Disney+. I, on the other hand, was taken back to my childhood three days later with the release of Pokémon Sword and Shield.

When I was a kid, whenever I got asked, “If  you could wish for anything, what would it be?” I would always reply that I wanted Pokémon to be real. Sorry, world peace.

Although I’ve grown out of using that answer, my younger self would be thrilled to know that the franchise’s most recent installment has brought how I’d imagined wild Pokémon roaming to life.

There’s no point in beating around the tall grass, so I’ll get right into it. The best part of Sword and Shield is undoubtedly the Wild Area.

The Wild Area is home to Pokémon ranged from level 5 to 60, all of which are roaming around for the player to see.

Although you’re not able to enter the water until after your first visit to the Wild Area, seeing a Gyrados swim by as you cross a bridge is not only cool, it allows the player to decide which Pokémon they want to encounter, which is a lot more convenient than roaming the tall grass in hopes of the randomizer spawning a rare Pokémon.

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Another one of my favorite Sword and Shield features is camping. Being able to heal your party by cooking the berries you’ve gathered is cheaper than stocking up on potions, and it gives your party some experience points too.

While I hope the previous features I’ve mentioned stick around, I won’t be sad to see Dynamaxing go. Dynamaxing is a new feature that causes your Pokémon to grow to an enormous size, and gives them a boost in power, but you have to sacrifice strategy in order to do it.

Any attack becomes a generic attack of the type that was in its place before Dynamaxing, and any non-attack becomes protect. For any veteran player who’s carefully planned their move-set, it’s a pain.

It feels like a worse version of the Z-moves from the previous Pokémon Sun and Moon. Instead of testing out a new power-up with each generation, Nintendo needs to have a focus group to decide which is best and stick with it.

However, the Dynamax raids in the Wild Area is a pretty fun challenge. You team up with three other trainers to try to defeat a Dynamaxed Pokémon, and if you win you get some special TMs and other prizes.

In future games, I’d like to see this altered so trainers could team up to fight a Pokémon with high stat boosts. Although, to Dynamax’s credit, being able to fight with an enormous Corgi is pretty adorable.

The other notable change to Pokémon’s regular format is that the way you reach the region’s Champion. Instead of facing the Elite Four, you face off against other trainers in a bracket.

I enjoyed it, and it’s definitely not a bad feature, but I’m unsure if I’d like to see it become a part of every future game.

As for the game’s story, it’s their strongest since Pokémon Black and White. Clearly, plenty of thought went into the lore of the region’s legendary Pokémon and the personalities of your rival, the gym leaders, and the other important NPCs. It felt like a more fully-realized world than previous games.

Although the game has its flaws, it’s definitely still worth playing. It hits a good balance of being similar to the original games while also including some exciting new features. Good luck catchin’ em all, trainers.

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