I may be an 18-year-old adult male, but I am a five-year-old boy at heart. The importance of this is that I often find myself enjoying things that are childish in design. I fully acknowledge that. However, I posit that a game like Pokémon is so timeless that anyone of any age can play it and have fun. So, I will not feel the slightest bit of shame or self-consciousness at reviewing a game marketed to people of half my size yet of equal intelligence.
Pokémon Sword and Shield, which I will just shorten to Pokémon Sword as that is the version I bought, is yet another game in the pocket monster series. As we have moved onto the eighth generation of these fantastical creatures, the developers at GameFreak have given players 94 new Pokémon to find and catch. They have also removed quite a few Pokémon from the game; this isn’t to say those Pokémon aren’t in the series at all, it just means that they cannot be found in this game.
Speaking of this, there has been quite the spot of controversy surrounding the game. The most frequent points of discontentment among the “fans” are the graphical downgrade in areas, the removal of hundreds of Pokémon, and the lack of creativity in the newer additions. I, however, don’t nitpick these points too much, as I am just too jazzed about GameFreak perpetuating one of my favorite game series of all time to cavil like an entitled child.
As far as the gameplay itself goes, so far so Pokémon. There hasn’t been too much changed about the core gameplay – if it isn’t broken, and it definitely isn’t, then don’t try to fix it. All that’s new are quality-of-life changes and extra options to interact with your Pokémon, all of which a starry-eyed, Pokéfanatic like myself is overjoyed to see. First and foremost, players no longer must remember type matchups. Unlike before, players will see on top of the move in the battle menu if it will be “super effective,” “effective,” or “not very effective,” or have “no effect” at all. The move animations themselves have also received a few changes, making everything flashier and more immersive.
However, arguably the most important and worthwhile addition is the “Pokémon Camp” feature. Thanks to this little slice of Heaven from GameFreak, players are able to interact with their Pokémon in a campsite. The available options are to play with a ball or cat toy look-a-like, cook for your Pokémon, or speak with them. Now, your Pokémon won’t actually talk back, but a text bubble will pop up with their feelings, like, “Pikachu looks like she wants to play with other Pokémon.” This allows players to get a better handle on how their fuzzy friends are feeling. By camping, the Pokémon will gain experience points and grow closer to their trainers.
As someone who has sunk about a day’s worth of playtime into the game over the course of the release weekend, I can say that I enjoy Pokémon Sword. My roommate has Shield, and we both have a great time playing and battling with each other at every chance we get. If you have enjoyed any previous Pokémon game and are interested in Sword and Shield, I would absolutely recommend them, as they are the most wholesome fun I’ve had in a long time.