Pokemon Sword and Shield May Finally Reignite My Love for the Series
After seeing the latest gameplay and getting a release date, I think the new iteration of Pokémon may rejuvenate my love for the series.
I consider Pokémon to be one of my favorite gaming franchises of all time. Like a lot of gamers, I have played games from every generation of Pokémon experiencing both its highs (Pokémon Gold/Silver and Crystal) and its lows (Pokémon Black/White). Pokémon Crystal is probably the game I have put the most amount of hours in gaming history. And ever since putting countless hours into Pokémon Ruby back on the Game Boy Advance, I always thought the series would just grow higher and higher, but it didn’t for me.
With every new generation and all the new announcements, I would always watch to see what would be coming to the world of Pokémon. While I enjoyed my time with every new entry to the series, I wouldn’t say I was ever excited to play them. I never thought to myself “this is going to give me the same feeling that I had years ago.” However, I think Pokémon Sword/Shield is the first new generation since Pokémon Ruby that I genuinely feel like that.
When Pokémon Sword/Shield was announced with the reveal of the generation eight starters, it was the first time since the Hoenn region where I was conflicted on who I wanted to choose as my partner for this new adventure (#SobbleSquad). There was Scorbunny, which I will admit was the least interesting pick for me because it looks like a generic bunny (sorry Scorbunny fans). Then you had Grookey, a cool and stylish looking monkey that I could totally see myself choosing.
But then there’s Sobble. Sobble just looked so unique as a water starter that seemed to have the most potential in evolving, no pun intended, to something really different. Up to Pokémon X/Y, I always chose the water starter no matter the design. It wasn’t until Froakie that I just couldn’t do it based on how disappointed I was with some of the previous water starters. Sobble to me looks like it will rectify that.
During the lead up to the new generation of Pokémon, there were rumors going about how it was going to be a lot like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and while I don’t have the greatest feelings about that game, the concept of a giant open-world with Pokémon sounded like an utter dream. Personally, I was expecting the next game to be similar to something like Pokémon Colosseum or Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness that released on the Nintendo GameCube.
While unfortunately that did not end up being the case for either situation, in the newest entry they have a smaller contained experience like that called Wild Areas. In each Wild Area, you see the Pokémon out of battle just like in Let’s Go, Pikachu/Eevee. With the number of environments they have shown in the game, as well as how the Pokémon that show up depend on the time of day and what the weather is like, it sounds a lot like an upgraded version of the Safari Zone. However, now it seems like there is just more variety across the board, and you also don’t have to deal with that stupid timer. The new Wild Areas is one of the new features that really gets me excited for Pokémon Sword/Shield.
The Pokémon Direct also showed us a group of new Pokémon that trainers will find in the wild on their journey. Even the biggest Pokémon fans can admit that the design of new generations for quite a while now have been pretty lackluster, but every single one that was shown off from Sword/Shield so far looks awesome and it felt like there was an effort put into making them. I am sure that a number of developers over at Game Freak have worked on new Pokémon games for years, and I’m sure their motivation throughout time has faltered. However, these Pokémon feel fresh and creative where I can’t wait to see what other Pokémon we have in store to find in the wild.
Since the sixth generation, Game Freak has implemented new battle mechanics to make battles more exciting. They first started with Mega Evolutions which seemed really cool at the time, but ended up being disappointing due to the limited amount of Pokémon that could actually Mega Evolve and how overpowered it was. In the seventh gen, we got “Z Moves” which gave players a super powerful move to use on their opponents. This was an improvement to me due to the fact that any Pokémon could have and use a Z Move.
Now we have been introduced to the Dynamax mechanic, and honestly, I’m on the fence with this one. It is both cool and ridiculous at the same time. I really can’t make an opinion of it yet because I need to see it more in action. I hope it is a step up from Z Moves, but we will have to wait and see on this one.
I love Pokémon, and for the first time since I was a child, it feels like a new era of Pokémon has begun: one that truly feels different; one that it will stand out that players who have played the series from the beginning will think “This is a big step towards what I wanted Pokémon to always be.” And I hope that I am right about that. Pokémon is such a special game series and I have been close to burning out on it multiple times, but Pokémon Sword/Shield has recharged my battery for the series and I cannot wait to see where it takes me on this brand new adventure this November.