Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are set in Galar, an expansive region with many environments—idyllic countryside, contemporary cities, thick forests, and craggy, snow-covered mountains. The people and Pokémon live together in this region, and they’ve worked together to develop the industries here. You’ll visit the various Gyms in the Galar region, aiming for the enviable and admirable title of Champion.
I can’t remember the last time I felt this much joy when playing a video game.
Pokémon Sword and Shield are not without their problems. But beyond the rubbish online play and uninspired late-game routes, and beyond the controversy surrounding them, they’re simply the most fun I’ve ever had with Pokémon. The story is wonderful, the creatures themselves are all fantastic and adorable, and Max Raids will absolutely never not be great fun. And if you can overlook the fact that these games aren’t the generational leap that some expected, you’re sure to find something special in them.
Pokémon Sword & Shield are strong first attempts for the series’ full transition to consoles. While some frustrations hold it back from true legendary status, this new generation proves the Pokémon franchise is still great more than two decades after its debut.
Thanks to some new systems and a brand new graphic aspect, Pokemon is finally back in the living room. But, even if hunting is a great activity in those new zones, the game could have been better with more innovation and a some challenge.
Despite these shortcomings, Pokemon Sword and Shield excel at introducing new elements like better Pokemon Storage while retaining the series' core. Everything a Pokemon player can need or want is there. Whether it's playing competitively, playing the story, playing with friends, spending time with Pokemon friends, hunting shinies, or playing the raid battles, Sword or Shield offers a core Pokemon experience, not much more and certainly nothing less.
Pokemon Sword is a good game that demands serious changes. Fights are too easy and the storyline is really dumb - Pokemon needs a dramatic overhaul in terms of mechanics. There has to be more tactics than "water beats fire". Nostalgia is one thing but being archaic is another and far less enjoyable (even though it is extremely pretty).
Pokémon Sword and Shield are not bad games. But fun character arcs and inventive, creative designs of new ‘mon are often offset by poor pacing and restrictive world design. The world of Galar is charming, and is a Pokémon interpretation of Britain I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid, but between gating what Pokémon you can catch behind Gym Badges, some half-baked route/City designs and a modest amount of post-game content, Sword and Shield can only be called ‘good’ Pokémon games… not ‘great’ ones.