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“Pokemon Sword” and “Pokemon Shield” were finally released on Nov. 14 for the Nintendo Switch, welcoming players to the Galar region. The two games signal the eighth generation of a game series that has spanned more than two decades.
Rather than being released on a strictly handheld console, “Pokemon Sword” and “Shield” are the first Pokemon games playable on a home console.
The games offer newcomers and long-time fans plenty of old and new Pokemon to discover, including the three new starter Pokemon: a green monkey grass-type Grookey, the energetic rabbit fire-type Scorbunny, and the shy lizard-like water-type Sobble .
Noticeable improvements are in the graphics and the music. Because of the use of better technology in the Switch console, the graphics have been overhauled, which makes the game more vibrant and allows for smoother animations. Also, this is where the sound in the game really shines; each location has its own unique soundtrack, which allows the player to be further drawn into the game with each town they visit. The soundtrack in gym battles is more enticing, making it so that the player will get ready to battle a gym leader.
The gameplay hasn’t changed much, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. It sticks to its traditional style, with battles operating on a turn-based system. Players will work their way through the game, facing the eight gym leaders of the Galar region before moving onto the Pokemon league tournament, where they will end up facing the Pokemon Champion. “Sword” and “Shield” also introduce the “Wild Area.” This is an open-world region spanning most of the map, where players can walk around and catch different wild Pokemon and participate in Max Raid battles, where they can battle and catch new ‘Dynamaxed’ versions of Pokemon.
The evolution methods in this generation offer a unique addition to the game.. Pokemon typically evolve when they reach a certain level or even if they are given a certain item. However, the developers decided to take a different approach with certain Pokemon this time. For example, in order for Farfetch’d to evolve, players need to land three critical hits with him in a single battle.
Pokemon Sword and Shield offers players plenty of content, with the main game lasting for 25-30 hours, and much end-game content to be completed after the main storyline.