Phenomenal Pokemon perfection...
One thing I have discovered over the years is that (a bit like Harry Potter) Pokemon may not be everyone’s cup of tea but EVERYONE knows about it.
That is quite a rarity in the modern world and usually it means there is something inherently brilliant about a game series to build such a monolithic reputation.
With every Pokemon release comes worldwide excitement, as evidenced by the midnight opening of video game stores across the country to welcome the arrival of Pokemon Sword and Shield last month.
Pokemon is a phenomenon. And with that comes great expectation and pressure.
For those that don’t know (have you been living on the moon?) it is a role-playing game developed by Game Freak and published by The Pokemon Company and Nintendo for the Switch.
This is best in class, best in series gaming that has been streamlined of previous annoyances to near perfection.Damien Lucas, gaming columnist
Sword and Shield boasts a host of new features including co-op raid encounters like those we saw in Pokemon Go; the Wild Area, a fully explorable huge open world area with free camera movement and dynamic weather which has an impact on which Pokemon species appear in the game at that time.
There are also the “Dynamax” and “Gigantamax” forms of Pokémon which enable them to temporarily grow to a giant size (although Gigantamax is limited to select Pokemon).
A new addition called “Poké Jobs” gives you side missions such as assisting in construction or cooking which helps you gain experience or sees you rewarded with rare items.
Pokemon Gyms make a return after being absent in Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun, and Ultra Moon.
There has been some confusion over Sword and Shield with many believing them to be two different games.
But the only difference is that the they have version-exclusive features, such as available Pokemon and - yet another first - Gym Leaders.
Mega Evolution and Z-Moves have been ditched but in comes ‘Camp’ mode which allows the player to spend some time interacting or playing with their Pokémon and to cook different types of curry which provide bonuses.
I could play Pokemon Sword and Shield for months on end and not get bored. It is simply massive and you are given the uninhibited freedom to explore Galar from the get go.
With every achievement and discovery comes the addictive satisfaction that has made Pokemon such a huge hit.
The range of Pokemon is both vast in quantity and detail and there is a great blend between cutesy characters and warrior monsters.
While some may be disappointed by the loss of Mega Evolution, Dynamaxing is a more than adequate replacement and makes for some memorable and engrossing battles. The crowning achievement for me is the Raid element. They give the game a huge lifespan and never get dull at any stage.
I always try and be balanced in my reviews but I can honestly say I could barely fault Pokemon Sword and Shield in any way.
This is best in class, best in series gaming that has been streamlined of previous annoyances to near perfection.
Pokemon Sword and Shield is simply a must-have for any Nintendo Switch owner.