Pokémon Sword and Shield in the sign of traditionalist change

Sword and Shield Pokémon arrives in stores in a complex period for the brand and for all Game Freak. It comes from the experience of Pokémon Let's Go which a year ago created not a few bad moods in the fans. And the communication path that led to the publication of Pokémon Sword and Shield was underpinned by small controversies of users on the cuts to the pokédex, on the reuse of certain models and on other small details that appeared in the various trailers.

Now that the game has filled the Nintendo Switches with many, in spite of all the complaining users of the first hour, I can say with serenity that Pokémon Sword and Shield is yet another small revolution of the brand that travels on the tracks of the Game Freak tradition and only partially distorts the past while maintaining certain principles. Unfortunately, one cannot but admit that once again the final result presents some gaps and problems that prevent it from being considered perfect or close to perfection. How much the wind of change weighs and how much conservationism has affected the Galar region you can read in the next paragraphs.

Traditional gyms, spectacular Wild Lands

If you arrive in the Galar region with all the background of the brand put on the curriculum in your videogame experience, the travel line within which the adventure will unfold will be identical to that of the past: eight gyms, gym leaders and relative climb towards the challenge with the sample. The result is an adventure that advances without too many narrative frills and with a plot that, needless to say, will be interesting only for children and teenagers, I offer only that pinch of contextualization that is enough to justify the progress of the events. We all know that finding and capturing Pokémon is itself the soul of any Pokémon game.

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The plot of Pokémon Sword and Shield is still that of the three P's: gyms, paths and Pokèmon

Game Freak has focused heavily on the perennial search for new creatures to team up and / or to complete the Pokédex. The Galar region is filled with Pokémon like never before with creatures strolling amiably the world and others crouching in tall grass, underwater or in the branches of a berry tree waiting for a trainer to stumble upon them. In some cases these Pokémon do not remain passive to wander aimlessly but, attracted by the presence of the alter ego, they will launch into a manhunt to be able to start the fight. A surprise that makes the walks in the tall grass between the various paths much less soft and peaceful.

The Wild Lands of Pokémon Sword and Shield are the open world part that was missing from the Pokémon series.

However, there is a place that considerably distorts some Pokémon canons and puts an edge on exploration: the Wildland. This new area of ​​Galar is similar to a large safari area in which to move as if you were in an open world being able to face a large variety of creatures in different areas with variable weather that also affects the presence of Pokémon. Inside this large poké-park there are also some very high level monsters but above all the dance for Pokémon Dynamax, great gameplay news that I will discuss in the next paragraphs. Certainly in the linearity of the Pokémon plot, you get lost in the backtracking of the Wild Lands looking for the best allies to add to the team, greatly extending the longevity of the game.

Pokémon Swords and Shield online? Help!

If I said that in this game there are clear signs of Pokémon Sun and Moon and even of Pokémon GO someone might be frightened by imagining how these two Pokémon experiences can be merged, which are certainly not among those most appreciated by users. And instead in the raid there is so much of that controversial near past from Pokémon GO. These Pokémon lairs scattered in the wilds, to be faced alone or with four other players, are the Dynamax creatures so coveted for their quality and rarity that are so reminiscent of the raids present in the smartphone title. These wild creatures remain giants throughout the raid and can then be captured as well as offering a considerable amount of very useful items in the game.

The mechanics of the Dynamax can also be used by players and gym leaders but in that case the giant version of the creature can only be had for three turns and for only one Pokémon per fight. The Dynamax version transforms Pokémon moves in a similar way to what happened on Sun and Moon with Z-Moves. The Dynamax raids significantly and pleasantly modify the gameplay of Pokémon Sword and Shield without subverting its foundations. This is despite the fact that the base of turn-based RPG fights has remained completely unchanged, with skills, moves to learn and all the huge mechanism that revolves around fighting between Pokémon. A universe that would take a book to explain it to a neophyte. A big news of Pokémon Sword and Shield is its important penchant for crafting. Everywhere on the map you can find random objects that appear, both in the paths and in the wilds, but also to be recovered cyclically with some activities. News on novelties to which are also added the PokéJob, real small secondary missions of capture and delivery, simple and impromptu, but always aimed at crafting and which also allow you to take advantage of the catches of similar Pokémon destined to be released.

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The Dynamax phenomenon is derived from the Z moves, but more choreographed and with better mechanics.

But Game Freak has done more by simplifying some aspects such as breeding and other small areas that added together showing that Pokémon Sword and Shield is a game that wants to renew the brand without upsetting it. The changes, however, weigh and also cause some not insignificant errors. Unfortunately Game Freak was unable to compose an adequate online component, an aspect on which it would have been better not to be wrong. The multiplayer has been expanded not only with raids to be done in cooperative, but also with battles in four players 2vs2 in addition to the canonical 1vs1 and exchanges (essential to complete the Pokédex). Too bad that all online connectivity is managed with awkward passwords and with questionable connection stability. It has been a long wait to play a game of four or be able to find the right code to find the friend ready for the exchange of Pokémon. In the Wild Lands you can meet other players' avatars with whom you can camp, but even here the system is completely random and does not take into account the Nintendo Switch friends list. Having to speak of criticisms, regarding the cut of the Pokédex I would like to say that game balance is not penalized by absences and indeed it pushes a lot to search among the new exclusive creatures of Galar those most appreciated or suitable for the competitive.

High definition is not yet this, but ...

With regard to animations, another controversial issue before the game was released, one cannot be too polemical or fussy. In Pokémon Sword and Shield, the creature and character models are clean and well crafted. They are not perfect, but their realization is much more pleasant than, for example, Pokémon Let's Go. A thread of aliasing is especially outside the battles when Pokémon appear in the Wild Lands, in which the popup of elements and creatures it is very close and in some cases involves unexpected and often unwanted appearances and clashes. Even the cities still appear a bit too angular and schematic while bringing some improvements with the dynamic camera already seen in Sun and Moon. The textures of the scenarios are still faded and poorly defined, especially considering that we are in the era of high definition.

The online of Pokémon Sword and Shield stumbles upon uncomfortable mechanics and little in step with the times.

Ma Pokémon Sword and Shield focuses more on frame rate stability than graphic definition. The analyzes made on the stability and the graphic quality show how it was preferred to keep the game fluid rather than looking for the perfection of the details and putting the console under strain. This aspect is clearly visible in the open fields of the Wild Lands with the sudden popups already mentioned and more. The power of Nintendo Switch probably cannot do more with open worlds and we have also seen it in other cases such as for Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Plus points to the general image of this title fortunately give them the cutscenes, much more neat and less static than in the past, and the animations of the struggles that have benefited from the increase in definition while not reaching heights of cleanliness (sandstorms are still pixel storms so to speak). High definition is still a long way off for the Pokémon series, but Spada and Scudo come close enough to think optimistically about the near future.

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The Wild Lands and their mechanics are the most pleasant and fresh novelty of Pokémon Sword and Shield

After eight gyms and their champion, hundreds of Pokémon captured and a massive dose of raids and lots of multiplayer activity, Pokémon Sword and Shield amused me. It will not be the best title in the series nor the most revolutionary, but this adventure surrounded by the online component shows that the intentions to renew the series are there. The innovations especially in multiplayer help to keep the longevity of the game high and to make the series chewable even for new players. And the certain inclusion of the title in the competitive world of the brand promises a long life. Net of the online which I hope will improve during the title support, Pokémon Sword and Shield does not disappoint the player's expectations even if it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of some defect due to technical limitations of the platform and due to inattentions of Game Freak.


I played the Pokémon Sword version by completing the main story unhurriedly while facing multiplayer on multiple occasions with friends online.

  • It will take less than thirty hours to complete the adventure (it took me longer because I like leveling up Pokémon a lot). It will be difficult, however, to stop at just the eight most champion gyms and not try the thrill of multiplayer, try to complete the pokedex or, for the most skilled, groped the complexity of the competitive. So the game will last hundreds of hours for sure.
  • Classic structure of a Pokémon adventure with eight gyms to be defeated using the pocket monsters, of various nature and power, gradually captured in the paths and in the brand new Wild Lands.
  • In multiplayer there are VS battles for two to four players and cooperative Dynamax raids.
Collectibles and Extras
  • Completing the Pokédex by capturing all 400 Pokémon present in this generation is the core of the achievements, including the very rare creatures with shiny colors.
Game Card
  • Game Name: Sword and Shield Pokémon
  • Release date: November 15, 2019
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch
  • Dubbing language: ND
  • Texts language: Italian
Pokémon Sword and Shield in the sign of traditionalist change7893a4d-3.jpg"> Videogamingallday.com review

After the alternative experience of Pokémon Let's Go, the final graphic result of Sword and Shield is pleasant for the glance, but shows all the limits of the machine especially in open environments. The flaws are there: textures not always clean, popups close to the elements and aliasing; but they can be forgiven given the hardware and the size of the gaming experience. A good basis for a future chapter that will support these moles.


Full Pokémon lore for sound. Few news, familiar sounds for the fans, some pleasant rearrangement but certainly not very current especially on the soundtrack that does not offer particular new songs worthy of note.


Simplifying some mechanics, such as breeding and changing stats, and adding others, such as raids and wilderness exploration, do Pokémon a lot of good. Perfect for any player, both old and new. But the online component is really the Achilles heel of this production, dated and with a dancer infrastructure, inconvenient to manage for the end user and to improve, at all costs.

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