Wow.

So amid all the controversy, with Dexit and #GameFreakLied, it really put a damper on this game for me. Still, I pre-ordered it anyways (and paid ten dollars for shipping! Fuck you, GameStop!) and I couldn’t be happier.

Pokemon Sword is a refreshing return to form after Sun and Moon, yet also brings a refreshing breath of air to the franchise. Sword takes place in the new Galar region, Pokemon’s version of England. Here in this region lies an amazing phenomenon, Pokemon have the ability to ‘dynamax’ in special spots where they grow to Godzilla-Sized proportions and people gather in stadiums to watch them for sport. (All it would take is one missed move and everyone in the stadium would be vaporized…think about that).

Gym battles make a return in the Galar Region, albeit in a bit of a different format. First you complete a ‘Gym Mission’ such as a quiz, or getting through a maze of sorts, and battle trainers alone the way. Once you get through that, you can challenge the gym leader in the stadium, one of the places you can Dynamax in battle. Once you manage to conquer all right gyms however, this is where things get different. Traditionally, you would face the elite four, instead, you enter the Gym Challenge Semi-Finals. Here you face other trainers that have been undergoing the same gym challenges as you, and once you beat them, you face the gym leaders once again, and finally the Champion of the Galar region.

Something else that is new is the Wild Area. I could compare it to the Safari Zone from earlier titles in the franchise, here Pokemon roam the landscape and you can catch higher level Pokemon and join in Max Raid Battles, where you and up to three other players can face off against a Dynamax Pokemon.

Not only is the Wild Area beautiful, but it’s broken up into different environments, large lakes, a snowy area, plains, a desert area, it’s all beautiful to behold. Here is where you also can see the changes to encountering Pokemon in tall grass.

Instead of simply wandering into tall grass and getting a wild Pokemon randomly, which you can still do, now Pokemon roam through the tall grass, and you can even lure them out by whistling, allowing you to target specific types of Pokemon.

Sword of course introduces more new Pokemon into the mix, my favorite being one that looks like a coal cart, which is my favorite of the new additions. And there are Galarian Forms of Pokemon as well, such as of Meowth and Ponyta. I won’t extensively talk about the other Pokemon, just because I find it exciting to discover then for yourself.

Finally we come into one of my favorite parts of the game, though is likely to be under-utilized by most players, Pokemon Camp, this generation’s version of Pokemon Amie which was introduced in X and Y. Here you can set up a campsite and interact with your Pokemon, allowing you to play with them, or even have conversations with them (not too sure how that’s possible but ok.). This part of the game actually uses motion controls to allow you to play fetch with your Pokemon or wave a cat toy in front of them. You can also cook curry using berries which can heal and grant exp to your Pokemon.

Overall while Dexit does put a bit of a damper on this entry, it is an enjoyable and welcome one. We can’t yet bring over Pokemon, that’s coming next year in the form of Pokemon Home, which I will review when it releases as well.

Pokemon Home allegedly allows you to not only bring over Pokemon from the 3DS but Let’s Go and even Pokemon Go, I’m eager to see how this all works out, as it might make me want to use Pokemon Go a bit more…

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