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Everything You Need To Know About Pokémon Sword & Shield!

Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield will begin the eighth-generation of main series Pokémon games. This will be the first proper main series Pokémon game ever to be on a console. (if you exclude Pokémon Colosseum/XD: Gale of Darkness that were on Gamecube) We’ve got a lot to examine, so let’s begin!

The Starters:

Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble are the three newest Pokémon starters for you to have as your very first partner! Grookey is the Grass Type, Scorbunny is the Fire Type and Sobble will be the Water Type. Which starter will you be choosing?

The Galar Region:

The newest region to join the Pokémon universe is ”Galar”. The region itself is inspired by Great Britain, with small sunny towns in the south, large cities in the middle and snowy mountains in the north. The ultimate goal is to attend and win the Pokémon League to procure the title of Champion for yourself! As someone from the United Kingdom, I am very excited to explore this new world.

Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield
Image via Nintendo

The New Pokémon:

In total, Game Freak have added 81 new Pokémon, with 13 being regional variants. However, we have only seen around 25 in action, so we will have some surprises to look forward to on our adventure! Highlights so far have to include Sirfetch’d and Galarian Ponyta!

The New Legendary Pokémon!

There are two new Legendaries for Pokémon Sword & Shield. We’ve got ”Zacian” (Sword) and ”Zamazenta” (Shield). Unfortunately, we have no information about these Pokemon. Game Freak say they are ”shrouded in mystery and are unknown, even to those who live in the Galar region.” They look really cool, though 🙂

The Open World:

Just like Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! You will be able to see Pokémon in the overworld, meaning no more random encounters; you can see the Pokémon you want to fight/catch, and if you don’t want to battle, you can simply avoid them. The open world will include free camera movement and a dynamic weather system which has implications on which Pokémon will appear at a given time.

New Features:

There are many new features being added to Pokémon Sword & Shield. Let’s go through them all! You can now skip some of the early game hand-holding you’d get in previous games, including the “how to catch Pokemon” tutorial. This is something that fans have been requesting for ages now, and good to see Game Freak finally listened.

New experience Boosting Candies will be coming to Pokémon Sword & Shield that will enable you to level up your Pokemon. The Candies come in different sizes: XS, S, M, L, and XL. These will give your Pokémon experience boosts that will prove useful if you are trying to level up your weaker Pokémon that need to catch up to your main six.

Pokémon Boxes:

Finally! In Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, you’ll be able to access your Pokémon Boxes while you’re on the road or even when you’re exploring in the tall grass! You’ll be able to swap Pokémon into and out of your team whenever you want. This means leveling up your weaker Pokémon or trying out various combinations will be far less tedious. However, you won’t be able to access your Boxes 100% of the time. There are certain areas where it will be blocked.

Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield
Image via Nintendo


Another nice addition Game Freak has added is Autosaving. The autosave function will automatically save your progress at various points, such as when you enter or leave a town. You will be able to turn off this feature if you want to control when your progress is saved.

Pokémon Sword & Shield
Image via Nintendo

Experience Share:

Another feature that will be automatic in Sword & Shield is Experience Share which will see XP fairly distributed among your Pokémon team by default. This will be very useful for leveling up your weaker Pokémon that you might want to use later. However, if you are wanting a bit more of a challenge, you can turn off this option from the menu.

Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield
Image via Nintendo

Gigantamax/Dynamax Pokémon!

Introducing Gigantamax Pokémon! Gigantamaxing drastically increases the size and stats of a Pokémon during a battle. Only certain species of Pokémon can Gigantamax. In their Gigantamax form, Pokémon can use a G-Max Move. Each G-Max Move is exclusive to the specific Gigantamax Pokémon.

Additionally, during your journey you will encounter Max Raid Battles. These are a type of Pokémon battle in which four Trainers battle against a Wild Dynamax Pokémon. Wild Dynamax Pokémon are extremely powerful. Some of these Pokémon will have rare Abilities known as Hidden Abilities. Pokémon caught in Max Raid Battles might have some of these Hidden Abilities. In other words, Hidden Abilities make the Pokémon stronger.

The list of Pokémon of that can become Gigantamax is:

  • Charizard
  • Pikachu
  • Eevee
  • Butterfree
  • Meowth
  • Corviknight
  • Alcremie
  • Drednaw

Fashion and Outfits:

As you travel, you’ll come across clothing shops and hair salons. By visiting them, you can buy new clothes for yourself or change your hairstyle. There is lots of variety with plenty of different clothing items and hairstyles to choose from to truly give your character a unique look!

Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield
Photo via Nintendo

Pokémon Camp:

Whilst on your Pokémon adventure, if you ever feel like spending some quality time with the Pokémon, you can just set up a Pokémon camp right then and there! You can play with your Pokémon while camping. In addition you can cook Curry. (I never thought I would say that in a Pokémon game!) All of this is to grow the bond between you and your Pokémon. You can even join other peoples Pokémon Camps through multiplayer and let your Pokémon play with each other.

Poké Jobs:

In the Galar region, many people will request your help. These are known as Poké Jobs. You can check available Poké Jobs at Pokémon Centers. The Pokémon you send to help out with the job will gain experience points. There are many different Poké Jobs. You’ll find that certain Pokémon types are suited for specific jobs. Doing Poké Jobs will be rewarding, and some quests may even give you rare items!

Poké Jobs
Photo via Nintendo

League Cards:

Pokémon Trainers can make League Cards for themselves. You can use the ”Card Maker” function at a Pokémon Center to customize your card. You’ll be able to change the background, the frame, your expression, your pose, and more! You can trade League Cards with other players during multiplayer link battles.

Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield
Photo via Nintendo

Version Exclusives:

Pokémon Sword & Shield will have version-exclusive Gym Leaders. In Pokémon Sword you will battle the Fighting trainer Bea, while in Pokémon Shield, you take on Ghost trainer Allister. Also, you will have version-exclusive Pokémon. For example, Sirfetch’d will appear in Pokémon Sword while Galarian Ponyta will appear in Pokémon Shield.

The Villians:

Team Yell is a group of troublemakers who appear all over the region. They will attempt to get in your way at every opportunity. They want nothing more than for Marnie to become Champion.

Rivals and Gym Leaders:

There will be a total of eight gyms in both games, but there will be three exclusive gyms for each version. You will also have to go up against three rivals throughout the game: Hop, Bede and Marnie.

New Characters:

Leon is the current Champion of the Galar Region and has never been defeated in an official Pokémon battle. My guess is that he will be the Final Boss for this game, the ultimate challenge! I look forward to going up against his Charizard!

Professor Magnolia is the Pokémon Professor of the Galar region. I reckon she is the one who will give you your first Pokémon.

Sonia is the granddaughter of Professor Magnolia. She looks set to be the tutorial character of the game, offering you tips and advice throughout your playthrough.

Let’s Talk About The Controversy:

Unlike other core Pokémon games, not all existing Pokémon will appear or be usable in Sword and Shield. Game Freak producer ”Junichi Masuda” announced the decision to limit the number of Pokémon in the games. He explained that they wanted to make the Pokémon more “expressive”, so to include all existing Pokémon would have greatly lengthened the development time. Because of this, only Pokémon that appear within the Galar Region will be transferable from previous titles via Pokémon Home.

Furthermore, he stated that the higher fidelity models had to be built from the ground-up, as simply transferring existing ones produced for the 3DS platform was not possible. This statement has been contested by the Pokémon Community who say that certain animations and models have been ported from the 3DS versions of Pokemon Sun and Moon. Recently #BringBackNationalDex and #GameFreakLied have trended on Twitter.

An example of of some of the missing Pokemon. However this list is not entirely accurate.

Fans did have hope that maybe the missing Pokemon will later be patched into the game, but Game Freak is sticking to their guns. Masuda states, “We now have no plans to make the Pokemon that are missing in the Galar Pokedex in-game available. That is an approach that we want to continue with Pokemon games in the future. Of course, up to now it has not been possible to encounter every Pokemon in every game, so people had to transfer it from old games via Pokemon Bank to the new game, for example.”

In Conclusion:

I personally don’t mind that not all of the National Dex is available. On the other hand, I am surprised that not all of the starters and legendaries will be accessible, as they have the most nostalgic values to the fans. I am nevertheless hyped to play this new main series Pokémon game. It’s very clear that a lot of content will be available. I would know; I just had to write about all of it 😉

Pokémon Sword & Shield will release on November 15, 2019. Pokémon Sword & Shield will take up 10.3GB of storage on your Nintendo Switch.

Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield
Photo via Nintendo

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