Pokemon Sword/Shield is a smashing success


Emma Thumann

The long-awaited Pokemon game Sword/Shield was released on Nov. 15, 2019. Many have had this game pre-ordered for up to six months, possibly even longer. The graphics may have gotten a HUGE upgrade, but how did the gameplay fare? Was the storyline good? How was a game without the National Pokedex, the one thing that had caused so much controversy before the game even came out?
Before the review, let’s go over what the National Pokedex was. After the player defeats the Elite Four in any Pokemon game, the Pokedex, used to track the Pokemon the player has caught so far, upgrades to the National Pokedex. This allows every and any Pokemon to be coded into the game, including the Pokemon in the region of the game. This has been in every single Pokemon game, except Sword/Shield.
So, let’s get into the review! Pokemon Shield seemed the better of the two because the mascot Pokemom of that specific game looked better. The shield, hence why the game is called Shield, was well-incorporated into the Pokemon, unlike in Sword, where the mascot was just a wolf with a sword in its mouth.
Who doesn’t love a rabbit pokemon? The fire starter Pokemon, Scorbunny, was an obvious choice. At the time this review was written, it is at level 23, so it has already evolved to Raboot. Personally, the middle evolution actually looks good, and that’s not to be taken lightly, because middle evolutions of starters have always looked awkward, and the coloring would always look off. However, it’s too human-like. When he walks around, his hands are in his sweatshirt pockets, a very human-like position. It’s final evolution, Cinderace, is supposed to be modeled after a soccer player, which is still pretty human-like.
The graphics are absolutely beautiful! They really outdid themselves with the intricate details of the surroundings. The outside of the player’s home was equally impressive, as it was covered in lush and vibrant greenery. Character customization definitely exceeded expectations, as there were definitely way more variations of clothing, hairstyles, accessories, and even makeup to dress them in. They even had an option to change the thickness of eyebrows!
What’s the most important thing about a Pokemon game? The Pokemon! They are definitely on the cuter side in this game, especially with the 3D graphics smoothing out the surfaces. One popular and quite adorable Pokemon is Yamper, an Electric type that looks just like a corgi! Instead of Mega Evolution or Z-Moves, there is now Dynamax, which allows the specific Pokemon to grow multiple times its size, with its stats greatly increased. What’s also different is that the player can “Gigantamax” any Pokemon they want to, which is unlike the previous “special” moves, as they had to be with very specific Pokemon.
What’s the most interesting is how well incorporated the player is in the cutscenes. They actually make different facial expressions, which is a huge difference compared to the previous games, when the player would just have a permanent smile etched onto their face. 
Personally, it’s not that big of a deal that Sword/Shield does not have the National Pokedex. Some players don’t care about completely filling out the Pokedex, but they care more about the storyline, or actually making their teams as powerful as they can get.
Overall, despite some criticism by old-timey players who miss the old days, Nintendo did an excellent job with the game.