Pokemon Sword & Shield Discussion RD: 15/11/2019 **Official news only**

Now for post game shenanigans:

Back at home. Sure, I got that vision of the Slumbering Weald, but I'm the new Champion! And with how big and important people treat the Champion in Galar, and after spending the last 7 generations of getting no more respect from becoming the Champion, I was ready to backtrack throughout the entire region and bask in the cheers and awes of my now adoring fans!

Oh, there's the "Science is amazing" guy, he has anything new? No, but that's alright, I wouldn't want him any other way. Let's see what's going on at Hop & Leon's house. Hm, both aren't here, but Leon left me a present: a Gigantamax Charmander! Neat! But I know what place is up next: Wedgehurst! They know how to cheer on a Champion. And they still do, just one problem: many are still cheering for Leon as they did at the start of the game. Only character that mentions I'm the Champion is the Pokemon Center Nurse and the Haircut Receptionist (though oddly not the Clothing Store Receptionist). Still, Wedgehurst I feel would have been one of the most simple places to update, so things already aren't looking good.

Sonia is nowhere to be found though Magnolia is in her house but she already gave me the Master Ball before I even left my house.

Wasn't expecting the Wild Area NPCs to change, though I was surprised to see every Pokemon in the Wild Area was now Level 60! Well, I guess I now know where I'll be training up all my other Pokemon to fill the dex. Not to mention I'm able to catch many higher level evolutions so don't have to grind their lower stages for long. Raid Battles though are mostly 5 stars with 4 stars also mixed in, and the single player partners haven't upgraded to keep up. I've tried online and did get one Raid with three other players, though another time no one joined me. Also, the game LAGS hard, I was scared my game had froze a few times. Unless you're doing strictly Raids I wouldn't suggest turning on the online (though I may try doing Trades later, is there anyway I can request a certain Pokemon?).

Anyway, Motostoke next and the only difference I can remember is a guy who told me to come back later when I was Champion. So, what did this guy needed me to be Champion to do? He's the Steel Beam tutor... really? Why even lock this off till post game?

I do the loop around to Turffield and Hulbury but nothing there. Hammerlocke maybe? Nope. Found a Beast Ball in Stow-on-Side, that's neat though would have liked this before catching Eternatus who looks like the only Pokemon that would make sense to put in a Beast Ball. Nothing in Ballonlea. Morimoto will battle you in Circhester in a double battle and using a Dynamax Snorlax, surprised he didn't use the Gigantamax version. Nothing for Spikemuth.

Wyndon both has some new things but also defaulted back for other things. Like all the trainers that were cheering for me right before the final match outside the stadium are back to being excited for Leon. However inside the stadium they're still cheering for me and there's even a kid who's excited to shake my hand so that's nice. Going over to Rose Tower, it's revealed Leon has turned it into this game's Battle Tower. Also, sudden Type: Null. Like, I'm glad I got it, but why? How? It's not like Gladion showed up and gave it to me, it was just a random Macro Cosmos staff member who gave it to me as congrats for becoming Champion. Is this a newly created Type: Null or was this the third one that Gladion said existed? Does that mean there's no more Type: Nulls?

EDIT: So turns out the Sword Dex entry for Type: Null reveals research notes were stolen to allow creation of more Type: Null/Silvally. It was probably Faba.

Well... that was disappointing. REALLY disappointing. I was genuinely hoping to finally have my character becoming Champion being treated as a big thing with people in the region actually reacting. Throughout the game they showed people getting excited when Leon showed up which got me excited to see the same thing happen for my character during post game. But no, GF couldn't even be asked to do that! I'm going to have to throw out the L work again: LAZY! GF this is super lazy, was changing a few lines of dialogue really too much to ask? *Sigh* Fine, I know where you want me to go, let's see how things go in the Slumbering Weald.


So in the Slumbering Weald I run into Hop who also got a vision to come here. We go to the alter to put back the Rusted Sword & Rusted Shield and Hop requests we have a battle. We have our battle and suddenly Professor Sonia arrives too, revealing she wrote a book about the two heroes and gives us a copy. Suddenly Sonia's Power Spot Detector goes off... and things get weird.

These two guys appear with incredibly stupid hair, one shaped as a sword and another shaped as a shield. The blue suit with the sword hair is named Sordward and the red suit with the shield hair is Shielbert. They claim to be Galar's new kings, the descendants of the hero of Galar, and furious that Sonia's book says the hero was actually two Pokemon. They're here to take the Rusted Sword & Rusted Shield to summon the Legendaries to truly see if the claims are true. They take the artifacts but Hop isn't having any of it and we take one each. I face Shielbert and defeat him, forcing him to hand over the Rusted Shield. However Hop lost against Sworward and both run off with the Rusted Sword. Hop chases after them while we go with Sonia back to her lab to figure out our next step.

At her lab we meet Sonia's new assistant and we're also told that all the leftover Wishing Stars that Rose had have been confiscated to brought to the lab for safekeeping. Anyway, Sonia has detected a power spot spike in Turffield stadium so we head over them. Inside we not only meet-up with Milo but also Piers, both were having a friendly match when suddenly a Dynamaxed Pokemon started causing havoc. Hop also comes running up, having lost track of the "Galar Kings". But we have to deal with the Dynamax Pokemon first so I, Hop, Milo, and Piers team-up to do a Raid. This is an awesome idea, though sadly they don't keep up with it as you'll soon read!

After beating the Pokemon that Milo takes guides back to its home, Sordward and Shielbert appear to insult us and revealed they're responsible for Dynamaxing the Pokemon. They reveal they want to see Zacian's and Zamazenta's true nature and plan on Dynamaxing more Pokemon, running off. Hop wants to chase after them but Piers stops him and says they'll possibly lead us into a trap, then reluctantly agreeing to come with us to hunt them down. Sonia meets us with us outside the stadium saying Halbury's and Motospike's stadium also had an energy spike. Piers gets worried about Spikemuth and Marnie though Sonia tells him there's no need to worry as Spikemuth isn't near a power spot. We head to the other stadiums and do Raids there, teaming up with their respective Gym Leaders.

Once done we get another call from Sonia, Sordward and Shielbert have appeared at the lab wanting the Wishing Stars. We head to the lab and both I and Hop have a double battle against the "Galar Kings", beating both of them. However it was just a distraction as Sonia's new assistant gives them the Wishing Stars, having been working(?) with them all along (BTW, the assistant is never given a name and it's not clear what he relation to the "Galar Kings" are, yet she's similarly dedicated to them like Oleana was to Rose). Sonia is upset at the betrayal but snaps back as the next 4 Stadiums are now having power spot spikes (Piers gets worry about Marnie and Spikemuth again only for Sonia to remind him they don't have a power spot, it's a running joke you see).

So, remember how cool it was that you're doing Max Raids with Hop, Piers, and the Gym Leader? Well this is when they drop the ball, for the next batch of Gyms we're told there are multiple Dynamax Pokemon so we have to do solo Raids. Only exception is Ballonlea where Bede had taken care of the Dynamax Pokemon so we instead have another battle with him. BTW, while this is all going on it's revealed the "Galar Kings" had run into the Hammerlocke power plant and closed the door and Sonia had been working to open it. Once you do all four of the Gyms you get a call from Sonia telling you to come back to Hammerlocke as she almost has the door open. Yes, she does this even if you're in Hammerlocke and she's just right down the hallway; GF there was ways around this, then again since you didn't do any of them I'm actually wondering if you even care?

Anyway, Sonia failed to open the door but her Yamper gives it a shock and it opens. Sad trombone. Inside we find the "Galar King" you take the artifact from (the one who represents the version you're playing) and a batch of his followers. He rants how they're the descendants of the true hero of Galar and the "old history" being better before starting a battle. Defeating him, the building begins shaking and the "Galar King" says he bought his brother enough time and lets us pass.

On the roof we see the other brother has summoned the other version's Wolf and empowered it with Wishing Stars, however instead of going crazy and attacking the city as they thought it would it attacks the "Galar King" instead. We step in and defeat the Legendary, but it then turns to attack Hop. However just then the Legendary Wolf for our version appears and stops it, forcing it away. Hop takes the stolen artifact and runs out of the power plant, meanwhile we then battle our wolf and catch it. After that the "Galar Kings" realized all the wrong they done and so Piers takes them into custody.

We then get a call from Hop that he's in Slumbering Weald with the other Legendary Wolf. We go to the Slumbering Weald to see that Hop was able to calm down the Legendary Wolf that he then captures! Well, I have a Legendary Wolf and Hop has a Legendary Wolf, so that only means one thing: one final battle with Hop using our Legendary Wolves! Now for the one using Zacian you just need to use the Fighting-type move it comes with to win as Zacian is faster then Zamazenta. If you're using Zamazenta, well it is the shield Pokemon so you'll be going on the defensive by healing it for the next 5 turns until Zacian runs out of Close Combats, but then you can use Behemoth Bash to knock it out.

And with that you win. Hop says he thinks he knows what he wants to do now that he doesn't have the goal of trying to beat his brother to become Champion. Hop liked helping Pokemon when they're in trouble so naturally decides to become a Pokemon Range... Professor! Yeah, that's what I was about to say, he decides to become a Pokemon Professor to help Pokemon. And he's in luck, Sonia is looking for a new assistant! We then end the post game story with Piers and Leon guiding the "Galar Kings" to us as they wanted to personally apologize to us and says their giving their royal title to us, then running off. And after some encouraging words from Leon we all go home. The End.


Gotta admit, wasn't exactly where I thought the postgame would go. It kind of felt shoehorned in and I didn't really find the "Galar Kings" that interesting. However, that's not to say there wasn't anything good. First off, I like that instead of catching the Legendary Mascot as part of the story they instead sort of give it its own post game story where you then catch it. I also like it in this case you start with a battle with Hop using your "normal" team and then bookend it with a final battle with Hop using the Legendary Wolves against each other (if you chose to do so, but why wouldn't you? That said one has the clear advantage against the other and kind of felt anticlimactic Shield players need to win by healing out Close Combat; Zekrom vs Reshiram this ain't). I also liked the Raid Battles with Hop, Piers, and the Gym Leaders but, as I said, they only do it for the first three Gyms.

Anyway after this it's pretty much the normal Pokemon stuff to do now. Filling the dex (& curry dex), challenging the Battle Tower & mini-Champion Cups... and I guess that's it. Some bonus stuff that open up after the post game story is you can find Sonia and Hop working in the lab, you can challenge Marnie in Spikemuth, and can find Oleana in the Galar Mines to get Rose's Rare Trainer Card.

Speaking of which, got a complaint about those. After helping out the Gym Leaders they all give you their rare Trainer Card. But they also say "call me anytime you need me", and since we just did a pseudo Raid I thought this meant that the Gym Leaders would be available to do Raids with! But nope, their words and empty and meaningless as you're still stuck with the now seemingly outclassed NPCs you had before (including the one that uses Magikarp, Pikachu, Eevee, Clefairy, and Togepi; or you're unlucky and get one who Pokemon is weak to the Raid Pokemon). It was disappointing as it would address one of the problems I had with Raids if we were able to get stronger NPCs to help us, even if we could only use them once per day.

Well, with that all now done, guess I'll look through the Trainer Cards and the concept art to see if there's anything of interest to mention. Not sure if I would post it here or another thread, have to see.
Actually, some of the NPCs, the ones that have a speech bubble but can’t press A, actually do acknowledge you as champion.

One thing that annoys me though is the Flower Shop in Turfield Stadium. The woman blocking it mentions Milo loves to Flower, but she is blocking the way. So I assume that once we beat Milo, we’ll be allowed in, but no, she just blocks the way for eternity. It just really annoys me that this building that clearly exists for the sake of flowering can’t be explored. It’s a reoccurring problem throughout the game, such as the cathedral in Hammerlocke.
 

Pikachu315111

JAPE Judge!
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Hey here's a minor thing I think kind of goes unmentioned because, well, there's so many bigger fish but pertains to Galar's history that Sonia outlines and bugs me
What is with the Hero statue

The game itself even brings this up as a thing. After you see the tapestries Sonia even comments "But if there were 2 heroes, why is the statue at the Inn only depicting 1?" as if it's some mystery, like a lost truth to galar. But nothing follows up on that, at all. The vault is public knowledge & studied. The hotsprings mentions heroes, plural, in its placard. And even in the post game there's nothing explaining it.The royal dweebs covered up the wolves, because they want their line to be the true heroes of galar, but have no mention of the statue; and they're twins and mention the original twin heroes so it makes little sense for them to cover up the wolves by having a single statue.

It's such a minor sticking point but it feels like there should be an explanation but just isn't unless I completely missed something. It probably wouldn't bug me as much if the game itself hadn't pointed out the contradiction.

Also dumb is you don't get to read Sonia's book
That's a very good point which has me having several thoughts:

1. First, I don't think the Royal Dweebs were responsible for the cover-ups, infact it sounded like they were convinced their ancestors were the heroes. All the cover-up happened during ancient times which raises a few questions on its own.

2. There's something about Sonia's conclusion that actually bothers me: it completely ignores the twin heroes presence. The tapestries are about them, when the mural in Stow-on-Side collapses and reveals the statues they're behind the wolves, and the Royal Dweebs I guess are proof they actually existed. Also, when Eternatus was causing Darkest Day 2, both wolves only appeared when Hop and the player used their relics and teamed up with us. That all tells me is that I think Sonia is wrong about her hypothesis, or rather it's not complete. The twin heroes were two humans, BUT what has been lost to time was that to stop the Darkest Day they required the power off Legendary Pokemon. Going back to the tapestries, we see the story unfold: the Darkest Day happens, the two heroes receive a Sword & Shield, they stop the Darkest Day and become royalty, and finally they put the Sword & Shield to rest. What that tells me is it did start with two humans seeking a way to stop the Darkest Day, gaining the assistance of Zacian and Zamazenta to stop it, however both wolves completely exhausted themselves and enter into a deep sleep. While at first the heroes, now kings, wanted to honor their comrades, they realized they wolves needed to be hidden away to fully restore themselves so began covering up their existence. The wolves instead we turned into symbols, a Sword & Shield, and the only statue depicting the wolves was hidden behind a thick slab of stone which was made into a mural so no one would want to knock it down.

3. And this all comes back to the statue. Why does the statue only depict one hero and not two? While this if obviously a fan theory, I'm going to guess the statue is maybe an early idea the twin kings were going to use to cover-up the wolves: it was a single being with a sword and shield that assisted the two heroes. But that would still hint to their being another being part of the story that people would want to seek out, thus was discarded yet the statue was never destroyed for some reason. It's an accidental hint that there's something wrong with the story about the twin heroes.

4. Another theory is that the statue is maybe symbolizing a third Pokemon that's connected to Zacian and Zamazenta, possibly one that combines their power together.

Unreadable Book: What I don't understand is why even make it an item if we can't do anything with it.


Speaking of catching, the pokedex was a lot less helpful than it could've been. Only shows one fixed area's recommendations as far as I can tell, and I don't know anywhere else to see encounters per area ingame. Early on I actually flew back to Route 1 just to catch Wooloo so it would update.
Yeah, earlier I praised the Pokedex for this but after running into this problem I take back that praise. Had it just told you the Pokemon still available to you in the area that you're in (and if you caught all the Pokemon in that location shows another locations you've yet to catch all the Pokemon in) that would have been fine, but it only focusing on one location (usually the Wild Area) drags it down. Habitat List/Den Nav still has not been adequately replaced.

Actually, some of the NPCs, the ones that have a speech bubble but can’t press A, actually do acknowledge you as champion.
I actually just discovered that today in Stow-on-Side and, while nice, I was hoping for more of the interactable NPCs to have new responses for the new Champion walking right up to them. You know, like how Leon being someplace caused the nearby NPCs to stop what they were doing and go "hey, that was the Champion"! The speech bubble NPC that said that for me just kept walking by, not as satisfying.

One thing that annoys me though is the Flower Shop in Turfield Stadium. The woman blocking it mentions Milo loves to Flower, but she is blocking the way. So I assume that once we beat Milo, we’ll be allowed in, but no, she just blocks the way for eternity. It just really annoys me that this building that clearly exists for the sake of flowering can’t be explored. It’s a reoccurring problem throughout the game, such as the cathedral in Hammerlocke.
Not to mention there was an entire city/town to Turfield, Motostoke, Hammerlocke, and Spikemuth yet you only got to explore one side of each.

In addition to the flower shop & cathedral, just in general there were many stands and storefronts that served no purpose. You could interact and get some flavor text what they were about, but that's all you could do. The ones which stood out to me the most was the Record stores (a storefront in Motostoke and a stand outside Wyndon stadium). With TRs being a think I thought maybe this was a place you could buy TRs with money or sell them for money/Watts but, no, those aren't the type or records they're talking about. Another stand outside Wyndon's stadium was one that sold Trainer Cards but there was nothing to get there.

Oh, and then there was the Restaurants which I recall their being 5 of. However, only in three do you battle in and it's only with the restaurant owner. The other two only exist for story purposes and outside of that a small fetch/delivery side quest in one of them which is post game (yet gives out what I consider a standard trainer item, the Lucky Egg). You couldn't have made any of these like XY's Lumiose restaurants, ORAS's Mauville Food Court, or Gen VII's Battle Buffet?
 
It's small, but this quote reminded me of another disappointment I had with the Gen 8 pokedex. No Search option. Seriously. This hit me when I wanted to look up Maractus's habitat to see if/where I could find one to trade in the Wild Area, looking inside the game for convenience. Now in a 3DS game, I would be able to search by type and filter the list down pretty easily. Here I had no idea what Galar dex number I was aiming for, and scrolling doesn't help when you need to read what you're looking for.

Fortunately I could still Sort the dex alphabetically (and use the internet), but searching the dex is one of those little things I liked to use and I really didn't expect this of all things to be changed. Apparently there was no searching in Let's Go either, though those only had Gen 1 and it looks like you could see a lot more pokemon on each page with the minisprites. I hope the gamefreaks don't make a habit out of this.

Bonus notes: You can fly from the dex's Habitat map! And it even has a different confirmation message + button label than the Town Map, though they use the same size textbox. Probably was too minor to change, but it stuck out to me just now. Wonder if it's different in other languages too.

Town map:
Would you like to call a Flying Taxi to take you
to [Town]?
(A) Go There


Pokedex:
Will you fly to
[Town]?
(A) Flying Taxi


There's another 'redundant' line like this in the Options menu, and probably some other places, though this one is noticeable because of a mistake. Pressing A to confirm says "Would you like to save these settings?", but changing an option and pressing B to leave says "Would like to save these settings?".
 
I bought Sword on the release date of November 15th and I beat the main story on December 8th. It took me a little more than 40 hours of playtime to complete the main story. As usual, I didn't rush through the game, I took my sweet time doing the things I wanted in my own tempo. I didn't really have a choice though, other things in life kept me from playing the game as much as I might have been able to otherwise. After beating the game, I have been playing around in the post-game for a bit, as well as writing on this post.

I wanted to post my thoughts about the game somewhere and it will be in this thread. There have been "experiences" threads for previous games, but there isn't one this time around. I thought about creating one, but decided not to. Instead, I decided to make my post here. I have a lot to say and I am going to say everything because I feel like it. Decided to structure this up and put everything in spoilers because this became very long. This will also contain spoilers in case there's anyone who hasn't beaten the game yet (but I guess most if not all people have beaten the game by now). I have not read through the majority of the previous posts in this thread, so I will very likely repeat a lot of things that others have said.

I will do some comparisons to older Pokémon games (obviously) and to the previous three big Switch games I have played, which are Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey and Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

Before the release of the games, I had decided to go into the game as unspoiled as possible. The Pokémon fandom isn't good at handling spoilers, which meant I had to take a hiatus from all the Pokémon and gaming sites I use as well as unsubscribe to the official Pokémon and Nintendo YouTube channels. The reason I did this was because I expected Nintendo and Game Freak to reveal 90% of the games before the release, just like they have done with all recent games starting from Gen 6. But I don't know if they actually did that this time around since I didn't look into most of the pre-release material (obviously) and I haven't done so afterwards either. I also expected the games to be leaked/datamined before the release (which of course happened), the fandom to spoil everything that was possible from there and then spread it around all around the internet before the official release. While I think the online Pokémon fandom has gotten better at handling spoilers during the 14 years I have been a part of it, we are still far from good at it. So I took a hiatus because I felt that I had no other choice if I wanted to go into the game as unspoiled as possible.

That said, going into the games unspoiled wasn't easy. I spoiled myself a bit more than I had planned to, I could have done a better job. If I decide to do something like this again in the future, I might try even harder. I had originally planned to go unspoiled from the second trailer and forward, but then I saw some things from E3 like Impidimp and Yamper. I also got spoiled for some other Pokémon that were revealed later such as Sirfetch'd, Cramorant and Galarian Zigzagoon/Linoone (and with that, Galarian forms). In addition to that, I got spoiled on Galarian Ponyta thanks to Equestria Daily making a big post about that little pony shortly after its reveal. That was very unexpected but I don't blame them for that. It was also a very unique situation as I think that makes Galarian Ponyta the first and so far only Pokémon I saw fan art of before seeing its official artwork or in-game model. I think I spoiled myself for some other Pokémon as well but those were more minor things that I don't remember exactly.

Looking back, I'm happy that I managed to avoid spoilers as much as I did because going into the game unspoiled made me enjoy it more when I played it. In comparison, I spoiled myself way too much for S/M as I knew almost everything about these games before their release, there were almost no surprises left to find in them when I played them. I also had way too high expectations on S/M which made them a bit disappointing when I played them since they weren't the games I wanted them to be. As for S/S, I had rather low expectations, which made me enjoy them more than I had expected.

My goal was to be done with US/UM before the release of S/S, and I managed to accomplish that as I completed the very last things I had left in US/UM on November 10th, just a few days before the release of S/S. However, I was not able to complete Xenoblade Chronicles 2 before the release of S/S. I decided to take a break from it and then go back to it once I feel done with Sword. I had hoped that I would be "done" with Sword soon, but it looks like I'll be playing it for a bit longer than I had originally planned.

Unlike how I have done in the past, I have not played any past Pokémon games besides Sword. As mentioned, I was done with US/UM before the release of S/S, and I really needed a break from them. I haven't even touched my 3DS systems since I completed US/UM, and while I'll probably return to the 3DS games for minor things in the future, it will not happen anytime soon. I haven't played any of the DS, GBA or GBC games alongside Sword either.

Regarding which game to get, I decided to get Sword. I got it because it is the "blue" version (when it comes to colors, I like blue better than red), swords symbolize offense which I prefer over defense, and I like Zacian a bit better than Zamazenta (but they are both awesome). I almost considered getting Shield instead after learning that Galarian Ponyta was exclusive to it, but I decided to stick to my original decision. I have also decided that Sword is going to be the only version I'm getting, I will not get Shield. I am not going to get a second Switch either. In the past, I have always bought both games from all pairs in the series, all the way from R/B up to US/UM. I have also always bought two consoles so I can trade between and connect my games without having to rely on someone else. But that is now a thing of the past, it will not happen anymore.

These games got another late release date just like all main series games since OR/AS, but I'm actually okay with that for once. November tends to be a very busy month for me, but it was rather calm this year. October was a lot more busy for me so it would have been worse if the games had been released during that month.

After hearing about Dexit, I reconsidered whether I should actually get the game at all. Dexit is a huge issue for me, it made me lose most of my hype and interest in these games. But after thinking about it for bit, I decided to still get Sword. I just wanted to play a serious main series Pokémon game on my TV, even if it didn't feature all old Pokémon. And now that I look back, I'm honestly very happy that I stuck with that decision.

Now to the actual game itself.
The Pokémon themselves are an integral part of every Pokémon game, so they deserve a section of their own.

I am extremely happy that I went into the game as unspoiled as I did. I loved seeing every new Pokémon that I hadn't seen before, always thinking to myself "What the heck is that?" when I saw a new one. This happened throughout the entire game. Even in the very last parts of the game, I still saw new Pokémon that I hadn't seen before. There are still some new Pokémon I haven't seen yet. Though I'm quite sure the only ones I have left to see are some of the new fossils as well as the evolution to Galarian Yamask. I'm not sure if I should spoil myself for them or try to obtain them on my own first.

For the third generation in a row, we got a lower number of new Pokémon. But for the first time, I'm okay with it. Unlike how it was for X/Y and S/M, I expected it this time around. I have gotten used to it at this point and I have accepted that we will never get 100 or more new Pokémon in a new generation again. There's also a lower amount of legendary Pokémon this time around just like in X/Y. But I think it is better this time around since the lore/backstory for the legendaries was handled better than in X/Y. And it seems like there are no Mythical Pokémon at all in this generation. That is very unexpected, but I don't really mind.

As for the new Pokémon themselves... I think the new Pokémon are really awesome, as new Pokémon always are. Some people may think otherwise, but I will always like and appreciate new Pokémon. While I have not seen all of them yet, I have already seen enough to determine that they are awesome. I like how there is the usual mix of cool, cute, weird, unexpected, unique, creative and interesting Pokémon. There are also some homages to Pokémon from older generations which I like as well. I always find the new Pokémon to be one of the best parts of a new generation, Gen 8 is no exception. I'm not sure which ones are my favorites from this generation, guess we'll see about that at a later point.

Then there's Galarian forms. I think these are really great and I find them much better on the whole compared to the Alolan forms. They are not limited to just Gen 1 and there isn't a single one which I feel neutral or negative towards. I like how they really manage to feel different from the original forms while also having a fair bit of resemblance to the originals. I also like how some of them evolve into entirely new Pokémon, that was unexpected but very cool, and I think it makes the Galarian forms feel more like new Pokémon as opposed to just new forms. I was very surprised that they added several new evolutions to old Pokémon after the extreme hate they got the last time they did that in Gen 4, but I guess it is different this time around since they only evolve from the Galarian forms.

My only complaints about Galarian forms are two of the issues I also have with Alolan forms: there are too few of them, and they could have been more different from the originals in terms of base stats. But on the whole, I feel more satisfied with Galarian forms than Alolan forms, and I'm happy that Game Freak decided to give regional variants another try instead of completely dropping the concept. As for my favorites from them, my top ones right now are Farfetch'd, Ponyta/Rapidash and Darumaka/Darmanitan. I have considered making two posts in the designs thread where I go over my thoughts on both Alolan and Galarian forms in more depth, not sure when or if I ever get around to it though.

I like how there are some new unique evolution methods, the most notable ones that I have found so far being those for evolving Milcery and Galarian Farfetch'd. Those were really cool.

Regarding the Pokémon that are available in the games and how they are distributed, I really like how there is less focus on the Gen 1 Pokémon this time around. I think the variation of Pokémon from the older generations is much better compared to how it was in Gen 7 which had way too much focus on the Gen 1 Pokémon. I'm also very happy about the large amount of Gen 5 Pokémon that are available in the games since I love Gen 5. I also love how you almost only get to see new Pokémon in the beginning of the game, that was the total opposite of S/M which had way too many old Pokémon in the beginning. S/S instead shows more old Pokémon once you get to the wild area, which I prefer over having them in the beginning like S/M did. The overall Pokémon distribution is really good, it feels more like X/Y than S/M, which is an approach I prefer. There are a few repeats regarding the distribution of certain Pokémon, but it is nowhere near as ridiculous as it was in S/M. The Galar Pokémon get their chance to shine in their own region, they don't suffer from Johto syndrome as hard as the Alola Pokémon did. I think they managed to showcase the new Pokémon pretty well, much better than what the Gen 7 games did.

The regional Dex is quite good but not perfect. I am a little disappointed by the fact that it only features 400 Pokémon in total, that's less than X/Y and only as much as US/UM, which means that it only tied as the second largest regional dex in the series. I had hoped that it would be larger. Though it still has great representation of all types and generations, so that's good.

I'm a bit surprised by some Pokémon that were included in the dex though. I really hadn't expected Type: Null and Silvally to be in the dex, those were a strange choice. From what I have understood, they are the only non-Galar legends you can get in the games without transferring from previous generations. I was also surprised that they included the Charmander line in the dex, but not the Bulbasaur or Squirtle lines. This is the first time they have included a single starter line from a generation as opposed to all three. Yes, I know that Charizard is popular, it is Leon's signature Pokémon and you can get the other two through transfer, but I still find it very odd.

As for my in-game team, I had originally planned to use 6 Pokémon just as usual. But I started getting overleveled after the third gym, so I decided to use more than just 6. I thought about using 2 teams, but there were so many Pokémon that I wanted to use! So I ended up using a total of 15 Pokémon, which means I used two and a half teams. The 15 Pokémon that my "team" consisted of were these: Cinderace, Thievul, Dubwool, Dreadnaw, Eldegoss, Alcremie, Hatterene, Barraskewda, Sirfetch'd, Flapple, Toxtricity, Copperajah, Grimmsnarl, Polteageist and Frosmoth. Out of these, Cinderace was the only one I had decided on from the start, the others just got added along the way. Regarding the team I used in the final tournaments and against the Champion (my "Champion team", as I call it), it consisted of Cinderace, Dreadnaw, Eldegoss, Hatterene, Toxtricity and Copperajah. I have a lot more to say about the Pokémon I used, but I'll save all of it for a post in the in-game team thread that I'm planning to make soon.
Gameplay is one of the two things I think is the most important in Pokémon games, so I have a lot to say here. What do I consider under "gameplay"? Almost everything. I think the thing gameplay measures is how fun the game is to play. A game with good gameplay is fun to play, while a game with bad gameplay is not fun to play. A lot of it is very subjective though.

To start with, I don't like how the Exp. Share is now mandatory as opposed to optional. Or to be specific, it isn't really an "Exp. Share" anymore since it isn't even an item. It is just there, giving Exp. to your entire party at all times, like it or not. I really don't understand why it couldn't have stayed optional like in Gen 6/7. As mentioned earlier, this made my team overleveled quite early in the game. I think it should have been optional like in Gen 6/7.

The level curve in the games was good on the whole. There weren't several sudden jumps like in the Gen 7 games, it progressed smoothly throughout the game. The only real jump was at the end of the game, first from the Finals tournament to Eternatus, and then to Leon. It might have been better for me if I had played with just one team, now it became a bit of a sudden jump. But on the whole, I found it way better than in Gen 7. The wild area is another exception I guess, but that's also okay since it was mostly optional.

I mostly played the game in docked mode (like I do with all my Switch games), and I am very happy that the game has support for the Pro Controller since I mostly use it while playing. And for the first time ever, I can play a main series Pokémon game on my TV! I didn't think this would ever happen, but here we are. I'm happy about it.

I also like how there are no mandatory touch or motion controls in the game. While those can be good if they are well executed, they do not need to be in every game. That said, I don't like the "minigame" in Pokémon Camp where you have to rotate the stick as quickly as possible, that feels too much like a thing from the past. I know that it can be avoided by using the joy-con instead, but I never got to do that since I mostly play with the Pro Controller.

It was a bit weird at first to play with just one screen as opposed to two. I had gotten used to having two screens after playing Pokémon games on the DS and 3DS ever since D/P were released in 2007. And after playing S/M and US/UM, I had gotten very used to having the map on the bottom screen and having it visible at all times when the Rotom Dex wasn't babbling endlessly. So it was a bit unusual to play with just one screen and to not see the map at all times. But I got used to it after a while.

I like the new encounter system. It is a huge step up from previous generations. Thanks to this new system, it is mostly up to the player when to encounter a Pokémon, not the game like it was in past generations. There is also a bit of surprise as you can encounter a wild Pokémon without knowing what you'll get, which is great if you want a surprise. That said, there's still room for improvement. I ran into wild Pokémon by accident many times, and sometimes they have ran into me. Though I suppose that can be avoided by using Repels. I have an idea for how to make the encounter system perfect, but I won't go into details since I guess that would count as wishlisting. I also like how some (usually stronger) Pokemon are roaming around in the overworld (outside of the grass), that's a really cool feature. Overall, I like the new encounter system. If they just improve it a little, it will be perfect. I hope they never bring back random encounters again because those were pretty bad in comparison, and they are very much a thing of the past.

I like how there is a Move deleter/relearner and nickname giver in every Pokémon Center. This is much better than having these in just one certain. And how you can access the ID-loto at the PC in every Pokémon Center as well, that was a great change since it meant it could be done at many places instead of just one like in previous generations. This actually made me use the Loto-ID almost every day compared to in previous generations where I rarely used it because it was limited to just one place. I also like how you can access the PC boxes at any place (with some exceptions). This feels like something they should have done long ago, but better late than never.

The games have no HMs which I think is great. Looking back, HMs were honestly a pretty awful feature and I'm very happy that they seem to be a thing of the past. The games don't have a Poké Ride either, and there are very few puzzles in the games. That's a bit of a disappointment, but I don't really mind since I don't really play Pokémon for the puzzles. It has also been very annoying in some previous generations when you have had to do certain puzzles over and over just to reach certain areas or specific spots again. I liked how "surfing" was tied to the bike this time, allowing you to just continue right over the water instead of having to use a HM or a Poké Ride to continue. I also like how they have removed the Dowsing Machine and instead made "hidden" items visible in the overworld.

I thought the way they set up the Gyms and the Gym Challenges were pretty fun. At first, it seemed like the Gym Challenges were a combination of Trials and Gyms, then I realized that they were just a somewhat more glorified version of the Gym puzzles from previous generations. But that's okay. I think several of the challenges were cool, such as catching wild Pokémon in the Fire Gym or playing a minigame in the Fighting Gym. I also liked the 8th gym a lot. The challengers and the leader all battled in Double battles and they used weather-based strategies. That's really cool. And it is the second time since the Hoenn games where a Gym Leader fights in Double battles in their initial battle. I also like how the leader used a Sandstorm-themed team rather than a mono-type team.

I like the way they set up the final battles. While I think the Elite Four has always been a cool concept, I like how they tried something new for once. First battling the rivals, then taking part in a tournament with all the Gym Leaders, and then getting to fight the Champion, that was really cool.

Regarding the difficulty of the game, it was the same as all previous Pokémon games bar Gen 7 with Exp. Share turned off. Mostly easy but a little tough here and there. As mentioned, I had to train more than 6 Pokémon in order to not get overleveled, but I was still overleveled throughout most of the game despite using 15 Pokémon that I switched around. The only time I got underleveled was during the last parts of the game. First against Eternatus, and then against Leon. I still beat Leon on my first attempt thanks to type advantages and using the best strategies I could think of. But that was one of the tougher Champion battles I have had in a while.

I also liked how you can't catch Pokémon above a certain level tied to how many badges you have, preventing you from catching something ridiculously strong and then just breaking the rest of the game with it. And it seems like after you beat the game, everything in the wild area is suddenly at level 60 or 65?. That was weird but I don't really mind, it just means that training is going to be pretty easy, at least up to level 70 or a little bit higher.

I think Dynamax is a pretty cool feature, and it was quite well handled throughout the game. They don't really explain it, but using it on your own makes it simple enough. It feels like it is both Mega Evolution and Z-moves at once, and while that's okay, I still miss those two features. I like how Dynamax is mostly restricted to certain areas, which prevents you from using it whenever you want for an unfair advantage against opponents who can't use it. I also think it looks really cool when you make one of your Pokémon bigger than usual. I tried a few battles in the wild area dens, but not that many. I get the feeling that they are more enjoyable if you are playing together with others since the AI partners you get can be very bad and unreliable. I don't really like how it creates more unfair battles since the wild Pokémon can get shields as well as attack several times in a single turn. But I guess it is a unfair for both sides, so maybe it is fair in the end? The three-turn limit for Dynamax is a little annoying but I guess it's okay since it might have been too overpowered otherwise. And this can be used as a strategy as well, waiting for the opponent's Dynamax to wear off. So that's fine.

I think Gigantamaxing wasn't very well handled though. As far as I remember, the games never explain what it is or how to achieve it. Other trainers just start using it all of a sudden without any backstory or explanation. I never got to use it during the main story and I still don't know how to use it, guess I'll try to find out now that I have beaten the game. I know that the Pokémon that can Gigantamax get a different form when they do so, but I haven't looked into their new forms that much so I'm not sure which ones are my favorites. And I'm not sure if there are any real advantages to Gigantamax. Apart from the form difference, it seems like the Gigantamaxed Pokémon also get a unique Max Move? I guess that's cool.

Regarding the multiplayer features, I can't say anything about them since I don't have Nintendo Switch Online and I don't know anyone who lives close to me who also has a Switch and one of the games, so I haven't had the chance to give them a try.

I was rather surprised to see that the game doesn't have a capture tutorial. I thought they would since all past games have had one. I don't mind this since it makes no difference for me, but I was very surprised. If I were to guess, the game makes some kind of check early on, and if you have already caught at least one Pokémon at that point, they skip the capture tutorial. At least that's my guess. I also remember that at some point early in the game, you were given Poké Balls without anyone telling you. That was a little annoying.

One other thing that I like is how they have added an option to skip cutscenes this time around. While that's not something I utilized myself, I think it is really good since there were a lot of complaints about the unskippable cutscenes in the Gen 7 games, so it is good that they have listened to the criticism and made them optional this time around. The games also have the option to auto-save, but it is fortunately optional. It would have been rather bad otherwise if you are soft-resetting for legendaries or something and the game auto-saves immediately after the capture.

Next up, the Galar region. I think it's pretty good on the whole. Not the best region in the series, but not the worst either. I like how it has many different and varied environments, that is one thing I think is very important for Pokémon regions and Galar delivers here. Regarding the region map, I find it to be very inefficient and not very helpful compared to the great maps we got in the Alola games. It is definitely a step down. Though I guess it isn't quite as important this time around since there isn't a second screen to see it on all the time, and the map isn't all that necessary in these games either.

I find Galar to be very linear on the whole (apart from the wild area). I was unexpectedly surprised by this. While I am in the minority that doesn't really mind linearity in the Pokémon games, I think it felt weird compared to the other Switch games I have played as they are all a bit more open (but in different ways). Sword felt very linear in comparison. And it doesn't have a lot of optional areas along the way (again, apart from the wild area), which is a shame.

Unfortunately, most areas and cities in the game feel really small. There are also so many buildings that you can't enter, and several buildings and things in the background that you can't even reach! I can't help but compare the areas and cities of S/S to the cities and areas of BOTW and XC2, which are much larger. Even the largest cities in S/S like Wyndon and Motostoke feel rather small. However, S/S do have more cities and towns compared to BOTW at least, so that's something. Several of the later routes also felt bigger than the earlier ones. But I feel that there is potential for bigger areas and cities. I guess they focused so much on the wild area that the other areas in the games got left out here. I wanted to compare the biggest city of Galar to London after my short trip to London earlier this year, but there isn't really much to compare it too. Wyndon feels so small. The only really notable thing I noticed is that Battle/Rose Tower is based on The Shard (at least I think so), that was unexpected but very cool.

Then there's the wild area. I think it as pretty good on the whole. I didn't like it the first time I went into it since I ran into several Pokémon that were at 10-15 levels higher than my team, I couldn't really do anything against them but run (by using Poké Dolls). It was more enjoyable the second time I entered it though. Having a stronger team and the bike made the whole thing much better. I liked exploring the wild area, finding so many new Pokémon at every corner. As well as hidden items. I think the wild area could have been even better if it had been a bit more linear and if it had been more clear that even random grass Pokémon could be at considerably higher levels than you, but it was still quite good on the whole. I wish it had had more trainers to fight though, and the same goes for the game on the whole. It feels like several routes had very few trainers to battle. I also think the game should have had a free camera everywhere, not just in the wild area. It felt weird to not have a free camera everywhere, mostly because I am so used to it from the other Switch games I have played. This did allow them to hide some items that would have been easy to spot with a free-moving camera, but I don't really care much for that. A free camera everywhere would have been better.

The Watt system is quite good too, farming Watts was easy enough. And it seems like the amount you receive from the dens increase by quite a bit after you have beaten the game, which is good. I don't really like the TM and TR system though. It feels like most good moves are TRs while the bad or mediocre ones are TMs (especially early on), and the TRs can only be used once. While this arguably makes the games more balanced, I miss having an infinite use for all moves. Technically you still have that, but now you have to obtain the TR in question over and over if you want to use it multiple times. That would be okay if it wasn't for the fact that which TRs you get seem to be extremely random and there's nothing you can do to affect it (unless you can in some way that I haven't found out about yet). So in my opinion, that was a bit of a step back. However, I do like several of the moves that have been made into TM and TR moves that weren't TM or MT moves in previous generations. The most notable ones are the Terrain moves, Nasty Plot, Dragon Dance, Close Combat, Aura Sphere, Power Gem and Play Rough. And maybe others that I'm missing.

Next, Pokémon Camp. I'll admit that I didn't use it that much, but I feel that it is a step down from Pokémon Amie/Refresh. I found those to be more fun on the whole, I liked playing with my Pokemon as well as petting and feeding them. They also had a "progress bar", allowing you to see how high affection you had for each Pokémon, something that Camp is lacking (at least I haven't been able to find it anywhere). The interactions in Camp feels a bit limited compared to how you could interact with your Pokémon in Amie/Refresh. The cooking is also okay, but as said earlier, I dislike having to spin the control stick. And the name of the food... curry. It feels a bit weird. While I appreciate that they gave it a special name instead of just generically naming it "food", I think it should have been named something else. In the end, Camp is okay but it feels like a step down.

The Pokedex is also a bit of a step down compared to the previous games. In gen 7, there were separate buttons for "action" and "cry", but in S/S they have been lumped together into one. I don't like that, I think they should have stayed separate. Gen 7 also had the option to zoom in on the Pokémon models in the Pokédex, something that S/S are lacking. I also wish the Pokedex had been separated into sub-categories like the Kalos and Alola dexes were. It feels like that is necessary to get a somewhat better overview when you have a regional dex that contains 400 Pokémon. So the Pokedex is also a bit of a step down.

I get the impression that the games takes a fair bit of inspiration from Pokémon Go, which I can't say I'm very happy about. The Dynamax Dens feel like they are inspired by raids, and S/S have these new Exp. Candies which feel like they have been inspired by Go and the endless amount of candies found in that game.

There are also the Poké Jobs, which I think are similar to the Merc Missions from XC2 (but also different). I tried them a little and some of them give a ton of Exp if you go for a whole day. That's cool, but I don't think I'll focus that much on them.

I like how the games don't have a lot of focus on Gen 1, unlike way too many other recent main series games. While Gen 1 gets a bit of references (and probably more than any of the other old generations), it isn't anywhere near as ridiculous as it was in Gen 7, and the word "Kanto" isn't mentioned a hundred times during the main story. There are also a much better mix of Pokémon from the older generations, Gen 1 doesn't even have the highest representation in the regional dex! It feels a bit more similar to X/Y, which had several Gen 1 references but they were never as absurd as Gen 7 was. S/S are even better than X/Y in some ways regarding this. And Galarian forms are not limited to just Gen 1. So I'm very happy about that. I really hope that LGP/LGE were the last time they went all out to have such extreme focus on Gen 1.

One returning feature that I like is character customization. Always a good thing to have, even if I didn't use it that much this time around. One thing I think has improved from Gen 6/7 is the haircut feature. Now, you get to see a preview of how your character will look before you make the choice, something that didn't happen in Gen 6/7. Then they tied the eye colors to this as well, which is okay. So that's an improvement. I also like how the player character has a lot more facial expressions during the story here compared to the blank smile they almost always had in Gen 7.

I got a bit confused by how the day/night system in the game works. It seemed to be limited to just the wild area (in terms of visuals at least) during the main story. What you did and where you were during the story seemed to affect it more than the actual time did. It seems like it affects all areas regularly after you have beaten the game though. I don't really mind this, but since the visuals for the day/night system have been following the console clock since Gen 4, I was surprised to see that it didn't during the main story this time around.

Regarding version differences, it seems like I made the right decision in getting Sword since it has more Pokémon I like over their Shield counterparts. The main ones are Galarian Farfetch'd, Sirfetch'd, Mawile, Gothitelle, Scrafty, Braviary, Galarian Darumaka/Darmanitan, Hydreigon, Kommo-o and Zacian. From Shield, the only ones I like better or equal to their Sword counterparts are Galarian Ponyta/Rapidash and Ludicolo. So I definitely made the right choice here. It also seems like some of the Gym Leaders differ depending on which game you play, that's really cool. I got to face Bea and Gordie instead of Allister and Melony. Though I can't say which ones I prefer as I have only played Sword and I pretty much need to face them in the game in order to determine which ones I like the best, so no opinion there. That said, I think they could have at least included the Gym Leaders you didn't get to face in both games, have them appear without getting to battle them like they did with Drayden/Iris in B/W. Or maybe just give them small cameos or something. It also seems like some Gigantamax forms are version exclusives, but I haven't looked into that so no opinion there either.

Early after the release, I read that there is some sort of glitch tied to the games which can make them corrupt your SD card (if you have one). That made me a little scared but I have checked and it seems like my SD card is safe. This seems to mostly be an issue for those who has digital copies of the games, and it seems like it is tied to the game saving too often with the auto-save function. I have a physical cartridge, but I turned off auto-save soon after hearing about this just to be safe. Still, it was a bit scary to read about. I really hope they can patch or fix this issue in some way (if they haven't done so already, I haven't really checked). Though it wouldn't have been that much of an issue for me anyway since I don't think I have that much stuff saved on my SD card, I have physical cartridges of all of my big games.

I like most of the music in the game. As usual with music in the Pokémon games, there are some good and some bad tracks, but I think there are way more good than bad. Some of my favorite tracks are the Gym Leader battle theme, Marnie Battle theme, Slumbering Weald and the second theme in the wild area (which also plays at some of the later routes). Another great soundtrack on the whole.

I think some of the sound effects are a bit outdated though. For instance, the sound effect for healing is the same as they have been using since Gen 3! I remember hearing it for the first time when I played R/S in 2003... and it is still being used. There are others that feel old too such as the sound effect for when a super effective move hits, it has also been used since Gen 3. And some moves like Hyper Beam and Psychic are still using the Gen 1 sound effect. While I thought this was okay in Gen 6, they have been doing it for three generations in a row now. That's way more than enough. I think they should take advantage of the Switch's hardware and make a lot of new and advanced sound effects instead of just re-using the old sound effects over and over.

The games have made some changes to older Pokémon and moves. I was very surprised when I used Rapid Spin for the first time in the game and it boosted my Speed. Did not expect that. It also seems like Aegislash got nerfed a bit, which is a bit sad but also understandable since it was really powerful in previous generations. Some Abilities have been changed as well, such as Synchronize now working 100% of the time (except against legendaries, which I learned the hard way when I was catching Zacian) and Moody no longer affecting Accuracy and Evasion. And some moves have been removed completely, such as Hidden Power. That one in particular is something I welcome since I always thought that Hidden Power made past generations unbalanced, giving special attackers access to coverage they weren't meant to have. Return and Frustration has also been removed which I find a little sad but it is also understandable. Two moves that I am not happy about being removed are Signal Beam and Silver Wind. While a stronger alternative exists in Bug Buzz, I think those should have stayed. One other move I miss is Sky Uppercut, that was a move I really liked since I always thought it was pretty cool. I am also surprised that it seems like several signature moves are still in the games (most notably for legendary and mythical Pokémon), despite the Pokémon themselves not being available in the games. I wonder why those weren't removed, why keep the moves in the game if you can't even bring a Pokémon that can use them without using Metronome? For instance, what's the point of Seed Flare being in the games if you can't even get a Shaymin? There are a lot of other changes and removals too, but those are the ones that stood out the most to me. I could write more about this, but I won't. I'll just say that apart from some good removals like Hidden Power and some "useless" moves like Bide and Rototiller, I'm not sure what they were trying to accomplish by getting rid of most moves they removed. They could have done a better job.

Some new moves and items are very welcome. I really like Spirit Break, Fairy finally got another Physical move! Except, it is a signature move for Grimmsnarl... that's not so good (unless you are Grimmsnarl). I also highly approve of the Nature Mints. A "Nature effect changer" is something I have wanted to see for a while now, and I am happy that it is here. Those means that it is less important to get the right Nature on legendaries, it means my Eternatus and Zacian can still be useful despite not getting good Natures.

Unfortunately, there are also removed features and some features that I am missing. I really miss a quick-exit button like the red "X" in Gen 5/6. That was something I missed in Gen 7 as well, and it is still something I want back. I especially miss it after playing XC2 which has just such a feature.

I miss Poké Pelago (or something with a similar function), that was one of my favorite features of Gen 7. While the Poké Jobs here are a bit similar, they feel like a step down in comparison.

I also miss the National Dex. It was one of the things I missed the most in Gen 7, and that still stands here in Gen 8. At this point, I might as well accept that it is never going to make a return to the series. Sword might very well become the first Pokémon game I own where I won't even bother with completing the Regional Dex, but I haven't made a final decision yet.

On to more positive stuff. Things I definitely don't miss and that I'm happy that they removed! First and most obviously, I am very happy that the Rotom Dex isn't babbling endlessly like in US/UM. The Rotom in the Dex here is mostly quiet which is excellent, just like any Rotom should be if you ask me. This was definitely an improvement after the atrocious disaster it was in US/UM.

I am also very happy that they removed the SOS mechanics. Those were one of my least favorite features in the series, and I hope they never return. Though I guess they will in the S/M remakes, but that's far into the future so it is nothing to worry about now. The removal of the SOS mechanics means that I won't have to worry about wild Pokémon randomly making SOS calls for partners, so that's good.

Lastly, I want to say something about Dexit. Even after playing through Sword and enjoying it, I am still unhappy about Dexit. I won't say anything more here though, I'm planning to make a post in the Dexit thread about my thoughts on it as well as which of my favorite Pokémon were excluded and included. I also miss Mega Evolutions and Z-moves, they were two really cool features. I know that Dynamax/Gigantamax is essentially both of them mixed together into one, but I still think they should have been kept.
After Gen 7, I do no longer consider the story and characters of the Pokémon games to be that important anymore. But I wanted to share my thoughts on them anyway. I generally consider the story in Pokémon games to be a gameplay element, so this is tied to gameplay even if I gave it a section of its own.

On the whole, I liked the story. I think going into it mostly unspoiled was a good decision, just like I didn't spoil myself for most of the new Pokémon. I liked how the main focus this time was about you and your goal of beating the Gym Challenge and getting to battle the Champion as opposed to having the evil team and/or legendaries taking up a lot of the focus. The story was a bit more simple and not as over-the-top as the story in Gen 7, which was a nice change of pace. I like how the "evil team" was reduced to being nothing but a joke this time around, that was funny and very well done. I like Team Yell a lot just like I liked Team Skull in Gen 7. I also like how the legends and the lore was more of a side-plot which was still important but didn't get the full focus. I think that was mostly well handled, though some things could have been a little better such as how the darkest day was tied to Eternatus.

I like the legendaries and their part in the story. We get to face the cover legend in its fractured form in the beginning of the game, then their backstory were gradually being built up throughout the game, which was awesome. When I played through the game, I theorized that the legendary was in its fractured form without its item (Sword or Shield) and that later turned out to be correct! So that was really cool.

My only real disappointment with the story is the ending and the climax, which could have been handled better. I can think of a few different ways to make it better. Like having more build-up for Eternatus, and make Rose's reasoning a bit better, or maybe have him awaken Eternatus by accident instead of on purpose? Or they could just not have included Rose, Oleana and Macro Cosmos in the last part of the story at all, Eternatus could have awakened on its own or something. The story would just need a little fix to be among the best in the series, but as it stands, I think it is still pretty good. That said, I think the ending was good in other ways. I loved teaming up with Hop and the cover legends to fight against Eternatus in a Dynamax-like battle. That was awesome, and while it was an unfair fight, it was at least unfair for both sides. I find it much better than the Ultra Necrozma fight in US/UM. I am as always not a fan of forced legendary captures during the story, and Eternatus was so unexpected (I thought I would get to catch Zacian). At least I assume you must catch it, I didn't try to not catch it. They saved the capture of the cover legend for the post-game, which I'm okay with.

There are two more things that I think can be improved in terms of story. First of all, voice actors. At least in the "big" cutscenes, and in some other notable scenes like when Piers is making his performance before the Gym battle. It felt very empty to watch that in silence, without any voices. And on the whole, the games felt very empty and silent without voice actors. I think the other Switch games I have played (XC2 in particular) have spoiled me a bit regarding that. I also wouldn't mind if they got rid of the "silent protagonist", I think that's one other thing they need to remove now if they really want to step up their storytelling.

Next up is the characters. Like with the story, I think they were good on the whole. First of all, I really like Hop, he is what I consider an ultimate rival. A guy who is competitive and competent without being a total jerk. He is friendly and he has his ups and downs throughout the game. You get to battle him a lot of times and he even changes his original team at one time, that's interesting. I like how Hop picked the starter that is weak towards yours (as has been the norm for one rival since Gen 5, and for the main rival since Gen 7), while Leon took the one that is strong against yours and used its final evolution during the Champion battle. I also like how Hop gets to catch the opposite cover legend during the post-game story, and how he decides to become a Pokémon Professor. That was rather unexpected. On the whole, Hop is definitely among my favorite rivals in the series. I'd even say he's a candidate for my very top favorite rival, but that honor still goes to Bianca.

I also like Marnie, she was a great secondary rival. A little less friendly than Hop, but not a jerk. She was a good mix of cute and edgy. I like how she has her own cheering squad in the form of Team Yell and how her big brother is a Gym Leader. I wish you had gotten to battle here more times during the main story though. Then there's Bede. I don't like jerk rivals that much, but I feel that he was better done than Blue and Silver. He also grows a bit during the story, becoming a bit more friendly towards the end which is excellent. And he takes over after Opal as the Ballonea Gym Leader, that's really cool. That said, his story arc could have been better, and he is my least favorite out of the S/S rivals.

The Gym leaders were pretty good too. All of them have some kind of quirk which makes them memorable, and you can get some more info and backstory about them by reading the back of their league cards. Plus even more from getting their rare cards after beating the game. They taught me some interesting info. For instance, I had no idea that Nessa was also a model in addition to being a Gym Leader. Not sure who my favorite Gym leader is though. I think Leon was a really great Champion, he was cool, strong and mostly serious, ready to save the region when it was necessary while also having a bit of a comical side with his terrible sense of direction. I thought he lived up to his title as the Unbeatable Champion since I had a very tough battle against him in the end. Professor Magnolia didn't have a particularly big role in the games as Sonia was the one doing most of the work, but that's okay. I enjoyed following Sonia's story from an explorer and aspiring researcher to taking over her grandmothers job as the new Professor in the end of the game. I also liked the small bits about her backstory and how she and Leon were rivals when they were younger.

I thought Rose, Oleana and the Macro Cosmos could have been handled a bit better though, at least during the end of the game. Their roles in the story before that was better, but there should have been more buildup before that. Especially for the Macro Cosmos on the whole, it feels like they just appeared out of the blue and then they were never seen again. An alternative could have been to not give them such a big part (relatively speaking) in the story at all. In the end, I felt a bit sorry for Rose. In my eyes, he was a misunderstood person. He only wanted to do good things to benefit the region, but he almost ended up bringing a disaster to it instead. While the overall execution of him and his actions could have been better, I still thought it was okay in the end.

On the whole, I found the story and the characters in the game to be very satisfying. Not the best in the series, but still very good.
Another thing which I don't think is that important in Pokémon games (and in video games in general), but seeing as there has been a lot of discussions about the graphics in the games, I thought I'd share my thoughts about it as well.

In general, I liked the graphics in the game. I was even impressed with them, to my own surprise. I didn't expect them to be mind-blowing like with BOTW or Odyssey, but they almost were. The games looked a lot better than I had expected after seeing the pre-release images and trailers, which usually happens (this usually happens for me regarding graphics in video games, I don't know if this is just me). The graphics in the game was so vibrant and colorful, I love it! Though I think the game looks a lot better in docked mode than in handheld mode. I feel the same about XC2, but not about BOTW or Odyssey which I think look awesome in both modes. I think both the overworld and the Pokémon models look great, the Pokémon models look much more vibrant and colorful in HD than on the 3DS. Some move animations are really cool too, such as Trick-or-Treat and Grav Apple. It feels like signature moves and late-game moves got the better animations while the early-game moves look more simple. I also noticed very little slowdown and errors while I played the game. It happened at a few occasions, but it wasn't to the point that it bothered me.

That said, the graphics aren't perfect. There are some issues I noticed. Because of the lack of a free camera and no walls in certain houses, it looks like some areas have "black holes", where there is just emptyness. One very notable example is the right side of the bottom floor in the Professor's lab. I don't remember having this issue in previous games. Having a free camera at all places and adding walls in all houses would have made that look less awkward. There's also the issue with some NPC character faces looking "flat" despite being in 3D. For instance, the Police Officers. Though this isn't something new as I noticed the same thing with some characters in Gen 7, like the cooks. And yes, there are some things that doesn't look all that good like certain trees in the wild area. But I'm not going to spend all my time with the game looking at the trees, I'd rather play the game and appreciate the good-looking parts of the graphics. Lastly, I was also a bit annoyed by certain moves where the entire screen goes completely white, like Synthesis and Dazzling Gleam.
I said that there are two things I consider to be the most important in Pokémon games, and gameplay is one of them. The other one is content. And post-game is a part of that, so those two are intertwined. I won't have that much to say here though, mainly because I have just recently started on the post-game, and I'm not planning to play it as seriously as I have done in previous generations. It will be a different experience compared to the past.

My impression of the post-game is that it is on the same level as X/Y and S/M. Which means that it is a bit lackluster and not extremely good, but not the worst in the series either. It seems like there's little to no new areas to explore, which is a shame. At least I can't find anything new on the map or anywhere in the game at all. I think having a large new area to explore is something all first pairs should have, the two that did this the best are D/P and B/W. But even smaller areas like what X/Y and S/M had would be appreciated. The post-game also feels like a pretty big step down compared to US/UM which I thought were the best in terms of post-game and content of the 3DS Pokémon games.

There was a post-game story, which was expected since it has been the standard since Gen 4. I have played through it and I enjoyed it. Teaming up with Hop, Sonia and the Gym Leaders against Sordward and Shielbert as well as various Dynamaxed Pokémon in the Gyms was quite fun. I also got to catch Zacian towards the end, and then have a final battle against Hop who had Zamazenta on his team. So that was fun.

I'm a bit curious about the training spots in the game. That might determine how much I'll keep playing the game, good training spots means more playtime, bad ones mean less playtime. I know that finding wild Pokémon at level 60 or above in the wild area will give pretty decent training at least, but I really hope there's some efficient way to rebattle trainers as well. There doesn't seem to be one though, which is a shame. I know that there are alternate leveling methods like the Poké Jobs and the Exp. Candies, but I have always liked being able to battle strong trainers for large amounts of Exp. That was one thing I really liked about previous generations, they did that so well. Things like the PokeNav and Secret Bases in Hoenn, the VS. Seeker in FR/LG and the Sinnoh games, the Nimbasa Stadiums and Black Tower/White Treehollow in the Unova games or the Battle Chateau in Kalos. How I miss features like this! I missed them already in Gen 7 which had pretty bad training spots.

It seems like you can at least rebattle Morimoto once a day like in Gen 5 and 7. Though it is questionable how good of a training spot that actually is since his team is quite strong and designed to be a bit of a challenge, you also get to battle him in Double Battles which I find tough since my teams are designed with Single Battles in mind. There's also a daily rematch against Marnie which is great, even better because I get to hear her awesome battle theme as often as I like. Then there's also that Pokémon Breeder in the wild area who can be rebattled once a day too it seems, though she also seems to appear in random places which is annoying as that means I have to find her first. If there aren't any better training spots than these, I'll probably not spend a lot of time training Pokémon in this game.

Then there's the Battle Tower. I haven't given it a try yet, but from what I have heard, it has been nerfed pretty hard compared to previous Battle Facilities. As a Battle Facility enthusiast, this saddens me a bit. But I'm not completely let down by it. While I like battling in Battle Facilities, I wasn't sure if I would continue with it in this generation. I sort of lost a bit of my interest in Facilities after beating the Battle Tree and Battle Agency in Gen 7. I think it became too exhausting for me in the end, and now that I have less free time compared to what I had in past, I wasn't sure how to do. But now that the Battle Tower is what it is, I will give it a bit of a try. Not sure how seriously I'll try it, but a little at least.

Completing the Pokédex is another thing that can be done. I have considered completing the Galar Dex, and I have already over 200 Pokémon registered, so I'm over halfway done. There is an issue here though. I have no good way to get the Shield exclusives, as well as certain trade evolutions that I'm not sure if they can be caught in the wild. I don't know anyone who lives close to me who has a Switch and one of the games, nor do I have Nintendo Switch Online and I'm not sure if it is worth getting. Sword is one of the few Switch games I have that is compatible with Online (I think the only other one is the Balloon World minigame in SMO, and while that seems fun, it is something I can live without). However, I got a mail from Nintendo where they offer me a free 7-day trial of Nintendo Switch Online, so I will activate it and get as much as possible done during those 7 days. I really want to get the other two starters and several Shield exclusives. Beyond that, I'm planning to at least obtain all Galar Pokémon and Galarian forms that I can get without trading, then I might also try to get the rest of the dex that I can get as well.

I have also considered playing through the main game of Sword at least twice more so that I can try each starter once during a playthrough. Not sure about it though. And if I do, I'll probably just do a very casual playthough, mostly trying out new Pokémon.

Apart from that, I'm not sure what more I'll do with the game. I'll probably quit playing once I'm done with my current plans on Sword and go back to playing XC2 again.
Will I get any more new Pokémon games after this? Maybe. I'm not sure. It depends a bit on what they turn out to be like.

The one thing that determines if I'll get any more new games are which Pokémon will be in the games. If they release a new game that has either all Pokémon, or at the very least all Pokémon that aren't in S/S, then I'll get that game for sure. If not... then they really need to convince me that the game is worth getting. One other thing that I'm interested in is of course new Pokémon. A new generation is something I might consider getting, but if they only add a few more new Pokémon like in US/UM, I'm not so sure. For the moment, I feel rather satisfied after playing Sword. I wanted to play a main series game on my TV... and I got to do that, even if it doesn't have all Pokémon. Now I don't need another new Pokémon game for a while. While we probably won't get another new main series game until next year anyway, I have a lot of other Switch games I want to play. I would also not mind if they took a break from the yearly releases next year, but I guess that's not going to happen.

And this new approach to the series might not be so bad after all. Before S/S were officially announced, I said at one point that I would be less of a hardcore Pokémon player starting from Gen 8. And that still stands. Even more now with the current state of the series. Becoming more of a casual player as the series are going in the same direction and as I have less free time compared to in the past feels like the right choice here.

If I'm allowed to speculate a little, I guess there's three possible alternatives for the next Pokémon games: S/S follow-ups, D/P remakes or Let's Go Johto. There's also the option of going directly to Gen 9, but I think it is a little too early for that. One very interesting thing is that there's no "third legend" to go along with Zacian and Zamazenta, which has otherwise been the norm since gen 3 even if they don't always get a game of their own (Zygarde). I wonder what that means. I also have some own ideas for future Pokémon games that aren't covered in the above, but I won't say anything more here since that would be wishlisting. Instead, I'll leave it with this.

I said earlier that this would be the beginning of the end when it comes to my interest in Pokémon. And that still stands. But it doesn't feel quite as negative as I thought it would. Instead, it feels good and satisfying. I'm okay with it. If I'm going to quit Pokémon, I'd rather do it gradually than all at once. Though I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to completely quit Pokémon. The franchise has been a part of my life for over 20 years now (I think so at least, can't remember exactly when I first got into Pokémon but I believe it was in 1999). Quitting completely is probably going to be harder than it seems.

That's all I have so far. This became very long but I just had a lot to say. I hope I didn't forget anything. I regret writing such a long post because this took a while to get done, but I wanted to say everything that was on my mind. Next time I summarize my thoughts on a new game (if there is a "next time"), I will write a shorter post.

To summarize, I found Sword to be a very fun and enjoyable Pokémon game despite its flaws, I'm very happy that I got it and played it. I feel very satisfied after playing it. The future of the series and my interest in Pokémon is currently looking very uncertain, but I'll wait and see what happens next.
 

Pikachu315111

JAPE Judge!
is a Community Contributoris a Smogon Media Contributor
Responding to Suspicious Derivative:

That said, going into the games unspoiled wasn't easy. I spoiled myself a bit more than I had planned to, I could have done a better job.
I'll raise a drink to that. "Oh, the entire Dex leaked? Well I'll just take a look at the Starter's Final Evos and move on... oh, the Legendaries would be neat to see their stats... oh, doesn't recognize that name, is that another Legendary? Well while I'm checking stats might as well see the other officially released mons stats are BUT NO MORE... oh, evolutions, right, well I guess I can check those out but no other Pokemon that haven't officially been released... oops, this wasn't an evolution of the previous Pokemon, well might as check it out anyway. Great, now I lost my place, I'm seeing all these names... you know what, the true reward is the adventure and not knowing the destination, now what is this interesting name...

Granted, this probably tells you more about my willpower and view on things when it comes to spoilers, though I did stay away from story spoilers.

It was also a very unique situation as I think that makes Galarian Ponyta the first and so far only Pokémon I saw fan art of before seeing its official artwork or in-game model.
I have a funny connected story, my first glimpse of Sylveon was someone here on Smogon using it as their avatar as soon as it was revealed. Was looking through the thread, saw the avatar, and thought "oh, that's a neat Eeveelution fakemon". Then I went to Serebii and facepalmed.

In the past, I have always bought both games from all pairs in the series, all the way from R/B up to US/UM. I have also always bought two consoles so I can trade between and connect my games without having to rely on someone else. But that is now a thing of the past, it will not happen anymore.
Never did this which actually meant I never really completed the dex in my Gen I, II, and III games (no second game to trade with and I didn't really have friends who homes I went over to to hangout). It wasn't until Gen IV I was finally able to complete the dex mainly due to the GTS (and by then I had cousins who gotten into the games so they also helped with stuff like trade evolutions). Since then I completed the dex really by myself with no interaction from other players... which makes me wonder what's the point of keeping version exclusives a such during the post game? Now, I can understand having version exclusive Pokemon during the main game so that, depending on the version you get, you'll have a different handful of Pokemon you can use the other version doesn't. But in post game that doesn't matter anymore so why not have a way for us to catch the other version exclusives once we complete the story. In addition to that, there's much more interesting version exclusive stuff they can do that'll make the game feel more unique like having different villain teams to verse (like Gen III), different locations you can visit (like Gen V), and different NPCs to face including major characters like Gym Leaders (most notable in Gen VIII though past games have played around with this idea). Since the Pokemon are the selling point of the franchise, maybe they should stop locking Pokemon species away exclusively to one version and instead work on making the version's play experience be different. Like there's no reason the same character can't use different teams, or the route trainers can't be different, Pokemon are found in different locations, items found and sold in shops can have differences, the story could explore different aspects or scenarios, etc..


Though I'm quite sure the only ones I have left to see are some of the new fossils as well as the evolution to Galarian Yamask.
For the Fossil Pokemon, eh, I'd ask the one you got did you like it? If yes, then maybe try to find a way to get the other fossils to make the others yourself. If no, might as well look it up to see the other abominations. PRO TIP: In the Wild Area, near the entrance to the alcove where the Wild Area's Nursery is, you'll find two Hikers who call themselves the Digging Duo. For 500 Watts they'll dig up treasures for you. The Hiker on the left can find rarer treasure but has less stamina, the Hiker on the right finds common treasure but has more stamina. The Hiker on the left can actually find you the fossils that belong to the other version, though it may take you a few tries (he can also dig up bottle caps too). Though if you want more of the fossils in your version the Hiker on the right will get you a bunch after a few tries. In addition both brothers can find evolution stones and your typical selling fodder (pearls, statdust, nuggets, rare bones) so they're also a quick way to make money if you got the Watts.

For Galarian Yamask, it's worth the wait but it's tricky to evolve. First, it needs to have 50 or more HP. Second, get into a battle and have the opponent do 49 or more damage to Galarain Yamask. The damage must all come from one attacked, chipped damage from weather will prevent this from working (not sure about damage from burn/poison or being binded, my suggestion is just play it safe). Easy way to do this is either give Galarian Yamask a Focus Sash or teach it Endure which you get from TR26 and then battle a very strong Pokemon using the sash or Endure to be left with 1 HP no matter what. Afterwards head to the below location in the Wild Area and run under the stone structure. That is how you evolve Galarian Yamask, I kid you not. Yes, it is very cryptic and, no, no one tells you this. This is the definition of a "Guide Dang It" puzzle.


I was very surprised that they added several new evolutions to old Pokémon after the extreme hate they got the last time they did that in Gen 4, but I guess it is different this time around since they only evolve from the Galarian forms.
I think the hate was overblown because there were a few designs which didn't look that great (mainly Lickilicky & Magmortar, however personal preference will also have problems with other evolutions since many took an unexpected turn like with Togekiss & Mamoswine). That said I am glad they're experimenting with the idea of Regional Variants like this and further separating the Pokemon (though this does sort of shaft the original version of that Pokemon, though at least there's no risk of it getting an evolution a fan of that Pokemon will fate, kind of a difficult situation here).

I like how there are some new unique evolution methods, the most notable ones that I have found so far being those for evolving Milcery and Galarian Farfetch'd. Those were really cool.
Those are fine, though the number of new item evolutions is unwanted as well as cryptic evolutions like for Galarian Yamask. However they did change some evolution methods like letting you use Evo Stones to evolve certain Pokemon they should obviously evolve (hint: these Pokemon used to require certain locations to evolve).

I also love how you almost only get to see new Pokémon in the beginning of the game, that was the total opposite of S/M which had way too many old Pokémon in the beginning. S/S instead shows more old Pokémon once you get to the wild area, which I prefer over having them in the beginning like S/M did.
Definitely agree! I like that they did put the new Pokemon in the forefront for the most part... but when we get to instances where that's not the case it's both obvious and frustrating. There are some new Pokemon which either area super rare encounter rate on the route you find them in OR are a super rare encounter rate in the Wild Area in a certain kind of weather. That shouldn't be, all the new Pokemon should be common/uncommon and found on routes in addition to the Wild Area if they felt it fit in a certain district. And it's rather glaring because an NPC, especially Gym Leader, would use these Pokemon which you may want to now use but have to halt progress to encounter grind or, worse, completely give up because it's the wrong weather in the Wild Area. And the Wild Area weather thing isn't a problem only for the new Pokemon, several old Pokemon are also connected to certain weather (and many have low encounter rates).

I was also surprised that they included the Charmander line in the dex, but not the Bulbasaur or Squirtle lines
It's an interesting idea though, because why should a Pokemon that's considered a Starter in one region be treated with any difference to a com mon in another region? Wouldn't mind see that idea explore, next game you're wandering a route or forest and then suddenly a previous region Starter appears as a wild battle!
Bulbasaur and Squirtle are transferable. They and their evolutions even get Dex entries.


I thought about using 2 teams, but there were so many Pokémon that I wanted to use! So I ended up using a total of 15 Pokémon, which means I used two and a half teams.
I wanted to do that and I like the game makes that an easy option to do thanks to the Max Raid Candies... but for some reason I mostly stuck to one team only swapping out once in a while for a new Pokemon I liked. I think an issue was that I like my team balanced and that often means I have dual-types and didn't want to repeat Types. I also always would want my Starter on my team. But, hey, good on you for going ahead with that plan and good to hear it's perfectly possible. :blobthumbsup:


To start with, I don't like how the Exp. Share is now mandatory as opposed to optional. Or to be specific, it isn't really an "Exp. Share" anymore since it isn't even an item. It is just there, giving Exp. to your entire party at all times, like it or not. I really don't understand why it couldn't have stayed optional like in Gen 6/7. As mentioned earlier, this made my team overleveled quite early in the game. I think it should have been optional like in Gen 6/7.
All they needed to do was add an option in the Settings, just like they have for Auto-Saves. Heck, maybe even have an option to have the experience gained not be as big as they were.

The level curve in the games was good on the whole. There weren't several sudden jumps like in the Gen 7 games, it progressed smoothly throughout the game. The only real jump was at the end of the game, first from the Finals tournament to Eternatus, and then to Leon. It might have been better for me if I had played with just one team, now it became a bit of a sudden jump. But on the whole, I found it way better than in Gen 7. The wild area is another exception I guess, but that's also okay since it was mostly optional.
Leon was a surprisingly jump but at the same time he is the Champion. Maybe they should have an NPC suggest to the player there's still time before the Champion Match so they may want to go out and train a bit.

The only thing about the levels in the Wild Area I don't understand is why some of the early area have higher level Pokemon so easily accessible. To me those Pokemon should be used are barriers to prevent you from progressing to a place you shouldn't be in the story, but for no reason the North Wild Area have high level locations. I get why evolutions walking around would be higher level, get why the areas/Pokemon only accessible by water would too since Water Bike is late game, but the strip of field just a short job from the beaten path?

That said, I don't like the "minigame" in Pokémon Camp where you have to rotate the stick as quickly as possible, that feels too much like a thing from the past.
I'm afraid if I play too much of that I'm going to wear out my joysticks or "A" button. And no matter how well I do I most of the time get Bronze or Silver and I don't know what I did different to get them or how to get a gold (besides playing multi-player but if that's how you're supposed to get gold I feel that's cheap and dishonest as it's not about skill).

Overall, I like the new encounter system. If they just improve it a little, it will be perfect. I hope they never bring back random encounters again because those were pretty bad in comparison, and they are very much a thing of the past.
I do to, I just wish they remove encounter rates and have it so all Pokemon are equal chance to be encountered. Also having something like the DexNav's feature to look for a specific Pokemon would be nice too.

And I'm not sure if there are any real advantages to Gigantamax. Apart from the form difference, it seems like the Gigantamaxed Pokémon also get a unique Max Move? I guess that's cool.
Just that, unique appearance and unique Max Move. It's a pale comparison to Mega Evolutions, especially for Gigantamax Pokemon who have an Ability that doesn't work for them when Gigantamax. Also their G-Max move completely replaces the Type Max move it would have normally been so in some cases having a Pokemon that can Dynamax normally would be better. My other major issues with Gigantamax is that you must catch them from a Max Raid (and they can be difficult battles especially if you're playing by yourself) and a Gigantamax Pokemon doesn't have the option to Dynamax instead. I feel Gigantamax really needs some work, mainly in making sure the Gigantamax Pokemon has an Ability it can use while Gigantamax and either letting you Dynamax instead or at least giving you the option to use the normal Type Max Move version that their G-Max Move replaces (Gigantamax Charizard would appreciate being able to set-up Sunny Day then just only causing residual damage for four turns).

Regarding the multiplayer features, I can't say anything about them since I don't have Nintendo Switch Online and I don't know anyone who lives close to me who also has a Switch and one of the games, so I haven't had the chance to give them a try.
It's alright. Makes Max Raid battles easier, you can visit their camp and play with their Pokemon which is neat, you can cook curry together but don't plan on getting a specific curry you've been looking to make. And while it's fun to see trainers running all around the Wild Area (and talking to them give you items like cooking ingredients or selling fodder) it does cause the game to lag if not outright stall for a second or two.

If I were to guess, the game makes some kind of check early on, and if you have already caught at least one Pokémon at that point, they skip the capture tutorial.
Yup, that's exactly what happened! If you caught a Pokemon (with the Poke Balls you aren't told about) before meeting up with Hop & Leon the day after getting your Starter you'll skip the catching tutorial, otherwise Leon would teach it to you. It's a rather neat feature which would have been better if your mother at least told you she gave you some Poke Balls.

Regarding the region map, I find it to be very inefficient and not very helpful compared to the great maps we got in the Alola games. It is definitely a step down. Though I guess it isn't quite as important this time around since there isn't a second screen to see it on all the time, and the map isn't all that necessary in these games either.
I think that's why its a step down. Since now you'll only check the map to Fly or know what features a certain location has it's not needed to have an accurate map. Of course in that case wouldn't mind if we were given an actual Item Finder to point us in the direction of any items we may have missed.

I get the impression that the games takes a fair bit of inspiration from Pokémon Go, which I can't say I'm very happy about. The Dynamax Dens feel like they are inspired by raids, and S/S have these new Exp. Candies which feel like they have been inspired by Go and the endless amount of candies found in that game.
Actually GF said they were thinking about how to do the Max Raid battles before Pokemon Go, at most GO gave them some ideas to bounce off from. Though the Candies was probably influenced from Pokemon Let's Go (as well as the always on Exp Share, portable PC box, & maybe the wild Pokemon walking around on the overworld). Though oddly some features from Let's Go I think were neat didn't make it into Sword & Shield like Madame Celadon.

There are also the Poké Jobs, which I think are similar to the Merc Missions from XC2 (but also different). I tried them a little and some of them give a ton of Exp if you go for a whole day. That's cool, but I don't think I'll focus that much on them.
Yeah, I quickly stopped using them as I found them to be inefficient.

One returning feature that I like is character customization. Always a good thing to have, even if I didn't use it that much this time around.
Yeah, this was the first game since they introduced customization I didn't really change my character's appearance because the clothing options they gave didn't really interest me. It wasn't until post game where I bought all the clothes did I put together an appearance I was okay with. Bit disappointing, not to mention I wish they would make it so we only bought the style of the clothes and let us choose what color we want it to be, maybe even giving us options to give it two colors. But I can make an entire post about what I think the customization feature would be like and all the ways they can use it (like giving individual trainers their own appearance instead of being a copy & paste of the base Trainer Class they are...).

I got a bit confused by how the day/night system in the game works. It seemed to be limited to just the wild area (in terms of visuals at least) during the main story. What you did and where you were during the story seemed to affect it more than the actual time did. It seems like it affects all areas regularly after you have beaten the game though. I don't really mind this, but since the visuals for the day/night system have been following the console clock since Gen 4, I was surprised to see that it didn't during the main story this time around.
You got it right. During main game only Wild Area showed the time while cities, routes, and other locations were time locked until post game. But as you also said, I don't mind this as they're trying to tell a story and in past games did feel odd to have certain events happening at midnight.

I got to face Bea and Gordie instead of Allister and Melony. Though I can't say which ones I prefer as I have only played Sword and I pretty much need to face them in the game in order to determine which ones I like the best, so no opinion there. That said, I think they could have at least included the Gym Leaders you didn't get to face in both games, have them appear without getting to battle them like they did with Drayden/Iris in B/W. Or maybe just give them small cameos or something.
Yeah, feels odd the other two Gym Leaders seemingly don't exist even though Melony and Gordie have a direct relation (mother & son). A perfect place to have put the two other Gym Leaders would have been for the Finals Tournament. Instead of facing Nessa & Allister/Bea again you'd face the two Gym Leaders you didn't and then Raihan who is using a different team since these aren't double battles. Also a way to get their Trainer Cards, defeat them in the Finals for their normal Trainer Card and again in rematches for their rare (or maybe have a side story for them post game which will give you their rare).

I think they should take advantage of the Switch's hardware and make a lot of new and advanced sound effects instead of just re-using the old sound effects over and over.
Well for some I think they did update them but the thing is it's the same tune so hard to tell.

I really like Spirit Break, Fairy finally got another Physical move! Except, it is a signature move for Grimmsnarl... that's not so good (unless you are Grimmsnarl).
I'm sure by next game a batch of other Pokemon will be getting it, seems to be happening with a lot of Signature Moves.


After Gen 7, I do no longer consider the story and characters of the Pokémon games to be that important anymore.
Which honestly annoys me because as newer technology should mean they should be able to make more interesting characters and stories! Gen V felt like the pinnacle of Pokemon storytelling and it was the last game to use sprite-based graphics! How are the games using full 3D models having less story and memorable characters?

I am as always not a fan of forced legendary captures during the story, and Eternatus was so unexpected (I thought I would get to catch Zacian). At least I assume you must catch it, I didn't try to not catch it.
You have to catch it and it's a 100%... which means you can put Eternatus in any Poke Ball you want. I was boring and went with a Dusk Ball, though if I ever get a chance to do so again maybe I'd use a Love Ball or a Nest Ball. :bloblul: Though I wished they gave us the Beast Ball before the capture, that would have also been another nice option.

First of all, voice actors. At least in the "big" cutscenes, and in some other notable scenes like when Piers is making his performance before the Gym battle. It felt very empty to watch that in silence, without any voices.
Yeah, that felt painful to watch. GF, Pokemon Company, Nintendo, I really think this might be the next thing you need to address with the Pokemon series. Legend of Zelda has voice acting now, come on.

Not sure who my favorite Gym leader is though.
For me it's Piers. While he could have made a better impression, him helping the player in the end game and post game made up for that and gave him some great moments.


Another thing which I don't think is that important in Pokémon games (and in video games in general), but seeing as there has been a lot of discussions about the graphics in the games, I thought I'd share my thoughts about it as well.
No, it's necessary BUT Pokemon should focus on style over realism. Like many complain about the textures of the Wild Area not looking good because they look low res of real textures... which I agree with. BUT I don't think the solution is high res of real textures but rather stylized textures that match Pokemon's more cartoon-y appearance. It would also help give the game's graphics longevity as what looks realistic now may not a few years later but stylized graphics take longer to look outdated.


My impression of the post-game is that it is on the same level as X/Y and S/M. Which means that it is a bit lackluster and not extremely good, but not the worst in the series either. It seems like there's little to no new areas to explore, which is a shame.
Yeah, no new areas sadly. Once you get the Water Bike and explore all the optional areas now accessible with it that's it for any additional locations.

(...) but I really hope there's some efficient way to rebattle trainers as well. There doesn't seem to be one though, which is a shame. (...) Things like the PokeNav and Secret Bases in Hoenn, the VS. Seeker in FR/LG and the Sinnoh games, the Nimbasa Stadiums and Black Tower/White Treehollow in the Unova games or the Battle Chateau in Kalos. How I miss features like this! I missed them already in Gen 7 which had pretty bad training spots.
Sadly there isn't aside the ones you mention below (and don't forget the League Rematches where you can battle Gym Leader and Rivals again plus some extra random NPCs (no one notable though)).

Then there's also that Pokémon Breeder in the wild area who can be rebattled once a day too it seems, though she also seems to appear in random places which is annoying as that means I have to find her first.
Actually you can re-battle her multiple times a day, you just need to find her. Not sure whether it's random if she appears someplace or she's always somewhere in the Wild Area.

However, I got a mail from Nintendo where they offer me a free 7-day trial of Nintendo Switch Online, so I will activate it and get as much as possible done during those 7 days. I really want to get the other two starters and several Shield exclusives. Beyond that, I'm planning to at least obtain all Galar Pokémon and Galarian forms that I can get without trading, then I might also try to get the rest of the dex that I can get as well.
There's no GTS so I suggest either using the Pokemon Reddit or Smogon's Discord to help get the Pokemon you need within those 7 days.

Apart from that, I'm not sure what more I'll do with the game. I'll probably quit playing once I'm done with my current plans on Sword and go back to playing XC2 again.
Yeah, once you complete the dex (and Curry dex if you want to even bother with that, BTW if you do there's a version exclusive curry item you'd need to trade for) and had your fill of Max Raids and the Battle Tower that's honestly it from what I can tell. May want to start putting your focus back on XC2 but keep an eye on for Events like new Gigantamax Max Raids or other Event Pokemon (while the game doesn't have Mythicals or extra Legendaries of its own you may be still surprised, not trying to tell any spoilers unless you want them). Really wish GF would consider doing story expansions DLC (free of course, though if GF wants to make some extra money from DLC they could always add in more clothing of customization options; still baffles me you can't dress up as other Trainer Classes or important NPCs...).


If I'm allowed to speculate a little, I guess there's three possible alternatives for the next Pokémon games: S/S follow-ups, D/P remakes or Let's Go Johto. There's also the option of going directly to Gen 9, but I think it is a little too early for that. One very interesting thing is that there's no "third legend" to go along with Zacian and Zamazenta, which has otherwise been the norm since gen 3 even if they don't always get a game of their own (Zygarde). I wonder what that means. I also have some own ideas for future Pokémon games that aren't covered in the above, but I won't say anything more here since that would be wishlisting. Instead, I'll leave it with this.
I think DP remakes are likely next. In my head, I think what they might do is gradually expand the Pokedex so that by the end of this gen the final games for it will have all the Pokemon. SwSh starts out with 400 plus a few extra from regions that aren't getting a remake this gen. Then they release DP remakes which adds in like 200-300 more. Finally SwSh2 will put in the rest. While the DP remakes will retell the story of those games except in 3D graphics, unsure what a SwSh2 would do. I'd like a sequel, though there's also a chance for it to be an expanded retelling like USUM was to SM. They confirmed Galar has a Gym Leader for each Type, so no matter what they do you can bet we'll be seeing all those Gym Leaders we didn't (SwSh2 may even involve the Minor League into its plot).

I said earlier that this would be the beginning of the end when it comes to my interest in Pokémon. And that still stands. But it doesn't feel quite as negative as I thought it would. Instead, it feels good and satisfying. I'm okay with it. If I'm going to quit Pokémon, I'd rather do it gradually than all at once. Though I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to completely quit Pokémon. The franchise has been a part of my life for over 20 years now (I think so at least, can't remember exactly when I first got into Pokémon but I believe it was in 1999). Quitting completely is probably going to be harder than it seems.
And, playing Devil's advocate, do you feel completely quitting is necessary? Do so it you do, I'm not stopping you. But I'm just pointing out that there's no harm in just buying one of the new games per generation, that's what I used to do. In Gen I I only had Blue, Silver in Gen II, Sapphire in Gen III, and Diamond in Gen IV. Wasn't until Gen V I bought another version within the same generation cause BW2 was a continuation of BW. Since then I found reasons to buy one version of the newest paired games. But if you just wanted to see the newest Pokemon and see what the Galar region had to offer, if SwSh2 is a retelling of SwSh and you have no interest in replaying DP, I say you can just stick with having played Sword and wait till next gen. Besides, there's no shortage of Let's Players if you want to see what story the versions you didn't get have and we have Showdown to itch any battling you'd like to do.
 
Yeah, I quickly stopped using them as I found them to be inefficient.
I'd just point that the main usage for Pokejobs is the same as Pelago in gen 7: exp/EV up pokemon while not playing.
They are *definitely* inefficent compared to do either of the two manually, but are meant to be used while not being playing pretty much.

I think DP remakes are likely next. In my head, I think what they might do is gradually expand the Pokedex so that by the end of this gen the final games for it will have all the Pokemon. SwSh starts out with 400 plus a few extra from regions that aren't getting a remake this gen. Then they release DP remakes which adds in like 200-300 more. Finally SwSh2 will put in the rest. While the DP remakes will retell the story of those games except in 3D graphics, unsure what a SwSh2 would do. I'd like a sequel, though there's also a chance for it to be an expanded retelling like USUM was to SM. They confirmed Galar has a Gym Leader for each Type, so no matter what they do you can bet we'll be seeing all those Gym Leaders we didn't (SwSh2 may even involve the Minor League into its plot).
Actually... I have a theory that *gen 5* remakes/sequels are next.
The inclusion of the gen 5 legendaries in the game files doesn't seem to have any connection with what's going on. Ok one could really stretch the 4 horsemen as being knights every though they're actually mosqueteers reference, but that's as far as it goes.
It's pretty obvious they included gen 7 starters / legendary because they are the closest games so people will likely eventually want to have them around, and Mew/Mewtwo/Jirachi/Celebi I assume are for planned future events, but gen 5? Why include the entire legendary set?
 
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Actually... I have a theory that *gen 5* remakes/sequels are next.
The inclusion of the gen 5 legendaries in the game files doesn't seem to have any connection with what's going on. Ok one could really stretch the 4 horsemen as being knights every though they're actually mosqueteers reference, but that's as far as it goes.
It's pretty obvious they included gen 7 starters / legendary because they are the closest games so people will likely eventually want to have them around, and Mew/Mewtwo/Jirachi/Celebi I assume are for planned future events, but gen 5? Why include the entire legendary set?
I have a feeling that the Gen 5 Legendaries - and the disproportionate amount of Gen 5 Pokémon in the game in particular - has a simple reason.

Gen 7 stuff is there because, of course, SM and USUM are the most recent mainline games.
Gen 1 stuff is there not just because of general Gen 1 clout (though... yeah, there's no way Mewtwo and the Kanto starters weren't coming back), but also because LGPE is very recent as well.

Gen 5 stuff actually fits into this trend. So what's the recent Gen 5 game that they're taking advantage of?
... Pokémon Go. Since July they've been slowly rolling out new creatures from that gen, and the most common legendary raid battles we've seen for it have been, you guessed it; the muskedeers. And we can assume it won't be too long until we see the Tao Trio either.

It's bizarre, but it makes sense when you take into account the most lucrative and popular Pokémon property at the moment which also happened to not long ago be a worldwide sensation that the franchise hasn't seen since 1998. Gen 1 is LGPE rep; Gen 7 is SM/USUM rep; and Gen 5 (... and Meltan) is GO rep.
 

Pikachu315111

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Actually... I have a theory that *gen 5* remakes/sequels are next.
The inclusion of the gen 5 legendaries in the game files doesn't seem to have any connection with what's going on. Ok one could really stretch the 4 horsemen as being knights every though they're actually mosqueteers reference, but that's as far as it goes.
It's pretty obvious they included gen 7 starters / legendary because they are the closest games so people will likely eventually want to have them around, and Mew/Mewtwo/Jirachi/Celebi I assume are for planned future events, but gen 5? Why include the entire legendary set?
If anything I say them including all the Gen 5 Legendaries (and a huge chunk of Gen 5 Pokemon) is a bigger reason why they aren't doing their remake this gen. As I theorize, two new versions is another chance to add in more Pokemon. A lot of Sinnoh Pokemon are missing, and I would imagine a lot of the missing Johto and Hoenn Pokemon will also be included (and some of the missing from Kanto) in a DP remake.

Also, why skip Gen IV out of nowhere?
 

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I definitely feel like the only reason we wouldn't get a Gen 4 remake is if they're doing a Let's Go Johto.
Didn't they confirm they aren't thinking about doing another Let's Go game at the moment? Obviously that can change, but when they made that statement felt like they had no plans for Let's Go Johto and since they're always in a middle of developing the next Pokemon game it's either SwSh2 or the Sinnoh Remakes. Also, considering Sinnoh's themes involve space-time shenanigans what better region to have the Ultra Beasts in them?

Of course there is one problem with a Gen 4 remake: Dynamax. Galar is the only region which is said to have the Dynamax phenomenon so they have to BS a reason why Sinnoh suddenly has Dynamax (which, as I said, it's the gen of space-time shenanigans so shouldn't be too hard though would have to be a recent occurrence and, since I like to pretend the Pokemon timeline matters, would still retcon Galar being the only region with Dynamax. And they don't have a problem doing that as Kalos was said to be the only region with Mega Evolution and then here comes ORAS and LGPE showing Megas also existed in Hoenn and Kanto; seriously if that happens with Dynamax I hope they stop with the "we're the only region with this new thing" as when GF goes back on that it just looks like the characters in the new region are oblivious idiots).
 
Didn't they confirm they aren't thinking about doing another Let's Go game at the moment? Obviously that can change, but when they made that statement felt like they had no plans for Let's Go Johto and since they're always in a middle of developing the next Pokemon game it's either SwSh2 or the Sinnoh Remakes. Also, considering Sinnoh's themes involve space-time shenanigans what better region to have the Ultra Beasts in them?
I guess what I meant specifically isn't that it's likely; but that that would be the only thing they would possibly do in terms of remakes if they weren't going to do Gen 4. It's a lot likelier than a Gen 6 remake, for instance.

I would also say though that wording in interviews - especially when it's going through translations - can be very subjective, and that patents of a new Poké Ball Plus suggests to me that a new Let's Go game might be on the horizon.
 

Pikachu315111

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and that patents of a new Poké Ball Plus suggests to me that a new Let's Go game might be on the horizon.
Didn't realize they made a new Poke Ball Plus patent. Of course, Poke Ball Plus is also compatible with Sword & Shield so it's just as much a Gen VIII peripheral as it is a GO peripheral.
 
Didn't realize they made a new Poke Ball Plus patent. Of course, Poke Ball Plus is also compatible with Sword & Shield so it's just as much a Gen VIII peripheral as it is a GO peripheral.
Yeah, it could just be a thing of "Hey trainers, here's the Poké Ball Plus Pro for those of you who want more options!". But it's difficult to see them doing that without a new game to promote.

Or maybe this one will have Celebi in it and we're being played for the schmucks we are.
 
I'd just point that the main usage for Pokejobs is the same as Pelago in gen 7: exp/EV up pokemon while not playing.
They are *definitely* inefficent compared to do either of the two manually, but are meant to be used while not being playing pretty much.
I honestly feel like pokejobs are more ineffecient than PokePelago
Pelago was available at any time and with beans you could max out some EV in like 15 hours with beans. And you could easily alter the number of sessions for specific builds. And while you didn't get to use power items or pokerus to speed things up, beans do halve the entire process.
Jobs take a full day, are limited to PCs which I know is petty to mention but with minor things like this that time adds up imo, and while you can max a pokemon's evs in one stat in a day you do NEED pokerus & the power items. Otherwise one day = 96 EVs.

Stop reinventing the wheel, gamefreak.
 
I honestly feel like the additional 35 Pokémon might just exist for VGC sake. Usually the style is: Regional, National, and GS Cup. But with Dexit, this is not applicable. The 35 Pokémon allow a decent amount of variety when used alongside Alola Pokémon, while there are just enough GS legends for a GS cup.
 

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