Pokemon Sword & Shield Discussion RD: 15/11/2019

Regional Variants: The less significant of these two special groups, but still worth bringing up. Regional forms are inseparably tied to their region of origin in a way that no other Pokemon is. Muk is the way it is in Alola specifically because of the conditions of that region, Linoone gained new traits just for Galar's environment, so on and so forth. With that said, how are they gonna re-introduce these Pokemon in future games and generations? Will they be locked in some kind of "transfer hell" for prolonged periods of time, or will they try to shoehorn them into future regions? These questions would apply even if Dexit never happened, but considering it is in fact a thing it's even more important for GF to determine how they're gonna handle older regional variants so they don't disappear for several generations on end. I posed this question on a Discord server and it was brought to my attention that in the Let's Go games, you can trade with tourist NPCs for the Alolan forms of the Pokemon you give them. I guess that's the easy way out of this little problem, but it could get tedious and boring if done for multiple generations in a row.
Or GF could just place some regional Pokemon Breeder NPCs that gives one random egg to the player, much like the first baby eggs at Johto daycare. That easily solves part of the problem and encourages trades at the same time.

Still, we would still have problems with pokémon like pikachu, exeggcute, cubone (and maybe koffing?)
 
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I wouldn't go as far as to say that Pokémon is one of the better looking examples on the switch. Many of my other games like Smash, Pokken and the like all manage to look very, very good.

I'll also argue that it's not how high quality the polygons are; there's also other aspects that weigh heavily like art style - and I would argue that FE definitely is a game that looks better or worse depending on your tastes.

And specifically to Pokémon, there are the aforementioned re-used models. No matter how good the rest of the game looks, it is still a problem unique to them that the returning Pokémon will just never be able to feel fresh as long as they continue to use models/animations that were on the 3DS 5 years ago - and that that problem intensifies when their default animations just don't look very good, like Lucario's just standing with its arms by its sides and Skarmory's hovering in the air. It's an even bigger indictment when other new default poses/animations have a lot more personality to them, like Linoone, Obstagoon or Impidimp. I understand why this is an issue of course, and this isn't a criticism of the graphics designers. It''s more just accepting that, yeah, this doesn't look great.

But again, that aside, I do want to say that other areas like the trainers and the urban areas from what I've seen look very, very good and that's one of the high points of the game so far.
I kind of see some switch games as more handheld games (FE3H and Pokemon jump to mind immediately) whereas stuff like BOTW feel more like console games in terms of graphics and how I would like to play them- I haven’t played FE3H once on my TV yet I always use the TV for BOTW.

And yeah, or course a game will look bad graphically if you cherrypick the worst screenshots and compare them to nice shots from another game. Please do fix the trees tho
 

MattL

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I'm sure a good number of people already have understood what I'm about to say, but now there's evidence to drill the message home.

Recently we've seen, and I'm sure we will continue to see, large "leaks." A couple in the past have proven to contain some true information before it was officially revealed to us, which is very promising. In the past two days, Youtuber aDrive has uploaded a couple videos showing full Pokedex leaks with typings.


I have absolutely nothing against aDrive. He said that these were rumors and not confirmed, these could very well be completely fake, and to take them with a grain of salt, which is great - I'm glad he said that. I'm sure that most people know not to take these as complete truth and are more interested in the concepts that these lists present. However, in case anyone comes across one of these, for example, and (understandably) thinks that it looks pretty legitimate:

Please notice that these two "Pokedex leaks" do not match each other at all. Like, the two lists are not even remotely similar to each other.

The typings of the final evolutions of the Pokemon we know (starters, Rolycoly, Yamper, etc.) as well as the typings of Zacian and Zamazenta do not match. The lists of which Pokemon get Galarian forms are completely different. A bunch of other stuff is inconsistent too, such as one list saying there's a two-stage evolution line which are both Bug/Ground but the other list doesn't have a single Bug/Ground type. And so on.

I am certain that at least one, and possibly both, of these lists were completely made up by someone with no insider info. Again, I'm sure a good number of people realize this and know that it's not so much about the lists being real and more about the intriguing theoretical concepts, but some people will take these to be pretty true so remember to cross-check!
 
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Codraroll

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Pokédex leaks are some of the easiest fakes to make, as they don't require any technical skill, just some imagination. I'm pretty sure every single "full Pokédex leak" I've ever seen has been fake.

And regarding the graphics of this game, I'm not really sure what to think. I'd say the look of it could definitely be better, though. The Wild Area looks awfully drab for reasons I can't quite put my finger on. Maybe it's the ground textures, and how abruptly asset models like rocks and trees jut out of the smooth plane of the ground. Maybe it's the way certain textures try too hard, yet still fail, to compensate for the low-poly terrain model, especially noticeable on cliff faces. Maybe it's the way models seem to be plonked quite sparingly into a fairly empty overworld map. Or how incredibly dull and monochrome everything becomes when it rains. Or at certain other times, for that matter. Far too often, a single colour fills the entire screen. There was a vibrancy in the overworld of BotW (and the mini-worlds of Odyssey - or heck, Super Mario Sunshine) that's completely absent in Sword and Shield.

But I think what irks me the most about SwSh's overworld is how claustrophobic it appears. It always feels like you're boxed in, there's never a horizon, just a huge wall blocking your view just a few dozen meters away. Even the most scenic vistas have you looking straight into cliffs in the middle distance. The entire Wild Area is a plain lowered into the ground, bordered by tall mountains, tall city walls, tall forests, tall hills ... the geography appears to be specifically designed not to give you any good views. Look at the Galar region map, all the places you can traverse are low valleys and walled cities. It's clear that the designers don't want the hassle of making a good-looking horizon where the skybox hits the ground, and designed the terrain to obscure that line from players as much as possible.

And that's just the Wild Area, it goes double or triple for everywhere else. The cities in particular are a claustrophobic nightmare. From what we've seen, the camera always stays at ground level, so you can't look out over the buildings. The cities are walled, so you can't look out between the buildings either. For all intents and purposes, every city scene is an indoor scene.

Same goes for the Routes, many of which seem to follow low valleys for some unknown reason (just kidding, it's obviously the aforementioned reasons), and I believe the fixed top-down camera will feel extra restrictive here. Take this screenshot, for instance, where the road is a pleasant path following a low ravine high up in the hills. The view must be really nice up there, if you could stray off the path a little or rotate the camera, but you're stuck looking up and down the ravine instead. Or here, where the view from outside the Gym must be spectacular (look at the map again) but you'll probably be stuck looking at the character watching the view instead of seeing the view yourself. It's like going to the top of Empire State Building only to face the interior walls the whole time.

So yeah, Galar just fails to be a likable place to me. At least so far, it appears to lack vibrancy, lack good scenery, lack the freedom to explore, and lack a good way to take it all in. Other, comparable Switch games are made to let you take in the overworld, there are scenic spots and sightlines (BotW is in a class of its own here, but even the aforementioned Sunshine for the Game Cube let you admire the view of Isle Delfino from somewhere in every level), while Sword and Shield seem restrictive and somewhat lifeless. That being said, maybe the experience will be different when we actually get to play the games and see the camera move under our control.
 
If one cared for graphics, they'd never started playing Pokémon. Every generation of Pokémon games was in the lower end of graphics when compared to other games on the same console. It's about the gaming experience, more than everything. Since RB, games were already below average in graphics. I compare with previous Pokémon entries, not other games.
 

Codraroll

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If one cared for graphics, they'd never started playing Pokémon. Every generation of Pokémon games was in the lower end of graphics when compared to other games on the same console. It's about the gaming experience, more than everything. Since RB, games were already below average in graphics. I compare with previous Pokémon entries, not other games.
While it's true that Pokémon has never been at the cutting edge of graphical fidelity, I still think the visuals play an important role. Your gameplay impressions are anchored in the visuals and the sounds. It's not just about the number of pixels, polygons and particle effects, but also what you do with them. Hence why I compared it to Super Mario Sunshine, a game that has a fraction of the hardware power behind it compared to Sword and Shield, but still manages to have a world that looks a lot more vibrant and lively.

Stuff like colour composition, sight lines or arrangement of objects is not dependent on graphical fidelity (not beyond a certain point, at any rate), it's purely a matter of aesthetic design. I'm far from an expert on this, but even I can see that something is amiss. Remember all those grey-brown first-person shooting games that came out in the wake of Call of Duty? They could have an unprecedented number of polygons in play at the same time, but still looked pretty crummy. Sword and Shield is making a similar mistake, creating a much less nice-looking game than the engine is capable of, because they aren't giving enough attention to the visual style.

If you want to compare with previous Pokémon games, have a look at DPPt next to RSE. The Sinnoh games made the mistake the Hoenn games did not: they let one colour overwhelm the screen far too often. Have a look at routes 119 in Hoenn and 214 in Sinnoh. Where the latter is overwhelmingly green and brown, Route 119 uses contrast to break up the primary colours. At first you may notice the blue puddles or the brown path in the upper right. Then have a look at singular tiles, and how the RSE textures have so much more contrast compared to the DPPt ones. Note for instance the rock texture, how it is a very light brown with very dark brown markings. In DPPt, the rock texture is uniformly brown. You can also see the same on the trees (RSE uses very light and very dark greens while DPPt uses a more monotonous green) and especially the water (DPPt's water has one single shade of blue, RSE has a pattern of light and dark hues). Another example, the interior of Meteor Falls versus the interior of Mt. Coronet. There isn't even a contest. The GBA game is bright and beautiful, the DS game is dull and ugly by comparison.

It's not about the graphical fidelity, it's what they do with it. And in the case of Sword and Shield, they don't seem to do it well. Consider high-fidelity Pokémon or trainer models against low-fidelity backgrounds, making it harder to intuitively believe they exist in the same space. Consider models not seeming the least affected by the lighting of the scene, as if they were edited in with a poor green-screen effect. Consider the many single-colour scenes, where the lack of contrast makes everything look washed into the background. I'm sure somebody with an art or design background could explain it a lot better than me, but I hope at least I've managed to get the basic idea across here.
 
Two new things about Dynamax emerge from this.

- Dynamax is immune to Fake Out. Well, that was probably expected, would have made neutralizing Dynamax in doubles far too easy.
- Dynamax buffs apparently affect the entire side of the field, not just the user. This opens up interesting scenarios.

Aurora Veil enters on the field after Ice Max Move, that's nuts.
Unfortunately you're wrong.
Ice move sets Hail, Froslass uses A-veil right after there.
 

Worlds has shown off some new mechanics!

Some new items, and Weezing gets an ability which suppresses other abilities on the field!
So to summarize:

- Galarian Weezing's previously unknown ability, Neutralizing Gas, nullifies all abilities in the field. It's up to checking to see if it's a global Mold Breaker or if it's more like Gastro Acid, and whether it's passive or it only works on the Pokémon that are present when it switches in. All abilities that activate on switch in will be activated as soon as Neutralizing Gas stops working - so basically it delays activation instead of outright nullifying.
(UPDATE: Japanese trailer confirms it's like Gastro Acid. No word on whether it works as long as Weezing is in the field, or if it only affects the Pokémon present when the ability is activated)
- Room Service is an item that drops the holder's Speed if Trick Room is active.
- Eject Pack is an item that makes the holder switch out if any of its stats is dropped.
- Breaking Swipe is a move that drops the target's Attack. Hits both targets in a Double Battle. Basically a physical, not sound-based Snarl.
- Mirror Armor is Corviknight's Hidden Ability. It reflects stat drops inflicted on the user (Double Battle partners are still affected). Does not say anything about self-inflicted drops, but going on how abilities like Clear Body have worked, it shouldn't reflect those. Otherwise it could make things like Close Combat, Superpower, Draco Meteor, etc., a little too good (of course, Corviknight is not likely to learn any of those).
- Dynamaxed Pokémon can't be flinched.
- Confirmation on that the Max Electric and Max Ice moves summon Electric Terrain and Hail, respectively. The Max Fighting move raises Attack.
- Max Moves that raise stats affect all Pokémon in the user's side. Nothing was said about moves that drop opposing stats.
- Also, Max Moves deal damage to a single target.

(WEBSITE UPDATE)

- Max Moves break through Protect for chip damage, much like Z-Moves. They can't break through Max Guard though.
- Most functionalities within Pokémon Global Link are present in the game now.
 
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Wheezing’s new ability, Neutralizing gas, cancels all other abilities. I don’t know how useful this will be in singles, unless it has the highest priority and cancels out drizzle/drought/etc.

Corvignight’s hidden ability, Mirror Armor, reflects any stat lowering moves back on the opponent. This is a good ability if it just works on Intimidate alone. It would also make Memento users think twice.

Dynamaxed Pokemon can’t be flinched, so there goes one counter strategy. Now we wait to see if Protect blocks any of their moves.

Eject Pack seems like a godsend to Pokémon who like to use strong moves like Draco or CC but lack access to Volt-Turn. I can see the Latis running this.
 
Eject Pack seems like a godsend to Pokémon who like to use strong moves like Draco or CC but lack access to Volt-Turn. I can see the Latis running this.
It is, but it also can backfire pretty hard considering just a Intimidate will toss the pokemon out of the field.
It seems like a situationally good item but i'm unsure if you'd take that one over white herb at that point.

I'm intrigued about the new Trick Room item... equipped on medium speed pokemon, it can actually unexpectedly flip a matchup in which you expect enemy to try and go for Trick Room...
 
If Slaking is in Galardex, Weezing with it can wreck things, can't they?
It also allows Weezing to almost hard-counter Contrary users.

It could also help Regigigas (assuming it's available), Archeops and a few others. NOT Wishiwashi, though.

ANOTHER UPDATE

Also, it seems that you can get Pokémon with Hidden Abilities in Max Raids.

That screams conflicts to me.

And the Online Battle functionalities are now explained: https://swordshield.pokemon.com/en-us/gameplay/pokemon-battle-stadium/

Basically, the PGL is now integrated within the game, with some Ranked Battle feature expansions (in fact, a PGL account is not required, implying it will be stuck in Gen VI-VII). Triple Battles seem to be absent again. You can also check ranks in Pokémon HOME.
 
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