Pokémon Direct | Raise Up Your Sword & Shield

Right before the chaos that is E3, the developers at Game Freak and The Pokémon Company shared more information about the upcoming titles Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield. The game will be released later this year, and takes place in the expansive new Galar region. Trainers will be able to capture many types of Pokémon old and new as usual, along with being able to battle against gym trainers in very unique battles the series has yet to explore. If you consider yourself a Pokémon fan, Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield are leaving the impression of must-have titles in your Nintendo Switch library. So what’s new with these latest titles?

A Vast New World

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Galar is made up of various locales, from small villages, to open fields, to industrial cities. Connecting these regions together is a large expanse known as the Wild Area. For the first time in series history, players will be given full control over the in-game camera in this area, allowing you to see the world from your chosen perspective. This area is also home to various Pokémon who can be seen roaming the fields and going about their everyday lives, with different creatures appearing based on location and weather conditions. It’s unclear if these Pokémon can be interacted with, battled, or captured just yet, but it’s definitely a nice touch that adds a dash of life to the world.

Larger Than Life Battles

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Pokémon fights are a favored pastime for the people of Galar, so gym battles are big, televised events hosted in stadiums. As usual, you will to compete in gym battles to progress the story and become the new champion. Gym leader Milo is a grass type expert who’s in it for his love of the game, and Leon, the current champion and highly popular trainer, has an undefeated record with his partner Charizard. It should be fun to witness his clearly inevitable defeat by your hands. Good luck to any trainers out there and your upcoming gym battles. Try not to get crushed underfoot by the giant, building sized Pokémon you’re up against. Wait, what?

Even Larger Pokémon

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During gym battles, you may notice the gym leader’s Pokémon is a bit… larger than usual. New to the series is the Dynamax system, a stand-in for mega evolutions that essentially makes Pokémon grow in size by an order of magnitude or six. During every battle you have the ability to Rita Repulsa your pocket monster into a new adversary for Godzilla for three turns, which dramatically boosts their attacks. Dynamaxing isn’t just relegated to gym battles, however, as giant Pokémon can be found in the wild and battled with a team of other players in a 4 v 1 match called a “Max Raid Battle” (both local and online). Only one player can Dynamax their Pokémon during the fight, so choose wisely, or just ignore common courtesy and boost your partner immediately as I’m sure plenty people online will do anyway. You will be able to capture these giant Pokémon, but it’s still a mystery what you can do with them. Help you fix your roof, I guess?

New Creatures And Characters

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Of course with a new region comes new characters and Pokémon. Professor Magnolia is your mentor and is currently researching the mysteries of Dynamaxing, and her granddaughter Sonia acts as her assistant and a valuable source of information for fledgling trainers. Then there’s Hop, the champion Leon’s younger brother, who coincidentally happens to be one of your rivals. A few new Pokémon were revealed as well. The sheep Pokémon, Wooloo, is a prized resource for the people of your village since its fur is used to create valuable goods. Gossifleur is a flower Pokémon with healing properties, and evolves into Eldegoss. Drednaw, a biting Pokémon, well, bites things, and resembles a snapping turtle. The raven Corviknight acts as a taxi service and can fly players to any town they’ve previously visited. Finally, the two legendary Pokémon Zacian and Zamazenta were shown off, two wolf Pokémon representing a sword and shield respectively.

Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield are shaping to be a nice evolution of the series that fans have been anticipating for a while. The games release November 15 for Nintendo Switch, and can be purchased separately or in a double pack (no details on pricing yet). More information should be revealed over the course of the year.

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