Thanks to a mini Pokemon focused Nintendo Direct this morning, we got our first look at the next 'core' game in the series dubbed POKEMON SWORD & POKEMON SHIELD. With the new trailer, we got a taste of what to expect when traversing the new United Kingdom inspired Galar region, as well as our new starters Scorbunny (Fire Type), Grookey (Grass type) and the adorable Soble (Water type). The game looks good (so far) but does it also look unambitious?
Sword and Shield may not be the first HD Pokemon game (the Lets Go games have that record) but the 'core' Pokemon community have the highest of expectations for it. What we saw from the admittedly short look at the game was this shiny and new, but somehow familiar retreading of past experiences. This was especially so for the gameplay as I stared at my monitor and watched the trailer, a sense of deja vu came over me as I got the feeling that I already knew what exactly to do in this world. I am now hoping, like Pokemon Sun & Moon there will be a bit more present than just starting the game, choosing your avatar, picking your starter and heading out to the world to be a pokemon master. Don't get me wrong, I am not asking for a drastic reinvention of the wheel here. But with the larger power of the Switch, as well as new industry standards that were introduced to the RPG genre over the years, this was Game Freak's greatest chance at a massive evolution of the formula instead of just turning Pokemon 3DS into Pokemon Switch. I would love to see a completely independent living and breathing world, where Pokemon interacts with both humans and other Pokemon in the wild. Can you imagine just how amazing it would be to see a wild Blastoise intervening while you were trying to catch a wild Squirtle in hopes of protecting it similar to the monster interactions found in Monster Hunter World? Yes, I am aware how unfair this could be, especially in the early part of the game, but it sets you up to always expect the unexpected and gives you a sense that this world ain't so easy after all.
Any monster can interrupt your fight with another monster at any time in MHW, A feature I would love to see in a new pokemon.
This hardly scratched the surface of improvements that I think the devs can introduce to the series. Some examples such as: better side quests that are less repetitive and have better rewards, more unique NPCs (no more rooms filled with the same looking enemy trainers) and more freedom and choices in regards to progression (similar to Breath of the Wild where I could take on the toughest gym/trail right away). As for multiplayer, I always dreamt of a connected pokemon world where once the option was turned on, I could meet other online players in-game and engage in PvP battles despite being on my single player journey.
Now the good news. Pokemon: Lets Go Pikachu/Eevee showed us a bit of the developer's attempts to shake things up. While I wouldn't want all those changes to be implemented in Swords & Shield (hopefully that person that decided to force dock gamers to use motion controls got fired), changes such as seeing wild Pokemon on the map, for example, should definitely return. Further good news is that there is much more of the game yet to be revealed with E3 in June being where we will be getting another look at the game. I am hoping we don't have to wait until the next Nintendo console for Pokemon to achieve its potential. For gaming check out our Tetris 99 impressions or for animation check out out thoughts on new anime Demon Slayer.
Hey I am Marlon Mcfarlane the writer here at Blue Crescent Studio & a longtime lover of all things Animation & Gaming.