More news about the next main series Pokémon game, Pokémon Sword and Shield. Let’s start with a break down on what was announced during the direct. The direct stated off with a video package that showed a preview of most things that would be presented during the direct, so I won’t break the video just yet. The first major news they showed off was several new Pokémon for this region, starting with Wooloo the sheep Pokémon who has wool that is used to craft goods in the region. Next was a flower looking Pokémon called Gossifleur, following that was Drednaw a turtle looking Pokémon and Corvikinght a raven looking Pokémon that is used as part of a taxi service that can be used to fly trainers to other cities in the region. The last new Pokémon announced during this section was Eldegoss the Cotton Bloom Pokémon and the evolved from of Gossifleur. Not a lot of Pokémon announced now but they could slowly show them like they did for Pokémon Sun/Moon.
After introducing a few new Pokémon, they announced that there will be certain areas to meet the most Pokémon will be in the ‘Wild Area’. The Wild Area sounds like to be massive area between cities and the Pokémon you will meet there will depend on which part of the area you are in and the weather. Here the video shows Pokémon walking around the area similar to how it was in Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee. They also noted that in this area, the player will have control over the camera to make finding Pokémon and items easier. They made this area sound like it is just one big area in the region.
Next, they announced the new mechanic for the game, Dynamax. Pokémon in the Galar region apparently can go the process of Dynamaxing, which gives them a major power boost but will also increase in size. My first reaction to this was thinking of Rita Repulsa from the Power Rangers series when she would cause the monster of the week to grow to the size of buildings. Similar to Mega Evolutions, the Dynamax ability can only be used once per battle but it will max out the power of all the moves your Pokémon knows. However, the Dynamax state only last for 3 turns, so that is something to always keep in mind. Another addition that Dynamax brings to the table are Max Raid Battles. These would be similar to the raids in Pokémon Go, 4 players will face off against a Pokémon that is in the Dynamax state for the entire battle. During that battle, only 1 player will have the ability to use the Dynamax ability, so the group will have to plan out who will use it. Defeating the Dynamax Pokémon will allow a chance to capture the Pokémon. The Dynamax Pokémon will depend on where you are in the Wild Area and the weather. Also, there will be certain Pokémon that can only be caught by completing these Max Raid Battles. You will be able to raid with other players locally and online This part was the most interesting to me but also the most worry some but I will get to that later.
Focus was then shifted to some of the new characters we will meet during our new adventure. First up was Leon, the Galar Region Champion. One of the strongest trainers in the region and undefeated in official matches. Leon also has a little brother name Hop who will be our rival for this game. Hope is following in his brother’s foot steps and training to be champion one day. The professor for this game is Professor Magnolia, who’s research is focusing on Dynamax. Magnolia also has an assistant, her granddaughter Sonia. I think the design for these characters is mostly well done and are hopefully will be fun to interact with.
In the Galar region, Pokémon Gym Battles are a big deal. First of all, the gym battles will take place in stadiums that are large enough to allow Pokémon to use the Dynamax ability. These stadiums are filled with people and are even broadcasted on TV. They introduce one of the Gym Leaders, Milo the Grass Gym Leader. Gym Leader will have at least 1 Pokémon that they will Dynamax. Though not really excited to see more Gym Battles, it will be interesting to see if the stadium will play a big role during the battles.
After showing us the new gyms, we finally have our first look at the new Legendary Pokémon for these games. For Pokémon Sword, we have Zacian and for Pokémon Shield we have Zamazenta. Zacian is a giant wolf that carries a sword around and Zamazenta is also a wolf but has a shield as part of it’s face and shoulders. The final bit of news they announce was the release date of November 15th 2019 as a world wide release and that wrapped up this Pokémon Direct. After the direct, I decided to look at the official website to see if there may have been more info that they didn’t announce and I did find a few things.
There wasn’t a whole lot on the site that wasn’t announce or talked about in the Direct. A small detail was how Dynamaxing would be triggered by the trainer using a Dynamax Band and the only trainers who have it will be able to use Dynamax. The other info I found was about the PokéDex for the game. Instead of getting a regular PokéDex or a Rotom PokéDex, players will receive a Rotom Phone. The Rotom Phone has a Rotom inside similar to the Rotom PokéDex but will now only be the home of the PokéDex, it will also be able to attach to your bike and allow you to travel faster across land or may help you travel on water as well. Curious if the Rotom Phone will have a selfie mode.
Now, how do I feel about all this news, have to say I am mostly happy with what was shown today. First thing I notice was the pieces of Pokémon Go and Pokémon Let’s Go that was in the game. Roaming Pokémon to encounter was one of my favorite things Pokémon Let’s Go did and it was nice to be able to kind of cherry pick which Pokémon you wanted to encounter and hunt for. Raids in Pokémon Go have been a big thing and it will be interesting to see how it will be done in Sword and Shield but this is also something I am a bit iffy on. Nintendo doesn’t have a great history when it comes to online play, recent example is Co-Op with Mario Maker 2 and only allowing friends to play on local mode and not being able to join friends online. I’m a bit worried that either a) you won’t be able to make a Max Raid Battle team with friends online or b) You will be able to but will have to create the group after each raid. One note I did find regarding this is if you can’t find three people to join you, they will add “Support Trainers” meaning NPC characters to join you to do the raid, which will be nice so you can still do raids even if you can’t be join by other players online. I hoping this is one thing I will give us a lot more information and it will be done well. Best case for playing with friends would be, 1 player is the host and invites 3 friends to join and the host player would run around going to the raid spots and the other 3 are in a lobby or something. For join with random people, best case player goes to a raid spot, joins a queue with a short timer, after that time they go with how ever many players they have and fill in the rest with AI.
The other bits of information we got today was mostly good. I like the designs of the Pokémon they showed off today. With the mention of Corviknight being used as a flying taxi service and the Rotom Phone being able to modify your bike to travel through water, does that mean we are getting another game that doesn’t have HM moves. Appears that HMs are disappearing from main line games and I’m fine with that. The stadiums I am hoping will serve more of a purpose other than being big enough for our Pokémon kaiju monster battles. Maybe not during the battles, but with the live audience and being streamed on TV, maybe some story elements could come from it. Next, it seems like encountering Pokémon will be expanded by not only having roaming Pokémon but being able to grab Pokémon’s attention and have them come out of the grass as well. The last thing I wanted to talk about are the Legendary Pokémon Zacian and Zamazenta and to be honest, not really liking the designs. To be honest, I don’t know if I don’t like the design or was just surprised with what they when with. I had an idea that both would be wolves but I was thinking for Zacian, the sword details would be something like Absol or Haxorus, a blade as part of the body. As for Zamazenta, I thinking of a wolf with armor plating. I do like they appear to have traits of a knight’s helmet and cape in their designs but sadly these designs don’t translate well to the box art. If I were change the designs of these two, for Zacian I would just make it more like a Werewolf and have it carried it’s sword like Marowak does and for Zamazenta maybe instead of putting the shield on it’s face, have the tail act as it’s shield. Overall, I think Zamazenta looks better.
I am liking where this game is going and kind of caught in between of wanting to know more but hope they don’t show us a lot so I can be surprised. It will be interesting to see if they will release more information during E3 or just rehash this information next week. Either way they have caught my eye and will be interesting what else game has to offer. Thank you so much to reading this. Stay tune for more random thoughts around gaming and such and have a great morning/day/evening, keeping gaming and have fun.