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Pokémon Sword review and first impressions – gotta catch ’em all

Pokémon has been a gaming and viewing pleasure of mine for many years.

I vividly remember screaming at my TV as a kid whenever asked “who’s that Pokémon?”

The game has gone through various changes over the years, both on console and TV, but what always keeps us coming back is the lure of catching them all and becoming the best trainer in the world.

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Our most recent visit to the world of Pokémon was Let’s Go Eevee/Pikachu on the Switch in 2018.

But with Sword & Shield, we have an entirely new game with a new region and new Pokémon to learn about and catch for battle.

The only way we were able to play one of these games on the big screen was back in the day with Pokémon Colosseum in the N64.

With all the different generations of Pokémon and games they have released, it’s now hard to know all of the Pokémon and their traits to make them better in battles – and Sword and Shield is no different.

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You’re in the new region of Galar which is filled with both new and old Pokémon.

Well, I say old, but some of your favourites have new forms which change their types, like Ponyta, who now has a psychic form and looks like something from My Little Pony.

The names and designs of some of the new Pokémon are really corny and makes me feel that the designers and creators just couldn’t be bothered.

A Pokémon that is literally an apple, is called Applin. I mean come on, Game Freak.

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Barring that there are some unique new features that these two games offer that really help bring it to life and add longevity, like the ability to camp and bond with your Pokémon, feed them and learn new recipes with a new mini-game.

Wild areas are really cool now, you have your normal routes that lead to towns, but there is a whole wild area like the safari zone in the previous games, and you can catch rare evolution Pokémon.

There are Pokémon dens that house the new big (no pun intended) thing in Pokémon Sword and Shield…Dynamax.

Yes from mega evolution we now have dynamising our Pokémon.

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When I saw this in the trailer, I felt it was pointless and still do, but it’s part of the mystery of the region and also is a good way to battle in the gyms and in dens.

But they have learnt a lot from the other games like Pokémon Go and Let’s go.

You have the Pokémon appearing in the wild and walking around as we did in Let’s Go, which really gives you that feel like you did when you watch the TV series.

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One of the big new features is the ability to access your Pokémon boxes on the go which is a welcome and helpful addition to the game.

You also have a new gym system where you have an endorsement to enter the competition and now have to complete missions within the gym to challenge its leader, who is cool, but also kind of pointless in my eyes.

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They have captured the feel of the gyms from the TV series; they look, sound and feel like an actual arena, but the Pokémon battle from behind so it looks like you could get hurt from the attack.

I don’t know why they couldn’t have the trainers stand on the sideline like they do in the series?

Poké Jobs are now a thing, people.

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You can send off Pokémon to help with jobs and send them for the duration of real-time, the longer they go, the more exp they earn and level up, with the the more gym badges you earn, the more jobs you can access.

Overall the game does feel relatively short, but it’s still an enjoyable experience, I just feel it’s getting too corny with the new Pokémon and their names.

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The overall story is fun but, again feels slightly flat and rushed and once completed there isn’t a great deal left to do.

The fact that you need a Nintendo subscription to do any online play is also a pain.