Some Pokémon sword and shield fans are skeptical


The veil was finally lifted in the eighth generation of Pokémon games, dubbed Pokémon Sword and Shield. The revelation was a great moment for the series as it marks the first time a mainline Pokémon title appeared on the Switch. The promise of a new region to explore, new Pokémon to find and new mysteries to unravel is more than enough to make us excited, even so in the beginning. Fans are already lying about the new beginner characters and deciding what alliances they're going to be doing, designing fan art, and inventing memes and jokes as they indulge in all the new details the trailer revealed to us.

As Nintendo Direct showed us the games in action, they were clearly the Pokémon we know and love. But they are also family? While it is too early to tell how much a Sword and Shield Pokémon experience will be in today's generation of Nintendo consoles, especially after only a small trailer, some of the most critical online feelings bring some good points.

AcrIn social media, among the fans who revel in revelation, some reactions have been hesitant. The most common concern online has to do with the general perception about the lack of innovation: the visual design (though still beautiful and apparently full of diverse landscapes) looks more on the same level as the last iteration on the Sun and the Moon, they operate with the familiar fixed camera view, and it does not seem that some of the welcome advances Let's Go made (without emphasizing random encounters, for example) made their way to this new chapter in the main series. All these concerns are certainly not out of the box.


With some visually stunning and modern-looking games already available on the Switch, it's not unreasonable for fans to expect anything new from the Pokémon series, and based on what we've seen in direct Pokémon, central gameplay and the visual style of Sword and Shield. it looks like it will resemble the series' debut in the 1996 Game Boy.

The series continued to borrow JRPG conventions from that same period of time, and this strategy worked largely. Without a real flaw in the storyline of the mainline Pokémon franchise, it's easy to see why Game Freak would want to take that formula and effectively make it bigger in Sword and Shield. It is immediately recognizable – even from a second – and for the first time, perhaps it is enough.

Pokémon games essentially print money, with almost guaranteed sales potential, but if Nintendo taught us one thing with Breath of the Wild, it's that throwing out the rule book can occasionally bring a franchise to incalculable success. This game not only introduced a freshness in the series, but was also one of the most successful games in the history of Zelda. It's easy to understand why Pokémon fans would like the same level of evolutionary treatment.

But a drastic change in the Pokémon franchise is unlikely. This is the series' first mainline game on the Switch, and the development team is probably still adapting to the new hardware after so many years in 3DS. But after 23 years, the series is long overdue for some structural changes.

For most Pokémon fans, the arrival of Pokémon Sword and Shield is, in general, a joyful affair. But these concerns are not unwarranted. Fortunately, we have much more to learn about these modern entries in the Pokémon series. Regardless of the changes they make or not, we can not wait to see more.

Steve Bowling is a freelance gaming journalist and YouTuber. When he is not busy making videos on GameXplain, you can catch him screaming in clouds on Twitter at @SteveMBowling. The rest of the time he can be found sleeping peacefully in a Snorlax bean bag chair.


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