Some Pokémon sword and shield fans are skeptical



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… we will still play them, though.

By Steve Bowling

The veil was finally lifted on the eighth generation of Pokémon games, called Pokémon Sword and Shield. The revelation was a highlight for the series as it marks the first appearance of a Pokémon title on the Switch. The promise of a new region to explore, new Pokémon to find and new mysteries to solve is more than enough to excite us, even if early. The fans are already breaking into the new characters and are deciding which allegiances they will make, devising fan art and inventing memos and jokes by indulging in all the new details that the trailer has revealed to us.

When Nintendo Direct showed us the games in action, it was clearly Pokémon we know and love. But are they as well familiar? Although it's too early to say how much a Pokémon experience on a main line is unique, Sword and Shield will be on a Nintendo console of the current generation, especially after a short trailer, but some of the feelings the most critical online raise a few positive points.

On the social networks, among the fans who were delighted by this revelation, some reactions were hesitant. The most common concern online is the general perception of the lack of innovation: visual design (although pretty and apparently full of diverse landscapes) is generally similar to the last iteration in Sun. Moon, she works with familiar still camera, and it does not seem that some of the positive advances that Let's Go has made (by minimizing random encounters, for example) have found themselves in this new chapter of the main series. All these concerns are certainly not out of the grassroots.

Innovation

With some visually impressive and modern games already available on the Switch, it's not unreasonable that fans are expecting something new from the Pokémon series and from what we've seen in Pokémon Direct, the gameplay main and visual style of Sword and Shield. Looks like it will look a lot like the series debut on the Game Boy in 1996.

The series continued to borrow agreements from the JRPGs of the same period and this strategy has largely worked. Without a real miss in the history of the Pokemon franchise, it's easy to understand why Game Freak would like to take this formula and make it more effective in Sword and Shield. It's immediately recognizable – even at a glance – and for a first exposure, it may be enough.

Sword and Shield seem to continue the trend of the familiar polygon animation style of Pokémon, which debuted in 2013, with the same still camera that is just far enough away from the player's character to give you a broad view of the surrounding area. Several online complaints have highlighted the remarkable similarities between Sun and Moon and Sword and Shield. Some have wondered why decades of technological and artistic advances have not translated into the series – at least not yet.

The new region we discover, Galar, is by far the most interesting beginning of Pokémon Sword and Shield. It seems to rely on the UK and it's one of the most visually distinct environments in franchise history. The trailer also gave us a brief overview of a possible football mode, the character wearing a traditional soccer jersey and crampons before going out on the field in what appeared to be a gigantic stadium. Most Pokémon games have at least one new element: from the day / night cycle of Gold and Silver to the sun and moon photo mode. Whatever this new feature ends up being, it certainly looks like something different happening in the Pokemon franchise. (The first three Pokémon – Scorbunny, Sobble and Grookey – are already famous and there will undoubtedly be new Pokémon revealed as the end of the 2019 game period approaches.)

The map, which was also shown during the presentation, also seems huge. The structure of the map also suggests that Sword and Shield will follow one of the main elements of the series: a linear structure in which you are guided primarily from one point of the map to the other through the respective stories of the games. It describes a seemingly vast world to explore, but if the new games stay true to the conventions of the same series, it is likely that some paths will be closed until your Pokémon rises and acquires new abilities ( as Surf or Cut), which have traditionally been modified. allow you to reach previously inaccessible areas.

Pokemon's wish list, let's go

Last year's titles, Let's Go, introduced a surprising new artistic style and some quality of life changes that the Pokémon series desperately needed. It was also the first release of Game Freak on the Switch, so it would be logical to think that this same aesthetic could have made its way into a main and modern chapter of Pokémon. Pokémon's appeal to young players is no secret; the franchise has been successful with players of all ages since its inception, but the anime and merchandise have helped to further popularize the series with a younger audience. Keeping the series' more simple artistic style is likely to help keep this demographic of young players and parents looking for a child-friendly title this holiday season.

The world of Let's Go has other aspects that make it more alive. In Let's Go, you can see exactly which Pokemon are hiding in tall grass and which ones to catch. This mechanism of encounter in the supernatural world was well received, especially because it helped people avoid random encounters if they wanted to. This also contributed to a busy world and one that felt less sparse than some predecessors.

Another article that is about almost each The list of Pokémon fans is the one that allows you to choose your favorite pocket monster and follow it around the world. Game Freak has often had the idea of ​​adding this feature to the main series. In Yellow Pokémon, the player's Pikachu would follow you, and in Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver, any pokémon could follow the player, just like in Let's Go games.

However, this feature has not yet reappeared in a mainline game. It looks like Game Freak played with the idea – data miners found walking and animation animations for each pokemon in the Pokémon Sun and Moon files – but this was not officially announced in Sword and Shield. These games may be added or revealed at the time of their launch.

The Wild Breath argument

A different thread on the subreddit Pokémon is full of arguments for and against major changes to the Pokemon franchise, as did Breath of the Wild in the Zelda series. Despite a general consensus on the enthusiasm sparked by the revelation of Pokémon Sword and Shield, many felt that it was time for something new to happen in the series after 23 years.

There is certainly a predominance of fans who want to see the conventions of the series change. "The cost of entry into this game is much higher and it will be 60 dollars instead of 40. What's wrong with expecting something better if I pay even more," he said. writes throwaway_5256. Redditor -goob has cited several other franchises that have made major formula changes, such as God of War, Spider Man, Assassin's Creed and Monster Hunter. "People do not ask that Pokemon be a big [sic] Bot-style epic. People are asking for something new, "they wrote.

Others quickly (and accurately) notice that we do not know enough about these new entries to know how they will be played. As Reddit user Arpet explains, "it seems like the three starting cities are linear, but once you get to this big downtown city, [sic] to go to one of four or five other areas. If they're designing the game in this way, it's going to be a bit like finishing the tutorial before you jump into a larger world like BOTW. "There is also the counterpoint that a linear structure speaks intrinsically to Pokémon's design:" A game is necessarily linear because of the way leveling works. It would not be interesting to return to an alternative route lower than the one you are currently in, "wrote the editor.

Pokémon games essentially generate money, with almost guaranteed sales potential, but if Nintendo has taught us one thing about Breath of the Wild, it's that throwing the rule book can sometimes lead to franchise to indescribable success. This game has not only brought freshness to the series, but it's also one of the most successful games in Zelda's history. It's easy to understand why Pokemon fans want the same level of evolutionary treatment.

But a radical change in the Pokemon franchise is unlikely. This is the first main game in the Switch series, and the development team is probably still adapting to the new hardware after so many years on the 3DS. But after 23 years, the series has long been waiting for structural changes.

For the majority of Pokémon fans, the arrival of Pokémon Sword and Shield is, overall, a happy affair. But these concerns are not unjustified. Fortunately, we still have a lot to learn about these modern entries of the Pokémon series. Whatever changes they bring or do not bring, we look forward to seeing more.

Steve Bowling is an independent game journalist and YouTuber. When he is not busy making videos on GameXplain, you can surprise him to scream about the clouds on Twitter at @SteveMBowling. The rest of the time, he sleeps peacefully in a Snorlax pear chair.

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