Pokémon SwordPokémon Sword
Year: 2019
Rating: E
Time Played: 92.03 hours

As with any new iteration of a long-running franchise, it’s equally interesting to see how the formula is changed to make things interesting while also cutting out some of the tedium present in previous installments. While Pokémon Sword has certainly improved some of the quality of life issues present in the franchise, some of the newer features still need a bit of work to be fully enjoyable. That being said, for the first time in many generations, I was able to (almost) completely fill my Pokédex (even with the DLC Pokémon, having not actually bought it) while playing entirely by myself. I still have a few evolutions I need another friend for, but they account for ~1% of the total.

I was somewhat pleased with the introduction of the “Gigantamaxing” mechanic, even if it was essentially a combination of Mega Evolution and Z-Moves from Generations 6 and 7, respectively. The annoying thing about these special Pokémon was that I had to use the Y-comm to catch them in Max Raids. The refresh rate on the available battles needs to be fixed since more than 50% of the time, the battle wasn’t available. Additionally, it would be nice to make trades with strangers in-game instead of relying on Pokémon Home to get the Pokémon I wanted.

While it’s a bit of a pain to join Max Raid Battles, the variety of events that gave me opportunities to catch rare (for my game) and highly-evolved Pokémon make this entry stand out amongst its predecessors. I also appreciated the Wild Area since I spend most of my time there. The fact that Pokémon in the Wild Area scale in level based on your progress through the game made gaining levels much easier than in the past. The XP crystals were also lifesavers from the monotony. I also appreciated the “visible” Pokémon that carried over from Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee, as it allowed me to choose who I wanted to battle. Overall, despite a few weaknesses, the improvements to the series made this a great game in the franchise.

Some fantastic quality of life improvements, but with a few features that still need fixing, I give Pokémon Sword 4.0 stars out of 5.

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