Well, this post is going to be a first for me. I’ve never talked about a video game before. I’ve even talked about live action tv shows, Food Trucks, and books before even diving into a video game. This is an untouched area I was completely unsure about. How wild is all of that? I guess another reason why I haven’t done this yet is also because I am not much of a video gamer anymore. I used to be when I was in primary school and even a little bit of one when I was in college when playing with friends. Now, I’m just starting up again. So really, diving into the world of a game and finding that I enjoy it is a massive step for me. I usually don’t have the patience for video games, so I am glad that I found something to love in this game to keep me involved
My Pokémon adventures started anew when I acquired a Switch Lite on Christmas day. With that Switch came a simple game called Pokémon Sword. I haven’t played a Pokémon game since Pokémon Diamond on the Nintendo DS, so it’s been a long time since I’ve dived into this world myself. Now I am at Galar, the Pokémon version of the British Isles. I have to say, this Pokémon version is a lot different from what I remember Pokémon being. In a lot of good ways of course. Seems like Pokémon has done some interesting experimentation since I’ve been away. It’s clear that Game Freak was going for something different here which is pretty cool to think about honestly. I’m going to say that it was mostly successful.
The first difference in Pokémon Sword for me was the atmosphere. I feel like this is the first time I’ve played a Pokémon game in which you can feel like you can live in it. Maybe that has to do with the graphics of the switch compared to the DS and mobile consoles before it, Sword had so many interesting living environments and towns in it. Each Pokémon gym is surrounded by a town or a city with it’s own unique feel of architecture and setting surrounding them. The grass gym is out in the toolies, the water gym is a small port city, and there are so many other cities out there that are fun. The trainer also starts out in a small town, which really makes this like a rags to riches story in some way. All of that is pretty cool honestly.
With the gyms existing (apparently they took them out at some point), the elite 4 was completely taken out. Instead, we have the Pokémon Challenge which is treated like a sport. Something like soccer/football where it’s on the tv all the time and stadiums of people show up to see the player take on a gym leader. It’s honestly incredibly cool. To take the place of the elite 4, there is a tournament where the challengers fight against each other to choose who fights against the gym leaders. The winner of this grueling tournament gets a chance to take on the undefeated leader, Champion Leon. It’s honestly something I like because the gym leaders and challengers are great people I feel sad beating. Well, except Nessa maybe. I feel like she’s a little egotistical, but she did soften up in the end.
The same goes for the rivals in the game too. There are three of them and I can’t help liking all of them. Hop is the boy the trainer has grown up around. He’s not only your childhood friend though, he is the younger brother to Champion Leon. Hop set up a high level of expectations for himself which leads to a moment where he fails then finds his strength again in a different way. It’s great. Marnie, the best girl, is just a trainer who just wants to fight against you in friendly combat. Team Yell causes trouble for her, but she calms them down and even cheers for you in key moments. She’s really good and I’m glad she’s around. Marnie is best girl. Finally, Bede is that jerk trainer at first who also gets his own depression arc connected to the chairman Rose until he has to find his own path too. There is some good writing for characters in Pokémon Sword and Shield. The cast is good.
The secondary story is where Pokémon Sword starts falling apart for me. It feels like there is sort of an idea when it comes to the history of Galar itself. There was an idea here that combined Galar’s history and why Pokémon can dynamax or becoming Kaiju for three rounds. It’s also energy that powers all of Galar and such for a thousand years into the future without stopping. So what happens? The Chairman of Galar just has to start the end of the world during the final round of the Pokémon challenge even though he could have waited? Or something. The mythology is cool, but it felt duct taped to the story in a way that wasn’t good or executed that well. There’s a lot of holes here that just didn’t work is what I’m saying.
There are other things here that can sort of be put into question kind of is the wild area that encompasses most of Galar region. You have to go through the wild area to go to cities you can fast travel to later. I do really like the concept of the wild area where Pokémon just wander free and chase you so you have to fight them. It’s really cool and you can find whatever Pokémon you want in there if you are at the right level. It’s Pokémon’s attempt to make a free roaming game, but it felt too centered sort of? Pokémon never left their designated areas but maybe that had to do with Switch limitations? So, I guess the wild area works alright. Just not as finished as I was let to believe.
Visual wise or gameplay wise, I don’t know what to say here honestly. I think the gameplay is still very Pokémon with updated Pokémon models and everything. Basically, no complaints there because Pokémon needs to be Pokémon after all. I also don’t have enough knowledge of switch games right to say anything about the visuals, so I thought they were fine. I suppose people have had complaints about them, but the visuals are good enough to me to create a visually interesting world that I can’t help but enjoy with characters that I liked to hang around with. Plus, the cute pocket monsters that have a unique twist to them in a Galar sort of way. It’s all really cool. There is a lot of work in the visual department here which is great.
So what can I say besides I like all of it that I’ve played do far. As I write this right now, I am in the post game segment of Pokémon Sword and while the premise is questionable, I like working together with gym leaders to take on the current threat. I also want to get the dlc for game too because those look incredibly unique and fun. My experience with this game has been more then positive. It’s fun and has all sorts of things too. I know this is a general over view here, so look at MoePete’s deep dive into this game. You can start here and move on to their later work. I honestly agree with a lot of what they have to say.
Maybe one day I will get better at writing these video game things. I honestly had no idea what I was doing here. Then again, that’s most of what I do anyway…