Truth Frequency Radio

Oct 22, 2020

There’s a fair selection of happy melodies for simple exploration, high-energy battle music and nostalgia-inducing little tunes for visiting a Poke-center or ending a battle. One track that I found to be particularly awesome was the gym trainer theme which made the battles against them feel like a real epic stadium match.

Obviously, Pokemon Sword doesn’t do anything to shake the typical Pokemon formula to its core; in fact, it even strips some stuff away like Mega Evolutions and Z-Moves. Its replacement for those features being MIA is Dyanmaxing, which also plays an important role in the story and postgame, to mixed results.

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Sound is also used to great effect in Dynamax battles and makes these Pokemon really feel imposing and their visually impressive attacks very impactful. We’ve come a long way from pixelated Pokemon and NPC critters of the first Pokemon games.

The biggest reason why this game is so addictive is that it strays away from the repetitive nature of the previous games, without feeling too different. The sports-esque approach to Pokemon battles is a great take and fits into the British theming well, and it’s all accentuated by a truly amazing soundtrack. Even in more lackluster moments of the game, the music was consistently enough to motivate me. A personal favorite of mine is the gym theme, which is absolutely exhilarating when it hits its climax. Even though other aspects of Pokemon Sword and Shield’s presentation falter, the soundtrack is one thing that stays stalwart.

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While creating your perfect team for online play still takes time, you can now train specific stats and even change the nature of a Pokemon. This is great because not only does it reduce the grind of capturing the perfect Pokemon, but it also makes your starting team able to become viable for online play if you invest the time in training them. Sword & Shield takes some of the best aspects of previous Pokemon games for a wholly satisfying hybrid – at least in terms of the catching game. The first, great thing, is that the game allows you to skip cutscenes and the long-winded tutorial to quickly get into the meat of things. This will be your standard fare of traveling from location to location, battling trainers and scouring the tall grass to capture new Pokemon.

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Despite that, I’m very glad that the 3D transition of newer games retained the recognizable personality that exudes a great sense of nostalgia for older players among us. The new region is very well crafted and really makes you feel like you are visiting a small version of the United Kingdom, both in terms of locations and dialogue. The cities, in particular, look great and are very distinct from one another to fit with the theme of the Pokemon type that will be encountered in the local gym. The endgame does provide you with a bit more with both raid battles in which you can participate with other players, tower challenges and, of course, online battles against other players.

Luckily, here you can actually see the Pokemon going through the grass, enabling you not only to pick and choose your battles but avoid them altogether. Pokémon Sword players will earn Grass, Water, Fire, Fighting, Fairy, Rock, Dark, and Dragon badges, in that order. While Shield players will battle for Grass, Water, Fire, Ghost, Fairy, Ice, Dark, and Dragon badges, in that particular order. While this only makes a small difference, it means that big fans have a reason to play both games.