Celebrating Pokémon’s 23rd anniversary, Nintendo unveiled Game Freak’s two new mainline entries headed to the Switch later this year. Dubbed Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, the developer gave us a tour of the new Galar region and introduced us to the three new starters available to choose from.
Ditching the limitations of the 3DS, it’s noticeable just how much the Galar region makes use of the Switch’s hardware with a sleeker three-dimensional, cel-shaded look. While previous iterations have taken us to regions based on New York, Paris and Hawaii in the 5th, 6th and 7th generation respectively, the 8th generation looks to be based on the UK with the verticality of the island, the building designs and its balance of countryside, contemporary cities, vast plains and snow covered mountains.
Sword and Shield’s starters follow the same formula as their predecessors, allowing players to choose between a fire type, grass type and water type Pokémon. In order, these roles are taken up by the rabbit Pokémon Scorbunny, another chimp-like starter called Grookey and Sobble, who admittedly looks like an overgrown tadpole.
Although some places in the trailer look a lot more open, it seems as though Pokémon Sword and Shield takes the conventional grid-like linear approach once again. It’s currently unknown whether the games revert back to a gym-based approach rather than the challenges introduced in Pokémon Sun and Moon, but a type of gym does make an appearance. Lastly, it looks as though both titles will ditch the simplified catching of Pokémon seen in spin-off games Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, allowing players to battle the wild Pokémon before chucking a Poké Ball at it.
Based on previous entries since 2012, it’s likely that Pokemon Sword and Shield could land in October or, more than likely, November, however Nintendo didn’t finalise a release date beyond its Late 2019 window.
KitGuru Says: I wish Nintendo had shown a little more, but we can surely expect more information in the coming months. It’s difficult to choose what starter I favour without seeing their evolutions but I do think that Sobble is a front-runner for me. Which starter do you think you’ll go for?