Years ago, way back in the day when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and I had glasses I thought were fashionable, Siliconera used to have a regular feature called Siliconera Speaks Up. We’d each offer insight into various topics like video game protagonists, games that left their mark on us, and untold stories we’d want to hear. Then, we’d take the time to talk with the community. Well, we’re back!
This time, our first topic will be Pokemon Sword and Shield. We’ll discuss how we feel about our adventures in Galar so far, maybe share thoughts on our favorite Pokemon, and then hear your thoughts on not only this game, but past entries as well.
Jenni: I appreciate the quality of life improvements, like the ability to access a box at any time, fast travel easily, and have different traversal methods without wasting space in a Pokemon’s small moveset. The little things, like how Pokemon in the Wild Area will react to you when they’re not actively trying to jump you for your lunch money, can be very cute. I also enjoy Max Raids much more than I thought I would and have been using the “Surprise Trade trick” to try and see more stamps for them in my feed.
That isn’t to say it is all great. I miss a lot of my favorite Pokemon. Like did you know Jigglypuff isn’t here? I didn’t realize my sweet-voiced angel wasn’t! Camping sometimes gets a bit frustrating, especially since it’s very difficult to see people even locally. I also wish we still had the GTS. It was so much easier to trade when we all had access to a unified system.
Alistair: I’ve got to say, thanks to less pre-release info this time around (and avoiding the leaks), as well as skipping the Let’s Go set of games, Pokemon: Shield really gave me a shock to the system with the Wild Area, and change to symbol encounters. I’m disappointed that the Pokedex had to be cut, and the change of stronger TMs into one-use TRs, but in actual practice, I ended up using all Galarian Pokemon (and Galarian forms). Appletun and Polteageist are so adorable!
Story-wise, I both enjoyed and was off-put by the lack of a stronger antagonistic force, as I did enjoy the small power fantasies in previous games. However, I’ll be in the minority (?) here and say that I did like the rivals a lot. I also really appreciated the theme of succession seen with most of the major characters, especially since beating Leon was essentially beating a previous protagonist of a Pokemon game!
Sato: Like Alistair already mentioned, I think they did a much better job at not revealing everything ahead of release. It comes with the territory of my job, but I felt like Sun & Moon didn’t have nearly as many surprises, and that took away a good chunk of my Pokemon experience. As for Sword & Shield, I appreciated a lot of the dialogue. Everything from the stupid pre-fight and post-fight quotes to Detective Pikachu references from NPCs. Character customization was also another big plus. It’s been great seeing all the screenshots with more personality showing from all of your characters.
To be honest, I’m really forgiving about missing features and really don’t care about not having the full Pokedex. After catching ’em all back in Pokemon Silver I haven’t bothered with it, and mostly just catch any cool-looking Pokemon. However, I do wish its online features offered more things to do with other players. I know, I know, baby steps. While I think it was a step in the right direction, I really hope to see more fleshed-out online features for the next-generation. As for the rivals and other characters—some I liked, some I didn’t—but either way, I thought it was nice to see a lot more variety in their personalities. On the other hand, I felt the character designs were all excellent this time around.
Thomas: Pokémon Sword and Shield is like a slice of cake at someone else’s birthday party—sure you got a fantastic little treat to enjoy, but it’s gone much too quickly and leaves you still very hungry. You can’t ask for seconds until everyone else at the party has had some which you know is just code for no more cake for you. Basically what I am trying to get at is the game is much too short, and really isn’t an experience you can savor as much as you wish you could. That said, cake is cake, and I like cake!
I still thoroughly enjoyed Pokemon Sword and Shield. I actually loved all the new Pokemon in the game, like Falinks and Grimmsnarl, and the soccer themed arenas for gym battles—something I thought seemed kinda dumb—turned out to be a total blast. There’s just something so exciting and fun seeing two Pokemon Dynamaxing in a huge arena and duking it out in front of a roaring crowd. Heck I even liked the characters, which really is saying something since the story regrettably doesn’t give them much to work with. I’ll be darned, I started the game laughing at Leon and Hop but by the end I fell in love with them. Just a darn shame there wasn’t much story this time around after I enjoyed the plot in Sun and Moon so much.
How do you feel about Pokemon Sword and Shield? Which Pokemon game did you enjoy most? If there’s none you really love yet, what would you like to see in a future entry?
Pokemon Sword and Shield are available for the Nintendo Switch.