Expect the Onix-pected
It has been almost a week since the debut of Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield respectively. And the internet is of ablaze with with hot takes and fresh finds as always. While the direct itself wasn’t very long, lasting only about 7 minutes, it was still packed with information that has been dissected by the community. Some people were obviously upset that this isn’t a huge break from tradition in the same vein of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, or Super Mario Odyssey. However, that was never promised, and Game Freak is a completely independent company from Nintendo so to expect their revitalization in this is asking a bit much. However, what we do have looks really good so far, and there have already been lots of things noticed from the short trailer.
Random encounters are back! While it is a bit of an understatement to call this mechanic controversial, it does fit with the tradition of a classic Pokemon game. Speaking of tradition, Gym battles reappear after not being included in the Sun and Moon generation of games. On the surface this game has the look and feel of one of the most basic Pokemon experiences. Everything you know and love seems to be back in the way you remember them, for better or worse, so get your repels ready for the caves. This isn’t to say that everything has just been copy and pasted from older generations, there is one scene in particular where the player is walking into a Soccer (or Futbol) stadium in what looked like a gym, however there is no current confirmation of what exactly it was.
The game itself looks better than ever however, the Galar region looks beautiful in game and the internet has noticed a very European feel to it with influences seemingly coming from all around the United Kingdom. Character customization makes a reappearance in the series as various outfits are shown off for the player character throughout the trailer. Different outfits are seen in matching areas of the region. Such as a winter jacket in a snowy mountaintop region, and shorts and a t-shirt in warmer areas. There is no word yet on whether clothing has anything to do with story progression, but it seems unlikely given the history of the franchise.
The first trailer evoked the feeling that this game is going to be a very safe game for the brand. The first genuine new experience on a console ever for Pokemon looks like it wants to focus more on getting the actual console experience right, rather than completely reinventing the series and taking a ginormous risk with such a large fan base to please. Which is completely understandable, having such a big game flop would be much worse than having it not sell as well as other titles.
Most importantly, the starters were revealed, showing off the grass starter Grookey, the fire starter Scorbunny, and Sobble the water starter. Grookey is the Chimp Pokemon according to the official listing. Scorbunny is, as is in the name, a rabbit. And Sobble is a lizard type Pokemon and he has been by far the internet’s favorite new starter, even though Scorbunny is way better than Sobble. Unfortunately though, those are the only new Pokemon we know of. Every other Pokemon shown in the trailer is from a different generation and only served to help flush out the world of the game. If the designs of the starters are any sign of what is to come from this game, then I am very excited to see what other new Pokemon have been created for this game.
There are still some elements missing that has fans wondering, what all has been removed from the game? It doesn’t look like there are mount Pokemon in this game as of yet, and having a Pokemon follow you in the overworld has seemingly been removed as well. Leaving these questions on the table means that fans are worried the series might be going back too far into its roots and reintroducing generally disliked mechanics such as HMs. That could be a huge problem waiting for Game Freak if they choose to go in this direction, it was generally seen as a relief and a big step forward to phase out the use of the mechanic and use other means of doing the same thing. If they can clear the minefield of tiny decisions like these and put all the right pieces together then this could be a fantastic fresh take on the series. It could also very well be too much for people who have already played the games so many times before can handle. It has to walk a thin line between staying true to the series while not becoming formulaic.
Right now it looks like we can expect more of the same from Pokemon this year. Promises that were never made haven’t been met and people will naturally be upset about this. What is being offered looks like another good Pokemon game, nothing too drastic has changed from the jump to console. The real mystery here is what is the post game content going to look like. Even dating as far back as Pokemon Gold and Silver, the story is rarely finished after you beat the Elite 4. Having so much more power and space to play with provides a lot of opportunities to have some fun options long after the player beats the elite 4.
Who’s your favorite starter? What would you like us to cover next? Let us know in the comments down below and don’t forget to like and subscribe for more Bring Your Own Games.