Recently IGN revealed a new video that hosts five brand new details about Pokemon Sword and Shield. The video was created from the 90 minutes that IGN were able to spend with the games, and surely aren’t the only new details they noticed. Check out the video below that shows them in action, but read on for more details.
There’s a Twist to the Opening Area, and Starter Battle
In all Pokemon games, players pick between the three starter Pokemon. These Pokemon evolve twice, becoming some of the most powerful creatures in the games. In that respect, Pokemon Sword and Shield are no different. Players will choose between Grookey, Scorbunny, or Sobble, alongside their rival, which is Hop for Sword and Shield. As is customary for all Pokemon games, players then have a battle with their rival, pitting each starter Pokemon against one another in a battle that generally consists of two moves, Tackle and Growl.
However, in Pokemon Sword and Shield the rival battle has a twist that bleeds into the game’s opening area. Hop will also have a Wooloo, the unofficial mascot for Pokemon Sword and Shield, meaning that players must defeat two Pokemon in this starting battle with their rival. Wooloo is also literally everywhere in the game’s opening town, so much so that you can’t escape it. Apparently the Pokemon also has a lot to do with one of the early storylines, so players will be seeing a lot of Wooloo before they’ve even left their home town.
In most of the Pokemon games players will encounter Pokemon in the wild at random. This can happen as they walk through tall grass, or just as they explore caves. In Pokemon Go this was changed so that players could see the Pokemon in the wild, and choose which ones to battle, and which ones to avoid. In Pokemon Sword and Shield, encounters have evolved once again. Players will still be able to see Pokemon in the wild, choosing between fighting them or avoiding them, but there will also be random encounters. These encounters show up as exclamation marks, and players can choose to take part in them or avoid them. The advantage of these random encounters is that there are a few Pokemon who are limited to them, and can’t be encountered anywhere else.
This is a new dynamic for the Pokemon games, and will once again change the way that players think about exploring the world of these fantastic-looking games.
The Wild Area Grows With Players
The Wild Area is a new place for players to explore in Pokemon Sword and Shield. It’s the biggest open world space in the games, and has a few other NPCs in there for players to interact with, such as camping merchants or trainers. In The Wild Area players can earn an in-game currency to purchase curry ingredients and camping gear, many of which are exclusive to the area. As players unlock the ability to explore in new ways, through Pokemon abilities, they’ll be able to access more of The wild Area. Certain parts will be naturally locked off because players can’t ride Pokemon on water, or fly, or hack away at bushes, but these will open up over time as players become more experienced.
The Wild Area is also where Max Raid battles take place, and leads perfectly into the next feature.
Play With Others
The Wild Area is where players will be able to play with or against friends in co-op and competitive battles. It’s only possible to ping friends from a specific area though, so this could get annoying fast. The main reason you’d call in a friend, other than for trading, is to take on a Max Raid battle, the hardest encounters in the game. You can see other players as you run around The Wild Area with them, and I think there’s something really special about that as a long-time Pokemon fan.
While this could be a point all on its own, I’m including it here because it relates to playing with others. Max Raid battles can be played with NPCs, so you don’t have to have friends in order to play the game’s hardest content. It’s also possible to use Gigantamax Pokemon in these battles, but you’ve got to catch them first. Apparently these encounters are the most incredible moments of the game, and they’ve got me really excited to try out capturing a massive Pokemon.
There’s Always Something Happening
Pokemon games generally plateau when players have beaten all the gyms, the Elite Four, and captured the legendary Pokemon of whatever game they’re playing. From there the point of continuing to play is to capture all the Pokemon in the Pokedex, which can take quite a long time. In Pokemon Sword and Shield it always feels like something is going on. Whether they’re bonding with their Pokemon, cooking up some curry and camping out, or battling in the arena, players will always have something that keeps them coming back to the games, and that’s new to me.