Pokemon is Nintendo’s perennial handheld game series, releasing on practically all of Nintendo’s portable game systems. The games have mostly been withheld from the home console market, but with Nintendo merging their home and handheld systems with the Switch, it was just a matter of time before we finally got our first new main-series Pokemon title that can be played on a TV. The games are released as a pair, as is customary for the series: Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield.
As anticipated as this game has been for Pokemon fans, it is probably also the most controversial. The biggest sticking point is what they’re calling Dexit. You see, the first game famously had 151 different monsters to catch. Its sequel added 100, and each subsequent game added dozens more. Today, there are 891 distinct Pokemon. Well, the developers of the game thought this was unsustainable, and so in Sword and Shield, only 400 Pokemon are available, cutting the roster by over half.
This doesn’t bother me too much, even though some of my favorites were culled. I think it makes sense to have a rotating cast of ‘current’ Pokemon, instead of the ever-growing full list. This really brings the focus to the new monsters in this game, which I think are some of the most creative and best designed the series has seen in years. I’m probably the most excited I’ve been while playing a Pokemon game in over a decade.
The game isn’t hard - the battles are actually quite a lot easier than they were in previous titles - but the worldbuilding and scale in this game more than make up for it.