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This can be impressive and frustrating in equal measure as, alongside the usual obedience level cap, gym badges now determine the level of the Pokémon you can catch. So if you only have one gym badge and you bump into a level 30 Snorlax, you might as well throw your PokéBalls at a wall. While Sword and Shield does have some of the best-looking towns we’ve seen in the Pokémon series, sometimes they fall short in terms of depth. Most of the towns are built around their Gym, which is understandable as they’re the focal point of the community in Galar.
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Cut scenes look good but not great and a little more variety in expressions would be welcome on characters. It’s somewhat odd to see a character express distress in a text box while their face shows nothing but a benign smile and a quizzical brow. In this vein, some voice acting wouldn’t go amiss in the future either. Even if only added to the game’s cutscenes, this could really elevate the atmosphere, particularly in Gyms where the moments before a match feel oddly anticlimactic as the huge crowd cheers around two mute trainers. For those who have never liked cycling their team in battle to keep levels balanced and avoid missing the Pokémon team equivalent of leg day, this is unlikely to be an issue.
Pokémon Sword and Shield actually feature plenty of light touches like this—both new and expanded from previous releases—that add a greater sense of fun to the game. As Dynamaxing is so closely tied to the game’s story it’s hard to dismiss it entirely but there is a sense of style over substance with this mechanic. Significantly, the Wild Area is home to Pokémon of all levels.
Christmas is approaching, you’re looking for a game to occupy you while your family have on too many wines at Christmas dinner. Pokémon does just that and should absolutely be top of your list. The game expands on a few concepts while staying true to what has made it so successful. If you’ve played a Pokémon game before you’ll understand why it’s a yes. If you’ve worked hard and built a solid team, you can challenge your real-life rival to a game or two.
That said, the risk hasn’t always paid off and not everything lands. Some of the changes and additions would have been better off not being made and in some areas the game just doesn’t feel quite as full or as polished as it could be. Pokémon is a hugely popular series with a passionate fanbase so what it’s been doing for past two decades clearly works. But the old adage "if it’s not broke don’t fix it" doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for innovation or creativity.
But centralizing Gyms to this degree does sometimes leave the rest of the town feeling like somewhere that looks good with little else of importance to offer—something to admire but not dig too far into. Game Freak was fairly tight-lipped when it came to revealing the new Pokémon that would feature in Sword and Shield.
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But for those who enjoy the challenge, the removal of choice may rub the wrong way. Given XP Share adobe acrobat download has been optional previously, it just seems curious and slightly unnecessary to change it now. Other enhancements aren’t optional and it depends on player preference whether this is a good or a bad thing. The most notable one is that XP Share—which allows you to spread your XP earned in battle more evenly across your team and level them up together.
Drawing on British culture and folklore in a similarly successful manner are the new Pokémon native to this region. Inspired by the UK, this region is characterful and utterly full of personality. We had a niggling feeling as we wandered around the suspiciously clean cities and green rolling hills that this is potentially what some have convinced themselves the pre-EU UK once looked like.