Nintendo Switch Review: Pokémon Sword

Can Game Freak still deliver a great Pokémon experience?

Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are set in Galar, an expansive region with many environments—idyllic countryside, contemporary cities, thick forests, and craggy, snow-covered mountains. The people and Pokémon live together in this region, and they’ve worked together to develop the industries here. You’ll visit the various Gyms in the Galar region, aiming for the enviable and admirable title of Champion.

The last Pokémon game “Let’s Go Pikachu” or “Let’s Go Eevee” was a nice reimagining of the original Red/Blue games but with added influences from the likes of Pokémon Go and while it was on the easy side, it was a decent entry in the series. Fast-forward to 2019’s Pokémon game for Nintendo Switch and we have a more traditional entry, but with some changes that have had mixed reactions from fans.

The story itself is a bit of a mixed bag but does enough to get you through to the endgame. Combat and exploring Routes are as you would expect, but it doesn’t offer much in terms of surprises and the Route designs are mixed in terms of quality. The new Galar region is visually pleasing as a Pokémon take on the British countryside, so it’s a shame that the design of routes and cities isn’t as strong as in past games.

I think the main problem with Sword and Shield is that they aren’t as big of a leap from the past games as many had hoped. They play it safe while messing around with a few areas that have left everyone baffled. The post-game also has a modest amount of content but not anywhere near as much as we had hoped.

Visually, like I said the Galar region is very pleasing. The character and Pokémon models are well designed, while the framerate is steady throughout. The soundtrack is typical of the series but is still charming nonetheless.

The Verdict

While offering little in terms of change, Pokémon Sword is still a decent entry for the series. It may not be the best, but its far from the worst and definitely still worthy of playing on your Switch this holiday season.

Score: 8.5