Pokemon Sword & Shield has certainly been off to an interesting start in terms of Fan Feedback. On one hand, the region looks stunningly immersive. The characters are full of life and swagger. And the addition of free-roam areas with a completely controllable camera makes this look like the most visually stunning Pokemon game yet. On the other hand, a good number of fans are still upset about there not being a National Dex. Additionally, Dynamaxing (the newest gimmick for this series of games) seems rather lackluster compared to Mega Evolutions and Z Moves.
As far as where I stand with these controversies, perhaps I’ll share that in another article. For now, I want to remain completely objective with these news updates. And objectively speaking, the latest Sword & Shield trailer does give us a lot of amazing things to look at – especially several new Pokemon. Though sadly, it does also bring up – or rather revisits – a previous concern or two. So check out the full trailer below and I’ll see you in a moment for the full breakdown.
The Highlights (Part 1) – New Pokemon:
This trailer revealed three new Pokemon: Yamper, Alcremier, Rolycoly and Duraludon. Players first met Yamper, the Electric Corgi Pokemon, during the E3 demo. Its ability ‘Ball Fetch’ will allow it to retrieve the first Pokeball thrown during an encounter should it fail – as long as Yamper is not already holding an item. Alcremie is a new Fairy-type Pokemon that will have the ability ‘Sweet Veil’, which prevents its and allies from falling asleep. In other words, this Pokemon is a pure sugar rush! The trailer also revealed Duraludon, our first non-legendary Steel/ Dragon-Type. It’ll possess either the ability ‘Heavy Metal’ or ‘Light Metal’ which doubles or halves its weight respectively.
Though the most intriguing new Pokemon is Rolycoly, which is a Rock-Type Pokemon that can have the existing ability ‘Heatproof’, which halves Fire-Type moves. Though the more interesting ability is a new one called ‘Steam Engine’ which can raise its Speed by 3 stages whenever its hit by either Fire or Water-Type moves. I’m especially anxious to see if/ how this Pokemon evolves as its current look is already really fresh and unique. Hopefully this will be the ‘Geodude’ of this Generation and show off two additional evolutionary stages.
The Highlights (Part 2) – The Thrill of Battling:
One thing this game’s trailers have done wonderfully thus far is build the excitement of Gym Battles. In Sun and Moon, Trials replaced Gym Battles; and whereas they offered a breath of fresh air, something just seemed off. Gym Battles this time around appear to be massive sporting events. The trailer shows our character walking into a stadium along with others, but it’s unclear if this is a league competition event OR if gym battles will be structured completely differently. In some E3 footage, we see Nessa (the Water-Type Gym Leader) remarking on how we bested the exercises but now face her. Will Gym Battles have us face other NPCs in trials of sorts and then culminate with a climactic Gym Leader match? I certainly hope that is the case; but even if it’s not I’m still in love with how this game is setting up Gym Battles.
This trailer also introduced us to a couple of new characters including Chairman Rose – who I’m calling now as a secret villain. Though the introduction of the version-exclusive Gym Leaders Bea and Allister was the best reveal. We’ve had Gym Leader teams change up in the past based on which version you play, but version exclusive Gym Leaders is an exciting twist. Bea, the Fighting-Type Gym Leader, is exclusive to Sword. While Allister, the Ghost-Type Gym Leader, is exclusive to Shield.
The Concerns – Gigantamaxing:
This trailer introduced us to another new mechanic called Gigantamaxing and …. well… On one hand, I love that Gigantamaxing actually changes the look of the Pokemon as well as their size. The Gigantamax form for Alcremie is adorably fitting. Drednaw’s Gigantamax form is everything I expected/ wanted from any potential evolutions. And Corviknight somehow finds a way to look even more epic in its Gigantamax form! To be honest, this is everything I wanted Dynamaxing to be. Not just a size upgrade; but also a look upgrade as well.
The downside of this though is that Gigantamaxing IS NOT always an option. In fact, it seems like it’ll be even less of an option than regular Dynamaxing. That means these beautifully designed Gigantamaxed Pokemon will be locked behind a Gigantamax-wall of sorts. It’s everything I hated about Mega Evolution (the ‘for a limited-time only’ mechanic) now with even more restrictions. This is especially upsetting because these Gigantamax forms look more inspirational that most Mega Evolutions did, which usually just added spikes or hair to the original design. Alcremie goes from being a tiny splash of frosting into a full-size cake. Drednaw goes from being a beefy turtle into a walking bipedal fortress. And we’ll only see them for a brief period of time… once-in-a-while.
The other concern with Gigantmaxing is that they JUST introduced Dynamaxing, which also makes Pokemon grow to massive sizes. And now we have Gigantamaxing that makes them grow to even more massive sizes? What was once a unique idea now seems overused and the game that introduced it hasn’t even been released yet! What’s next, a third – even stronger – variant called Maxamaxing? Humungamaxing? In retrospect, I take back my previous thoughts about ‘Gigantamaxing being everything Dynamaxing should have been’ because this still wouldn’t solve the previous concern. It would have been much better to just leave Dynamaxing as the sole ‘gimmick’ mechanic of this generation and make all the Gigantamax-forms just regular evolutions of their baseline respective Pokemon.