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access_time June 12, 2019 at 6:00 AM in Nintendo by Daniel Ladiano

E3 2019 Preview | Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield

As November approaches, so does the release of the eighth generation of Pokémon games, titled Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. A week after its titular direct presentation, Nintendo brought a demo to E3 2019. Here’s a little taste of what’s to come in the battle-centric Galar region.

The demo featured the water gym of the Galar region. First is the gym itself, a maze filled with torrents of water blocking players’ paths, and that’s besides the trainers eager to battle. The goal is to use different colored valves to stop the water flow in order to proceed. The puzzle itself was challenging, but at least not unfair like some of the ones from earlier games (I am looking at you Lt. Surge). Once the gym puzzle is cleared, the player can face the leader, Nessa, who specializes in water type Pokémon. Gym Leader battles occur in a vast stadium arena, and hearing crowd cheers during climactic battles definitely adds to the adrenalin.

Battles in Sword and Shield are a similar affair to any game preceding it. Each Pokémon has four moves that perform differently in combat. All the Pokémon were in a similar level cap and it was even possible to check Pokémon’s types before committing to attack. This is useful if someone doesn’t know what move to use. The demo primarily features newer Pokémon. The trainer has the trio of starters, in addition to some previously revealed creatures like Wooloo and Corviknight. Enemy trainers might have some newer Pokémon, but a few nostalgic faces popped out to battle such as Vulpix. The biggest surprise was the appearance of two never before seen Pokémon. The electric corgi Yamper, and the Dark\Fairy imp Impadimp made their debut appearance.

Of course I wouldn’t be remiss without mentioning the new Dynamax feature. Pokémon are capable of growing several stories high by activating Dynamax mode. Besides the obvious stature difference, Pokémon can use more powerful attacks while in Dynamax that inflict greater damage. However, Dynamax only last three turns and can be only turned on once per battle. There’s still a lot of question marks revolving around this mechanic such as specific stat boosts, conditions to perform, and so forth.

Being the first core game on an HD system (let alone on a home console), Sword and Shield look gorgeous. The game opts for a cel-shaded graphical style as opposed to the muted color palette of Pokémon: Let’s Go. Even if the game doesn’t look too different than the 3DS games, only upscaled, having a sleeker UI and sharp outlines really does enhance the experience.

While the demo itself was short, it seems that the eighth generation of Pokémon is in good hands. We’ll have more information on the game as it gets announced, so stay tuned. Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield is set to release on November 15th, 2019.

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