Earlier today, a new Nintendo Direct aired about Pokemon Sword and Shield. This Direct covered a multitude of things in the game, ranging from new Pokemon to new characters, mechanics and other interesting details about the Galar region and everything found within.
It was a pretty big deal really, and it provides us with quite a few neat things to discuss and speculate on too.
So just like with previous Directs we’ve covered here, here’s our coverage of the Pokemon Sword and Shield Direct and everything revealed within!
The Actual Direct
Though before we get to that, we may as well share the Direct itself for those who haven’t seen it. So before you keep reading the article, check out that video here:
As well as few of the other clips and screens on the official site too. Such as the one here:
Or the others found here on the Pokemon Sword and Shield site.
Done? Right then, time to discuss the Direct’s content, starting with the new Pokemon themselves!
Since obviously, that’s the main point of these games, and a few have been revealed in the Nintendo Direct.
Such as the two main legendaries of the Galar region. These wolf like Pokemon are called Zacian and Zamazentza respectively, and seem to represent the old ‘infinite force meets unmovable object’ idea, having a sword that can cut through anything and a shield that’s nigh impenetrable respectively. Here are some bits of artwork showing ’em off:
And obviously they’re not the only reveals here. No, the common bird for the region has been revealed too. This one is a knight like raven Pokemon called Corviknight, which shares a few similarities with Skarmony in terms of typing (Steel/Flying). It’s quite a big Pokemon overall, big enough that apparently a company called Galar Taxi uses them to transport people around.
Of course, a raven may be fitting for a UK based region, but it’s not the only example of local wildlife being used as the basis for a Pokemon species. No, the game also has a new sheep like Pokemon too, named Wooloo. It’s your standard Normal type this one, with the (rather fitting) abilities ‘Fluffy’ and ‘Run Away’.
Perhaps less fitting for the UK theme however is the new turtle Pokemon, Drednaw. This one is a tough Water/Rock type, which is said to be ‘too tough’ for many trainers to handle.
Hmm, where did we hear that before? Oh wait, maybe in Pokemon Sun and Moon, when Bewear was made out to be the most dangerous thing in Alola.
Given how that went (it was powerful, but not brokenly so), we’re gonna guess this is another example of the Pokedex overstating the danger of a local species to make it sound more powerful than it is.
Finally, we’ve got some grass types, Gossifleur and Eldegoss. They’re pretty generic in terms of looks and stats, though having Regenerator as an ability might make them tougher than they first appear.
The starters also get expanded on a bit here too, with Grookey, Scorbunny and Sobble getting some new artwork and info tidbits. These include the former’s stick and its uses in battle, the second one’s legs/kicks/speed and the latter’s… crying and camouflage. Yeah, we think we’ve figured out which role each of these will play personality wise.
And that about wraps it up for the new Pokemon. Again, it’s the first Nintendo Direct, what do you expect? It’s gotta cover more than the region’s species.
Like the region’s characters. This time, we learn about the professor, rival, first gym leader and champion, all of which seem as unique as ever.
There’s Professor Magnolia, who studies the new Dynamaxing mechanic (more on that latter):
Plus her daughter Sonia (a childhood friend of the main character and researcher):
As well as the rival for the game, Hop. He seems friendly enough, which may honestly be a bad sign as far as rivals are concerned, since the more interesting ones had at least a little aminosity towards the player character.
Maybe there’ll be another one introduced later on?
Ah well, we also do get to see Leon, the region’s champion.
Which seems like a bit of a random reveal all things speaking. After all, the champion is usually the final boss in these Pokemon titles, so revealing their name, appearance and (part of) their team seems a tad premature.
Still, it’s explained they play a role throughout the game’s storyline, and they do show up at multiple points as a result of that, so perhaps their status as the final boss won’t be all that valid in this one. Kinda like how Alder wasn’t the last boss of Pokemon Black and White.
There’s also the first gym leader, Milo. Yeah, he’s pretty much what you’d expect a gym leader specialising in Grass types to look like, albeit a tad more muscular than his predecessors:
Talking of gym leaders, they expanded a bit more on the return of the gym system in this Direct. Along with a bunch of other additions to the game…
Such as the most notable one, the new Dynamaxing system. What’s dynamaxing? Well, apparently with a certain item you get in the region, you can turn your Pokemon into giants for three turns, which significantly boosts their stats and replaces their moves with superpowered ones of the corresponding type.
It’s an interesting concept, in how it turns even the likes of Pikachu into towering monsters:
And lets you stage what amount to mini kaiju battles between your Pokemon:
It also applies to certain wild battles, where you can take on a single (permanently) giant battle with a team of others in order to try and catch it. This can be done alone, in local co-op or online, and basically implements Pokemon GO’s raid battles into a main series game:
Yet that’s not all it takes inspiration from there. No, it also seems to bring back GO and Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee’s visible encounters too. You can now see Pokemon in grass and caves:
Or setup a random encounter at will. Seems a bit more modern than the old ‘walk around and see what comes out’ system the prior titles had.
As well as find them in the ‘wild area’, a giant section of wilderness across the region which has all manner of biomes and can be explored like a 3D game world, free camera and all. It’s a bit like the Breath of the Wild formula, except applied to Pokemon:
Finally, there’s also the Rotom Phone, which seems to be an upgrade to the Rotom Pokedex in the gen 7 titles. This one acts like a Pokedex, but can also be attached to things like your bike to speed it up or let it travel across water. So if you were wondering what the HM replacement in these titles is, well apparently your phone now has superpowers. Okay then, guess that’s another thing inspired by Breath of the Wild!
And it looks pretty good overall. They’ve always been heading in this direction, but now the grid, fixed camera and limited options are all gone for good. A well deserved upgrade to an aging formula indeed.
Still, gameplay’s done now. Onto a bit of extra media. Namely, the box art for the games. You can find that here:
As well as some art for a Double Pack here. Yeah, there’s a double pack this time around, aimed at those who want to buy both games at the same time. That’s an interesting decision right there, given Nintendo and Game Freak’s focus on trading to fill out the Pokedex, but one that probably makes sense in today’s market.
Finally, let’s talk release dates, since that was also revealed during the Direct too.
With Pokemon Sword and Shield being stated as having a worldwide release on November 15th 2019.
Which means no one will be able to complain about waiting for these games, or spoil them with leaks and datamines prior to their release date in other regions.
Thank god for that eh?
Either way, that’s the reveals in this Nintendo Direct.
So what did you think of them? Did you like the new characters, Pokemon and mechanics revealed in it? Will you be buying Pokemon Sword and Shield when it released on November 15th 2019?
Tell us your thoughts on the matter in a comment below or on the (newly revamped) Gaming Latest forums today!