The Pokémon series is one that has long felt resistant to change, to the point that even seemingly obvious changes, like a shift to 3D graphics, can feel monumental. In this context, Sword and Shield are what the franchise has been building toward for more than 20 years. They don’t change up the formula dramatically. But the changes that are here — a larger, more detailed world and a streamlined structure that cuts out the annoying bits — are enough to make this the ideal iteration of the concept to date. The moments when I felt frustrated or bored in past games simply don’t exist in Sword and Shield. It’s one big adventure.
It’s exciting to hear but hardly surprising that the newest Pokémon adventure will not only meet people’s expectations for a home console release but likely surpass them. I don’t know that there’s a more consistent team working on Nintendo games than Game Freak and their ability to create entirely new worlds and hundreds of new creatures in the span of only a couple years always boggles my mind.
It’s nice to see them having risen above the absurd controversy being spread by people online and delivered a game that more than speaks for itself. While I’ve held off on the last couple Pokémon titles, I’m confident I’ll be grabbing a copy of Sword or Shield tomorrow. Having wanted a home console version of Pokémon since I played the original game over 20 years ago, it seems silly not to.