Game Preview: “Pokémon Sword and Shield” Should Be Switch Titles Not To Be Missed

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After much speculation, the eighth generation of mainline games in the long-running “Pokémon” series were officially announced during a livestream on Feb. 27: “Pokémon Sword and Shield.” Set for release later this year on the Nintendo Switch, the titles look to build on the pedigree of previous versions and follow up on the success of “Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee.”

The games will take place in the Galar region, which is based on England and the surrounding areas. Though there are still details yet to be revealed, the setting looks to draw influence from the real world while also integrating elements of medieval fantasy stories. In addition to Nintendo’s own “Legend of Zelda” series, the games shall be an ideal fit in an age after the success of “Harry Potter,” “The Lord of the Rings” and “A Song of Ice and Fire.”

Along with existing monsters such as Pikachu, Minccino and Lucario, there will be a host of new monsters to collect and battle with. The starters this time are as follows: the grass-type Grookey, who resembles a monkey with a twig in its hair. There’s also the fire-type Scorbunny, who looks like a rabbit that can set things ablaze with its feet. Finally, there is the water-type Sobble, an aquatic lizard with an adorably anxious appearance.

Since the games began development, it’s clear that Game Freak has been hard at work to deliver an experience that can appeal to both existing and new fans. The graphics combine stylized characters with a setting full of impressive details. The gameplay sees the return of gym battles that were absent from the games released in Generation VII, with a host of new features yet to be revealed.

With the Switch having plenty of new technology to take advantage of, anticipation for this new Pokémon adventure is definitely high. Game Freak has ambitions for the title that are reaching for the heights of 2017’s “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.” As more information is revealed, it’s clear that “Pokémon Sword and Shield” will be titles not to be missed when they launch this holiday season.

Column by Steven Pryor

At a Glance:

Publisher: Nintendo/The Pokémon Company

Developer: Game Freak/Creatures, Inc.

Platform: Nintendo Switch

ESRB Rating: RP

Release Date: Holiday 2019

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