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Veteran Player's Feelings on Sword and Shield

WishIhadaManafi5

To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before.
Staff member
Moderator
This game needed More - More time, More money, More staff, whatever it was. So much is fundamentally great in concept, but the overwhelming impression is of multiple features being tragically cut short.

Imagine how great the story could be with three More interactions with Rose, setting out his motivations? How neat it would have been to actually see Leon take on the rampaging Dynamaxed Pokemon?

Think how colossal the region and Wild Area would feel with an extra 30% More physical geography across the board. How much More beautiful it would be with reeds and other aquatic plants in the blank lakes?

How cool would the cities be with More meaningful buildings? A ride on the Ferris wheel, or some generic animation for the trains and taxis?

I very recently started up another Heartgold run-through - yes, the development requirements are of a different magnitude, but there's a game that feels like it's oozing detail out of every pore.
Definitely. Haven't played Shield yet, but going from what I've seen gameplay wise, it could have used what you mentioned above.
 

Gundam78

I’ll... I’ll GET YOU!
This game needed More - More time, More money, More staff, whatever it was. So much is fundamentally great in concept, but the overwhelming impression is of multiple features being tragically cut short.

Imagine how great the story could be with three More interactions with Rose, setting out his motivations? How neat it would have been to actually see Leon take on the rampaging Dynamaxed Pokemon?

Think how colossal the region and Wild Area would feel with an extra 30% More physical geography across the board. How much More beautiful it would be with reeds and other aquatic plants in the blank lakes?

How cool would the cities be with More meaningful buildings? A ride on the Ferris wheel, or some generic animation for the trains and taxis?

I very recently started up another Heartgold run-through - yes, the development requirements are of a different magnitude, but there's a game that feels like it's oozing detail out of every pore.

I haven't played neither games but after some reading.... it seem some lack of features is based of the limitations of the Nintendo Switch hardware
 

Pokemon Fan

Knuckle Trainer
I haven't played neither games but after some reading.... it seem some lack of features is based of the limitations of the Nintendo Switch hardware
Anything you thinking of in particular? Because I have my doubts, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Zelda Breath of the Wild, Mario Odyssey and many other games show that while Sword and Shield is far from looking awful in my book (I'd say a lot of it looks gorgeous, for a pokemon game at least), it's also nowhere near reaching the limits of the Switch hardware.
 

Ophie

Salingerian Phony
Yeah, if they were able to port The Witcher 3 to the Nintendo Switch, then it's not a weak system. Game Freak has traditionally focused on even weaker systems in the past.

Rather, it's probably because the Switch is far more advanced and more powerful than any system a main series Pokémon game has been on. The jump to HD has tripped up many developers in the past, most notably SEGA with Sonic 2006. The more powerful the system, the more work has to be done that isn't retreaux.
 

Sceptrigon

Armored Legend
After playing through the game, I can say for myself that it was decent even though it could certainly be better. It’s pretty much expected as an introductory pair on a new console as advanced as the Switch. Despite the lack of content, I had a good experience playing though the story. The story itself didn’t bother me too much though some things could have been explained better. I liked all the characters for who they were, and I do wish there were more cutscenes or side content about them.

The new content the game offered doesn’t cut it for me. At first, I was actually kind of enjoying new features like the Max Raid battles, but after facing issues that I’ve seen others mention like difficult to beat Pokémon being able to flee after being defeated, NPCs being very incompetent a lot of the time, and raid Pokémon doing stupidly overpowered things like being able to attack you and others twice in one turn, I decided not to do it anymore. Gigantamax Snorlax was the most difficult for me to get, and I don’t know if I’ll try to get the other forms from events. While the designs of the Gigantamax forms have grown on me, I doubt I’ll ever use them. Pokémon Camp is a neat concept that I was expecting to use a lot based on positive fan reactions to it, but I ended up quickly getting bored of it. I mainly used it to increase happiness for my Snom and other Pokémon. The curry dex isn’t something I would have the desire to complete. And I never actually did any Poké jobs because I didn’t follow through with the first job I attempted, and I tended to overlook the option whenever I accessed the PC. If only it involved actual participation from the player, then it would have been more interesting to me.
 

Bus

Well-Known Member
Having been playing the series since Red and Blue first debuted on gameboy, I have to say that the game is lacking in many areas; areas that you'd expect would be common sense to improve when going to a new console.

A few examples would be Voice Acting; not the entire game, of course, but at minimum some select areas. When you go to the last gym battle, the scene before it starts is especially awkward because it looked like it was specifically designed and animated to have voice acting; same with the end credits when the 'band' comes out to perform.

Also is the issue of recycled attack animations. Though in that respect, it's very odd. On one hand, you have totally recycled, lazy animations (like pound, tail whip) or non-sensical animations (Fishious Rend shows Dracovish swing a tail to hit, but he has no tail; his tail is his freakin' head).

On the other hand, you've got ridiculously unique and detailed animations for moves like Pyro Ball, Eternabeam, and the box legends' signature attacks. It's like they went all-in on the intent to up the animation quality for things but then quit half-way through.

Looking at the designs for towns and some areas, its the same thing. Ballonlea is one of, if not the most, beautiful and well-designed towns they've ever created. The starting town of Postwick is really cozy and country looking as well! But then when you come to the Wild Area, it honestly comes off as a bit generic looking. I absolutely love the Wild Area and all the raids, but its a bit of a mish-mash of environments they've already had in other games and when compared to many other jRPGs, it just feels a bit lacking. Like, aside from raids and hunting down pokemon, there isn't anything else. The Poni Wilds from Sun/Moon were pretty much the exact same thing only to a smaller scale. For the upgrade from handheld to console, I expected a bit more.

The road to the Elite Tournament (or whatever its actually called) is also lacking severely. It's a short Ice path leading up instead of the cavernous elite trainer blitz it used to be in the past. I understand wanting to move away from the more annoying cave path, but at least something else that involved a little bit of puzzle work and more varied trainers along the way would have been nice. Same for the path to the Energy Plant and taking out Eternatus. It was simply 'ride the elevator' and face the President....absolutely nothing else got in your way; there was nothing to navigate or do. It made it feel really lackluster. Same issue going up the tower to find Leon before the final match and things went to hell-in-a-hand basket.

The pokemon 'dexit' I honestly wasn't that annoyed by it, but I do have to agree that they could have, and should have, put at least another 100 pokemon in there. There's no way the game couldn't have handled it.

........

All that being said, I really am enjoying the game despite its flaws. Without realizing it, I've already put far more time in my first playthrough of Shield than I had in any other pokemon game before it. I usually do a play through and later do a Nuzlocke run (which is difficult to figure out for this) but I've been enjoying doing raids and maxing out stats for Pokemon so much (as well as doing the Battle Tower) that I probably won't be doing that this time around.

These towns have been the nicest looking out of any generation and with the exception of Turffield, Spikemuth, and Stow-On-Side, the towns have all been bigger overall than previous games' towns. And aside from that stupid Penguin (which is still actually a good pokemon) there's not a single pokemon whose design I dislike.

I don't know how to really state it clearly; I enjoy playing the game, but expected more. It seems like something that would have benefited from the team's full attention and at least another year (if not two) of development before releasing. Being the first console generation of Pokemon, I think we would have forgiven the wait. Hopefully this will not only act as a wake-up call to Gamefreak's upper management on what we expect, but help to perfect our hopes and desires for Generation 9.

If it meant getting the game we all expected out there, I would gladly sacrifice a 'third version' and wait another 5 years for Gen 9 to be the masterpiece we all know it can be.
 
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SBaby

Dungeon Master
I haven't played neither games but after some reading.... it seem some lack of features is based of the limitations of the Nintendo Switch hardware

I seriously doubt that. Any time someone thinks it's because of the Switch's 'limited hardware', my response will always be Breath of the Wild.

I've noticed a lot of people tend to complain about Team Yell, and I have to wonder if it's because they hit too close to home for the fandom. I actually like them as an 'evil Team', and it really does call out the toxicity of fanbases. There's being a fan, and there's being obsessed to the point where you take it too far. Marnie is an allegory for the Pokémon franchise, and Team Yell is an allegory for the fanbase.
 

Tsukuyomi56

Gesshin Powered
Not sure what to think about voice acting (even if it is restricted to the Gym Leaders) as it could be a bit tricky hunting voice actors for all the languages the games is released in (English, Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish, Korean and Chinese). Not sure if it is appropriate for the band either due to all their members being Pokémon (bar chucking an NPC that taught them some degree of human speech).
 

SBaby

Dungeon Master
Not sure what to think about voice acting (even if it is restricted to the Gym Leaders) as it could be a bit tricky hunting voice actors for all the languages the games is released in (English, Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish, Korean and Chinese). Not sure if it is appropriate for the band either due to all their members being Pokémon (bar chucking an NPC that taught them some degree of human speech).

It's up to each country's localization team to handle voice actors for games. Sometimes they'll get a representative from the Japanese company to assist the voice director. But for the most part, a dub's team is going to be specific to that country.

So if Pokémon decided to incorporate voice acting at any point, each country would only have to worry about their own VAs and anything the representative was looking for. But I will say that if they decided to go with voice acting for Gen 9, then the story and setup for that would have to be pretty big to justify it. Otherwise, you just have voice acting for the sake of having voice acting.
 
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LucarioIsMegaEvolving

A single misplaced step
Alright, so I have mixed feelings on Sword and Shield.

On the one hand, there are lots of things I like about it. League cards are a really cool idea that really build up the idea of Pokémon battling being a sport. Most of the town designs are really unique, I would even say perhaps the most unique out of any game. Places like Ballonlea, Hammerlocke, Motostoke I found really cool when arriving. I like all the gym leaders and rivals having lots of personality and character. And on a mechanical side, quality of life changes like the ability to change nicknames, remember and forget moves anywhere, access the PC from anywhere, change a Pokémon's nature, and level them up with EXP candies to decrease having to grind are all really cool. And Pokémon Camp is also pretty cool, though I did get sick of it after a while, and would like to be able to pet my Pokémon, though that's just a minor nitpick. I also didn't find the game too easy, due to having a team of 11 that I trained to the same level, rather than just 6. Overall, I would definitely say I enjoyed the game more than gen 7.

However, there are things I don't enjoy. My main critique is with Max Raid Battles. I'm sure it's different if you have Nintendo Switch Online, however for myself who has not paid money for that, the Max Raid Battles to gain things like EXP candies were irritating, mostly due to the NPCs. Most of them use fairly weak or unevolved Pokémon, one trainer even using a Magikarp, and they can never do any real damage to the Dynamaxed Pokémon. The fact that the battle ends when a total of four Pokémon faint is annoying when all the NPCs Pokémon faint in one hit, the battle often ending before I can even do any damage due to the shields put up. Even with a 4x super effective dynamaxed STAB move, the battles still end due to the NPCs Pokémon fainting. For such a core and advertised mechanic, it should be accessible and enjoyable to those who haven't paid extra as well. Also, as others have said, the Wild Area as a whole feels empty.

On the whole, though, I enjoyed the game far more than I thought I would, and it was probably some of the most fun with a newly-released Pokémon game that I've had since ORAS.
 

paipr_christian

grass type fan.
It's a mixed bag. Like it feels like the story is less prevalent than Red/Blue. And I do agree with some complaints. Like alot of epic stuff happened off-screen just out of view of us. And there are odd choices.

For a game that I've enjoyed so much I immediately wanted to start a new playthrough, and one that my wife is besting at a record pace (last 3 games she played took her almost a year while this time she is almost done in less than two months) there is alot lacking and hurting. I don't mind the graphics, and don't mind the models. It's the pacing that bothers me. The bigger story feeling like an afterthought. The fact that the wild area is basically this massive hole in the middle of the region that you can get into via only three ways (2 towns and one train station). The fact that routes and the wild area feel just empty in alot of ways. Like.... I'm ok with HMs being gone, but the only reason to return to past areas is to surf-bike over a few water spots for an item or two.

We finally get new TMs, plus TRs. And it feels like more than half only work for like 3 Pokemon.

There are flaws. But there are also great things. If say in some ways SwSh accomplishes being better than some past games, but in others not at all.
 

Ophie

Salingerian Phony
However, there are things I don't enjoy. My main critique is with Max Raid Battles. I'm sure it's different if you have Nintendo Switch Online, however for myself who has not paid money for that, the Max Raid Battles to gain things like EXP candies were irritating, mostly due to the NPCs. Most of them use fairly weak or unevolved Pokémon, one trainer even using a Magikarp, and they can never do any real damage to the Dynamaxed Pokémon. The fact that the battle ends when a total of four Pokémon faint is annoying when all the NPCs Pokémon faint in one hit, the battle often ending before I can even do any damage due to the shields put up. Even with a 4x super effective dynamaxed STAB move, the battles still end due to the NPCs Pokémon fainting. For such a core and advertised mechanic, it should be accessible and enjoyable to those who haven't paid extra as well. Also, as others have said, the Wild Area as a whole feels empty.

I think the idea behind it is that it's supposed to be a multiplayer experience and that you go it solo only if you have no other options (which, arguably, applies to your case). Nintendo makes a lot of other games that are centered around multiplayer, such as the Mario Kart, Smash Bros., and Splatoon franchises; you can play those solo too, but they're really meant to be played with other people, and the solo experience is incredibly limited accordingly. (Splatoon doesn't even have AI teammates and opponents if you wanted to play Turf War or Salmon Run solo; I certainly didn't expect AI teammates for Max Raid Battles until it was announced.)

Max Raid Battles are entirely optional; you can go through the entire story without doing any of them, and really, none of the characters ever make mention of them. The closest they ever come to making references to them is the implication that other characters use them, namely notable characters' Gigantamax Pokémon and the game subtly throwing Pokémon with Hidden Abilities at you (such as Melony's Darmanitan and Piers's Scrafty). As a result, I just treat Max Raid Battles as a multiplayer mode, just like with trading and head-to-head battling. If it was required to proceed, and they give you the same incompetent computer players to work with if you're alone, I'd have a problem.
 

LucarioIsMegaEvolving

A single misplaced step
Max Raid Battles are entirely optional; you can go through the entire story without doing any of them, and really, none of the characters ever make mention of them. The closest they ever come to making references to them is the implication that other characters use them, namely notable characters' Gigantamax Pokémon and the game subtly throwing Pokémon with Hidden Abilities at you (such as Melony's Darmanitan and Piers's Scrafty). As a result, I just treat Max Raid Battles as a multiplayer mode, just like with trading and head-to-head battling. If it was required to proceed, and they give you the same incompetent computer players to work with if you're alone, I'd have a problem.

Yeah, that's fair enough. It's just mainly because that mode is incredibly helpful for getting competitive teams, (which I suppose aren't really helpful if you don't have online multiplayer) and levelling up your Pokémon that irked me. Also if you want to get Gigantamax Pokémon, which is a feature that was advertised a lot, but again, isn't essential.
 

Carrick2097

Member
I’ve played Pokemon since the 90s, and despite the several drawbacks (I can’t abide dexit, and definitely agree that the story should have been much more expanded) I can’t help but love these games. I might be biased because I have online multiplayer & thus have been rinsing multiplayer max raid battles, trading and battling etc. I also love the greater customisation, both of your own character and of your league card. What does anyone else think of league cards?

Also, as a British person, I love that Galar is based on the UK. Obviously it’s an interpretation rather than carbon copy, but there’s plenty of aspects they got right (some people really do say ‘mate’ that much dependent on where you’re from!) Agree that the wild area could have been more developed though.
 

Pokemon Fan

Knuckle Trainer
Yeah, that's fair enough. It's just mainly because that mode is incredibly helpful for getting competitive teams, (which I suppose aren't really helpful if you don't have online multiplayer) and levelling up your Pokémon that irked me. Also if you want to get Gigantamax Pokémon, which is a feature that was advertised a lot, but again, isn't essential.
It should be noted that even 5 star raids are quite doable with just the NPC allies. You just have to be level 100 (as your allies levels are linked to your own) and may have to try again if you get unlucky (i.e. get bad AI teammates for a given raid). Your pokemon will still be doing most of the work, but the AI allies can be useful for breaking the boss' barriers.
 

SBaby

Dungeon Master
For a game that I've enjoyed so much I immediately wanted to start a new playthrough, and one that my wife is besting at a record pace (last 3 games she played took her almost a year while this time she is almost done in less than two months) there is alot lacking and hurting. I don't mind the graphics, and don't mind the models. It's the pacing that bothers me. The bigger story feeling like an afterthought. The fact that the wild area is basically this massive hole in the middle of the region that you can get into via only three ways (2 towns and one train station). The fact that routes and the wild area feel just empty in alot of ways. Like.... I'm ok with HMs being gone, but the only reason to return to past areas is to surf-bike over a few water spots for an item or two.

The Wild Area definitely has that Ocarina of Time Hyrule Field feel to it, where most of it feels empty outside of the important things. The routes don't bother me too much. There's enough to do in them most of the time. I just wish Victory Road was longer, instead of just being a snowy hill.


Given the wide range of quality of life changes and other improvements that they didn't have to make in these games I highly doubt that. I'd say lack of time, lack of experience with HD console games, alternate perceptions on what their target audience wants, etc. are more likely factors to any "deficiencies" in Sword and Shield than some kind of conspiracy to make bad games.

I'm pretty sure it was because it's on a new platform, and they didn't have enough time. I and many others feel the game needed another year. There may have been other factors, but it definitely needed more time in the oven.
 

captainfez3

The Chill Trainer
I just wanted to give my two cents on this topic. I have been playing since the days of Red and Blue on Gameboy so I think I fall within the "veteran" category.

I played through Sword and am still team building and battling online. I really enjoyed the game just playing through it. I think I messed around with team rotation enough that my Pokemon were never really overpowered and I had a good challenge from the gym leaders pretty consistently throughout. I like how the story was focused on becoming the Champion, with the Dynamax mystery bubbling underneath the adventure. I really like the non-wild area parts of the Galar region. Traipsing through each section to get between towns was fun given how diverse the areas felt. My favorite was hands down the enchanted woods before the Fairy type gym. I am immensely appreciative for all the items and mechanics they added that allow us to turn an ok Pokemon into a competitive one. I am one of those weirdos that gets attached to my digital pals and it feels weird (although is technically more accurate I suppose) to have to breed a wonder child to use for competitive play when the whole anime is based off of believing in your Pokemon and them overcoming the challenge. My favorite thing about these games is something they started in Sun and Moon and that they gratefully brought back, which is post game continuity, in the sense that you become Champion and people do not just forget it. Granted, it is mostly the NPCs you cannot interact with to any meaningful extent, but it obviously plays a part in the post-game content and it is a persistent part of the world and that is one thing I want them to expand upon and improve on, especially since Pokemon is one of those games that a lot of fans play well past its story conclusion. Completing the Pokedex, training up a team that fits "you", and then crossing whatever else off the list. It would be great for the games to have a proper second half to allow you to do all of these things as an in-game recognized activity.

I think the fact that I cannot get through a list of things I liked without deviating into a list of what I actually want pretty much sums up my, and as far as I can tell many peoples, problem with these games. They just aren't enough, which sounds weird since I have put in 150 hours into Sword, but I am part of the "veteran" group of players who will try to complete the dex, breed for the right move set and evs, and so on. A lot of that time is playing the slots, not enjoying the adventure. I think I beat the game in about 50 hours, and there were no real memorable moments for me in the entire story, nothing like catching Zekrom or finding Lugia in the whirlpool islands. I think the most memorable aspect of Sword and Shield is the wild area and frankly it is not that good. Terribly unbalanced in the late game, the online connectivity is terrible, and visually it is very bland. The camping mechanic is not as good as Amie imo, at least for simulating connecting with your Pokemon, but the animations are good.

I just feel very meh about these games. I think it is what a teacher feels when they have a talented student, who instead of being the bright and creative individual they are, just gets tired or lazy and starts phoning it in. The work they do is still worthy of an A, but you know they could do so much better. What can you do though? It would be sweet if IPs could be rewarded to studios that do the best work with them, so there would be a pressure to be on the bleeding edge, but let's not bandy that idea around too much, lest we get drowned by Google's salivating, lol.
 

Twilight-Kun

Pokemon World Champion
Watched some walkthroghs and a very painful Nuzlocke that showed why S&S does not work with that approach

Anywho, I was surprised to see that there were so many useful pokémon in the pokédex instead of only six being useful and the other 900 being irrelevant

Also really not impressed that the game literally tells you to ignore the interesting things involving the actual story and only focus on the Gym Challenge
 
I think the idea behind it is that it's supposed to be a multiplayer experience and that you go it solo only if you have no other options (which, arguably, applies to your case). Nintendo makes a lot of other games that are centered around multiplayer, such as the Mario Kart, Smash Bros., and Splatoon franchises; you can play those solo too, but they're really meant to be played with other people, and the solo experience is incredibly limited accordingly. (Splatoon doesn't even have AI teammates and opponents if you wanted to play Turf War or Salmon Run solo; I certainly didn't expect AI teammates for Max Raid Battles until it was announced.)

Max Raid Battles are entirely optional; you can go through the entire story without doing any of them, and really, none of the characters ever make mention of them. The closest they ever come to making references to them is the implication that other characters use them, namely notable characters' Gigantamax Pokémon and the game subtly throwing Pokémon with Hidden Abilities at you (such as Melony's Darmanitan and Piers's Scrafty). As a result, I just treat Max Raid Battles as a multiplayer mode, just like with trading and head-to-head battling. If it was required to proceed, and they give you the same incompetent computer players to work with if you're alone, I'd have a problem.

Pokemon was a series that had both and until sword & shield the online aspect was left untouched wich is why people never complained to such extremes as with sword & shield regarding the dexit mexit. While the single player experience became more shitty per release on 3ds the online multiplayer arguably got better with more options or at the very least didnt get much worse. also for variety cups that only allowed certain pokemon from the huge dex.

however since sword & shield cut the dex by 60%. you hurt the more hardcore online by allot. you hurted competitve players. you hurted players who breed their favourite pokemon with near perfect stats to use online or want to use troll pokemon in battle. the removal of 100+ moves and a ton of abilities also doesnt help. you hurted those people by not allowing to use those pokemon or to limit their options not to mention the time they invested in it knowing that pokemon was supposed to be a thing for a full dex to be usuable in every new generation.

in past titles you could lasts hundreds of hours in single player content mainly postgame especially the ds and gba games had tons of easter eggs aswell and some interesting buggs and that was withouth breeding or shiny hunting. wich both again are mostly singleplayer especially shiny hunting. dexit also hurted single player allot for people who liked to play with those pokemon complete a living dex breed shinies you name it.

well considering that most people play most games for less than 10 hours. I'd say mario kart and smash bros are perfectly fine in single player for 20 to 30 hours. they have the content.

also in the case of mario kart time trial are very hot alongside veteran players. if online wasnt a thing online leaderboards else where and proof with pics is always how that went. the official speedrun community boards it has been done since mario kart 64.

furthermore speedruns per track with ai is also popular in the mario kart community. the entire mario kart series is a speedrun fest along veterans on the speedrun boards so not much to say there. plenty of singleplayer content.

Smash bros has combo contest homerun contest cpu only tournaments ai being smarter than ever beating even slightly above average players with easy this time around they can be abused but it's allot tougher than any game in the series no contest. not to mention most people playing it for only 50 hours is way more than the average game for a single player experience.

in the case of especially mario kart especially veteran players spend thousands of time in time trails or speedruns so the single player in that series is fine even the most recent one with more tracks than ever.

In terms of multiplayer both series could last for thousands of hours but that's with most multiplayer games since people tend to replay those allot. I'm just saying that those 2 franchises in particular don't lack single player options. world of light. lasts for a ton of hours aswell.

Best single player smash game might have been smash bros brawls especially the boss rush mode on intense. and speedrunning for that. not to mention subspace emmisary

Also really not impressed that the game literally tells you to ignore the interesting things involving the actual story and only focus on the Gym Challenge

That was one major fault with this game. everytime when something happened it was either gone or leon is going to handle it while he or someone else tells you to go ahead with the gyms that was so lame. Can i be leon plz. is leon like the player that we where in past games. is this a joke gamefreak
 
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KenzeyEevee

Some ppl have the insight of a Magikarp
10 routes aren't much. It's kinda stupid that Hop has to hold you hand. I never touched it again after I did the story and post-game.
 
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