Pokemon Sword and Shield review: “A Pokemon game for a new generation”

Pokemon Sword and Shield starts like many other Pokemon adventures have. You’re sat in your mum’s house flicking through videos on your phone when your best friend/rival/neighbour arrives to tell you that it’s time for your very first Pokemon adventure to begin. So you gather up your stuff, have a quick chat with your well-wishing mother, and head out into the world as a plucky young kid just wanting to be the very best. The best there ever was, in fact. But emerging into the world of Galar is quite the spectacle. It’s chocolate box Britain, channelling strong The Vicar of Dibley vibes, with ivy trailing across cottage rooftops, square hedges lining the paths, and fluffy Wooloos roaming freely. It’s beautiful, and quaint, in a way that you always hope Britain will be in between the drizzle and the Brexit. 

Fast Facts: Pokemon Sword and Shield

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Release date: November 15, 2019
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: Nintendo / The Pokemon Company

Although you might question some of the locales and how exactly they equate to areas of the UK, there’s no doubt that this is as British-influenced as they come. There are plenty of characters that will call you ‘mate’ or ‘love’, and if you know anything about British humour, there are plenty of in-jokes and talk of the weather that will give you a few little chuckles here and there. It tinkers with British stereotypes too – although thankfully only the good ones – and even imbues the new Pokemon with a distinctly British touch. I won’t spoil any of the unannounced creatures for you, but the wildlife is a joy to discover, especially as The Pokemon Company has kept the lid on the majority of the new Pokemon and their evolutions (especially if you ignored all those pesky leaks). 

The power of Pokemon

(Image credit: Nintendo)

But more importantly, it perfectly captures the spirit of Pokemon in a way that no game in the series has done before it. Though you might question some elements of Detective Pikachu’s story, I can never get over just how Pokemon Ryme City felt. Every inch of its urban sprawl was distinctly themed, stuffed full of Pokemon references, Easter eggs and trivia that it felt like a true celebration of the series and mania that surrounds it. And now, with Pokemon Sword and Shield we get that in game form. Each of the towns is beautifully created to imbue an element of British culture or landscape, but it also truly reflects what it would be like to live in a Pokemon world. 

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