No, Pokemon Sword and Shield Is Not Flawed
July 16, 2019 Andrew Cheng

Ever since Pokemon Sword and Shield was announced for the Nintendo Switch, conversations surrounding the game have not been particularly positive. From irate fans not loving the idea of a limited Pokedex (only certain Pokemon can be migrated into the game), to criticisms on the game’s animations.

Basically, there’s no shortage of negative comments about the new Pokemon game, and it’s not even out yet. While I do see how some of these negative comments can be justified, I personally don’t think Pokemon Sword and Shield is flawed.

In fact, I’m excited to see what it has to offer. After all, it’s the first “proper” Pokemon game for the Switch.

Now, the biggest issue the fan base has with Pokemon Sword and Shield is the absence of the National Pokedex. Basically, only Pokemons native to the Galar region – that’s the locale of the upcoming game – will be available in Sword and Shield.

This doesn’t sit well with fans simply because it would render their collection of Pokemon…well, useless. Most fans of the franchise have been collecting Pokemon from various games to complete their collection, and not being able to see their hard work reflected in Sword and Shield is (understandably) frustrating.

However, Game Freak’s reasoning for the absence of the National Pokedex is understandable too. According to the producer of the game, Junichi Masuda, it’s a tough task to rebuild the model of every single Pokemon in Sword and Shield.

Yes, Game Freak mentioned that assets from previous Pokemon games will not be reused in Sword and Shield; every Pokemon model in the game will be built from scratch specifically for the improved visual fidelity of the Nintendo Switch. Needless to say, this is a very, very tall order.

Given the ever growing number of Pokemon every time a new game is announced, it’s inevitable for Game Freak to start limiting the Pokedex. On top of that, to balance the abilities of so many Pokemon will be a very tough task too.

On a more personal note, a smaller Pokedex is just fine with me: it would be easier to “finish” the game if I only need to catch every single Pokemon in Sword and Shield. Granted, I would still need to trade some version-exclusive Pokemon to truly complete the collection, but that is still a far easier task than having to somehow acquire Pokemon not found in the game itself.

But this is my personal opinion. I don’t have a huge collection of Pokemon waiting to be migrated into new Pokemon games, and I don’t consider myself to be a hardcore Pokemon player either.

Another issue that’s been a topic of hot discussion is the seemingly lazy animation of Pokemon Sword and Shield. Take the Japanese trailer of the game above: in the 48-second mark, you can see that the Charizard…isn’t spewing fire from its mouth. Obviously, that animation could’ve been done better.

That being said, it remains to be seen if this kind of “lazy” animation will be present in the final version of Sword and Shield. Plus, the game isn’t even expected to be out until later this year on 15 November; Game Freak still has plenty of time to iron out any bugs the game might have.

Despite the negativity surrounding Pokemon Sword and Shield, I honestly believe it will be the best Pokemon game yet. The Dynamax and Gigantamax mechanisms look interesting, the animations (despite the Charizard thing) are rendered well, and there are still a lot of details not revealed yet.

Of course, there are aspects of Sword and Shield that could be better, especially in regard to the National Pokedex. But in order to rebuild the many assets of the game, balancing it, and to ensure that the game itself isn’t rushed, Game Freak had to make a decision.

And limiting the Pokedex seems to be the best course of action.