The latest Pokemon Direct was jam packed with information about the upcoming releases of Shield and Sword, arriving on November 15th 2019. With changes to the formats of Pokemon battles, a more open-world style of the Galar Region, and Dynamax, Trainers have a lot to look forward to in the coming months.
The new Pokemon, for the most part, seem to work quite harmoniously with humans in the Galar region, with Wooloo for example, being prized by weavers and tailors for its incredibly soft wool. Seeing the Pocket Monsters interact and be present in the surrounding world adds a depth of realism the Pokemon has been building upon for many years. And with Shield and Sword releasing on the Switch, the Pokemon Company can take advantage of the extra development power on the platform.
Quickly becoming a fan favourite, Wooloo is the Sheep Pokemon, a Normal Type creature who tends to dislike conflict and will simply roll away when in trouble. In terms of abilities, Wooloo utilises Fluffy, reducing damage taken from moves that make contact but also doubling Fire Type damage. Wooloo also makes use of Run Away, which allows this Pokemon to always successfully flee.
The aggressive Drednaw is a Water/Rock Type Pokemon which likes to take bites out of rocks, iron, and probably you if you’re not careful. With two abilities, Strong Jaw, which increases the power of bite attacks by 50% and Shell Armour, preventing Drednaw from taking Critical Hits, it is going to be a formidable force in the Galar region.
Gossifleur is a Grass-Type Pokemon with healing pollen, used to help heal children of the Galar Region when they’re sick. Gossifleur makes use of Cotton Down and Regenerator as abilities, the former decreasing the speed of an attacking Pokemon when hit by a move, and the latter restoring a third of Gossifleur’s HP when it’s switched out.
The evolution of Gossifleur, Eldegoss is covered in a thick ball of cotton, protecting it from heavy damage. The seeds throughout the cotton are highly nutritious and Eldegoss spreads them throughout the Galar Region, imbuing the soil with a rich abundance of nutrients. Eldegoss also makes use of both Cotton Down and Regenerator.
My personal favourite Pokemon from the new generation, Corviknight is the Raven Pokemon which actually serves as a taxi, allowing you to travel from city to city, provided you have been there before. Of course, you’ll still be able to use this Pokemon in battle and with both Pressure and Unnerve as abilities, it will be a formidable force. Pressure forces opposing Pokemon to use two PP for each move they use, while Unnerve prevents hostile Pokemon from eating held Berries.
And now we come to the Legendary Pokemon, the titular beasts of this lush region. First up is Zacian, a fast-moving wolf-like Pokemon clutching a sword in it’s fanged jaws.
On the opposite end we have Zamazenta, able to turn back any incoming attack with the shield that encases its body. Within the short video that revealed both Zacian and Zamazenta, it was heavily implied that we’ll be seeing a third Legendary to add to the fray, keeping with the pattern of previous iterations.
The Galar Region, while home to many unique and powerful Pokemon, is also home to a strange phenomenon known as Dynamax, which massively enhances a Pokemon’s size and move strength for a short duration.
Similar to Z-Moves and Mega Evolution, only one Pokemon can undergo Dynamaxing per battle and the effect isn’t permanent. You’ll have three turns to deal as much damage as possible to your foes before your Pokemon resorts to its original size.
You can even square up against massive Pokemon in multiplayer battles known as Max Raid Battles. In these activities, four players will team up to attempt to subdue a massive Dynamaxed Pokemon, but this Pokemon won’t resort to a smaller size after three turns. To make matters a little more complicated, only one Pokemon out of the four Trainers can undergo Dynamaxing so you’ll have to think strategically for the best effect.
The Pokemon you’ll be able to face during Max Raid Battles will be determined by the location, time of day, and weather and upon defeating and/or capturing the Dynamaxed Pokemon, you’ll begin to see them in The Wild Area.
Dynamaxing is such a massive (pun absolutely intended) phenomenon in the Galar Region that there are specialised stadiums designed to handle the giant Pokemon. These stadiums will be the site of your Gym Battles, where you’ll face powerful Gym Leaders, such as Milo, in front of roaring crowds.
The Wild Area is a large zone comprising of several different biomes in which you can find and catch an abundance of different Pokemon. Much like Max Raid Battles, the Pokemon you discover here will depend on location, time of day, and the weather.
The Wild Area can be accessed through many different cities in the Galar Region and offers a more visual, open-world experience than in previous games. For one, there are physical Pokemon moving around and interacting with the world. Second, you can actually control the camera while moving around The Wild Area, allowing you to easily spot items and Pokemon, while exploring.
There is still so much that has been left to the imagination regarding Sword and Shield but it is doubtful that will stay the case for very long. If previous releases are anything to go by, the Pokemon Company and Nintendo will be eager to provide players with more information regarding the latest iteration to the decades-long series.