Generally favorable reviews - based on 89 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 69 out of 89
  2. Negative: 0 out of 89
Buy Now
Buy on
  1. 100
    Pokémon Sword and Shield is not only a worthy start for the series on mainline consoles, but is quite possibly the best entry in the series. With the new Pokémon, Dynamax raids, gyms, and the expansive Wild Area, Pokémon Sword and Shield filled me with a joy I rarely feel playing games.
  2. 100
    Pokemon Sword & Shield is as close to a true reset for Pokemon as we've had. It's clear Game Freak wanted to get back to basics, and streamline the experience across the three main characteristics that makes Pokemon great - the collecting, the combat, and the catching. In all three areas Pokemon Sword offers vibrancy - solid pacing, superb balancing, and a joyful playfulness that makes the experience so appealing. The series needed that soft reset, and now Game Freak has the same outstanding basis and core to build on anew. Just as it did back when Pokemon Blue & Red so effectively captured my imagination 21 years ago.
  3. Nov 25, 2019
    There are some aspects of Pokémon Sword and Shield that feel like they’ll reach their full potential in the next generation, but overall the game is fun, pretty and has a universality to its appeal that is genuinely impressive.
  4. Nov 19, 2019
    It isn’t perfect, with some characters who might look a little too familiar from past appearances, an incomplete Pokedex, but it is still has the same satisfying gameplay loop, array of characters to collect, and a series of gyms you’ll feel compelled to challenge. Pokemon Sword and Shield are a lot of fun and will get people thinking about things to come.
  5. Nov 13, 2019
    Pokemon Sword and Shield are the best games in the series, streamlining its most tedious traditions without losing any of the charm.
  6. Dec 6, 2019
    Overall, I think Pokémon Sword & Shield is a great entry in the franchise, only brought down by its lackluster storyline. It’s certainly new player friendly, but also has enough going for it that long-time Pokémon fans will likely enjoy the new features too. If you have a Switch, and you’re even remotely interested in the series, I’d suggest checking it out.
  7. Nov 13, 2019
    Pokémon Sword & Shield is the best game in the series thanks to more complex combat and attention to detail.
  8. Nintendo Force Magazine
    Apr 30, 2020
    Sword & Shield have a lot to love for old and new fans, and they're pure quality from top to bottom. [Issue #44 – January/February 2020, p. 72]
  9. Nov 27, 2019
    With Pokemon Shield Game Freak has delivered one of their best games in years thanks to a fantastic addition with the Wild Area. Everyone can find something they will enjoy even though the National Dex isn't here and the online infrastructure isn't great. The music, new designs and animation alone give you enough reason to play on the first mainline entries to ever grace the TV.
  10. Nov 26, 2019
    Pokémon Sword and Shield is a bold move into a new generation. There are technical hiccups, but those pale in comparison to the bustling Wild Area and the charming Gen 8 additions.
  11. Nov 25, 2019
    Pokémon Sword and Shield are not without their problems. But beyond the rubbish online play and uninspired late-game routes, and beyond the controversy surrounding them, they’re simply the most fun I’ve ever had with Pokémon. The story is wonderful, the creatures themselves are all fantastic and adorable, and Max Raids will absolutely never not be great fun. And if you can overlook the fact that these games aren’t the generational leap that some expected, you’re sure to find something special in them.
  12. Nov 25, 2019
    Bad press aside, I found Pokemon Shield to be a solid entry in the Pokemon franchise. If only the difficulty was a bit elevated for seasoned players.
  13. Nov 20, 2019
    Pokémon Sword and Shield is everything that you love about pocket monsters and then some. With an emphasis on sharpening what works and ditching more bloated elements aside to create the best region yet for the franchise, Pokemon Sword and Shield is pocket monster catch ‘em all mania at its very best.
  14. Nov 20, 2019
    Pokemon Sword and Shield's single-player experience is filled with neat characters and a new region that's brimming with personality, but running around the Wild Area with other players offers a special kind of fun. Quality of life improvements to the metagame, including the ability to change your Pokemon's nature and rent teams for fights, gives you good reason to stick with the game after you're crowned the new champion of the Galar region. Despite the controversy, Sword and Shield offers a great time.
  15. Nov 20, 2019
    Despite a few minor flaws, and an avalanche of controversy, Pokémon Sword and Shield prove themselves to be excellent games, and stellar new Pokémon adventures.
  16. 90
    While I can admit that it still doesn’t do enough different, (The absence of voice acting is jarring.) the inclusions such as the Wild Area and streamlining of tired aspects are big steps in the right direction. Game Freak has succeeded in creating a new core entry worthy of being on home consoles, and Pokémon Sword and Shield are a couple of the best games on Nintendo Switch.
  17. Nov 13, 2019
    In collecting, battling, and exploring, Sword and Shield cut out the bloat and focus on what makes these pillars of the Pokemon games so captivating in the first place. You're not held back by overly complicated back-end systems or hoops to jump through; from the outset, you can start wandering the Galar region, seeing its new Pokemon, and trying out its new battle strategies with very little in your way. This leaves you free to enjoy what Pokemon is all about, and that makes for an incredibly strong showing for the series' proper debut on Switch.
  18. Nov 13, 2019
    Gameplay tweaks and attention to detail make Pokemon Sword and Shield the most compelling Pokemon world to date.
  19. Nov 19, 2019
    Pokémon Sword and Shield provides new sensations even for the most experienced trainers who have finished all versions. New Pokémon, new features, breathtaking graphics and music... Game Freak is offering us a complete renewal of its emblematic license. If a few details need to be reviewed, if the game remains a little simple and the scenario leaves us a little hungry, there is no doubt that the developer is now offering us the first game of a long series for Nintendo Switch.
  20. Nov 27, 2019
    While keeping the series’ essence intact, the newly introduced Wild Area makes Pokémon Sword/Shield feel significantly different, switching up how battles and party formation work. Pokémon Sword/Shield is an enjoyable game, and even if it doesn’t include every single Pokémon ever made, its changes could very well mark a new start for the series.
  21. Nov 19, 2019
    Although it's far from perfect, Pokemon: Sword is a decent sequel from the series and does a nice job in terms of detail improvement.
  22. Nov 13, 2019
    Pokémon Sword & Shield are strong first attempts for the series’ full transition to consoles. While some frustrations hold it back from true legendary status, this new generation proves the Pokémon franchise is still great more than two decades after its debut.
  23. Nov 13, 2019
    Pokémon Sword and Shield is a game that knows how to keep intact the inheritance it receives from previous titles of the saga and, at the same time, introduces a series of new elements that will lead the franchise into the future. In an attempt to be a gateway for everyone, Game Freak's new project will please both newcomers and more experienced players because, although some sections of this new installment have received less attention, it still has a content which will be attractive enough for every coach to find his place in the new region of Galar.
  24. Dec 13, 2019
    Either catching ‘em all, or taking on the Wild Area and the Gym Leaders, there’s plenty of content here even if some people think the National Pokédex removal is a deal breaker. It’s still a lot of fun and can keep players busy for hours on end. The style and look is great and it controls fantastically. Is it my favorite Pokémon game in the series? I’m not sure, but it still holds the standard for one of the best out there. Any RPG fan will get enjoyment out of this one and Pokémon fans new and old will have a great time exploring the Galar Region.
  25. With new monsters, a vibrant and more immersive world, seamless connectivity with other players near or far and a heap of quality of life tweaks, Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield are a clear generational leap.
  26. Nov 18, 2019
    As a first dive into mainline Pokemon games on the Nintendo Switch, Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield work fairly well. They're not the best ones by a long shot, but they are among the better ones in the series.
  27. Nov 13, 2019
    As a generational premiere, Pokémon Sword and Shield are at a high level. Its attempt to combine different audiences and demands is well-received, although we expect much more from future games that should be more revolutionary and that would take advantage of the potential of a console like Nintendo Switch.
  28. Nov 13, 2019
    Although the Pokémon franchise is experimenting more and more with innovation, Pokémon Sword and Shield is not focused on modernization. Instead, the games prove that the Pokémon formula does not need such change. In no time you lose yourself in the beautifully designed game world and above all enjoy the cool new Pokémon. This results in a familiar and sometimes somewhat predictable journey that does exactly what we want from a Pokémon game.
  29. Nov 13, 2019
    Pokémon Sword and Shield are complex and convincing games: a solid plot, a more varied gameplay and a very thoughtfully-created level design are the hallmarks of this new pokémon generation.
  30. Nov 22, 2019
    While not the best title in the main Pokémon series, Sword and Shield manages to improve what is needed giving us a fun experience where capturing and fighting creatures feels simply great.
  31. Nov 20, 2019
    Pokémon Sword and Shield represent an exciting new beginning for the saga. Some ideas aren't perfectly developed, but overall the work from Gamefreak is convincing.
  32. Nov 15, 2019
    Pokémon Sword and Shield are arguably the best 3D entries so far, but the game lacks in content and it makes the game just remarkable and not excellent. However, the adventure is really fun, beautiful and surprising, with some of the best designs ever made. Wild Area is a blast, and the soundtrack just amazing. This game makes your time valuable, and the result is close to what everyone expected.
  33. Nov 19, 2019
    Sword and Shield aren't the best Pokémon games ever, but I thoroughly enjoy the Galar region.
  34. Nov 18, 2019
    Even with the visuals as well as the online service seemingly outdated, the essence of Pokémon is found in abundance. Fighting, catching and collecting still delivers its very unique motivational high.
  35. Dec 15, 2019
    As a longtime fan, it's a little frustrating. Luigi's Mansion and Fire Emblem are evolving, but Pokémon doesn't seem to want to. And as long as it stays fun and lovable, it doesn't have to.
  36. 80
    As has been the case with Game Freak for years, Pokemon Sword and Shield feels like two steps forward in some ways and one step back in others. The loss of more than half of the total number of Pokemon is certainly felt, but the introduction of the Wild Area and the reemergence of gyms on a much larger scale help to make Pokemon Sword and Shield another must play Pokemon experience regardless of the more glaring than usual flaws.
  37. Dec 2, 2019
    The game delivered quite strongly in its presentation in a way that sets the stage for the franchise to continue into future generations, but at the same time the lack of real gameplay and story innovation could endanger some of that staying power, especially among longtime fans.
  38. Dec 1, 2019
    The eight generation of Pokémon games is far from the astounding leap one might hope for when transitioning to a full-blown home console, but it still offers a hell of a lot of engaging, colorful and charming fun.
  39. Nov 29, 2019
    Pokémon Sword & Shield brings the traditional Pokémon recipe from handhelds straight to our TVs. The new games offer plenty QoL improvements that shake up the experience and provide a fresh touch in experiencing Pokémon gameplay in the best region the series has offered so far. However, there are also lots of things The Pokémon Company needs to consider in order to improve the experience and keep offering quality titles in the future.
  40. Nov 27, 2019
    Pokémon Sword and Shield have a few problems which prevent them from attaining classic status, but what's here is an incredibly fun, pretty, and enjoyable RPG that is hard to put down once you start playing. The loop of fighting trainers and catching Pokémon is one that works incredibly well here as it ever has, but I can understand why hardcore Pokémon fans will feel let down. Still, if you're not bothered by Dexit, this is a great Pokémon game to pour a couple of dozen hours into, at least.
  41. Nov 26, 2019
    Pokémon Sword & Shield might not be perfect in a vacuum, but they are perfect for a brand new generation of fans to begin creating their own Pokémon adventures the same way veteran trainers did two decades ago. That's a big win for everyone involved, and fans should be excited to see where the series takes them next.
  42. Nov 25, 2019
    Sword and Shield will feel like a revelation to anyone who’s missed out on the last few Pokémon cycles. It’ll feel like upgrading from an iPhone 6 to an iPhone 11 Pro Max. Game Freak’s first attempt on a home console is a worthy entry to the franchise, despite it adhering closely to its mobile game roots.
  43. Nov 25, 2019
    Galar is simply a joy to explore.
  44. Nov 24, 2019
    A very typical Pokemon game. It innovates a bit, messes stuff that should have been left alone up, and leaves other things alone for better or for worse just like every generation before it. The core gameplay though is still just as fun as ever and the addition of exciting new Pokemon, a beautiful new region, new more organized multiplayer activities, and a fun new open-area to explore help push Pokemon Sword and Shield over the edge to being a game worth picking up for any Pokemon fan.
  45. Nov 24, 2019
    Sword & Shield is a really tricky Pokémon entry to pigeonhole. It retains the old Pokémon charm, but it's not without flaws.
  46. Nov 24, 2019
    Despite these shortcomings, Pokemon Sword and Shield excel at introducing new elements like better Pokemon Storage while retaining the series' core. Everything a Pokemon player can need or want is there. Whether it's playing competitively, playing the story, playing with friends, spending time with Pokemon friends, hunting shinies, or playing the raid battles, Sword or Shield offers a core Pokemon experience, not much more and certainly nothing less.
  47. Nov 23, 2019
    Pokemon Sword and Shield are a great first step for the mainline titles on Nintendo Switch. Game Freak follows the tried and true formula of the series while ushering in inventive new ideas to elevate the player experience.
  48. Nov 21, 2019
    Quotation forthcoming.
  49. 80
    What the new Pokémon does right is battling and in the smaller details. There are many little tweaks that keep the experience lighthearted, which I wouldn't have any other way.
  50. Nov 21, 2019
    While it underwhelms in its visuals and underbaked use of new ideas, the act of exploring Galar and catching creatures remains as delightfully compelling as it’s ever been – and that’s what really matters in the end.
  51. Nov 19, 2019
    Pokémon Sword and Shield is a decent Pokémon game that will keep you playing until the end. It doesn’t deserve all the controversy it’s been getting, but it’s not a particularly stand out entry in the franchise either.
  52. Nov 18, 2019
    Pokémon Sword and Shield are not the best games in the series, but they are certainly not bad titles either. The fact that we can't catch every existing Pokémon and some graphical issues are not enough to avoid playing it. These aspects will probably be forgotten once you enjoy the full experience. It has improvable aspects for sure, but this may be the first step in a new direction for Pokémon.
  53. Nov 13, 2019
    Pokémon Sword and Shield bring some new ideas and improvements, but we miss more innovation and more and better endgame contents. You'll enjoy exploring the new Galar Region and catching the new and amazing Pokémon, but the Pokémon RPG for Nintendo Switch feels like a missed opportunity to do something big.
  54. Nov 13, 2019
    Pokémon Sword and Shield could have been great but Game Freak made some baffling decisions that are a step backward instead of the much needed step forward the series was looking for.
  55. Nov 13, 2019
    Sword and Shield are a lot of fun and, at the same time, it’s also a disappointing evolution of the series. The core gameplay still works great, but Game Freak needs to listen to the constructive feedback and live up to the expectations of the franchise.
  56. Nov 13, 2019
    Thanks to some new systems and a brand new graphic aspect, Pokemon is finally back in the living room. But, even if hunting is a great activity in those new zones, the game could have been better with more innovation and a some challenge.
  57. Nov 13, 2019
    The first new-generation Pokémon game to release on a proper home console does not disappoint. New features like Dynamaxing and the Wild Area are fun additions that make the experience of becoming a Pokémon champion still feel fresh. It’s just a shame that Game Freak didn’t lean into the new features more than they did.
  58. Nov 13, 2019
    Pokémon Sword and Shield succeed in bringing some new ideas to the table, but they’re also somewhat guilty of not pushing things far enough. What’s done right is done right, but what’s done wrong feels like it’s come from a decade-old design document. There are moments contained within that are best the series has ever been, but this joy is at times spoiled by contrasting moments that left us disappointed and did not match up to the rest of what the rest of these games can offer. What we've got here is an experience full of highs and lows, from the unadulterated wonder and joy of seeing a brand-new Pokémon in a stadium full of cheering crowds, to the monotonous and dragged-out dialogue we just wanted to skip.
  59. Nov 25, 2019
    While the game is just as fun and addicting as ever, the awkward dialogue feels shoe-horned in and the stark difficulty drop off in the mid-game is unfortunate to say the least, making the latter half of the experience a breeze. It’s still an enjoyable experience and a treat to explore the Galar region. It may not be perfect, but it is a strong step in the right direction to giving us the ultimate Pokemon experience.
  60. Game World Navigator Magazine
    Jan 14, 2020
    Pokemon Sword/Shield is uncharacteristically user-friendly: now there’s no need to backtrack half across the world to heal your entire team of pokemon or to get to a particular city, for example. [Issue#242, p.66]
  61. Nov 27, 2019
    Pokémon Sword & Shield are an experience full of bittersweet contrasts. They do several things right and Pokémon fans will have a great time exploring Galar. With that said they also have half-baked elements that feel off. I have to admit that they leave me excited for the future of the series; hopefully, Game Freak will commit to ideas like the Wild Area and Dynamax forms.
  62. Nov 25, 2019
    Sword and Shield are not the best entries in the series but, despite some hard-to-ignore faults, they're still fun to play.
  63. Feb 6, 2020
    I enjoyed my time with Pokemon Sword and Shield, but I ended feeling conflicted. I appreciate many of the changes and felt that it generally respected my time, but I almost felt like a passive participant. The more complex gym challenges had a meatier role, but the narrative shouldn’t have been shoved to the side. Overall, I would recommend it to players who want to have a Pokemon experience, but this one won’t stick with me the way the older ones have.
  64. 75
    Game Freak has done an interesting job with Pokémon Shield in many ways, mostly innovating with new mechanics and bringing in established features from previous titles. However, it is noteworthy that a little more time in development with more care would result in a better polished game that could be even more charming and worthy to the franchise size.
  65. Dec 2, 2019
    Pokémon Sword and Shield feel exactly like a Pokémon game, which is far from being a bad thing, but a major change in the formula is necessary in order to significantly mix things up. It’s not broken by any means, but fans who’ve been involved with the series for over 20 years now expect more at this point. It goes without saying that newcomers will feel right at home, and catching Pokémon and filling your Pokédex is still as addictive as ever. Looking ahead, the Wild Area in particular is a sign of good things to come for the Pokémon franchise.
  66. Nov 26, 2019
    Pokemon Sword and Shield are a lot of fun, even if the series is experiencing growing pains with the transition to home consoles.
  67. Nov 26, 2019
    Pokemon Sword is a good game that demands serious changes. Fights are too easy and the storyline is really dumb - Pokemon needs a dramatic overhaul in terms of mechanics. There has to be more tactics than "water beats fire". Nostalgia is one thing but being archaic is another and far less enjoyable (even though it is extremely pretty).
  68. Nov 20, 2019
    Pokémon has always literally been give and take since the second generation. Some give more than others, and Sword and Shield has taken away quite a bit.
  69. Nov 18, 2019
    Pokémon Sword and Shield is at once a really fun game and a disappointment. It has a lot of great new features, excellent new Pokémon, some much-needed quality of life improvements, and is generally a solid Pokémon title. However, the first console outing feels like it should've been more impressive, especially given the reduced Pokedex. If you're a fan of Pokémon, you'll enjoy Sword and Shield a lot, and if it's your first Pokémon, it's a good way to experience the franchise's high points. If you're a longtime fan hoping for the Breath of the Wild of Pokémon games, you'll be disappointed.
  70. Nov 27, 2019
    Pokemon Sword and Shield is more an iteration on a well-worn formula than a leap forward. Hardcore fans are going to enjoy the trappings of a series that has catered to them for years, but as a mainline home console Pokémon game, the expectations are going to be higher, and in some areas it’s a bit lacking.
  71. Dec 21, 2019
    Is this your first Pokémon game? Welcome! You will immediately feel at home, because the game takes you through the region by hand. There may not be a lot to do, but you do get to know the gameplay and Pokémon in an accessible way and you can immediately experiment with remarkable typing combinations.
  72. Edge Magazine
    Dec 5, 2019
    To focus on what's missing would be to overlook the joys that remain. [Issue#340, p.106]
  73. Dec 5, 2019
    All the pieces were in place for Game Freak to make a truly stunning and ambitious new entry in gaming's biggest franchise. Tragically, it clearly wasn't given enough time to realise that ambition. Pokémon Sword & Shield aren't bad games - not even close - but they fall far short of what they might have been: the biggest and best Pokémon games in years, and the evolution the series needed.
  74. Dec 4, 2019
    Pokémon Sword / Pokémon Shield hasn't brought much to the series in spite of sky high expectations. It's still an enjoyable ride along, in spite of the heavy clipping and the lack of challenge.
  75. Nov 27, 2019
    Pokemon Sword & Shield doesn't take enough risks or attempt anything really new and important. The overwhelming amount of re-used assets and shortcuts leads to one of the biggest missed opportunities on the Switch to date. Newcomers will find a lot to love here, with no previous games to measure it against, but longtime series fans will likely be left wanting in almost every area.
  76. Nov 25, 2019
    If you have a decent interest in Pokémon, there is a largely enjoyable time to be had with the latest generation. There’s still a magic present that nothing else has been able to quite replace, and the improvements and additions are meaningful. It's also easy to want a mightier effort. There are times when you can see where the game could be so much better, and it's frustrating how it falls short of ideas that seem to be right in front of it. Whether it's the fact that a beloved pokémon might not be in the game, the mediocre story, or a strong sense of having seen a lot of this before, you may be left hoping that the next effort packs a more substantial punch.
  77. Nov 25, 2019
    Ultimately, while Pokémon Shield could be considered the best Pokémon game in the series, its repeated flubs keep it from being truly excellent. Shield gives the series a much needed rest by limiting Pokémon availability and move set overlap as well as adding some welcome variety to the game’s progression. It’s truly a joy to play, with ample side activities to break up the otherwise familiar gameplay loop. That being said, Shield is still a Pokémon game; anyone not already a fan or tired of the series won’t find a compelling reason to return here.
  78. Nov 25, 2019
    It's still an incredibly fun new adventure, and the Pokémon selection and variety is the best it's ever been. That said, it would be incredible to see the Wild Area become the new norm for the series, but as it stands, many of the new features feel more like spraying your sofa with Febreeze when really you need to buy a new sofa. Sure, it smells and feels new, but it's not, and you should really just commit to moving on from what was normal, and forge a new path into a new sofa. Look, just go with it.
  79. Nov 24, 2019
    It's easy to judge Sword & Shield as a quick cash grab during it's first hours. The rich and complex story from Sun & Moon is all gone in favor for a more classic Pokémon story with no flimsy side tracks. Graphically, it is also not as impressive as other major titles from Nintendo. But what we get instead shows a willingness to take the series forward with new, fresh features with Dynamax and the open world hub that is the Wild Area. And in the end the fight is the most important thing in a Pokémon game. When we're in the middle of a gigantic and crowded stadium, enjoying the most dynamic battles of a Pokémon game, it's hard to think of anything else. Then we realize that Pokémon should be all about becoming "the very best." Everything else is secondary.
  80. Nov 21, 2019
    Pokèmon Sword and Shield is the result of going all-in in some aspects of the game, completely forgetting the adventure elements of the RPG formula: dungeons and story.
  81. 70
    While returning to its roots in some ways, Pokemon Sword and Shield feels stuck in a transitional phase – where Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee felt like a tech demo for what could be done on the Switch, these games feel like a mix of thoughts from the last generation that weren’t completely utilised. Having said that, Pokemon Sword and Shield offers a tried and true Pokemon experience that fulfilled expectations and gave nostalgic glimpses into why the series has maintained a presence for so long.
  82. Nov 20, 2019
    If you’re not sick of the formula, or if you’re new to the franchise, then it’s easy to forgive the meh story, subpar visual presentation, unchanged battle system, and messy multiplayer. It’s a solid Pokemon game that anyone can enjoy. Nothing more, nothing less.
  83. Nov 13, 2019
    Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, the first real original duo of the main series on Switch, are not to Pokémon what Breath of the Wild is to The Legend of Zelda, namely a bold upheaval of fundamentals to establish a formula reinvented for coming years. With these new games Pokémon, Game Freak proceeds as usual in the evolution of the series, small touches, all the more welcome this time they seem absolutely necessary today, like the boxes PC accessible everywhere. Without major disruption but with significant improvements, in terms of game comfort mainly, and while some will probably deplore the reduced number of Pokémon referenced base in the Pokédex Galar, new region that enjoys a care of atmosphere and staging undeniable, Pokémon remains faithful to its formula still winning for over twenty years, at the risk of missing the evolutionary step offered and hoped for by its convergence with the so popular Nintendo Switch. That said, the proposal is still effective for those for whom risk taking is secondary and of course the newcomers, especially children, the first public concerned and whose generations succeed and always succumb to the charms of those offered over the years by Pokémon.
  84. Nov 13, 2019
    The furore over Dexit may be overblown but even without it this is an underwhelming and unambitious attempt to modernise Pokémon and expand its horizons.
  85. Nov 25, 2019
    Pokemon Shield isn't a bad game but it certainly feels like one of the lazier entries in the long-running series. It still has the core things that make Pokemon great but it comes up short in a few too many areas. I didn't feel like my time was wasted but once I reached the end, I had no desire to turn it back on again which marks the first time a Pokemon game has made me feel this way.
  86. Nov 25, 2019
    Pokémon Sword and Shield are solid Pokémon games but are too close to what we’ve seen before. It was time for some more ambition to rocket the main Pokémon series onto TV screens, but far more ambition was required than delivered.
  87. Nov 20, 2019
    There was a chance for these games to be some of the best in the series, and it’s just depressing that the final product that we’re left with is so utterly flawed. What was cut from the experience wasn’t worth what sparse improvements that the games received, and what we got feels like it should match the 3DS games’ price-point, and not a $60 Switch game’s. Pokemon deserves better, and I don’t think that’s greedy to hope for.
  88. Nov 13, 2019
    Pokemon Sword & Shield is all too often a bit disappointing, and in some places actually feels a little unfinished, but it also fully provides that warm, fuzzy feeling that one expects from the series. Crucially, even through frustration, never once did I think about putting it down, which is to its credit.
  89. Nov 13, 2019
    Pokémon Sword and Shield are not bad games. But fun character arcs and inventive, creative designs of new ‘mon are often offset by poor pacing and restrictive world design. The world of Galar is charming, and is a Pokémon interpretation of Britain I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid, but between gating what Pokémon you can catch behind Gym Badges, some half-baked route/City designs and a modest amount of post-game content, Sword and Shield can only be called ‘good’ Pokémon games… not ‘great’ ones.
This publication does not provide a score for their reviews.
This publication has not posted a final review score yet.
These unscored reviews do not factor into the Metascore calculation.
  1. Nov 13, 2019
    First-time players should try Let's Go instead, but even without the full Pokédex this is a worthwhile entry for monster-catching veterans.
  2. Nov 13, 2019
    Pokémon Sword and Shield add some brilliant new creatures, but like their gargantuan Dynamax forms, the games feel like a hollow projection.
  3. Nov 13, 2019
    The jump to a platform of greater power such as Nintendo Switch seems to have played against Game Freak, but there is no denying that there are very good ideas and much needed changes. And, although it needs work, the Wild Area firmly establishes the foundation of the future of Pokémon.
  4. Nov 13, 2019
    The magic of Pokémon is that it lets you tap into a sense of wonder that becomes more and more difficult to access as an adult. Sword and Shield do that more successfully than any Pokémon release has in years. It won’t be everything to everyone, and it will not make everyone happy. I’m not sure it needs to. It’s a portal to a new world. And it definitely has something for Pokémon’s core audience: everyone in the entire world.
  5. Nov 13, 2019
    The surprise in Sword and Shield is that I’m still finding things that surprise me, even after putting in so many hours. It’s in how Game Freak has made a linear game feel so much less linear. Make no mistake, Sword and Shield is not an open-world game. There are limitations. But the game’s designed for me not to notice them, and mostly, I don’t.
  6. Nov 20, 2019
    It's okay. It's pretty much more Pokémon, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. However, it's quite clear the game needs a proper overhaul, something to drag into the modern day. Or at least the modern century.
  7. Nov 13, 2019
    But the changes that are here — a larger, more detailed world and a streamlined structure that cuts out the annoying bits — are enough to make this the ideal iteration of the concept to date. The moments when I felt frustrated or bored in past games simply don’t exist in Sword and Shield. It’s one big adventure.
User Score

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 3239 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Nov 15, 2019
    This is the most important review you will ever read on metacritic. These are the best games ever made. The criticisms are unfounded andThis is the most important review you will ever read on metacritic. These are the best games ever made. The criticisms are unfounded and dumbfounded. Why are you complaining about only having 400 pokemon to play as? Other RPGs like final fantasy and xenoblade and persona typically only have 7ish characters to play as. Yet people are upset about 400? Bad argument. Bad graphics? That's not true. These games are cartoony beautiful appealing graphics. They'retimeless. I think the Thanos snap of pokemon is the best thing to happen to the series. It exposes the fake fans and shows who really cares about pokemon. If you dislike these games then you need to purchase them again and try again. And if you don'tbuy them then dont talk. . Full Review »
  2. Nov 15, 2019
    What should have been a giant leap to significantly stronger hardware feels more like a port from 3DS. New features and improvements come atWhat should have been a giant leap to significantly stronger hardware feels more like a port from 3DS. New features and improvements come at way too high a price, both literally and figuratively (half of the Pokemon gone, for starters). Gamefreak continues to disappoint and Pokemon as a series stands out as a black sheep among other loved Nintendo franchises on Switch. Full Review »
  3. Nov 15, 2019
    10 routes
    Virtually no difficulty
    2 endgame battle tower game modes beatable in 1 hour Roughly 12 hour story No dungeons Below average
    10 routes
    Virtually no difficulty
    2 endgame battle tower game modes beatable in 1 hour
    Roughly 12 hour story
    No dungeons
    Below average graphics, world barely interacts with objects/pokemon(especially wild area)
    Of course the pokedex purge
    Some new pokemon designs leave alot to be desired, some designs are genuinely good we must not forget, but too many humanoid pokemon(every starter evolves into a humanoid) and too simple designs(Eiscue)
    and most importantly, the No Man's Sky level of damage control from GameFreak instead of listening to it's customer base who have been fans long enough to know what they generally want in Pokemon games, they only need to look at their masterpieces HG/SS to know which direction to follow(good endgame, pokemon following you) and to top it off I just WISH gamefreak would include difficulty options in their games, unlockable after the first clear, why do they not do it? We grew up, the games are no longer a challenge so why not add more difficult new game+?

    Big Disappointment, see you in gen 9 or Sinnoh remakes, because the "complete" SwSh will most likely be the same garbage.
    Full Review »