Generally favorable reviews - based on 87 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 66 out of 87
  2. Negative: 0 out of 87
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  1. 100
    I can’t remember the last time I felt this much joy when playing a video game.
  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. 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.
  9. Nov 26, 2019
    Pokémon Sword is the best Pokémon game in many ways. With a necessary streamlining and major leaps in presentation, Game Freak has developed a title that impresses in all the right ways. However, the occasional peculiarity in design manages to wriggle its way into the game, slightly hindering the experience. Regardless, it’s an incredible title that moves above and beyond in many aspects, while tripping up in others. Pokémon Sword is undoubtedly worth recommending as it irons out major design issues from the series, while creating an engaging, fresh Pokémon journey with plenty to offer.
  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 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Nov 13, 2019
    Gameplay tweaks and attention to detail make Pokemon Sword and Shield the most compelling Pokemon world to date.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. Nov 13, 2019
    Fortunately, the technical imperfections and the lack of genuine innovation hardly disturb. After all, Pokémon is ultimately about collecting cool, sweet, tough or kiddy little monsters that know how to steal our hearts - and Pokémon Sword and Shield are fascinating.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. Nov 19, 2019
    Sword and Shield aren't the best Pokémon games ever, but I thoroughly enjoy the Galar region.
  32. 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.
  33. Nintendo Force Magazine
    Apr 30, 2020
    Sword & Shield stumble in a few areas and history may not be kind to them, but they're setting up a future that I'm excited to see. [Issue #44 – January/February 2020, p. 73]
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. Nov 25, 2019
    The main story feels shorter overall due to it being a less grindy affair than ever before, but storytelling benefits greatly from this, because the main game ends up being a more focused and packed experience.
  42. Nov 25, 2019
    With a wonderfully designed setting, it’s hard not to love Pokémon Sword.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  47. Nov 21, 2019
    Quotation forthcoming.
  48. 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.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.
  51. 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.
  52. 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.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  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 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.
  59. 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]
  60. 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.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. Nov 26, 2019
    Some aspects of Pokemon Sword do stand out as only being possible on a home console, but the general look and feel still seems stuck in the 3DS era of the series.
  65. 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).
  66. 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.
  67. 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.
  68. Dec 30, 2019
    Pokemon Sword is a very safe and standard Pokemon game the likes we have seen over the many years. Its quality of life changes are many and greatly improve the feel of the game. But with Dexit, lazy asset transferring from previous games, and many missed opportunities to improve it still falls flat of being the dream Pokemon game we always wanted to play.
  69. 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.
  70. Edge Magazine
    Dec 5, 2019
    To focus on what's missing would be to overlook the joys that remain. [Issue#340, p.106]
  71. 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.
  72. 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.
  73. 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.
  74. 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.
  75. 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.
  76. 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.
  77. 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.
  78. 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.
  79. 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.
  80. Nov 20, 2019
    On one hand, the online is absolutely broken and embarrassing. On the other, anytime I'm not dealing with that nonsense, I'm having fun with the game. Maybe in a couple of months, when I've min-maxed every Pokémon in the Dex and am just focusing on raids, I'll feel more antagonistic toward the game and its woeful online, but right now, when I'm doing literally anything else in it, I'm having a good time.
  81. 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.
  82. 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.
  83. 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.
  84. 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.
  85. 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.
  86. 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.
  87. 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.
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  1. Nov 13, 2019
    I do think Sword and Shield are good entries for anyone who got into Pokémon through Go and Let’s Go and is looking for something a bit more difficult and larger in scale. Seasoned players can still enjoy the new monsters and appreciate the game’s story mode while it lasts (I cleared the main story in around 35 hours). It’s just too bad that, for longtime players, what’s missing is probably going to overshadow everything that’s here.
  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 5674 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Nov 15, 2019
    I really wish the games were good. I don't leave this review out of spite, but because I love the series. For the positives, I like some ofI really wish the games were good. I don't leave this review out of spite, but because I love the series. For the positives, I like some of the new designs. On top of that, most Pokemon get additional moves, giving them more variety in combat. Besides that, it's a Pokemon game with serious added flaws. Though it was a trend set in earlier games, the new games are more linear and less secret filled than ever. Dungeons are more akin to hallways instead labyrinths with branching paths and abundant secrets. There are very few routes in the game, and the ones that exist are mostly short and lack complexity. The wild area feels half baked and unfinished. After the short main campaign, all that's left for you is a short side story and a Battle Tower. Besides that, you're entirely reliant on playing online for content.

    As a gimmick, Dynamax against other players is frustrating and poorly balanced. One wrong move and you're down two or even three mons. This is especially devastating in 3v3 matches, it feels even more poorly balanced than the previous battle gimmicks, Mega Evolution and Z-moves.

    It's painful to see the series hit this low. I wanted this to be good, but wading through the major flaws to get to the small nuggets of good simply isn't worth it. The games aren't irredeemable, but it's really hard to recommend it when it drops the ball so hard.
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  2. Nov 15, 2019
    This is what happen if a company realize that they can do anything and people keep buying their products. Pokemon Sword and Shield are theThis is what happen if a company realize that they can do anything and people keep buying their products. Pokemon Sword and Shield are the worst mainline Pokemon game to date. Gamfreaks cuts more than 50% of Pokemon, removing moves, mega evolutions, and endgame contents without adding any improvement they promised. Most of the Pokemon model is proven identical to 3ds pokemon model which means they lied, because in the interview they said the reason they can't bring all the Pokemon is because they had to make all the models from scratch which is proven is not the case. Full Review »
  3. Nov 15, 2019
    My copy of Sword and Shield came in the mail a bit early yesterday, and while Sword and Shield are pretty cute games, I have to admit thereMy copy of Sword and Shield came in the mail a bit early yesterday, and while Sword and Shield are pretty cute games, I have to admit there are some glaring problems that make this game feels like it was needed to bake in the oven a tad bit longer. For starters, I just want to say I never cared for the controversy surrounding these games about not being able to transfer all of your pokemon, so this review is in no way biased towards that. There are, however, other issues that did drag down the experience for me. I often ran into performance issues. Frame drops, trees or objects randomly popping up in view; and while at times the game does seem beautiful and comfy, at other points the game almost seemed sloppily put together.
    The games are far too easy to the point of boredom, even for a Pokemon game. I felt myself being overleveled very quickly. I was often taking down opponents only in one singular attack, despite not going out of my way to fight many monsters. The new EXP share, which spreads experience across your whole party, seems to amplify this problem. It seems as if the game was not balanced with this feature in mind, as my entire team were several levels ahead of our opponents for most of- if not, the entire game. The adventure lasted roughly about 12 hours for me to complete, which is awfully short for an RPG, and there isn't much you can do after the journey is over. Might I add this game only has 10 routes, previous entries having about 30ish.

    I will not get into story spoilers in this review, but the games are a bit more linear than I was expecting. My main criticism stems from Hop, your happy-go-lucky friend and rival, who always seems to interrupt the flow. There is hardly a moment where you can walk around without being interrupted by dialogue or a cutscene by him or some other character. I audibly groaned whenever Hop appeared on screen. I do like a good story, but I would also like to be able to play through the game without my rival breathing down my neck. Trainer customisation in this game is something I appreciated. Customizing your character is the widest it has ever been in this series, complete with photogenic trainer cards that capture the essence of your character. I find this feature very wholesome and cute, with many expressions and poses to chose from.

    I was looking foward to seeing the wild area being a reimagined safari-zone full of life, but unfortunately: it is large, empty, and barren. Models walk around a bit stiffly, and the textures are a bit dated and lackluster for a console game in 2019. Animations from this game can either be very well done, or extremely lacking. There was one instance where one of the major pokemon in the story mode didn't even have a turn animated for it's walk cycle. The pokemon's entire model was just rotated 180 degrees, which was very noticeable and bizarre. However, speaking of which, I do like the very diverse set of pokemon this generation. There are quite a lot that you are able to catch in the region, old and new; and they are all pretty unique and sometimes goofy in design.

    The newest feature, Pokemon Camp, was very charming. I loved the animations in this mode, they were definitely at their peak here in terms of quality. It was quite entertaining to see my Scorbunny/Raboot play with the Feather Wand Toy I had. Pokemon in camp interact with each other and it feels very lively. Making curry was cute. However, I do have my problems with it. For starters, the AI for the pokemon can seem a bit buggy, where they might get stuck walking in one place. I can't say it's common but it did break the immersion a bit. There was one instance where I had no background in the camp at all, which seemed like a bug. But then I encountered a battle with a background very similar to this, and I can only assume it was intentional? At times, I almost felt there was more time and effort put into this side-activity than the actual battle system.

    At it's core, it is definitely a Pokemon game. The basic formula of Pokemon works in these games. However, I was still disappointed, and I can without a doubt say that this is the least amount of enjoyment I've gotten out of a mainline pokemon game so far. Pokemon Sword and Shield fails to truly innovate despite being the first mainline entry on any type of console, and I cannot say that it is a sixty dollar Pokemon game at all. It feels rushed, poorly optimized, and half-baked. Can I see a child enjoying this game? Yes. Can I see a newcomer to the series enjoying this game? Possibly. Can I see a longtime pokemon fan enjoying this game? Not likely, unfortunately.
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