New Features in Pokemon Sword and Shield

Andrew Lane

Excitement is in the air! After years of releasing some of the best games in the Nintendo DS family, Nintendo and Game Freak have brought the main Pokémon franchise to the Nintendo Switch with Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. The game takes place in the UK-inspired Galar Region, and just like the previous games, the role-playing mechanics stay the same, but the new series introduces brand new ‘upgraded’ features, some of which we highlight below.

Brand New Pokémon

The 8th Gen games welcomes dozens of new Pokémon, bringing the total number of Pokémon to over 1,000. Following franchise tradition, meet our new Grass, Fire and Water-type main starters.

Grookey, the mischievous monkey, instills life into plants as it drums the ground with the ‘mysterious’ stick on its head. Scorbunny is the Fire-type rabbit that leaves a track of flames as it hops around. Sobble, the Water-type, is a shy lizard that can turn invisible in water.
Just like the previous Alolan Pokémon forms, Pokémon Sword and Shield also introduce new Galarian forms with new types and new moves to some of the classic Pokémon we’re already familiar with.

Pokémon Encounters

Similar to the Pokémon Let’s Go series, we can tell when a wild Pokémon is nearby in tall grass, except that we only see an exclamation point icon instead of the specific Pokémon.

The Galar region also features The Wild Area, a big open-world environment connected to multiple towns that features diverse locations such as lakes and fields. Encounters are determined by in-game location and weather. These Pokémon react to our presence depending on their nature– some will charge at us, some will run away from us, and some will ignore us.

Version Exclusive Gyms

Regardless of which game we pick up, the core adventure stays the same. However, each version will now have their own distinct gyms, so the experience will still differ depending on which game we play. For example, In Pokémon Sword, players will challenge Bea, a Fighting-type expert, yet in Pokémon Shield, the same gym will be led by Allister, a Ghost-type trainer.







New Items and Portable Pokémon Storage

The game also features new items found in the Galar region. They include different temperament Mints (Hasty, Lonely, Modest, Mild and Naive) that affects a Pokémon’s stats. The video above demonstrates how the Modest Mint will “help a Pokémon’s Sp. Atk grow easily, but it’s Attack will grow slowly.” Exp. Candies also now come in different sizes (XS, S, M, L and XL) and will grant Pokémon Exp. Points in correlation with the candy’s size.

The video also shows how we have the option to switch out their Pokémon from almost anywhere. It used to be that we would have to go to their PC Box in any Pokémon Centers to swap out our party, but not anymore!

With new regional Pokémon, exclusive Gyms and brand new stats mechanics, Pokémon Sword and Shield definitely represents a new era for the main Pokémon series games, and yet these are only some of the new features. To see more, you can watch snippets of these features on The Official Pokémon YouTube channel.

Pokémon Sword and Shield launched worldwide on November 15th exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.