Several sites have released videos and articles based on their experiences in trying out the first ~90 minutes of gameplay of the upcoming Nintendo Switch titles, Pokémon Sword and Shield (the lucky ducks). We’ve gone through them to summarise their impressions and findings – noting that footage between all videos is the same (likely provided to the previewers), and they were not allowed to talk about various details.
Story, Galar and progression
The first town you travel to is called Wedgehurst. You obtain your Starter from Champion Leon, and then battle your rival Hop (Leon’s brother). He has a Wooloo and the Starter weak to yours.
Afterwards you travel to the Slumbering Weald (a forest) to rescue a loose Wooloo, and encounter an unnamed Pokémon during the trip. You then go to Professor Magnolia’s lab but only find Sonia there, and have to travel through a Route north afterwards to meet the professor. On talking to her and Leon, and battling Hop again, you then gain endorsement to take on the Gym challenge.
Afterwards, you travel through the Wild Area to reach Motostoke, the first big city. You can already partake in a Raid Battle in the Wild Area.
The typical ‘Welcome to the world of Pokémon’ introduction involving a professor is replaced with a speech from Chairman Rose, during a television broadcast. Galar Champion Leon also battles an unnamed Trainer, and has his Charizard Gigantamax just before the broadcast ends.
British English and slang is embraced. Television is called “the telly”, “mate” is used, and your in-game mother is finally called Mum, not Mom!
We’ve noticed a bunch of previous generation Pokémon in the video not yet seen in Galar – Vullaby, Swinub, Dhelmise, Drampa, and Xatu. Lotad (confirmed months ago) seems to be available very early on as well.
There’s at least “a couple” different types of new Pokémon in the Slumbering Weald, and at least seven species of Pokémon in the Route between then and meeting the Professor (one being Yamper).
One site reported that they didn’t encounter past generation Pokémon for over 80 minutes – presumably until they reached the Wild Area.
Some Pokémon will have a yellow aura around them in the overworld. These Pokémon have perks, such as a couple perfect stats, and/or Egg Moves.
The Wild Area and Raids
The Wild Area has been estimated to be roughly the size of “two regions of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘s world”. It’s not all accessible from the beginning, however. Cliffs and water block off areas, for instance. Other areas have Pokémon of much higher level, some as high as 40 – while you can battle them with your team around level 10 or so, you can’t catch them.
You can see other players run around as well in real time.
Wild Raid Pokémon have exclusive moves that normal Pokémon can’t learn, e.g. a move that disables all Abilities. Only one Trainer can Dynamax straight away, while others can charge it up. “Watts” are some sort of energy currency tied to Raids and the Wild Area, which can be exchanged for camping gear, items, and cooking ingredients. Raids will reward items to better train your Pokémon.
Under different weather conditions, other Pokémon will appear.
While there currently appears to be some disagreement on the quality (720 or 1080p) of the game’s visuals (perhaps a difference in portable or docked modes?), 30 fps (frames per second) seems to be agreed upon in previews.
Main complaints in the previews have revolved around the graphics. While described as “not bad, just average”, there have been examples of bad aliasing, Pokémon and Trainers popping into the world, and a mixture of high and low-quality textures. “Really, really not that impressive”, and with a “quite basic” artstyle, despite improvements noted over the Nintendo 3DS titles. Shadows also don’t behave as expected. How people move, like in previous games, also appears stiff (“not a great animation”). This is much better in cutscenes, however, that “add texture and flavour to the whole experience”.
A common mention across these previews is that the game is less tutorial heavy than generation seven titles, which will surely be a welcome change to more veteran players.
The Pokédex has an integrated minimap that also informs you which Pokémon are in a certain Route or area. Such a feature in the Pokédex was only previously seen in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2.
For the Wild Area, you have a portable PC Box, like in Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee.
Exp. benefits lower levelled Pokémon more than higher levelled Pokémon.
Swift returns as a TM (Technical Machine). TMs are multi-use.
Pokémon Centres all have an NPC functioning as the Name Rater, Move Deleter, and IV Checker. Three jobs in one!
Character customisation is limited at the start, but clothing options from shops is quite good.
You can save right before choosing your Starter.
What do you think of the preview information? Let us know anything else you’ve noticed!
Edited by ddrox13 and Sheep.