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Previewing ‘Pokémon Sword and Shield’ from longtime fans

"Pokémon Sword and Shield" are the latest upcoming installments in publisher Nintendo’s and developer Game Freak’s long-running “Pokémon” series. They will be the first main series entries on a home console, the Nintendo Switch. The games will take place in the Galar Region, a United Kingdom-inspired environment. 

These games will mark the eighth generation of new Pokémon, some of which were revealed before the games’ release. These include Grookey, Scorbunny and Sobble, the new starter Pokémon players can receive at the start of the games. 

Pokémon from older generations such as Zigzagoon, Koffing and Ponyta will have new region-exclusive forms. Lastly, the game’s main Legendary Pokémon (seen on the box art) are Zacian, a massive wolf-like Pokémon with a sword in its mouth, and Zamazenta, a wolf-like Pokémon with a shield on the front of its body.

A major new gameplay feature in Sword and Shield is “Dynamaxing,” where players can command their in-battle Pokémon to grow huge and allow it three turns to use powered-up versions of its attacks. 

The games will also feature the “Wild Area,” a massive overworld connecting the game’s towns with wild Pokémon either lurking in grass or wandering around. The Wild Area will be home to new raid battles, where up to four players can work together to take down permanently-Dynamaxed Pokémon in the field. 

It’s no secret that Pokémon remains a massive worldwide phenomenon, and has been for the past 23 years. With the millions of  video games sold, anime series, real life trading card games and merchandise, it’s more than likely people are aware of Pokémon. 

Even on Miami’s campus several clubs have some sort of affiliation with Pokémon: MU Anime, the Miami Electronic Gaming Association (MEGA) and especially the Department for the Knowledge and Improvement of Pokémon (MUDKIP), a club based around competitive Pokémon battling. Although “Pokémon”  has built up a large fanbase over the years, one aspect of these upcoming games has created major rifts.

The game will only allow Pokémon that are in the game’s Regional Dex, rather than the full National Dex. This means a currently unknown portion of the 800+ Pokémon from previous installments cannot be in the game. 

Simply put: Fans won’t be able to catch them all. 

This decision shook the fanbase, and the video revealing the news has an 80% dislike ratio with 1,780,000+ views.

“I’m a longtime fan who’s enjoyed the constant support of the previous Pokémon and just feel sad to see a lot of them go,” senior and MEGA officer Nathan Oney said. “I have to kind of cross my fingers and hope it isn’t a terrible thing. I’m probably not gonna purchase the game because I don’t feel like that is the Pokémon values I’ve grown up with. It just … doesn’t feel whole, you know?”

Others have a more positive stance. Senior Steven Kyle, a former officer for MEGA with a computer science major, is more accepting of the change in consideration of Pokémon’s casual demographic. 

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“What I’ve seen of ‘Sword and Shield’ looks fine so far. It’s gonna be what Pokémon’s always been,” Kyle said. “I like the fact that each Pokémon game now can be an individual experience.”

Kyle sees merit in the National Dex changes. 

“You gotta think of this from the perspective of a new fan,” Kyle said. “This is gonna be their first Pokémon game. They don’t want to have to go out and get all these old games. It’s gonna be a huge step up for the individuality of each Pokémon.”

Some are avoiding news on the game all together until they play it.

“I’ve been avoiding all information beyond the original trailers,” said Ryan Casey, a junior and secretary for MUDKIP. “I want to be more excited for it and I don’t want to know too much about it before it comes out.”

Casey is excited to experience everything he doesn’t know about the game during his playthrough. The National Dex cut is not a dealbreaker to him.

"Pokémon Sword and Shield" will be released this Friday, Nov. 15, for the Nintendo Switch.

rubensms@miamioh.edu

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