In honor of Pokémon Day, trainers got a glimpse of the new Galar region, and an introduction to some fabulous new companions.
A new journey is about to unfold. In honor of Pokémon Day, which honors the original release of Pokémon Red and Green versions’ initial release in Japan, Nintendo held a special Pokémon direct, finally revealing some details about the eighth generation of the beloved franchise. There’s a lot to take in for such a short trailer, but Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield will be coming to the Nintendo Switch in late 2019.
While the Pokémon Let’s Go games were wildly popular on the Switch, fans have been hoping that Game Freak will use this new mainline entry to take the franchise a step forward. With this being the first installment of the mainline franchise on a home console, fans welcome the news of the eighth generation with a lot of anticipation.
Trainers will be gearing up to explore the Galar region, heavily influenced by the United Kingdom. The region seems to be diverse, with bucolic, autumnal fields, vast pastures, and snow-capped mountains. Hopefully, trainers will have the freedom to explore the region organically rather than an on-the-rails approach, but it is much too early to know for sure. The region does look stunning, as evidenced by this scene of a female trainer approaching a lake.
While the Let’s Go games were billed as spinoffs, some of the experimental features in this game proved quite popular. It appears from the trailer that wild Pokémon battles are back, and that’s a good thing. The approach of throwing balls wildly at every monster a trainer passed in the field certainly was fun for Let’s Go, but it did admittedly drop the difficulty a bit too low. Wild battles will be a welcome return. The trailer certainly leads to the impression that Pokémon in the overworld are gone, which is unfortunate, but I’m holding out hope that this was to keep some of the new Pokémon in this generation a secret. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking, or perhaps I’m still emotional from the beauty that was thrust upon me at 8 o’clock (Central Standard Time) this morning.
While a new generation of Pokémon’s hallmark is, well, new Pokémon, it appears Sword and Shield will have no shortage of Pokémon from past generations. In a montage of battle seasons, we see a range of Pokémon from Pikachu to Wailmer, but most importantly, the wise Hoothoot is shown in the midst of a savage attack. Hoothoot is full of majesty, and if your heartstrings were not yanked when this face popped on screen, go replay every Johto game. Actually, do that anyway. The Johto region is amaze and a half.
Another feature that seems trivial, but isn’t, from Let’s Go is being able to have Pokémon travel with you in the overworld. We had Pikachu in Yellow, then a long drought followed by Heart Gold and Soul Silver letting us take any Pokémon out of the ball with us, which was beautiful, followed by another long drought until Let’s Go. We want to take Pokémon out of the ball, Game Freak. Let our monsters be free! This scene with a female trainer interacting with a Munchlax does give me hope though, and I will cling to that hope. Forever.
In addition to a beautiful world, it appears that battles will be even more epic. In the final scene of the trailer, the male trainer begins to step into an epically-sized battle arena, dressed in a uniform inspired by a soccer kit. My breath was taken away during this scene, and I’m so excited to battle on this scale. We finally get to be the very best, like no one ever was.
The final gift for Pokémon Day given to trainers was an introduction to the new starter Pokémon for Sword and Shield. I’ve been acquainted with these little monsters for only a few hours, but if anybody hurts them in any way, I don’t know what I’ll do. They are perfect, and need to be loved unconditionally.
First up, is Scorbunny, a confident fire rabbit hopping onto the scene. A worthy fire starter, Scorbunny is who you go with if you like to follow the rules to have a good time. A total ‘Type A’ personality, play with Scorbunny, and you’re bound to get burned.
Next, we meet Sobble, an anxiety-ridden water lizard that is my spirit animal in every way possible. The pressure of life weighs on little Sobble, and you just know his evolutions are going to be epic and powerful. Don’t let his demure expression fool you, Sobble will end up on top.
Lastly, the funkiest monkey of them all, Grookey swings onto the scene after playing music with a stick and a rock. Scorbunny and Sobble are great starters, and I will certainly end up picking Sobble as my companion, but man, Grookey is the guy you wish you could be at parties. I just wonder what Grookey does when he goes inside his pokéball at the end of a long day.
The remaining months of 2019 will be filled with anticipation and speculation about the Galar region, but this trainer can’t wait to suit up and venture out, aided, of course, by Sobble and Hoothoot. Maybe some other monsters will prove themselves worthy of taking up a spot on my team.
By: Dan Burkett