Last night’s Nintendo Direct was 40 minutes of Nintendo Switch goodness. And thankfully, Pokemon Sword & Shield was a part of it! We’re just a few months away from the November 15th release and we still don’t have any details on the Starter evolutions. Though they did reveal a lot about some new and returning/ re-imagined features. The press conference broke it down into 4 points, and so shall we!
Avatar Customization – Additions & Refinements:
Avatar customization is something that’s been slowly implemented in the Pokemon Games over the past few installments. Though Sword & Shield appears to have the most complex yet. Instead of just choosing shirts and pants, this game will add layers…. literally! Outerwear and gloves will now become options, which makes sense given the varied climate of Galar. Additionally, trainers will actually be able to change their ‘look’ beyond just clothing. Hairstyle customization has further been enhanced compared to past generation; and make-up options have been added as well. The extent of this remains to be seen, but it’ll be interesting if you can make your trainer look like a member of Team Yell – or something of the sort.
Camp – Pokemon-Amie + Secret Bases:
As with recent games, Camp is the latest iteration of the Pokemon-Amie mechanic first introduced in Pokemon X&Y. Like its predecessors, this is how you can build friendships with your Pokemon and potentially improve effort values as well. That being said though, it seems like Camp will have much more to it. It’s probably more accurate to say that Camp is a mix of Pokemon-Amie and the Secret Base mechanic from the Ruby/ Sapphire games.
Camp will allow you to interact with the camps of other trainers and invite others to yours. The trailer stresses interacting with other players at camps, so it’ll be interesting to see what this can do. Additionally, the mere fact that you can play with multiple Pokemon at the same time is interesting. Will there be a mechanic to improve how your Pokemon work together in double battles? Will playing with other Trainers improve how you take down Raids together? There’s still a lot to learn, but aesthetically this looks like a lot of fun!
Cooking (Curry on Rice) – PokeChef Master?
The most surprising feature of Sword & Shield has to be the new “Curry on Rice” cooking feature. Aesthetically, it makes sense as this region is based on the United Kingdom. That being said, I didn’t expect it to this extent. Having curry sold in PokeCenters similar to all the beverages in the Sun/ Moon series makes more sense. Yes, there’s bound to be additional effects based on your cooking skills; but a so-called “Curry Dex” of over 100 recipes seems a bit much. All in all, this is definitely a step in a new direction for the Pokemon franchise – as this is truly something I’d expect from a series like Monster Hunter.
Two New Pokemon – Polteageist & Cramorant:
If you had any doubt that Galar was based on the United Kingdom, this next Pokemon might dispel that. Polteageist is a new tea-based Ghost-Type that resides inside a fractured teapot. Wait, Poltergeist…. Pol-tea-geist… that’s actually brilliant! Puns aside, its Pokedex entry reads:
Polteageist’s body is made from black tea and is said to have a very distinct aroma and flavor. It will only allow a Trainer it trusts to sample its tea. However, drinking too much can lead to indigestion or an upset stomach, so be careful! Many Polteageist make their homes inside hotels and restaurants, disguising themselves and hiding among the tableware. They can pour their power into leftover tea and create even more of their kind, so they’re often treated as pests.
Like many others from this generation thus far, it’s unknown if Polteageist will have an evolution or a gigantamax form instead. Though it’s not the only new Pokemon we got a peak at!
Cramorant is a new Water/ Flying-Type that looks like this generation’s Psyduck in terms of expressions. Though its ability is quite unique. You see its ability – “gulp missile” – allows it to swallow something after it uses the moves Surf or Dive. The next time Cramorant takes damage, it will retaliate by launching whatever it swallowed at its opponent. So if you’re faster, that’s a chance of two attacks in one turn. Again, there’s no knowledge of any evolution yet, though I’m more interested in seeing if what Cramorant swallows varies – at least according to move. Though the much bigger question is ‘what exactly is that fish in its mouth?’
Mysterious 3rd New Pokemon?
The fish in the artwork looks a little too designed to be a normal fish. Additionally, other fish-based Pokemon such as Remoraid, Basculin, Wishiwashi, could have been used. Are we seeing a secret 3rd revealed Pokemon here? It’s not unusual for art to connect different Pokemon. I’m not talking about the age-old Slowpoke and Shellder connection, but rather how the original Mantine art often featured Remoraid alongside it. Both of those Pokemon were additionally from the same generation. We could possibly be seeing an additional new Pokemon here. Perhaps, ‘BaracuDART’? Eh? Ehhhh? Hey, if you’re going to allow ‘tea’ puns, then I should be allowed ‘dart’ puns!