E3 2019: What We Want For Pokémon Sword and Shield
E3 2019 is around the corner, so expect more news about some of the biggest franchises in gaming. Some of the biggest gaming developers will be attaining this year’s E3, including good old Nintendo.
With that said, Nintendo is usually a company that does its own thing during E3. Most often or not they will have their patent Nintendo Direct before E3, and we have our money betting that there will be a Direct focusing on the latest Pokémon games before E3.
Pokémon Sword and Shield were announced earlier this year, and we have yet to hear much more about it since. With E3 coming up, we expect that will soon change. There’s a lot of expectations with Sword and Shield. They are the first proper Pokémon games to be released on a home console, with Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee being more like spin-offs.
We, of course, have our expectations of what we want in the game. From actually making the games challenging to a more engaging story mode, here is what we want for Pokémon Sword and Shield.
No Tutorial and Make It Less Easy
Pokémon, by and large, is aimed towards little kids. The games are often made with the assumption that every one that is playing them is either a child or unbelievably stupid. The Pokémon Company seems to forget that the franchise has existed for over twenty years at this point, which means some grown-ups still play these games.
We don’t need to be taught the mechanics of the game every gosh darn time we play a new game in the series. We know how to capture a Pokémon. We know we have to collect Gym Badges. They do not need to tell us every time.
Not only that, Pokémon doesn’t always have to be super easy. We understand the need to have the games be playable for a young crowd, but at least give veteran players the option of a hard mode. Also, if they do make a hard mode, don’t make it super complicated to get like it was in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, and yes, there is a hard mode in those games.
Add More Mega Evolutions
Mega Evolutions were kind of divisive when they were first introduced in Pokémon X and Y. While Mega Evolutions gave much-needed stat-boosts for older Pokémon, some of the redesigns weren’t good. For every awesome redesign like Mega Charizard X and Mega Gardevoir, there was a Mega Slowbro and Mega Manectric.
Despite that, we still think Mega Evolutions are a cool concept that deserves to be explored more. There is still plenty of older Pokémon that need Mega Evolution. Poor Flygon has been screaming to get one since they were first revealed.
New Mega Evolutions doesn’t seem likely, as Sword and Shield will most likely introduce a new gimmick to Pokémon battling. Sun and Moon introduced Z-Moves and did not include any new Mega Evolutions. Sword and Shield will probably follow suit and have their silly little gimmick and have no new Mega Evolutions (or Z-Moves for that matter).
Keep Things That Works
Based on the first trailer for Sword and Shield, it doesn’t seem like your Pokémon follows you anymore. It also doesn’t seem like you can see wild Pokémon on screen anymore like you could in Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee. We could only hope that the trailer was based on an earlier build of the games, as those are two elements that need to return for Sword and Shield.
Being able to see what kinds of Pokémon are wondering around in the overworld was a godsend. You can skip any wild Pokémon you don’t want to battle, and it got rid of random battles.
Having your Pokémon follow you around in the overworld have always been a nice addition since it was first introduced in Pokémon Yellow. Who doesn’t want to have their Pokémon best friends follow them everywhere they go? It’s such a popular mechanic that it is odd that the Pokémon Company infrequently incorporates it in the games. Why don’t they just have it be a permanent fixture in the games, especially since so many players appear to love having it?
We also hope Sword and Shield continue the exclusion of HMs, though that seems like a safe bet. HMs were gone in Let’s Go and Sun/Moon; it makes sense for them to continue that trend. Let’s hope that they don’t have Sword and Shield play like Let’s Go and Pokémon Go. Flicking Poké Balls at a screen is fine in mobile and spin-offs, but let’s hope it never reaches the realm of the main games.
Less Legendaries (or Ultra Beasts, or Whatever) And More Normal Pokémon
We love Pokémon Sun and Moon; it’s a fantastic Pokémon game. With that said, we do have some issues with the amount of new Pokémon those games introduce. Only 81 new Pokémon were introduced in Sun and Moon (and their sequels). While 81 may seem small compared to the original 151 introduced in the first Pokémon games, it’s more than the 72 introduced in X and Y.
It’s not the amount of new Pokémon that is the issue; the designs of the Pokémon in Sun and Moon are mostly solid. The problem is that a good chunk of them were Legendaries or available post-game. Sun and Moon introduced Ultra Beasts, which are similar to Legendary Pokémon, and can only be caught after beating the main game.
Because a good percentage of the Pokémon were Legendaries, that meant there were very few new Pokémon to capture in the wild. We don’t know how you feel about Legendaries, yet we here prefer to have more regular Pokémon than super rare Legendaries that we won’t even use.
Let’s hope that Sword and Shield will have less new Legendaries, and have more new regular Pokémon you can capture in the wild.
More Engaging Story
Pokémon has never been a narratively complex series, and we wouldn’t want it to be. Also, the story in the original Sun and Moon was great as is. There may have been too many long cutscenes in Sun and Moon. Nonetheless, it was very character focused which is something we don’t often see in the games.
However, every time the franchise has a good story in one of their games, they seem to go back on it. Pokémon Black and White has some of the best storytelling in all of Pokémon. By focusing on the complex nature of what it means to own Pokémon, and having a likable antagonist, Black and White did the impossible and create a genuinely engaging narrative.
The proceeding generation of Pokémon games, X and Y, went the opposite direction. X and Y had one of the weaker story elements in the franchise, primarily due to the fact they had lame main villains. X and Y are still great games; they just lack the special something that made Black and White amazing.
Even Sun and Moon’s direct sequel didn’t have a good story. Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are the same game as Sun and Moon with added bonuses. The one thing it changed is the story. Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon got rid of some of the cutscenes in the game, and streamline the whole narrative. While the long cutscenes were a common complaint from fans, it took away from the story. The story in Sun and Moon were great because it took its time to develop the characters. By taking away those cutscenes, it lessens the impact of the story.
We hope that Sword and Shield will have an engaging story. It doesn’t need to be on the same level as Black and White, but it needs to add some narrative wrinkles for it to be memorable. Having Giovanni be the eighth Gym leader is a narrative wrinkle that made Red and Blue so memorable and fun. Sword and Shield should have those kinds of story beats.