The official Pokémon YouTube channel surprised fans with a new trailer for Pokémon Sword and Shield. Needless to say, it revealed a wealth of information, including new mechanics and new Pokémon. In today’s post, we’re going to break down each individual reveal. If you’d rather just watch the actual trailer, you can do so here. If not, then let’s get right into it!
The only new feature revealed was Gigantamax, an upgraded form of Dynamax that only works on certain Pokémon. Gigantamax Pokémon receive a new appearance and can use new G-Max attacks. Corviknight and Drednaw, which were revealed in the first Pokémon Sword and Shield-centered Nintendo Direct, are capable of utilizing Gigantamax.
Gigantamaxing aside, a handful of new characters were shown. Most interestingly, perhaps, is that Pokémon Sword and Shield have version exclusive Gym Leaders. Players of Sword will be able to challenge a Fighting-type gym while players of Shield can challenge a Ghost-type gym. Personally, I’d rather Sword and Shield be released as one game (since buying both is essentially paying $60 for a second save slot), and I think it’s a shame that the devlopers are doubling down on having two versions.
New Pokémon: Alcremie
Alcremie is a brand-new Fairy-type Pokémon with the ability Sweet Veil. Sound familiar? Slurpuff from X and Y is also a dessert-themed Fairy-type Pokémon with Sweet Veil. Strangely enough, both Slurpuff and Alcremie are confirmed for the Galar region, so it’ll be interesting to see how the developers differentiate the two. At any rate, I love Alcremie’s design! It can also utilize Gigantamax to transform into this.
New Pokémon: Yamper
Next up is Yamper, an Electric-type corgi Pokémon. It was initially shown during E3 2019 before being officially revealed in this presentation. I love Yamper’s design, as it’s simple but not too complicated (and there were a lot of overdesigned Pokémon in Generation VII – looking at you, Ultra Beasts). Yamper’s ability is Ball Fetch. If a trainer throws a Poké Ball but fails to capture the opposing Pokémon, Yamper will fetch the ball as long as it is not holding an item. There’s an issue with this, though: Ball Fetch would result in Yamper holding the Poké Ball, and trainers can’t take items from their Pokémon during battles. This would make Ball Fetch just about useless!
New Pokémon: Rolycoly
Rolycoly is a new Rock-type Pokémon that can have the new Steam Engine ability. When the user is hit by a Water-type or Fire-type move, its Speed stat is drastically increased (three stages). Rolycoly seems like a Pokémon that might have low Speed, so an easy increase is certainly welcome. Rolycoly can also have the ability Heatproof, meaning it will take half damage from Fire-type moves. It’s already a Rock-type, so a Rolycoly with Heatproof will take quarter damage from Fire-type attacks. Seems like Steam Engine is the better ability here. In terms of design, there’s not much to say; I need to see an evolution to be able to properly judge the Pokémon.
New Pokémon: Duraludon
Probably my least favorite out of the new Pokémon shown today. Duraludon is a Steel / Dragon-type Pokémon that can have the Light Metal or Heavy Metal abilities. Its design seems rather stiff and polygonal, but it’s probably supposed to be this way given its typing. I’d like to see an evolution for Duraludon, but something tells me it isn’t going to evolve… hopefully I’ll be proven wrong on this one.
I still don’t know how to feel about Pokémon Sword and Shield. I do like most of the new Pokémon (I don’t really care for Duraludon or Drednaw) and it’ll be interesting to see how Dynamax and Gigantamax affect game balance, but I can’t get over all of the content they’ve straight up removed from the games. If you look at Nintendo’s main franchises – Mario and Zelda – you’ll see that their most recent titles, Odyssey and Breath of the Wild, moved their franchises forward with new mechanics and concepts. Pokémon has taken one step forward and two steps backward for years. Dynamax and Gigantamax may look neat, but they come at a cost of Mega Evolution (which many players loved) and Z-Moves (which nobody cared about). Right now, I’m mixed on the game – and it isn’t just me, as a majority of hardcore Pokémon fans are, too – in the meantime, all we can do is wait and see what the final product is like.