The reviews for Pokémon Sword and Shield are in and it’s a hit from critics – even if some fans aren’t quite as impressed.
Out on November 15, Pokémon Sword and Shield sees Nintendo and Game Freak bringing mainline Pokémon games to the Nintendo Switch for the first time. That means a new region, Pokémon and mechanics to try our hand at, although some fans have expressed anger over the new changes – with #GameFreakLied trending on Twitter following leaks.
However, Pokémon Sword and Shield has been hailed as one of the best entries in the series to date by critics, with reviews praising the beautiful region of Galar, the freedom to explore and the new strategic elements to Pokemon battles.
We haven’t received review code for Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield yet, but we’ve rounded up the verdicts of those who have for your reading pleasure below, along with a link to each publication’s full review. Once we get our hands on code, Pokémon Sword and Shield will get the same thorough, comprehensive test that you’d expect from a TechRadar review.
Pokémon Sword and Shield review verdicts
Sam Loveridge – 4.5/5
This is a seriously memorable Pokemon adventure. The story delivers enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, steeped in the kinds of myths and legends that you forget the British Isles are chock-full of. It might lack the puzzling areas of previous series’ entries like Silph Co, but there’s plenty to love about Pokemon Sword and Shield, especially the loveable cast of characters, and the impeccable attention to detail in the Galar region both visually and in terms of the regional dialogue. It’s a great way to start the next core generation of Pokemon games.
Casey DeFreitas – 4.5/5
Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield are closer to my dream Pokemon RPGs than anything that’s come before. I’d still like better cutscenes, companion Pokemon, the complete Pokedex, and a more visually interesting Wild Area, but nitpicks are just not very effective when everything else was such a complete joy to play. The way they respect my time is wonderful, and the removal of monotony from random encounters and other odds and ends distills it down to only the pure and charming fun of capturing, training, and battling wonderful creatures. And hey, if I’m missing any tedious repetition, I can always get back into breeding.
Alex Olney – 8/10
What we’ve got here is an experience full of highs and lows, from the unadulterated wonder and joy of seeing a brand-new Pokémon in a stadium full of cheering crowds, to the monotonous and dragged-out dialogue we just wanted to skip. The wonders of exploring the Wild Area feels like the true evolution of the series, but even this brave stride forward is balanced out by the inclusion of restrictive and boring Routes from games of old. The niggling issues are impossible to ignore, then, but on the whole, Pokémon Sword and Shield are a solid start to the HD generation of Pokémon games, but there’s ample room for improvement with the next outing.
Kallie Plagge – 9/10
In collecting, battling, and exploring, Sword and Shield cut out the bloat and focus on what makes these pillars of the Pokemon games so captivating in the first place. You’re not held back by overly complicated back-end systems or hoops to jump through; from the outset, you can start wandering the Galar region, seeing its new Pokemon, and trying out its new battle strategies with very little in your way. This leaves you free to enjoy what Pokemon is all about, and that makes for an incredibly strong showing for the series’ proper debut on Switch.