|Posted by Kelsy on August 10, 2020 at 3:00 PM|
We Want MORE
Pokemon Sword/Shield - Isle of Armor - Downloadable Content - 100% Completionist Review by: Kelsy “SuperGirlKels” Medeiros
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 2020
When Pokemon Sword and Shield were announced, of course Pokemon fans around the world were ecstatic for the 8th generation of Pokemon to come out with new stories, adventures and gimicks for the world to fall in love with all over again. To mine, and fans’ surprise… trailers received backlash and controversy even resulting in announcements having over 60% of dislikes and harmful comments to the Pokemon Company. This is in regards to the lack of Pokemon that were added to the new games. This was Pokemon Switch, the anticipated game that was waited for years in advance. The hype was built for so long, saying that this would promise to be the biggest Pokemon yet. The problem was, it was lazy. The graphics were sharpened from the 3DS styles while worlds lagged and seemed small. The biggest issue though came down to the Pokemon themselves, where even though the new generation was present… other generations weren’t. The Pokedex only had around 300 of the returning Pokemon from previous gens making fans upset everywhere wondering why the biggest Pokemon game to date was to not have a national dex. A few months after release however, The Pokemon Company held a direct announcing a 2 part DLC expansion to the title promising a new story, areas to explored of course… way more Pokemon to return and catch. Players were on board again, and excited for the future as more Pokemon were being added in time. The first part which released back in May: Isle of Armor introduces a new Pokemon (Kubfu) while introducing challenges and an entire new island to explore. This is the expansion that I have recently 100% completed. With challenges offered and new Pokemon to catch while old Pokemon return… I was very excited to get my hands on this expansion and fully experience it from beginning to end. Does it serve Sword and Shield well? Or was it something given to just…. Make us stop complaining?
The story of Pokemon Isle of Armor takes place after the main story of Sword and Shield when you become Champion. As levels of each fight and Pokemon are in their 70’s. So be sure to complete your main story first before challenging the DLC. Second thing to know is it’s incredible short. The story is about 2-3 hours and can be done in a quick hour speed run if you know what you’re doing. Your player enters an island warned to have Pokemon never seen in the Galor region before. As you leave the station and enter the Isle of Armor, you are approached by an odd character who presents herself as Klara (Sword) or Avery (Shield). She immediately seems completely full of it… as she feels threatened by your presence as you kick her butt in a quick battle. She tells you to “not” approach the Dojo as you aren’t “cut out for it” and shouldn’t even think of entering the Master’s chamber… Of course as stubborn as we are, we find the dojo and are introduced to Mustard who owns the dojo and teaches kids and Pokemon trainers to become one with the fighting type giving challenges, and quests to help achieve their goals. We are set to these quests while overcoming trainer battles and catching Pokemon found around the entire island. The island itself is quite large, and I found myself getting a bit lost at times. But it’s nothing you can’t explore all together with a bike ride in just a short 10 minutes. Mustard introduces you to his friend Kubfu, who is a shy little bear but is passionate and eager to train his fighting type skills. Mustard hands us Kubfu to train from Level 1-70 before it can evolve, and I can complete my tasks at the dojo. So our journey begins! Catching Pokemon, battling trainers , and levelling up our Kubfu to max power!
MUSIC / SOUND EFFECTS
I feel like Music in Pokemon games are never a disappoint. Themes match every environment as the player explores, fights, and catches Pokemon. The game does a good job at presenting emotion through its soundtrack even when accepting and reading dialog with Mustard bringing up hype as to what is next to accomplish. No music is reused from Sword and Shield, which is a very nice touch and effort put in by Gamefreak who does a good job at making Isle of armour a fresh experience in terms of their soundtrack. Battles have remix and the only reused feature is the exploring part itself on the island which keeps the same soundtrack as the Wild Area… of course because the entire isle of Armor is a wild area. Sound Effects of course, are the exact same as Sword and Shield as it is an expansion pack of the game, and nothing is wrong with it. It’s always fun to click away reading dialog, interacting with items found and attacks towards opponents in battle are satisfying and captivating.
I will be going into more depth with graphics when I do a full review of Pokemon Sword and Shield after the follow up DLC expected for release in November. But I did want to bring up the graphics here because of how unimpressed I was. The graphics for Isle of Armor felt extremely lazy, and weak. As you explore the island you have to keep in mind that the entire isle is a wild area meaning that players from around the world are seen constantly, and wild Pokemon appear in the open at all times. It is extremely unrealistic, and annoying to be walking in this area as Pokemon randomly appear in front of you and sometimes causing a battle when you didn’t want to Ince you weren’t able to react and go around them. This isn’t just with the Pokemon, as scenery in the background seen from far known as Vistas disappear and reappear at times. I’ve had major lag and frame drops by just simply exploring as the game tries its best to render and load backgrounds and environments. It’s 2020, this is Nintendo Switch and it’s unacceptable. On the other hand though, the game is colourful. Characters, Pokemon and environments shine and stick out which is only inviting to me and makes me want to explore what is around me. Even the water which may remind me of something such as Zelda’s Windwaker, is still just so bright and beautiful and makes me want to head to sea and see what’s far beyond the ocean.
I am very conflicted by the level design. On one end, the island is strategically laid out as areas connect with each other on the island and are all very easy to access through exploration. I’m someone who gets lost very easy, as my sense of direction isn’t exactly the best. But because of the way the layout is presented and how environments change it was easy within a few times of playing that I understood where certain places was, how to get there, and how to get back to point A without really checking the map. It’s a small island, with a lot of content which includes the sea as you can surf around and find hidden little islands with their own collectables and new Pokemon to collect. My favourite part about the level design is where each Pokemon is found, because it makes sense according to their kind of type and environment as to where they need to be. You will find Shinx an electric type only in rainy lighting areas while water Pokemon near the beach and in the sea for example. So if you know the type of the Pokemon you are searching gin your pokedex, it’s very easy to think as to where not he island you can go to potentially find this Pokemon. You are also constantly rewarded for exploring which is the best feeling any completionist can have. We spent the first 3 hours of the DLC not following the story and instead just roaming around and being distracted with new Pokemon found, and collectables hidden in trees, rocks and more. I was constantly getting ideas as to where items can be hidden and was happy to find myself rewarded to taking the time to really explore. Now what bothers me about the level design is the lack of facilities. The only Pokemon “centre” found on the island is back at the dojo where you sleep, and heal you’re Pokemon. No shops, or any other facility is available including the Pokemon Nursery. And you can’t fly back to the main game of Sword and Shield which can create some repetition and annoying play for completionists as you have to breed, and get certain items by going back and forth between Sword and Shield.. with the Isle of Armor through the main train you got off at the beginning of the story. It’s time consuming and just simply lazy that I wish the designers could have thought about a bit more. The world seems also “empty”. If you remove the constant Pokemon that spawn and the dojo… there really isn’t anything but grass, trees and water and maybe a cave here and there with the same outcome. It’s extremely bland and after the hours of exploring I had that sense of curiosity and unknown quickly leaves the creative mind. I wish game freak could have spent more time to add maybe new characters, new facilities, a nursery, shops and more.
Catching Pokemon, Raiding, boss battles, and challenges are always just as thrilling as nothing has ever changes so we can skip the analysis there as we know that Pokemon Is always fun, and always somehow a new experience with the same old ideas. What’s really the big change especially with this DLC is the constant online, and wild area to explore. Though above I mentioned how beautiful, and how great it was designed… it seems the Switch or at least Game freak’s servers are unable to even handle it. I ended up plying the game the entire time offline unless I had trading or raids to level up my Kubfu for. The constant lag and frame drops that I experienced as the game would try so hard to load not even just the environments, but the players around me and the Pokemon near me was excessive. The fan on my switch got quite loud and quite hot real quick which only concerned my playtime with it. Though it is so fun, and so great to see Gamefreak and the Pokemon Company push limitations and try new ways to experience the series… the qualify just wasn’t there since not only the graphics felt lazy, but the engine itself just seemed to not handle it well at all. Besides the online, challenges are made across the Isle of Armor to keep the player engaged and playing such as Shiny events, Raids and more. I think the weirdest yet funnest challenge that I faced was collecting a man’s 151 Diglett that were lost and hiding around the isle of armor. I was expecting this to be a hideous task that I was only going to hate the game for as these Digletts are out in the open with their little hair sticking out the ground which can be so well hidden you may have passed 100 of them just by walking. Luckily though, I was wrong and it ended up being the best part of the playthrough. I had a smile on my completionist face as every area had a clear number as to how many Diglett were in each part of the island. I used a guide on Youtube, and followed along clearly from area to area. It took about 3 hours fully to collect all Digglett which really wasn’t that bad. To complete this 100%, you need to fufill this. I ended up unlocking Alolan forms of all Pokemon and even got a new Pokemon from the old pokedex that I won’t spoil for you! It’ a great prize and I loved every minute of it. It also helps that I have 20/20 vision so I could see these little hairs from miles away….. right? Of course, completing the Pokedex wasn’t much of a hassle either as there wasn’t many Pokemon for the dex in the first place (210) and most forms of each Pokemon were found as you played the game if you kept your eyes open. There are just a few that I had to go out hunting for, but luckily my best friend DragonMatt had Pokemon that I was missing and quick few trades fixed that issue! I was able to complete the Pokedex in 3 hours after finding all the Dligletts. Perfect timing to end off another playtrhrough!
ROAD TO 100%
- Complete Story Mode
- Collect all 210 Pokemon in the Isle of Armor Pokedex
- Find and claim all 151 Digglett
***NOTE*** that you may also level up the Dojo to max level, but you are not rewarded for it. So I did not bother to 100% that.
Pokemon Sword and Shield’s first part of it’s DLC expansion pack was a pleasure to play but I felt unsatisfied and nothing memorable came out of it for me. The story was lacking and I felt that I didn’t bond with any of the characters of even my Kubfu as it grew and evolved. Exploring the island was the funnest part, finding new Pokemon and more but the environments felt bland and it was easy to move on from. I wish there was more, it felt like only 70% was given which probably explains why there is a part 2 to the expansion pack coming out in November! Although the game may be lacking, it’s still fun and a need if you do own Shield and Sowrd as it offers Pokemon you may have missed out on and wished that were in the original game, and new items and exclusives are available for you to take back into shield and sword and say HEY HOP! LOOK WHAT I GOT
+ Fun Challenges
+ Island Design
+ Old Pokemon Return
+ Massive Wild Area
+ Extra Content
- Missing details in environments (facilities)