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Pokemon Sword and Shield Review Roundup – Are They Worth Buying?

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:17 PM
William White
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:17 PM
  • The Pokemon Sword and Shield reviews have begun to roll in ahead of Friday’s launch.
  • We’ve compiled a list of all the major reviews to help you decide whether Pokemon’s eighth-generation games are worth buying.
  • Sword and Shield release for Nintendo Switch on Nov. 15.

Pokemon Sword and Shield, the eighth-generation Pokemon games from Nintendo and Game Freak, will be hitting the Switch on Friday. The reviews began rolling in today, and they’re particularly important for this iteration of the legendary franchise.

Pokemon Sword and Shield have been surrounded in controversy leading up to their release. There have been complaints about the lack of the National Pokedex, locking new Pokemon behind old games, not being able to catch higher leveled Pokemon, and so much more.

Get Ready for the Next Pokemon Adventure

Pokemon has been around for what feels like forever and has quite the dedicated fanbase, but even it isn’t happy with all the changes coming this time around.

In fact, they are some of the most vocal with voicing their displeasure with the games. We won’t know how they feel until the games drop and the average players get their hands on it, but we can look at the reviews from the press.

Overall, it looks like reviewers are happy with what Pokemon Sword and Shield have to offer. There are still some problems with the games, and they may not wow everyone, but there’s an adventure to be had with them.

pokemon sword and shield reviews
Reviewers weigh in on Pokemon Sword and Shield. | Source: Nintendo

Pokemon Sword and Shield Review Roundup

Here’s a list of what reviewers are saying about Sword and Shield.

Game Informer – 8.75/10

Game Informer’s review said that Game Freak’s latest offerings can be frustrating , but that they’re “strong first attempts” as the series moves to console.

Pokémon Sword & Shield are strong first attempts for the series’ full transition to consoles. While some frustrations hold it back from true legendary status, this new generation proves the Pokémon franchise is still great more than two decades after its debut.

Polygon – No Score

In lieu of providing a rating, Polygon said that Sword and Shield are “familiar in all the right ways.” 

There’s a formula to Pokémon games: a preteen Pokémon trainer collecting pocket monsters to create a team strong enough to win a battle. The games are always nostalgic, but Sword and Shield is never mindless. It feels familiar in all the right ways, while adding elements that surprised me, for good and bad. But mostly good.

IGN – 9.3/10

IGN’s reviewer gushed that these games approach the ideal type of a Pokemon title .

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.

GameSpot – 9/10

GameSpot’s Pokemon review  said that Sword and Shield are “an incredibly strong showing” as the series debuts on Switch.

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.

Newsweek – 9/10

Newsweek praised the “divisive” games  as a “landmark for the franchise.”

Sword and Shield will likely be divisive. The lead up to their release has proven that. But Gen 8 is a landmark for the franchise, moving forward with changes that make the experience much more enjoyable. With the series’ proper Switch debut, a new era has begun.

Daily Star – 3/5

Daily Star delivered the harshest Sword and Shield review of the bunch , commenting that they’re “not bad” – but also “not great.”

Pokémon Sword and Shield are not bad games. But fun character arcs and inventive, creative designs of new ‘mon are often offset by poor pacing and restrictive world design.

The reviewer concludes,

The world of Galar is charming, and is a Pokémon interpretation of Britain I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid, but between gating what Pokémon you can catch behind Gym Badges, some half-baked route/City designs and a modest amount of post-game content, Sword and Shield can only be called ‘good’ Pokémon games… not ‘great’ ones.