Pokemon Sword And Shield Review Roundup: What Are The Critics Saying?

Is this a Dynamax-sized debut?

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Pokemon has appeared on Nintendo Switch with Pokken Tournament and the Let's Go games, but Pokemon Sword and Shield marks the series' big generation-shifting debut on Nintendo's latest hardware. And like each new generation, that means new characters, a new region, and a bunch of new monsters for fans to collect.

Reviews for Pokemon Sword and Shield have started to publish ahead of its release on November 15. The critics agree that this edition of the long-running series trims some of its more unwieldy elements but keeps the most important elements well intact and more streamlined for fans. That opinion was reflected in GameSpot's Pokemon Sword and Shield review.

"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," Kallie Plagge wrote. "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."

We've collected a smattering of critical opinions below. For an even wider view, check out GameSpot sister site Metacritic. And for more great Switch games, check out our roundup of November's best Switch games so far.

  • Game: Pokemon Sword and Shield
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Game Freak
  • Release date: November 15
  • Price: $60 / £45 / $62 AUD

GameSpot - 9/10

"With each new Pokemon game comes a new set of Pokemon, mechanics, and a region to discover, and Sword and Shield are no exception. The vibrant Galar region is a consistent delight to explore, incentivizing and rewarding collecting and battling in equal measure, and grandiose battles add an exciting dimension to the familiar Gym formula to deliver an engaging adventure beginning to end. But most notably, Sword and Shield cut down on the tedious and protracted elements from previous games in favor of amplifying what makes Pokemon great in the first place. This is the most balanced a Pokemon game has felt in a long time, and with that, Sword and Shield mark the best new generation of Pokemon games in years." - Kallie Plagge [Full Review]

IGN - 9.3/10

"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." - Casey DeFreitas [Full Review]

GamesRadar - 4.5/5

"Thankfully though, 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." - Sam Loveridge [Full Review]

Game Informer - 8.75/10

"Pokemon 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 Pokemon franchise is still great more than two decades after its debut." - Brian Shea [Full Review]

VG247 - 3/5

"Pokemon Sword & Shield is all too often a bit disappointing, and in some places actually feels a little unfinished, but it also fully provides that warm, fuzzy feeling that one expects from the series. Crucially, even through frustration, never once did I think about putting it down, which is to its credit. It comes recommended almost for the Galar setting and new Pokemon alone, but with a long list of caveats indeed. With the level of fan hyperbole surrounding this release, that recommendation is worth repeating and underscoring--but this is not the revolution that was promised or hoped for, and some may prefer to wait for a sale or wait and see if an improved, definitive release is on the cards." - Alex Donaldson [Full Review]

US Gamer - No Score

"Pokemon Sword and Shield for the Nintendo Switch is a solid reminder that Pokemon will probably never run out of the stardust that helps keep it an endearing franchise for old and young alike. It's also a solid reminder that Game Freak is unlikely to unchain itself from the 'Three Starters, Eight Gyms' formula that launched Pokemon into the stratosphere to begin with." - Nadia Oxford [Review in Progress]

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

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