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Pokémon Sword and Shield Stirring Up Hate?

photo via The Pokémon Company
Photo via The Pokémon Company

There Is a Lot of Hate for Pokémon Sword and Shield Right Now, Let’s Find Out Why That Is

I can’t quite decide if people are freaking out a little too much or not on Twitter with the #GameFreakLied hashtag that’s being thrown around, but what I can say is Pokémon Sword and Shield are not the games we hoped they would be. I’m going to do my best in this article to remain objective, but we really need to talk about why this is such a big deal and why Game Freak needs to know this isn’t ok to do.

So, What Did Game Freak Lie About?

Back in the summer of this year, Game Freak announced that the whole Pok­éDex wouldn’t be available in their newest game this year. This is a feature that has been around forever, so it upset a lot of fans. They claimed that the reason was that they were remaking all of the Pokémon assets, so it would take too long to remake all 800+ Pokémon. Even though this was upsetting, it was understandable.

That was until some pictures were leaked right before the release of Sword and Shield. The main one that is floating around the internet shows the assets of a Bulbasaur from Gen 7 as well as one from Gen 8. They look almost identical.

Now granted, there is a lot of speculation on whether or not these pictures are real or not, which is the determining factor on if Game Freak really lied or not. But the game is out now, and people are starting to see examples of how bad some of the work that went into this game really is. So, the question is no longer, “did Game Freak lie?” The question really is, “why didn’t they put more effort into this game?”

Let’s See What Twitter Had to Say

While Twitter isn’t the best source of facts, there’s no denying screen captures taken from the game and how they look. There are numerous examples of how bad this game looks in its current state, but I’m only going to show you a couple of them for reference. This first one looks like an animation you would see in an old PS2 game.


This next one kind of shocked me. I’ve seen instances of the world around you stop moving when you initiate some dialogue, but never for something as simple as going up a ladder.

Now I know the Switch doesn’t have the best graphics this console generation, but this picture looks like it could have been taken from Ocarina of Time on the N64.


There are plenty more examples that show animations being reused from previous games as well as just flat out lazy work done by the developers, so I encourage you to look more into it if you want to see others.

Why Does This Matter?

The main reason it matters is this is now a $60 game instead of a $40 one. If it was still a cheaper game for the 3DS, I don’t think people would have cared nearly as much, but since it’s the first time they’ve made a main series game for console, the fan base is quite disappointed.

On top of all the Pokémon that got cut, there are a lot of missing features, too. Mega Evolutions and Z-Moves aren’t in the game anymore. They were replaced by Dynamax, which can only be used in certain types of battles unlike the other two that could be used whenever the player wanted. There were also 144 moves that were cut and there are less Routes to go through compared to previous games. Overall, people feel like there isn’t enough content to warrant a $60 price tag.

It’s not all bad, however. Despite all the outrage, Pokémon Sword and Shield are still getting pretty good reviews from the big names like IGN and GameSpot. There is still fun to be had in this generation of the game, especially if you play the game more competitively. Game Freak added a bunch of new features to make it easier the give your Pokémon the stats that best suite what you’re looking for.

The one thing I’d like to point out though is many of people giving good reviews still agree that the game just feels like it’s missing content, but that leads me to the big conclusion I want to make from this.

How To Fix Future Installments

I believe that all of these problems could have easily been fixed if they delayed the release of Sword and Shield. For whatever reason, Game Freak feels the need to release a Pokémon game every year even though many fans have said that they wouldn’t mind waiting a little bit longer on future installments of their favorite franchise.

On top of that, Game Freak also released Little Town Hero last month, so they were working on two big releases at the same time. Pushing back Sword and Shield to next year would have freed up a lot of time for them to put a much better effort into their biggest series for it’s first attempt at a console release. But instead we go a half-baked mess that will only be worth the price if it ever goes on sale, but since it’s a Nintendo game, it’s quite unlikely.

If Game Freak doesn’t want to lose a big portion of their fanbase, they really need to take their time on Gen 9 and make it everything we hoped Gen 8 would be. If it takes a few years to get it just right, I’m sure Pokémon fans everywhere would rejoice and go back to giving praise to the company that has brought them so many childhood memories. Also, just as a precautionary measure Game Freak, make sure you’re completely honest with us next time. Good business practices go a long way in the eyes of the consumer.

Written by Michael Yannone

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