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Pokémon Sword & Shield: Isle Of Armor

Posted by GG Goblin On June - 30 - 2020

Still catching ’em all, but in a new place.

 
Pokémon games have always been a potentially lengthy prospect, providing many, many hours of content for those who invest. However, for many fans of the games, binge playing at every opportunity for the few weeks after launch will lead to a completed game and a lack of things to do, aside from sweeping up the few missing creatures from their Pokédex. The latest entry in the series, Pokémon Sword and Shield on Switch, is no different in that respect, but the joy of being the first mainstream Pokémon game on Switch means that it is the first to add new content through expansions. There are two expansions planned, with the Pokémon fans being forced to buy an expansion pass that includes both rather than buying an individual expansion. The first of these expansions, Isle of Armor, is now available, giving the fans yet more Pokémon to catch.

 


 
While there may be a whole bunch of new features to be found in the Isle of Armor, perhaps the most exciting prospect comes from the new Pokémon to catch. By new, I obviously mean returning. Sword and Shield are both excellent Pokémon games, but many were disappointed by the somewhat small roster of Pokémon to catch. Isle of Armor goes a little way towards fixing this by including more than 200 returning Pokémon, and even a couple of interesting new additions to the series. Personally, I was quite happy with the number of Pokémon available in the core games, but there is still a certain amount of joy that comes from seeing and being able to catch favourite Pokémon from previous titles that simply were not available in Sword and Shield before.

 
Trainers will already be used to the catch ’em all mentality of the Pokémon games, and there is plenty new to catch on the Isle of Armor. What they will not be used to is some of the other activities available on the island. On purchasing the expansion pass and loading up the game, players will be gifted a train ticket and an invitation to head over to the Isle of Armor. After a train and bird ride, the player will arrive and be immediately mistaken as a new member of the local Dojo.

 
The Master Dojo is run by Master Mustard and his wife Honey. The story involved here will see the player taking on various challenges in order to get a great reward. They don’t take too much effort to do, and can be quite fun, such as the first challenge which will have the player chasing unbelievably fast Slowpokes. Completing this short story will result in a new Pokémon, which is no real surprise, and is well worth the time investment. It is here that the player will also meet their rival for the expansion, either the poison-type Klara or the psychic-type Avery. Both of these characters are annoying, as is often the case with rivals, but neither offer too much challenge to players who have already spent plenty of time in the game.

 


 
The story content only runs for a couple of hours, but it is a fun little romp with some variety. Besides, who plays a Pokémon game for the story? This is all about catching more Pokémon, and Isle of Armor offers a great place to do that. With a variety of different biomes to explore, the island feels similar to the Wild Area, but with more interesting things to look at. The Pokémon are found just wandering around, sometimes in the long grass, others in the open, just waiting for players to pick a fight and capture them. There are ample Dens for Max Raid fans, and the surrounding waters give access to an abundance of water-type Pokémon. With the couple of hundred returning Pokémon to find and catch, and a new Pokédex to complete, there is quite a lot of content here.

 
But that is not where it stops. There are 150 Alolan Digletts hidden around the island, identifiable by their three hairs sticking out of the ground. Finding all of these will take the eyes of a hawk, but the rewards are worth it. There are also new outfits and bike designs to unlock, plenty of items hidden all over the place to collect, and even a machine that exchanges items.

 


 
The Isle of Armor expansion doesn’t make any great strides in improving the core game, but it does add a few new ideas and more than 200 new Pokémon for players to catch. Sure, almost all of those Pokémon are not new, just returning, but they are still welcome. There is a short story, some fun side activities, and a really nice new area to explore. As the first DLC ever for a Pokémon game, there really is nothing to complain about. For Pokémon fans who want to extend their adventure, Isle of Armor will hopefully see them through to the next expansion, The Crown Tundra, which is due later this year.

 

 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 



 

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