They’re almost here – the Nintendo Switch’s first wholly new Pokémon games, Sword & Shield. How do they hold up? Well, our review is still waiting in the wings, but other outlets have published their opinions, so let’s have a look!

On the glowing side we have IGN and Gamespot, who awarded the games a 9.3 and 9.0 respectively. Gamespot’s harshest criticisms are aimed towards the final evolutions of the starter ‘mon, who are described as “not great” and “among the worst of the new Pokémon”. IGN, meanwhile, greatly praises the trainer customization options while criticising the game’s graphical flaws, which range from the lack of emotion shown on characters faces to the level of pop-in.

The game didn’t quite manage to hit the vaunted 9/10 mark on a few sites, though. Such as EGM, which still gave it a very solid 4/5 stars, only lamenting that “Game Freak didn’t lean into the new features more than they did.” Game Informer shared similar sentiments with its 8.75 review score, mainly expressing frustration with the limitations placed on catching Pokémon in the Wild Area, where “Gym badges dictate the level of Pokémon you can catch”.

So far, so positive, but that’s not to say it’s all glowing. Eurogamer, which doesn’t score its reviews but instead offers recommendations, describes the game as “a shallow projection” of ambition. Praise is offered to small tweaks, however, such as the move deleter and re-learner being found in every Pokémon Center, but it isn’t enough to sway towards a recommendation.

While the majority of reviews are positive, the divisiveness that plagued the run-up to Pokémon Sword & Shield’s launch is somewhat reflected throughout the game’s OpenCritic page, which currently sits at an aggregate score of 79. While it’s still a very good score, we’ll have to wait and see if it catches up to Sun & Moon’s glowing 94%.

You’ll be able to judge Pokémon Sword & Shield for yourself when they launch on November 15th!

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Written by Tom Brown

Whether it’s an exciting new entry in a series long established or a weird experiment meant only for the dedicated, Tom is eager to report on it. Rest assured, if Nintendo ever announces Elite Beat Agents 2, he’ll be there.

Tom Brown