Everything you need to know about Pokémon Sword and Shield

pokemon sword and shield about starter scorbunny
pokemon sword and shield about starter scorbunny

Pokémon Sword and Shield is on its way in November, and if you’re anything like us, you’ve been looking for every last detail to get you prepared for your epic journey to become the very best, like no one ever was.

So what do we know about the game so far? Where are we headed, who (and what) will we encounter along the way, and can we have a real-life Yamper?

Pokemon Sword and Shield Buy Logo

Pokémon Sword and Shield is on its way in November, and if you’re anything like us, you’ve been looking for every last detail to get you prepared for your epic journey to become the very best, like no one ever was.

So what do we know about the game so far? Where are we headed, who (and what) will we encounter along the way, and can we have a real-life Yamper?

While the answer to that last question is probably not (does a regular corgi count?), we’ve got you covered with regards to the others. So sit back, relax, and find out everything we know about Pokémon Sword and Shield so far.

1. Explore the new Galar region

pokemon sword and shield about galar region

Welcome to the newest location in the world of Pokémon: the Galar region, a beautiful place filled with rolling green hills, hillside carvings, and scenic lakes.

The cities are more industrial, with plenty of factories and machinery visible as you explore their winding streets. In these cities, humans and Pokémon work together, so you can expect to see a lot of Pokémon around.

If you’re looking to test your skills as a Trainer, look out for the enormous stadiums dotted around the map. These are home to various Gym Leaders and are specially designed for televised battles. The current Champion is something of a celebrity, so who knows… if you’re successful in battle, you might find you gain a fan following of your own.

2. Discover adorable new Pokémon

pokemon sword and shield about starter sobble

One of our favourite things about new Pokémon games is the enormous number of new Pokémon to discover on our adventures across the world.

All three starter Pokémon (that’s Grass-type Grookey, Fire-type Scorbunny, and Water-type Sobble) are completely adorable, and while we can’t possibly play favourites, we’ve got a bit of a soft spot for timid little Sobble. Picking just one to become our best friend through thick and thin is always a tough choice, though.

Meanwhile, the internet has already fallen madly in love with two more newcomers to the world of Pokémon: the fluffy sheep-like Wooloo (here’s some glorious trivia for you: when they’re scared, Wooloo curl up and roll themselves away from danger) and one of the best pups we’ve ever seen, the corgi-like Yamper.

pokemon sword and shield about corviknight taxi

Keep an eye open for the Flying/Steel-type bird Pokémon Corviknight as you explore cities, because you may just find one that works for the Galar Taxi company. Conveniently enough, you can hitch a ride with one of these helpful Pokémon to make your travels a little bit easier.

And naturally, there are two Legendaries to look out for: the wolf-like Zacian, which wields a sword (just like Sif from Dark Souls), and Zamazenta, whose mane has a distinctly shield-like appearance.

Of course, there are plenty more Pokémon to look out for on your adventures through the Galar region. You can meet all the ones we know about so far right here.

3. Meet the cast

pokemon sword and shield about characters hop leon

Pokémon wouldn’t be Pokémon without a rival, a friendly Professor, and a Champion to defeat.

Your rival’s name is Hop, and he’ll be starting on his adventure at the same time as you. His dream is to become Champion just like his elder brother, Leon. But with an unbroken winning streak, a penchant for limelight-hogging and a dedicated fan club who might just heckle you from the sidelines, Leon won’t be an easy Champion to beat.

You’ll be guided on your way by the wise Professor Magnolia, whose knowledge of the Dynamax phenomenon is legendary (more on that in a minute). Her granddaughter Sonia works as her research assistant, and she acts as an invaluable source of information and help for you too.

As you build your skills, you’ll be able to enter the Pokémon League and compete in Gym Battles against Gym Leaders. So far we’ve been introduced to friendly Milo (Grass-type) and serene Nessa (Water-type), plus two version-specific Gym Leaders: Pokémon Sword’s Bea (Fighting-type) and Pokémon Shield’s Allister (Ghost-type).

4. Explore the open world in the Wild Area

pokemon sword and shield about wild area

If you don’t fancy hitching a lift to the next city over via Corviknight taxi, you can walk there through the Wild Area instead. This open-world area between cities is where most Pokémon can be found, and which ones appear will depend on factors like the weather and the time of day.

Pokémon will appear in the overworld, so you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled, as more aggressive Pokémon may charge at you suddenly. Likewise, timid Pokémon may run away as soon as they see you, so make sure to creep up on them slowly and quietly. You can also attract a Pokémon’s attention by whistling.

pokemon sword and shield about starter grookey berry

You’ll have free control over the camera in this area, so make the most of it – you never know what items could be concealed in odd places nearby. And if you fancy a change of pace, go fishing in the lakes or harvest tasty Berries for your Pokémon.

The Wild Area is also where you can encounter other players to trade, communicate what you’re up to via adorable stickers, and play multiplayer raid battles…

5. Master Max Raid Battles and Dynamaxing

You can team up with up to three other players either in local or online co-op and engage in multiplayer raid battles, or if there aren’t many people nearby, you’ll get AI companions to help you out instead. You’ll each choose one Pokémon to take with you into battle, and then you’ll face off against a powerful enemy Pokémon.

But that’s where things get very new and exciting. Pokémon from the Galar region have an amazing new ability called Dynamaxing. It essentially means that they can become gigantic versions of themselves armed with a massive power boost and powerful max moves. If you’re able to defeat the enemy Pokémon in one of these battles, you’ll each get the chance to try and catch it.

You can find more details on how Dynamaxing and Max Raid Battles work right here.

6. Make your battles even bigger with Gigantamaxing

pokemon sword and shield about gigantamax alcremie

Dynamaxing not quite big enough for you? Never fear, there’s an even bigger surprise in store. Gigantamaxed Pokémon change form once again, becoming even more gargantuan (and powerful) than before. Their appearances also change, and they’ll get a super-powerful G-Max move.

Not all Pokémon can take on a Gigantamax form, and the ones that can won’t be easy to find. However, we do know that you can get your hands on some of them by catching them in Max Raid Battles.

7. Grab pre-order bonuses with each edition at GAME

pokemon sword and shield about poke ball

If you pre-order Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield at GAME, you’ll get special pre-order bonuses: a fab SteelBook featuring either Zacian (with Pokémon Sword) or Zamazenta (with Pokémon Shield), and a digital bonus in the form of a snazzy tracksuit for your Trainer.

But if you really can’t choose between Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield (and we agree, it’s a super tough choice to make), there’s also the Dual Edition, which contains both games in one bundle plus a gorgeous golden SteelBook. If you pre-order the Dual Edition, you’ll also get a figurine of all three of the starter Pokémon together, as well as two digital pre-order bonuses: a tracksuit for your Trainer to wear and two codes (which you can redeem once per game) to unlock extra Dynamax Crystals.

So there you have it – everything you should know before you begin your Pokémon adventure!

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