E3 2019 Hands-on – Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield

The period between the announcement of a new Pokémon game and its eventual release is always an exciting one. Nintendo and Game Freak sure know how to perfectly tease those games to its audience; gradually showcasing new gameplay elements, visuals, gimmicks, and of course, new monsters for you to catch. Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield are no exception to the rule. Even though the game is not far from release (it comes out in November), we still don’t know that much about it. But thanks to this E3 demo, I got to play it for a bit and learn more about this brand new generation of Pokémon games that will finally make its debut on an actual console.


Gym Battles are now featured inside massive stadiums. I love that.

The E3 demo was very brief. It only featured a handful of battles inside a Water-type gym with a preset team of Pokémon at level 50. I could use all three starters, as well as the cool as heck Corviknight and a damn adorable corgi Pokémon called Yamper, which is now my favorite thing of all time. The objective was to defeat a few trainers, solve a simple water puzzle, and then defeat the Gym leader in a battle featuring the brand new Dynamax gimmick.

The best thing about the demo was that, well, it played a lot more like your classic Pokémon than, for instance, Sun and Moon. The classic Gym Leader theme was being played at all times, the fights had that classic pre-Gen VII fare, with no Mega Evolutions or Z-Crystals. I didn’t care that much about Dynamax, as it acted more of a visual spectacle than a battle game-changer, but I still enjoyed that it didn’t become as intrusive to the core gameplay as I had feared. All it did was transform my little Grass-type monkey starter into the most adorable King Kong ever created and transform each of its attacks into generic ultra-powerful moves, one for each type, just like a Z-Move. Thankfully, Dynamax only lasts for three turns, and can only be used once per battle.


Say hello to Yamper, the cutest darn thing ever created.

I must say that, even though I didn’t care at all about the new Dynamax gimmick, I really enjoyed this very brief but sweet Pokémon Sword & Shield demo available at E3. I’ve been waiting all my life for a proper mainline Pokémon game for consoles, and this game is shaping up to be exactly what I was expecting. I just can’t wait to finally put my hands on Pokémon Sword. I am obviously not getting Shield because that version doesn’t feature Sif from Dark Souls as a mascot…