With lots of new features that keep your adventure interesting, this is one of the easier, yet more engaging, chapters in the long-running franchise. The Pokémon Sword and Shield games start out with a familiar plot for Pokémon fans: becoming the best trainer in a new land, fighting gym leaders to prove that your squad is stronger in combat. Players will travel the world, fighting many creatures and trainers, and will gain experience to boost their creature's stats through battles or by assigning beasts to jobs to complete in towns. Fortunately, Sword and Shield ease the labor of fighting for hours to improve everyone in your party by sharing experience across all the monsters after a fight. That reduces the chore of leveling your creatures, which is perfect for newcomers just learning the basics. What's more, players can easily swap their party members in the wild without having to head back to town, which is a massive time-saver, especially when you're hunting for a specific creature or trying to get creatures to evolve to more powerful forms.
On the journey, players will discover an ability known as Dynamaxing, which transforms Pokémon into gigantic versions of themselves. This gives you the option to transform one of your roster for a limited time to wreak havoc on opponents. Dynamaxing provides lots of gameplay twists -- you can whittle down an opposing roster, or save it to cause huge damage against one target. The main problem is that, in most cases (unless your Pokemon's weak against an enemy it faces), Dynamaxing can make fights way too easy to complete. But Dynamaxing also highlights an improved multiplayer focus of Sword and Shield. Players can partner up with three other trainers (human or computer controlled) to fight giant beasts in Max Raid Battles, group combats that are clearly inspired by Pokémon Go's raids. This can be a fun way for friends to help each other clear difficult sections, or use the trading feature to gather and swap newly captured Pokémon among themselves after fights. Even better, players can camp out in the wilderness and play with each other's Pokémon, bonding over a meal, making their roster more willing to shake off negative status effects, even gaining experience to strengthen their squad. The result: You have a sense of being supported by both the game and other players in your quest to become a champion. These features carried over to the downlodable content for the game, which adds extra hours to the basic game. While the Isle of Armor pack was thin and unimpressive, the Crown Tundra is vastly more impressive, with the addition of Legendary pokemon leading the gameplay features. Thanks to the Max Lair, you can partner up with players and potentially gain a MewTwo, Suicune, or Zapdos if you can capture these creatures in this sprawling dungeon. You can even "farm ore in this lair by adventuring in its walls, and redeem it for new items. There are also new adventures to go on, thanks to Peony, a Pokemon Master and partner for your trainer on his "adven-tour" in the region. It all adds up to a deeper and richer experience that the Isle of Armor should've included, but is a worthy chapter to close out the Galar gameplay. While Pokémon Sword and Shield may be easier than earlier games in the franchise, the journey is fun from beginning to end, and makes you eager to catch 'em all.