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Pokemon Sword: A Guide to the Latest Adventure in the Galar Region
If you are a fan of Pokemon, you probably have heard of Pokemon Sword, one of the newest games in the franchise. Released in November 2019 for the Nintendo Switch, Pokemon Sword takes you on an exciting journey across the Galar region, a land inspired by Great Britain. Along the way, you will meet new friends, encounter new foes, and catch hundreds of different Pokemon.
But what exactly is Pokemon Sword and what makes it different from other Pokemon games? How can you get started with your adventure and become the best trainer in Galar? And what are some tips and tricks that can help you along the way? In this article, we will answer all these questions and more. Whether you are new to Pokemon or a veteran player, this guide will help you get the most out of your experience with Pokemon Sword.
What is Pokemon Sword and what are its main features?
Pokemon Sword is a role-playing game (RPG) that belongs to the main series of Pokemon games. It is developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo. It is compatible with the Nintendo Switch console, which can be played either on a TV screen or as a handheld device.
As a Pokemon game, Pokemon Sword follows the basic formula of previous titles: you play as a young trainer who sets out on a quest to catch, train, and battle with various creatures called Pokemon. You can choose one of three starter Pokemon at the beginning: Grookey (Grass type), Scorbunny (Fire type), or Sobble (Water type). You can also customize your character’s appearance, name, and gender.
However, Pokemon Sword also introduces some new features that make it unique from other games. Some of these features are:
- The Galar region: This is the setting of Pokemon Sword, a vast land that consists of different environments, such as countryside, cities, forests, mountains, and more. The Galar region is based on Great Britain, and it has its own culture, history, and traditions. You will encounter many people and places that reflect this influence.
- The Wild Area: This is a special part of the Galar region that allows you to explore freely and encounter wild Pokemon in real time. You can control the camera angle and zoom in or out as you wish. The Wild Area also changes depending on the weather conditions, which affect the types and appearances of wild Pokemon. You can also find items, berries, hidden treasures, and other surprises in the Wild Area.
- Dynamax and Gigantamax: These are new phenomena that allow certain Pokemon to grow in size and power during battles. Dynamax can be used by any Pokemon once per battle for three turns, while Gigantamax can only be used by specific Pokemon that have a special appearance and a unique move. You can use Dynamax and Gigantamax in certain locations, such as Gyms, Max Raid Battles, and the Battle Tower.
- Max Raid Battles: These are cooperative multiplayer battles that allow you to team up with up to three other players (either online or locally) and face a powerful Dynamax or Gigantamax Pokemon. You can use your own Pokemon or borrow one from another player. If you manage to defeat the raid boss, you will have a chance to catch it and get some rewards.
- The Expansion Pass: This is a downloadable content (DLC) that adds two new adventures to Pokemon Sword: The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra. These are separate areas that have their own storylines, characters, Pokemon, and features. You can access them after reaching a certain point in the main game. The Expansion Pass also includes some bonus items, such as clothing and Poke Balls.
What are the differences between Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield?
Pokemon Sword is not the only game in the Pokemon series that was released in 2019. It has a counterpart game called Pokemon Shield, which is very similar to Pokemon Sword in terms of gameplay and features. However, there are also some differences between the two games that make them unique. Some of these differences are:
- Exclusive Pokemon: Each game has some Pokemon that can only be found in that game and not in the other. For example, Pokemon Sword has exclusive Pokemon such as Farfetch’d, Sirfetch’d, Deino, Zweilous, Hydreigon, Jangmo-o, Hakamo-o, Kommo-o, Zacian, and more. Pokemon Shield has exclusive Pokemon such as Ponyta, Rapidash, Larvitar, Pupitar, Tyranitar, Goomy, Sliggoo, Goodra, Zamazenta, and more. You can trade with other players to get the Pokemon that are not available in your game.
- Exclusive Gym Leaders: Each game has some Gym Leaders that are different from the other game. For example, Pokemon Sword has exclusive Gym Leaders such as Bea (Fighting type), Gordie (Rock type), and Raihan (Dragon type). Pokemon Shield has exclusive Gym Leaders such as Allister (Ghost type), Melony (Ice type), and Raihan (Dragon type). You can challenge the Gym Leaders that are not in your game by visiting their stadiums in the post-game.
- Exclusive Legendaries: Each game has a legendary Pokemon that is featured on its cover art and plays an important role in the story. For Pokemon Sword, this legendary is Zacian, a Fairy/Steel type Pokemon that wields a sword in its mouth. For Pokemon Shield, this legendary is Zamazenta, a Fighting/Steel type Pokemon that has a shield-like mane. You can only catch the legendary that corresponds to your game in the main story.
How to purchase and download Pokemon Sword for Nintendo Switch?
If you are interested in playing Pokemon Sword, you will need a Nintendo Switch console and a copy of the game. There are two ways to get the game: either by buying a physical cartridge or by downloading a digital version.
If you want to buy a physical cartridge, you can find it at any store that sells video games or online retailers such as Amazon or eBay. The price of the game may vary depending on the store and the region, but it is usually around $60 USD. You will also need some storage space on your Nintendo Switch to save your progress.
If you want to download a digital version, you will need an internet connection and a Nintendo Account. You can access the Nintendo eShop from your Nintendo Switch and search for Pokemon Sword. The price of the game is the same as the physical cartridge ($60 USD), but you will also need enough storage space on your Nintendo Switch or a microSD card to download the game (10.3 GB). You can also pre-purchase the game before its release date and pre-load it on your console so you can play it as soon as it is available.
Regardless of which option you choose, you will also have the option to buy the Expansion Pass for an additional $30 USD. This will give you access to both The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra DLCs when they are released. You can buy the Expansion Pass either from the Nintendo eShop or from a code card that comes with some physical copies of the game.
How to start your adventure and choose your starter Pokemon?
Once you have your Nintendo Switch and your copy of Pokemon Sword ready, you can start your adventure by launching the game from the home screen. You will see a brief introduction video that shows some of the features and Pokemon of the game. Then, you will be greeted by Leon, the Champion of the Galar region, who will welcome you to the world of Pokemon and ask you to choose your language. You can choose from English, Japanese, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Korean, or Chinese.
After choosing your language, you will be asked to enter your name and select your appearance. You can choose from eight different options for your gender, skin tone, hair color, and eye color. You can also change your appearance later in the game by visiting a salon or a boutique.
Then, you will see a cutscene that shows Leon arriving at your hometown of Postwick with his Charizard. He is greeted by his younger brother Hop, who is also your childhood friend and rival. Hop invites you to his house, where Leon has a surprise for you: three Pokemon that you can choose as your starter.
You can choose from one of these three Pokemon:
- Grookey: A Grass type Pokemon that resembles a monkey. It is curious and mischievous, and it uses a stick as a weapon. It evolves into Thwackey and then Rillaboom.
- Scorbunny: A Fire type Pokemon that resembles a rabbit. It is energetic and friendly, and it can run very fast. It evolves into Raboot and then Cinderace.
- Sobble: A Water type Pokemon that resembles a lizard. It is timid and shy, and it can camouflage itself in water. It evolves into Drizzile and then Inteleon.
You can only choose one of these Pokemon, and the other two will be taken by Hop and Leon. The Pokemon you choose will be your partner for the rest of the game, so choose wisely. You can also give your Pokemon a nickname if you want.
After choosing your starter Pokemon, you will have your first battle with Hop, who will use the Pokemon that has a type disadvantage against yours. This is a tutorial battle that will teach you the basics of Pokemon battles, such as using moves, items, and switching Pokemon. You can win this battle easily by using moves that are effective against Hop’s Pokemon.
After the battle, Leon will give you a Pokedex, a device that records information about the Pokemon you encounter and catch. He will also give you some Poke Balls, which are used to catch wild Pokemon. He will then invite you to join him in his journey to the Galar region’s capital city, where he will endorse you as an official Pokemon trainer.
This is where your adventure begins. You will travel across the Galar region with Hop, meeting new people, discovering new places, and catching new Pokemon. Your ultimate goal is to challenge the eight Gym Leaders of Galar and earn their badges, which will qualify you to enter the Champion Cup and face Leon himself.
How to explore the Galar region and encounter wild Pokemon?
The Galar region is divided into several areas that have different landscapes, climates, and Pokemon. You can explore these areas by walking, running, biking, or flying. You can also use fast travel by using the Flying Taxi service or by visiting train stations.
As you explore the Galar region, you will encounter wild Pokemon in various ways. Some of these ways are:
- Overworld encounters: These are wild Pokemon that appear on the map as you walk around. You can see their shapes and sizes before approaching them. You can choose to avoid them or interact with them by pressing the A button. If you interact with them, you will enter a battle with them.
- Random encounters: These are wild Pokemon that appear randomly as you walk through tall grass or other areas. You cannot see them before they appear. You will hear a rustling sound and see an exclamation mark above your head before entering a battle with them.
- Max Raid Battles: These are special battles that occur in the Wild Area or in the Isle of Armor or the Crown Tundra. You can find them by looking for red beams of light that come out of holes in the ground called Dens. These battles involve facing a Dynamax or Gigantamax Pokemon with up to three other players.
To catch wild Pokemon, you need to use Poke Balls during battles. You can throw a Poke Ball at any time by selecting it from your bag menu. However, the chances of catching a wild Pokemon depend on several factors, such as its level, health , type, and the type of Poke Ball you use. You can increase your chances of catching a wild Pokemon by lowering its health, inflicting a status condition on it, or using a Poke Ball that is more effective against it. For example, a Great Ball is more effective than a Poke Ball, and a Dusk Ball is more effective at night or in dark places.
You can also use some items or moves that can help you catch wild Pokemon. For example, you can use a Razz Berry to make a wild Pokemon easier to catch, or you can use a False Swipe move to lower its health to 1 without knocking it out. You can also use some abilities or held items that can affect the catch rate, such as Compound Eyes or Quick Claw.
Once you catch a wild Pokemon, you can add it to your party or send it to your PC box. You can also give it a nickname, check its stats and nature, and see its Pokedex entry. You can access your PC box from any Pokemon Center or from your Rotom Phone.
How to battle and catch Pokemon using Dynamax and Gigantamax forms?
One of the most exciting features of Pokemon Sword is the ability to use Dynamax and Gigantamax forms in battles. These are special forms that allow certain Pokemon to grow in size and power for a limited time. They also change the appearance and effects of their moves.
To use Dynamax or Gigantamax, you need to have a Dynamax Band, which is a device that allows you to harness the power of Dynamax energy. You will receive a Dynamax Band from Professor Magnolia after completing the first Gym challenge. You can also give your Pokemon Dynamax Candies, which are items that increase their Dynamax level and boost their HP when they Dynamax.
You can only use Dynamax or Gigantamax in certain locations and situations, such as Gyms, Max Raid Battles, and the Battle Tower. You can also only use it once per battle for three turns. To activate it, you need to press the Dynamax button on the battle screen and then select a move. Your Pokemon will transform into its Dynamax or Gigantamax form and use a powerful move called a Max Move or a G-Max Move.
Max Moves and G-Max Moves are enhanced versions of normal moves that have different effects depending on their type. For example, Max Flare is a Fire type Max Move that creates harsh sunlight on the field, while G-Max Wildfire is a Fire type G-Max Move that damages non-Fire type Pokemon for four turns. You can check the effects of each move by pressing the Y button on the battle screen.
Dynamax and Gigantamax can give you an edge in battles, but they also have some drawbacks. For instance, you cannot switch your Pokemon while it is in its Dynamax or Gigantamax form, and you cannot use items on it either. You also need to be careful of your opponent’s Dynamax or Gigantamax Pokemon, as they can deal massive damage or disrupt your strategy with their moves.
Dynamax and Gigantamax are not available for all Pokemon, only for some of them. You can tell if a Pokemon can Dynamax or Gigantamax by looking at its summary screen. If it has an X symbol next to its name, it means it can Dynamax. If it has an X symbol with red clouds around it, it means it can Gigantamax. You can also see if a wild Pokemon can Gigantamax by looking at its silhouette in Max Raid Battles.
How to challenge the Gym Leaders and become the Champion?
The main goal of your adventure in Pokemon Sword is to challenge the eight Gym Leaders of the Galar region and earn their badges. Gym Leaders are powerful trainers who specialize in a certain type of Pokemon. They are also celebrities who have many fans and followers.
To challenge a Gym Leader, you need to visit their Gym, which is located in a specific city or town in the Galar region. Each Gym has its own theme and design, as well as some obstacles or puzzles that you need to solve before reaching the Gym Leader. You will also face some Gym Trainers who will test your skills and prepare you for the final battle.
Once you reach the Gym Leader, you will enter a special arena that has a large crowd of spectators and a big screen that shows the battle. You will also be able to use Dynamax or Gigantamax in this battle, as well as the Gym Leader. The battle will be intense and exciting, as both sides will try to use their best moves and strategies.
If you manage to defeat the Gym Leader, you will earn their badge, which is a symbol of your victory and skill. You will also receive some rewards, such as money, items, and a TM (Technical Machine), which is a device that teaches a new move to your Pokemon. You will also be able to progress further in the story and access new areas and features.
There are eight Gym Leaders in total, and you need to defeat them all in order to enter the Champion Cup, which is the ultimate tournament that decides the Champion of the Galar region. The Gym Leaders are:
|Bea (Sword) / Allister (Shield)
|Fighting / Ghost
|Fighting Badge / Ghost Badge
|Opal (Sword) / Bede (Shield)
|Fairy / Psychic
|Fairy Badge / Psychic Badge
|Gordie (Sword) / Melony (Shield)
|Rock / Ice
|Rock Badge / Ice Badge