Reviews

The Isle of Armor – Pokémon Sword & Shield

In Pokémon we normally get an improved version or a sequel of a new generation from developer Gamefreak, such as Pokemon Yellow with Red and Blue or Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon with Sun and Moon. This time, however, the Japanese developer opted for a traditional expansion that they release alongside their smaller releases such as Pokémon Mystery Dungeon or the recently announced New Pokemon Snap. The Isle of Armor is the first part to appear and apparently they have been able to further develop the concept of The Wild Area.

In the first of two expansions we travel to an independent island of the Galar region, where we get a view of more exotic landscapes, away from the industrial style that is somewhat like the United Kingdom. Here we will have to explore an island where martial arts dominate society and even discover a new Legendary Pokémon.

The Armor Island story is linked to the trainer’s path in the company of the new Pokémon Kubfu, a small and shy Fighting Type Pokémon, who will get you into the dojo after completing three tests to prove your worth. Your path will continue to conquer one of the two challenge towers on the map. Your choice depends on what you want for Urshifu, the evolved form of Kubfu. After all, you have the choice between the Rough Style and Fluid Style. One style focuses on slow but hard strokes, while the other focuses on speed and slightly lighter strokes.

The story is not overly long. Hopefully, The Crown Tundra, the second expansion, will be a lot longer, as it revolves around the legendary Calyrex and the Forms of Galar, which are revamped forms of the Pokémon Zapdos, Moltress and Articuno. In The Isle of Armor, everything revolves around Kubfu: conquering the chosen tower with five almost simple duels that we only have to beat with Kubfu, the subsequent chosen evolution and achieving the Gigantamax shape of our Urshifu.

We also get a new rival in the expansion with Klara in Pokémon Sword or Avery in Pokémon Shield, specialists in the Poison and Psychic types respectively. Unfortunately, these rivals are anything but memorable. They have been added extra to be part of your story, but no real challenge or interesting character was apparently out of the question when creating these strange looking characters.

In addition, The Isle of Armor contains a number of additional challenges in the form of collectibles. Scattered across the map we find a series of Alola Diglett. In total there are 151 spread over the different areas that make up this island, or rather the archipelago. Finding them all will give you access to the alola form pokémon, which is neat if you haven’t played Sun, Moon or their sequels.

To make the DLC immediately available to everyone, anyone can go to the island from the moment you reach the Wild area in the general game. The levels of the wild pokémon and also the battles are scaled according to the level of the pokémon in your possession. We tested 2 accounts in this way. Our level 80+ pokémon account faced level 60 wild and trainer pokémon. Our level 35 account got mainly pokémon between levels 15 and 25 to fight against. You should not usually expect a really big challenge.

A nice evolution that we already see in this first expansion is that the entire map is now a large Wild Area. No more routes or paths where you cannot move the camera freely. The Isle of Armor region is also larger and much more varied than the fairly simple open world from the regular game. In addition to dense forests, tunnels and plenty of different new ways to meet Pokémon in their wild environment, there are also islands to swim to and just about anything you see.

Surprisingly back, you have the opportunity to let your pokémon follow you. After the third trial, you will be given the option to release a Pokémon from its ball to follow you. It is really nice to see all the different pokémon do their animations while playing. Flying and large Pokémon look really cool as they move across the land. Funnily enough, each Pokémon also maintains its own speed. A slowpoke will therefore crawl very slowly and slightly smaller pokémon will not be able to keep up with you. Fortunately, you don’t lose them if you lose sight of them. One big negative, the Pokémon only follow you in the Isle of Armor and not in the general game.

The arrival of this downloadable content also means that the game will be updated to version 1.2, bringing the game files back more pokémon fans rage about months ago. DLC owners can capture and register a large number of returning Pokémon in their Armor Pokédex. Those who don’t can still get those Pokémon by transferring them through Pokémon Home or exchanging them without any restrictions with those who have the Expansion Pass.

Regarding The Island of Armor, we have also found another set of functionalities and features that have been well received. First of all, the addition of the Max soup will help us get Gigantamax Shapes from Pokémon. It is enough to find the necessary ingredients and cook this dish so that Snorlax, Toxtricity, Corviknight or any other dish that has Dinamax can unlock that special shape, allowing certain creatures with good statistics to return to our team to get all their potential. utilize. Includes the new shapes for the latest evolutions of Venusaur or Blastoise.

In addition to new customization items, both in the form of costumes and hairstyles, new items are coming up. This is all thanks to a new device called Cram-o-matic, which allows you to recycle up to four items and create a totally new item. The Master Dojo is also the most important building on the island. A Builder is present to take care of some essentials, such as using the rotomi for Poké jobs. The Master dojo also works as a Pokémon center.

Of course, as in any Pokémon adventure, the endgame is especially important. Of course the DLC offers the possibility to further complete our Pokédex if we do not want to transfer old Pokémon via Pokémon Home. In addition, the Master Dojo remains open to host the Tight Test, a competition as a variant of the Battle Tower in which we can select a team of three Pokémon of the same type (equivalent to level 50) to conquer five consecutive battles. During these battles, you only get twice the ability to heal your team. The addition of new and challenging combat styles is appreciated for the gamers among us who have spent many months at the maximum level with their entire team and were still looking for a challenge against the AI.

Despite the fact that this first DLC pack did not last very long, we were still pleased with the improvements Gamefreak has made in The Wild Area and we are now looking forward to what we can expect in The Crown Tundra. The story of Kubfu and the Pokémon itself, like the DLC, were small but nice. Is The Isle of Armor € 30 Euro alone? Certainly not, but Gamefreak certainly seems to put all their resources into it to make the most of it.

Gamefreak has managed to further perfect The Wild Area and added an interesting and fun little story along the way. It is a step in the right direction to make this expansion truly worth the money!

7.5/10

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