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Pokemon Direct Impressions

With the Pokémon Direct in the books, it is time for fans across the globe to start getting excited about what is coming this November. I will by typing up my impressions right off the top, but you can see all the specific details in the Pokémon Company International Press Release at the bottom of the article!


The evolution of the Pokémon franchise on Nintendo Switch has been phenomenal so far, with the release of Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee. Both those titles created an idea in the minds of fans of what the next Pokémon adventure could look like. And now we can say it: Welcome to the Gala Region.

From the opening moments of the Pokémon Direct, until the end, fans were given 15 minutes of new content to chew on, including extra-large Pokémon, a more open world experience, and much, much more.

Graphically, the game is looking fantastic, and carries a lot of the Let’s Go look forward to this new experience. While I expect a few things will be tweaked to improve the presentation even further, the current state appears impressive. Brand new modes of travel were shown off – water bikes and a flying Pokémon who can transport you to towns you have previously visited – new Pokémon, and a new way to experience Pokémon gyms that brings the games closer to the anime experience.

It is the last of these changes – the brand new approach to gyms – that actually has me the most excited. There has always been a disconnect between the TV Show anime experience and the actual experience in the video game franchise. I’ve always wanted larger than life battles, with crowds getting excited and Pokémon moves that are as impressive to watch as they are to execute. The anime has been giving us that for years, and it looks like the video game franchise will get a similar overhaul.

Battles feel impressive, both in terms of the moves and animations the Pokémon perform, and the background noise of the crowd. Depending on how the fight is going, Game Freak is promising a change in how the crowd interacts. I cannot wait to see this in action from fight to fight hen the game comes out this November.


Dynamaxed Pokémon has me both intrigued and skeptical; to be fair, I felt this way when Z-moves were introduced as well, and that panned out alright, so I likely have very little to be concerned about. Still, I was not as excited as I thought I would be when watching the giant Pokémon battle in the latest trailer. It looked cool, but for whatever reason it did not feel like it fit. Ultimately, I hope I’m proven wrong and this new phenomenon becomes something I whole heartedly embrace, but until I can experience it for myself, I remain a bit skeptical.

The same skepticism exists for the cooperative battles that you can engage in with friends. While I’m excited to see how it works, I’m not sure I’ll ever have enough people in a room together, with a copy of the game, to make that experience meet the perception that Game Freak painted today. Again, skepticism is currently reigning in my mind, but when I get the chance to go hands on, I’ll have an open mind to this experience as well. I want to love it, and actually believe I will, but will refrain from the hype for now!

Like with any Pokémon video game experience, I cannot wait to explore the new world Game Freak has created. The game appears to have a more open world vibe than previous titles in the series, and the ability to encounter different Pokémon – depending on the time of day and weather – is really exciting. Hopefully the Gala Region can feel as random as Game Freak is leading on; it will make exploring the world that much more enjoyable!

We are super excited for Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, both of which land November 15th as a global release. We will have more details as they become available, so stay tuned!




Bellevue, WA—June 5, 2019— New game features, Pokémon native to the Galar region, and the launch date for Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, the newest additions to the main series of the Pokémon video game franchise, were announced today during a Pokémon Direct online presentation. Developers at GAME FREAK inc. also provided a closer look at newly discovered Pokémon from the Galar region, the setting of the highly anticipated games. The Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield games will be launching November 15, 2019, exclusively on the Nintendo Switch™ system.

The Dynamax Phenomenon

Dynamax is a phenomenon unique to specific locations in the Galar region, where Pokémon can take on gigantic appearances during battle, and it’s an integral part of Pokémon battles in the region. Pokémon from the Galar region are able to Dynamax, and when they do, they become tremendously strong and receive a boost to their power. Trainers can only Dynamax their Pokémon once during battle and the Dynamaxed Pokémon will return to its regular form after three turns. Only Trainers who possess a Dynamax Band can Dynamax their Pokémon.


All the moves of a Dynamax Pokémon will turn into special Max Moves. Max Moves are powerful, and some can even trigger additional effects. For example, the Normal-type Max Move, Max Strike, has the additional effect of lowering the Speed stat of an opponent it hits. The Max Moves the player’s Pokémon can use are determined by the kind and types of moves they knew before Dynamaxing.

Pokémon Gyms

Pokémon Gyms are found in stadiums throughout the Galar region and attract Trainers that are experts in specific types of Pokémon. To become Champion, players will need to defeat the top Trainer in each Pokémon Gym, also known as the Gym Leader. Spectators flock to the Gym Stadium to view these battles with Gym Leaders, which often involve intense clashes between Dynamax Pokémon. The matches are also broadcast on television throughout the Galar region. Milo is the Grass Gym Leader and is well liked by the Trainers of his Gym. His credo is to always enjoy battles and he specializes in endurance matches using Grass-type Pokémon.

Explore the Wild Area and Join a Max Raid Battle

The Wild Area is a vast expanse of land in the Galar region with untamed wilderness. It is full of nature and connects several different towns and cities. Trainers will find a greater variety of Pokémon living in the Wild Area than anywhere else in the Galar region. The Pokémon encountered in the Wild Area will change depending on factors like weather or location, so Trainers might see something new each time they visit. While in the Wild Area, players can control the camera to explore the vast areas around them and search for Pokémon and items.


Max Raid Battles are a new battle format that takes place in the Wild Area, in which the player will team up with three other Trainers to take on a wild Dynamax Pokémon. Trainers will then get a chance to catch the wild Dynamax Pokémon if they manage to defeat it—but it won’t go down easily. The wild Dynamax Pokémon remain in their giant form the entire battle and have other unique powers. Close teamwork is the key to success, because only one Trainer involved in the battle can Dynamax their Pokémon. Some Pokémon can only be caught in Max Raid Battles. Max Raid Battles can become even more fun when the player connects with friends to battle together via Nintendo Switch Online. If three other Trainers aren’t available to participate in Max Raid Battles, support Trainers will automatically be added to the player’s team to help battle the wild Dynamax Pokémon.

People and Culture of the Galar Region

In Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, players will be traveling through the Galar region, where they will find many unique locations, such as cities where Pokémon and people work and live together. Pokémon play an important role in the Galar region where many companies are eager to include Pokémon as part of their workforce. In Galarian culture, Pokémon battles are regarded as the most popular form of entertainment. Pokémon battles are held in stadiums, where challengers and Gym Leaders face off to the passionate cheers of fans and spectators. The Pokémon League is where Trainers gather to compete in Pokémon battles and hone their skills. Players will have to battle the Pokémon Gyms found around the region as they try to reach the pinnacle of the Pokémon League and earn the title of Champion.

As a resident of the Galar region, players will embark on an adventure to become the Champion and meet many people and Pokémon along the way.

Leon is the current Champion of the Galar region and has never been defeated in an official Pokémon battle. Extremely popular for his skill and personality, Leon holds the title of “the greatest Trainer in all of Galar.”


Hop is Leon’s younger brother and will become one of the player’s rivals. The player and Hop are neighbors and begin their journey to become Champion on the same day.

Professor Magnolia is the preeminent Pokémon Professor of the Galar region. The main focus of her research has been the Dynamax phenomenon.

Sonia is the granddaughter of Professor Magnolia as well as being Leon’s childhood friend. Besides being very knowledgeable and willing to offer helpful advice to the player, Sonia is also a young researcher and Professor Magnolia’s assistant.

Legendary Pokémon

The Legendary Pokémon Zacian and Zamazenta are shrouded in mystery and are unknown even to those who live in the Galar region. Zacian’s attacks are so graceful that its movements captivate opponents. Holding what appears to be a sword in its mouth, Zacian’s shining blade can cut through anything. With majestic movements and what appears to be a shield covering its body, Zamazenta can turn back any attack and overwhelm any opponents that dare face it.

Encounters with Pokémon

Battles with wild Pokémon in tall grass or caves will occur when players run into Pokémon that they can see wandering around. Some Pokémon will pursue the player once they see them while others will run away. The “!” mark that will appear above tall grass also seems to be an indicator of wild Pokémon hiding there!


Each Pokémon has an Ability, which can have certain effects during battle, while out exploring, or both. In Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, Gossifleur and Eldegoss can possess the new Cotton Down Ability. When a Pokémon with this Ability is hit by an attack, it will send out cotton fluff that will lower the Speed stat of other Pokémon.


Any Pokémon that Trainers find or catch during their adventures in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield will have its information registered in the Pokédex. The Pokédex in these titles will actually be part of the player’s Rotom Phone. The Rotom Phone is also home to Rotom, a Pokémon that can enter various electrical appliances. A player’s Rotom Phone can do a lot more than serve as a Pokédex. For example, it can be attached to a bike to make it move faster on land or even travel over water once the bike is modified.



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blank Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

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