Review: The Isle of Armor, the newest island in the Pokémon world

by Kelvin
Review: The Isle of Armor, the newest island in the Pokémon world

The first add-on content for the Pokémon franchise, The Isle of Armor, focuses on solving Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield problems

for the first time since Pokemon Red and Pokemon Green, for 24 years, the franchise of video game’s most famous pocket monsters has received some additional paid content ‚ÄĒ or, in other words, an expansion pack of the main journey. The DLC was divided into two parts, the first being called The Isle of Armor, already available and that we analyze in this text, and The Crown Tundra, which will be released by the end of November, and arrive to add to the adventure of Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, games of Nintendo Switch.

at the cost of BRL 125.39 (or $30.00 in the American e-commerce store), the pack contains a new region to explore, with a small story of its own, the return of several old Pokémon, a new little monster, new items and new moves for battles. THE Game Freak, developer of the Pokémon games, took care to resolve some of the complaints that arose in the base games. There are stumbling blocks along the way, but the balance is positive.


Getting to the Isle of Armor

As soon as you purchase the expansion pack and the game is updated, when you open it, the message appears that a new area is available. To get to it, just head to the train station in Wedgehurst and talk to the local employee. It’s worth noting that if there is a Slowpoke Pok√©mon there, talk to it first so you have a chance to capture it and make way for the Isle of Armor.

Basically, the new island is a big wild area, so-called region in Sword and Shield to designate open areas where you can find strong Pokémon, real-world trainers, and raid points.

Arriving in the new region is enchanting from the first moment. The large area has parts of sea, countryside, forest and caves, and everything can be explored from the beginning without limits, although it is better for the player to head first to the destination as directed by the game’s story (we’ll talk more about this in this text).

The work carried out by Game Freak in the design of the environments of the Isle of Armor. Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield were harshly criticized by critics and fans because of the wild area of games, which, despite being of considerable size, were basically plains with little to see and do.

For the DLC, the developer decided to leave the set of islands that make up the Isle of Armor considerably more interesting. Now, there is a large region of sea, with small portions of land, and a larger island, which has a mountain, a small desert and even a forest. The geography of the place is not empty and monotonous, on the contrary. There are always lots of wild little monsters roaming around, and the forest is probably the most beautiful place in this generation’s Pok√©mon games.

In addition to the aesthetics of the environments, Game Freak also added a touch to the main character. By purchasing the game, a special DLC costume can be obtained by accessing the area of Mystery Gift, as well as Pikachu and Eevee themed costumes will be forwarded by Nintendo via email. Through a game character, it is also possible to modify the player’s bike, but there are only two models available.

They are nice details, especially in times when customizable items are the sensation in video games. The small variety of models, however, can make it a detail that will go unnoticed.

Also highlighted is the soundtrack, with new and exciting melodies exclusive to Isle of Armor. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself humming one or two songs from the expansion.

we have to get

like a good game Pokemon, the expansion of Sword and Shield brings a lot of little monsters that weren’t available in the base games. With more time to work on the animations and 3D models of the little pocket creatures, Game Freak has prepared the return of more than 100 old Pok√©mon, from all generations past, including versions of Alola (gaming region sun, moon, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, all for Nintendo 3DS).

In order for the player to keep control over which Pokémon become available, a new PokéDex will be delivered as soon as the protagonist steps on the Isle of Armor, which features two unique creatures: the Fighter-type monster Kubfu and its evolution.

Just like in wild area of the base games, the wild Pokémon of the Isle of Armor will spawn at level 60, which is also the average of the Pokémon levels of the machine-controlled trainers that are found on the island. For those who have already completed the campaign of Sword and Shield, the challenge proposed in the expansion is far from what was expected, as the player will probably have considerably more powerful little creatures in his team.

Two negative points are worth mentioning: the first is that, if the player wants a higher level of difficulty, he will have to put some weaker Pok√©mon on his team, so that he doesn’t go through the Isle of Armor so easily. The second is in the seas: in a map that encourages exploration, it is sometimes irritating the amount of Sharpedo that appear and chase you into a Pok√©mon battle, disrupting the game rhythm in an excessive way.

A new story

The first part of the expansion pack Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, Isle of Armor, has its own little story, as well as a new rival character, which will be different depending on which version of the game you choose to play.

Near the entrance to the Isle of Armor there is a martial arts club, where the player must go to follow the story. There, some tasks and battles will be necessary to get Kubfu, the new Pokémon in the game. After that, there are some other places to visit and strengthen your new little monster.

After completing the expansion story, another feature much requested by fans is added: the possibility to walk with one of your team’s Pok√©mon outside the Pok√© Ball. However, for some reason this is only possible in the area of Isle of Armor, without working in the base games region.

Even if we add the side quest present in the expansion to the account ‚ÄĒ find a huge amount of Diglett all over the island ‚ÄĒ there is little story present in Isle of Armor, which only shows that Game Freak’s focus in this first stage of the package was actually to introduce more Pok√©mon to the player and expand Pok√©Dex. A tip for the player is to go through the story first, as it makes it easier to find the Digletts as you continue to explore.

persistent problems

During the walks through the Isle of Armor, the player can’t help but notice that some problems with Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield remain. The most obvious of them is related to online connectivity.

Just like in wild area of the base games, in Isle of Armor it’s possible to connect to the internet to interact with other players around the world, either by seeing them wandering around the map or for Pok√©mon trades and battles. The problem is that, after connecting to the internet, the game starts to face constant moments of slowness, even if the Nintendo Switch connected via cable and a high-speed network. The problem is in the game, not the player’s internet.

Another annoying problem is the camera. The player will constantly need to stay close to walls, especially when searching for the lost Diglett, and at these times the camera always assumes a position where it is impossible to see where the character is.

These are technical problems and that, considering that Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield were already released seven months ago, it would be reasonable to assume that they would be corrected, which so far has not happened.

A nice addition to the Pokemon world

for those who liked Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, the DLC Isle of Armor is a good option for players to continue venturing into the game world and not want to play it all over again ‚ÄĒ however, the new content doesn’t prove essential.

Game Freak tried to please fans by fixing several things that were criticized in relation to the base games. The return of many old Pokémon (with more to come in The Crown Tundra) and the variety of environments of the Isle of Armor evidence the defects of Sword and Shield. Fortunately, touring the new island is pleasant enough to entertain the player for perhaps tens of hours, if completing the new PokéDex is your goal.

However, this also highlights the little content present in the first part of the expansion. By focusing on beautiful and varied areas and new Pok√©mon, Game Freak failed to add substantial content to the game, and yet it didn’t fix the performance issues while connected to the internet.

For Pok√©mon catch lovers, there’s some great content in the expansion. For lovers of competitive battles, there’s a new creature to train. However, unfortunately there is not much more to do in The Isle of ArmorExcept a short and not a challenging story.

The balance is positive, as the new adventure is fun for a long time, but the expansion pack, at least for now, is more recommended for those who have a strong appreciation for Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield. The expansion can be found in Nintendo eShop, depending on the version of the base game you have:

Note: Before purchasing the expansion pack, the player must verify that they are purchasing the correct version for their game. Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are available exclusively for Nintendo Switch and can be purchased for R$250.79 at Lojas Americanas.

Review made from a digital copy provided by Nintendo.

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