Pokémon Sword & Shield: Great Preview of the Expansion Pass

The new Nintendo year was particularly early in 2020. On January 7th, Nintendo announced a Direct! Not a "normal" edition, however, but a Pokémon Direct, a special edition that is all about the pocket monster series. The video presentation at the broadcast on January 9th was by no means the first of its kind, but it was the longest. High-ranking employees from The Pokémon Company and Game Freak presented the news for around 20 minutes. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Retterteam DX, a new edition of the game from 2006 for the Switch, will be released in March, and Pokémon Home is now finally starting. However, something else was discussed most extensively in the Direct: The expansion pass (ie Season Pass) for Pokémon Sword & Shield (buy now for 114.37 €)! This appears in two parts as "The Isle of Armor" and "The Snow Land of the Crown" in June and autumn 2020 and expands the Galar region with new areas, figures, items, stories and above all with many new pocket monsters! These include some brand new Pokémon, but also many from older Pokémon games.

Also exciting: Our podcast for Pokémon Direct from January 2020!

The Pokémon Sword & Shield expansion pass costs 29.99 euros. A fair price, right? However, you must note that the pass is only valid for one of the two versions and is specific. Means: For sword and for shield you have to buy your own extension pass for 29.99 euros each. As with the main game, there are small differences between the two versions of the pass, especially with regard to the Pokémon, but basically both versions contain the same content and both "The Isle of Armor" and "The Snow Land of the Crown". The passport content is currently still in development and is not final, The Pokémon wants to announce further news until the release in June or autumn. But we already know what the two parts are about and a good part of the more than 200 new (or old) Pokémon that are new.

"The Isle of Armor" is all about growth, as the game freak employees in Pokémon Direct reveal. That sounds vague at first, but actually runs through the events of this expansion. Like "The Snow Land of the Crown", the first part of the expansion pass goes hand in hand with a new area. After the first impressions of Direct, this is varied and interesting and includes, for example, beaches, bogs, forests and caves. What is special about this new area: The camera can be moved anywhere, just like in the natural zone of the main game! The same applies to your freedom of movement. At the same time, this new freedom is accompanied by a restriction, namely the size of the new areas. The areas of both parts of the DLC together should be larger than the natural zone, it says in the video presentation from January. Based on this statement, we assume that the individual areas are smaller than the natural zone. Alone: ​​Of course it is not. Obviously, however.






The new areas in the two parts of the expansion pass invite you to explore, because there is a lot to discover, like this mystical temple.



The new areas in the two parts of the expansion pass invite you to explore, because there is a lot to discover, like this mystical temple.

Source: Nintendo




On the Isle of Armor you can also discover a dojo for Pokémon battles, you will also meet a mentor named Mastrich. In the past, he was the Pokémon Champ of the Galar region and also trained Champ Delion. New rivals also have the new areas ready, these differ depending on the version, i.e. sword or shield. A new legendary Pokémon is at the heart of what's happening on the Isle of Armor, namely Dakuma combat. This has two different Gigadynmax forms, each with different fighting styles, so it offers you space for tactics and personal preferences.

The highest evolutionary levels of the Galar starters, i.e.Gortrom (plant), Liberlo (fire) and Intelleon (water), also master new forms of gigadynamax in the DLC as well as new associated Dyna attacks. You can also discover and collect new items, for example the EP pin, which speeds up the training of your pocket monster, there are also many new items of clothing, new designs for your Rotom bike and more, which has not yet been shown in Direct. Because: As the content for the expansion pass is still in development, the video presentation primarily came up with pictures, but still showed very little of the final game world. Accordingly, there may still be some surprises waiting for you.

The snowy land of the crown

"The Snow Land of the Crown" also has a central theme: exploration. Mountains, tons of snow, ice and numerous deep Pokémon nests dominate the landscape in this new area. You lead an expedition and explore the unexplored snowlands, you can discover a temple or a mysterious giant tree. What it's all about? That leaves the Direct still open. The big specialty of the new area are the Pokémon nests. You already know them from the natural zone, but there they only serve as a hub to go straight into a gigadynamax fight against a wild Pokémon; separated only by a still screen with setting options. With "The Snow Land of the Crown" it is different. There you can actually enter the nests and, here we are again on the topic, explore! But not only that, you will not only meet the usual suspects in these walk-in nests, but also legendary Pokémon. Surprisingly enough, these are regularly legendaries from older Pokémon games, for example Mewtwo, Rayquaza or Xerneas! The snowlands have many very strong pocket monsters ready.






The expansion pass obviously brings a second tree texture to the game. But birches also go better with the icy snowlands.



The expansion pass obviously brings a second tree texture to the game. But birches also go better with the icy snowlands.

Source: Nintendo




Read now: Our big test including video on Pokémon sword & shield!

It is not yet clear whether all of the legendary Pokémon from all previous games in the series will appear there, but Direct suggests it, because almost all of them were shown. The following legendary Pokémon are confirmed by the presentation: Mewtwo, Lugia, Ho-Oh, Suicune, Entei, Raikou, Kyogre, Groudon, Rayquaza, Regice, Regirock, Registeel, Selfe, Vesprit, Tobutz, Dialga, Palkia, Boreos, Voltolos, Reshiram , Zekrom, Xerneas, Yveltal, Zygarde, Kapu-Riki, Kapu-Fala, Kapu-Toro, Kapu-Kime, Solgaleo and Lunala. As with "The Isle of Armor" there is also a brand new Legendary, namely Coronospa of the Psycho / Plant type. You can explore the nests in a new cooperative game mode together with your friends. Nintendo has not yet announced any further information in Direct, for example to what extent the nests can be explored on their own. One thing is already certain: "The Snow Land of the Crown" also relies on an open, coherent game world with a freely movable camera, as in the natural zone of the main game.

Some more new and "new" old Pokémon are also already known from the video presentation from January. Wulaosu, a legendary electro (?) Pokémon and three bird Pokémon, which are strongly reminiscent of arctic, zapdos and lavados and also appear to rely on the types of ice, electric and fire, were also shown. Whether these are galar forms of generation one legendaries? Currently unclear. Seedraking, Seeper and Semon were also shown, Dedenne, Wolwerock, Bisaflor and Turtork. Wuffels, muskrat, bisak bud, Schiggy and Schillok can also be expected. Also before came Amagarga, Nidorino, Seejong and Knackrack. We therefore also expect Amarino, Nidoran (male), Nidoking, Seemops, Walraisa, Kaumalat and Knarksel.

Helpful guide: How to catch Galar-Flegmon in sword & shield now!

Flegmon can already be caught after a free update of the Pokémon sword or shield, in a slightly different Galar variant. You can develop this with a special item in "The Isle of Armor" to Galar-Lahmus or one in "The Snow Land of the Crown" to Galar-Laschoking. You can catch the special Flegmon in Brasburry in the train station directly below the Pokémon Center. There you have to talk to one of the two new rivals (depending on the version), after which the DLC is advertised in a short cutscene. Then the Flegmon appears and you have the opportunity to face him in battle and catch the pink pocket monster. The monster is at level 12 and initially masters the three attacks Howler, Acid and Yawn.






With the expansion pass, all (?) Legendary Pokémon from all of the previous main games in the Pokémon Sword & amp; Shield added.



The expansion pass adds all (?) Legendary Pokémon from all of the previous main games in the series to Pokémon Sword & Shield.

Source: Nintendo




When it comes to the look and graphic quality of the new content, we expect the performance of the natural zone of the main game. The short in-game sequences in Direct at least suggest this. Of course, this is not entirely clear at the moment. This also applies to a few other points regarding the expansion pass. For example, what exactly the co-op looks like on "The Snow Land of the Crown" or what awaits us in the combat dojo in "The Isle of Armor". A little time until June or autumn is still, the year is still young. So there is still enough time to complete the Pokédex until the new content and thus many more pocket monsters for swords and shields appear.

My opinion

The expansion pass is promising, but the areas are probably not that big.

Apparently the days of "ultimate" Pokémon editions like yellow, crystal or sapphire are finally over. Instead, Nintendo and The Pokémon Company now prefer DLC and a Season Pass. I should be fine as long as something promising like the expansion pass comes out. I am afraid that the new areas will not be particularly large, but they are always interesting and the return of many old Pokémon is of course a pleasure for me. Fortunately, Game Freak relies on a movable camera and freely explorable game world like in the natural zone. That's what I wanted after researching it in the main game.

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