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Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!

Trainers, rejoice! Earlier today, Nintendo aired the Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct. Not only do we see more of what the Galar region has to offer, we've been treated to new Pokemon, new characters, the release date and new gameplay mechanics, including Dynamax Battles!
Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!

In just 15 minutes, the new Direct covered a lot of ground. Here’s the latest from the new Pokémon, new gameplay and most importantly, to the Pokemon Sword & Shield release date!

Pokemon

Sadly, we didn’t get to see any of the evolutions for Grookey, Sobble or Scorbunny, but we did get treated to seven new species! 

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay! – Grookey, Scorbunny and Sobble

Wooloo– A sheep Pokémon that is treasured by weavers in the Galar region due to using its wool for crafting many fine goods. 

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!- Wooloo

Gossifleur– The flowering Pokémon with the ability to spread healing pollen as well as being adorable. 

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!- Gossifleur

Eldegloss– The cotton bloom Pokémon that’s also Gossifleur’s evolution. 

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!- Eldegloss

Drednaw– The Bite Pokémon. What looks like a snapping turtle mixed with a Rhyhorn, it appears to be a Water-Rock type. 

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!- Drednaw

Corviknight– A raven Pokémon that seems to be most noteworthy to Sword & Shield’s gameplay mechanics out of the new creatures. Acting as the fast travel Pokémon for the Galar region, Corviknight will return players to any towns they’ve visited before. 

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!- Corviknight

Zamazenta– Sword & Shield’s first legendary Pokémon and an intimidating one at that, with the front of its wolf-like body being surrounded in a massive shield.

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!- Zamazenta

Zacian– The second of the game’s legendaries. Being a sort of lone wolf, not much is known about Zacian yet other than that it wields a deadly sword in its mouth. 

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!- Zacian

The Wild Area

As shown in its announcement trailer back in February, the Galar region is one of vast plains and idyllic countryside landscapes. We see more of this in the new trailer, but this time with wild Pokemon actually appearing outside of random encounters! It’s a joy to see a Tyranitar wandering through a desert or a Milotic in open waters. 

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!- Tyranitar in the Wild Area

This is called The Wild Area, stretching between different towns and cities as the largest open area in the region. Whether you’re wandering through the rain, braving a sandstorm or strolling through a forest will affect the types of creatures you encounter. 

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!- Milotic in the Wild Area

While in the Wild Area, you can even move the camera to look in more detail for even more new Pokémon and rare items!

Dynamax Battles

The biggest (no pun intended) new feature to Pokémon battles comes with some sizable appeal. Dynamax battles: whilst being standard battles from the get-go, they allow trainers to transform their Pokémon into massive behemoths with powerful, maxed out moves once per battle. Lasting for only three turns, strategising against your opponent to make the Dynamaxing work in your favour is crucial to victory. 

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!- Dynomax battle

This brings us to our favourite addition to Sword & Shield: Max Raid Battles!

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!- Max Raid battle

With four friends in person or online, these are co-op raids where you work together to defeat and catch a Dynamax’d wild Pokémon. Unlike Dynamax battles against trainers, the wild Pokémon maintains its large room for the entirety of the bout and only one of you can Dynamax your own Pokémon, making teamwork all the more important. 

Characters

We unexpectedly got to meet a cast of the colourful characters we’re bound to see often in our journey. 

Professor Magnolia– The obligatory Pokémon Professor.

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!- Magnolia

Sonia– Magnolia’s granddaughter and assistant, whose researched is based on the Dynamax phenomenon. 

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!- Sonia

Leon– Galar’s current Pokémon champion is the character we now know the most about. With a Charizard amongst his Pokémon as well as his striking appearance and charisma, he’s beloved by Galar citizens throughout the land. He’s also the big brother of this game’s obligatory Pokémon rival. 

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!- Leon

Hop– Leon’s little brother, who clearly got the raw deal from his parents in the whole naming department. Starting his journey on the same day as the protagonist, he’ll be your continuous rival in becoming the very best. 

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!- Hop

Milo– Gym leaders are making a welcome return to new entries in the franchise. Milo is an expert on Grass-types, who is the first we see demonstrating the ability to use Dynamax. 

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!

Pokemon Sword & Shield Direct: Release date & gameplay!- Milo

Release Date

Finally, we were given the anticipated Pokémon Sword & Shield release date. Be sure to steadily build your hype and have your Nintendo Switch’s ready for the launch date of November 15th 2019. 

What else is coming to Pokémon, you may ask? The Pokémon Company had their own press conference just last week, revealing four new titles.

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