Pokémon Sword and Shield: Isle of Armor Review – Wild Area 2

    Title: Pokémon Sword and Shield: Isle of Armor
    Developer: Game Freak
    Release Date: June 17, 2020
    Reviewed On: Switch
    Publisher: Nintendo
    Genre: Adventure RPG

Pokemon games tend to feel a little empty once you spend a lot of time with them unless you’re a major online player. But even then, you wouldn’t be waiting too long for a brand new adventure, as there’s always been something new offered each year. At least until now. This year instead of the annual new main game, we’ve got an expansion pass with two major DLC updates, the Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra. As an avid Pokemon fan myself, I was very excited to see how these would pan out, starting from our first chapter with the Isle of Armor.

At any point, once you’ve cleared the tutorial, you’ll be able to use your newfound armor pass to travel over to the Isle of Armor. Once there, you’ll be confronted by your new rival, Avery or Klara. They also want to be the very best but will be exceptionally jealous of your protagonist powers and try to prevent you from joining the Island Dojo. So obviously, you will participate to spite them, and while training under the master, an old man named mustard, you’ll gain the power of the extremely cute pokemon Kubfu.

It’s not much of a story, but it’s a bit of fun, and that’s not exactly where the meat is. The adventure features an entire Isle to explore, and it functions mostly as a “Wild area 2.” This new patch of land has all sorts of environments and Pokemon to find. There are just over 100 more Pokemon that have been made accessible within this content, which includes some prevalent species such as Volcarona, Luxray. Also, the Isle of Armor is absolutely littered in sparklies that will allow you to get all sorts of rare items and armoring ore, which can be traded for watts or new moves.

The Armorite move tutor allows you to teach Pokemon one of seventeen new moves, most of which look like they could be instrumental in competitive play due to their range of threatening or creative effects that buff a lot of Pokemon with access to them. Additionally, by completing raid battles, you can find mushrooms in the Isle that allow you to give your partners who have the potential the Gigantimax, the ability to, instead of having to farm raids until you get lucky.

Pokémon Sword and Shield Isle of Armor 2

Finally, by completing the expansion, you will gain access to “restricted battles,” loosely based on the battle Maison from the 4th generation’s battle frontier. This has you put together a team of three Pokemon to fight others of the same type in consecutive battles that will increase in difficulty as you win fights and net you BP for winning.

For those less interested in competitive play, you’ll find that the Isle is balanced to your current progress, allowing a bit of challenge whenever you decide to venture through as long as you aren’t like, level 100. Once you are far enough in the story, you’ll be able to have a Pokemon tag along as you explore the area finding items, catching Pokemon, joining raid battles, and locating the lost Diglett. That last one is a little sidequest that has you traversing the land searching far and wide for 150 Diglett, which will net you some Alolan forms as rewards.

Pokémon Sword and Shield Isle of Armor 1

Pokémon Sword and Shield: Isle of Armor isn’t the largest expansion available, but it is packed with enough to hold you off until the next DLC. There’s plenty of new Pokemon to catch and raid battles to join as you make your way across this new adventure. The entire expansion features enough to want to reinvest your time into this game that you might have put down a few months ago. The way I see it, it’s less expensive than a new game, and you are still allowed to trade with others who didn’t pick up the DLC.

Pokémon Sword and Shield: Isle of Armor also offers competitive features with a wealth of new tools and resources to make your battles even more interesting, and give you a helping hand with building new teams. Through this DLC, the metagame is almost certain to evolve, at least until the Crown Tundra expansion drops later this year. Oooh, I’m excited already.

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Pyre Kavanagh

Senior Editor - Illusions to illusions. Will solve murder mysteries for money so they can buy more murder mysteries. @PyreLoop on twitter