Pokémon Sword and Shield: The Crown Tundra Review – Turn Up the Heat

    Title: Pokémon Sword and Shield: The Crown Tundra
    Developer: The Pokemon Company
    Release Date: Octpber 22, 2020
    Reviewed On: Switch
    Publisher: Nintendo
    Genre: Pocket Monsters

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. This year has been a bit different altogether, with the expansion pass that contains the Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra. As an avid Pokemon fan myself, I was excited to see how these would pan out. I thought the Isle of Armor was a great addition, but that’s only half the story. Time to dive into Pokemon Sword and Shield: The Crown Tundra and really see just how good this DLC can get.

Players can begin Pokemon Sword and Shield: The Crown Tundra content once you’ve cleared the tutorial where you receive a crown pass to travel over to The Crown Tundra. Once there, you’ll be witness to an argument between Peony and his daughter Nia. She wants to just vibe in the tundra and participate in the max raid battles, whilst Peony wants to go on a grand “adven-tour.” After a quick battle with him, Peony respects your tenacity and decides that if Nia doesn’t want to come with, she’ll get jealous if he brings you on the “adven-tour” of a lifetime! And by that, we mean you spend your time hunting down legendary pokemon while Peony stays indoors because the crown tundra is a frigid place.

It’s not much in terms of a proper story, but it’s a lot of fun and ties in directly to the theme of “exploration” this new area has. The Crown Tundra is a delightful region to traverse with many environments to run around in, raids to take part in, and respawning sparklies to find. Just like the Isle of Armor before it, there are another 100 more pokemon available to collect, including some of my favorites, like Salamence, Absol, and Hydreigon, as well as the legendary Pokemon to discover. Several of these powerful Pokemon are incorporated into this DLC by requiring you to hunt them down, which is quite satisfying. You’ve got the Regi trio, the musketeers, and the brand new galarian versions of the original legendary bird pokemon, Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres to find, along with others.

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The remaining of the legendary Pokemon can be found within the “Max Adventures” battles. Here, you’ll team up with one to three of your friends or three randoms online and will each be given a choice of rental pokemon. From there, you’ll traverse a map and take part in a series of raid battles, voting on which ones you’d like to do. One player can even swap out their rental pokemon with a pokemon caught within the raids.

This is all, however, a pretense to the final battle, where you’ll all put your heads together against legendary pokemon raid battles, which can be a serious challenge. Upon completion, you can keep one pokemon obtained during the adventure and note down the legendary pokemon if you decided against keeping it or failed to beat it in the first place, allowing for easy rematches. These adventures are incredibly fun, and you can spend hours and hours partaking in them with friends as the combination of a constant reward stream and a variety of challenges thanks to the rental structure means the Max Adventures never get old even well after you’ve captured all the legendary pokemon.

Pokemon Sword and Shield The Crown Tundra 1

Pokemon Sword and Shield: The Crown Tundra allows players to obtain Dynite ore, which can be exchanged for various items, including armorite ore, vitamins, special Pokeballs, bottle caps, and the ability patch, which you can give to a Pokemon to unlock a hidden ability. With this item, you can now make any pokemon you want competitively viable without needing to breed or catch special variations.

There’s also the unlockable galarian star tournament. A multi-battle tournament where you can team up with your favorite Sword and Shield characters and battle other gym leaders and characters in intense double battles. There’s some good dialogue, and you’ll also receive fancy-looking Pokeballs along with ridiculous amounts of money for partaking.

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Pokemon Sword and Shield: The Crown Tundra isn’t exactly big on the story, but the way it focuses on exploration encapsulates Pokemon’s pure essence. It’s about exploring new places, making new discoveries, hunting down monumental beings, and doing it all with friends. Combine this with the Isle of Armor, and I feel this DLC is well worth the admission price.

If we continue to go down the DLC route instead of making third games? I’m going to be very happy. I’m excited to see how the meta-game is going to respond to the additions from this. Although, if we see power herb geomancy Xerneas Dynamax, I’m going to be very annoyed.

Review copy purchased by outlet or reviewer

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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