It’s not just the cut Pokémon, it feels like there are less meaningful places to explore. For instance, there are only 4 dungeons in the game and 2 of them are dingy mines. Many of the routes are relatively short and linear, with file few trainers to battle. On one hand, it gives you more time to focus on catching Pokémon, but it also makes the game much shorter than you’d expect.

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Everything feels in its proper place, from the Pokemon Center theme to the happy brass instruments in the wild areas. Where Game Freak really outdid themselves was in the field battle and gym battle graphics and animations. As you battle, the camera gently scrolls and cuts to different angles, as if the battle were panels of a comic book, giving the battles an extra layer of hype and adrenaline. Meanwhile, gym battles take place in a huge stadium with big, cheering crowds. The way the lights flare onto the stage makes you feel like you’re facing off in the world championships ( how we should all feel when we’re fighting a gym battle!).

With that said, the story of Sword and Shield is passable. The story is pretty inoffensive and there are some good moments here and there, but it’s largely forgettable–it does seem catered for a slightly younger audience. For $30, you can get two new regions and 200 new Pokemon in Sword and Shield. The Expansion pack covers both games if you own both Sword and Shield. Still, if you’re addicted to collecting Pokemon like I am, get ready to start playing Wave 1 in June and Wave 2 in Fall 2020.

Depending on the Pokémon you’re facing and the type of move that you use on it, you may deal more damage (known as “super-effective”) or less. Basically, it’s a more elaborate version of Rock-Papers-Scissors. Winning battles will grant your Pokémon experience points, allowing them to Level Up, acquire new moves and potentially evolve, transforming into a different Pokémon.

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Which is baffling since the games thrive on multiplayer and, worse, the functionality was perfected back in Pokémon X and Pokémon Y. To play multiplayer, you open the Y-Comm, accessible via the Y button. It’s designed to be simple and intuitive to use, which it is for the most part. Here, you can easily find buttons to trade, battle and whatnot. To battle or trade with a specific person… well, there isn’t really a proper way.

The final stretch is pretty embarrassing, with no proper final dungeon and the last city, while large, is devoid of people and substance. One gameplay feature that’s gotten worse, however, is the multiplayer connectivity.

So the gameplay is still turn-based, where you select up to four moves for your Pokémon to execute. Each Pokémon is assigned one or two types, ranging from Normal, Fire, Grass to Dark, Steel and Fairy.

If you ask most people, the story has never really been a main focus for the games–it’s mainly an excuse to go around exploring towns and cities, forests and mountains, etc. All the while, discovering and ensnaring the local wildlife. Then using your newfound animal friends to gleefully beat other animal trainers into submission.

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Well, the musical score definitely belongs to a Pokemon game, with the same familiar jingles that we’ve been hearing since Red & Green. With that in mind, the score feels fresh and welcome in 2019, with a gorgeous mix of orchestral instruments and electronic touches.