IGN gave it a 9.3/10 and said: Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield are closer to my dream Pokemon RPGs than anything that’s come before. I’d still like better cutscenes, companion Pokemon, the complete Pokedex, and a more visually interesting Wild Area, but nitpicks are just not very effective when everything else was such a complete joy to play. The way they respect my time is wonderful, and the removal of monotony from random encounters and other odds and ends distills it down to only the pure and charming fun of capturing, training, and battling wonderful creatures. And hey, if I’m missing any tedious repetition, I can always get back into breeding.
VG247 gave it a 3/5 and said: Thus is the conundrum, the paradox. Pokemon Sword & Shield is all too often a bit disappointing, and in some places actually feels a little unfinished, but it also fully provides that warm, fuzzy feeling that one expects from the series. Crucially, even through frustration, never once did I think about putting it down, which is to its credit. It comes recommended almost for the Galar setting and new Pokemon alone, but with a long list of caveats indeed. With the level of fan hyperbole surrounding this release, that recommendation is worth repeating and underscoring – but this is not the revolution that was promised or hoped for, and some may prefer to wait for a sale or wait and see if an improved, definitive release is on the cards.
GameSpot gave it a 9/10 and said: In collecting, battling, and exploring, Sword and Shield cut out the bloat and focus on what makes these pillars of the Pokemon games so captivating in the first place. You’re not held back by overly complicated back-end systems or hoops to jump through; from the outset, you can start wandering the Galar region, seeing its new Pokemon, and trying out its new battle strategies with very little in your way. This leaves you free to enjoy what Pokemon is all about, and that makes for an incredibly strong showing for the series’ proper debut on Switch.
GamesRadar gave it a 4.5/5 and said: Thankfully though, this is a seriously memorable Pokemon adventure. The story delivers enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, steeped in the kinds of myths and legends that you forget the British Isles are chock-full of. It might lack the puzzling areas of previous series’ entries like Silph Co, but there’s plenty to love about Pokemon Sword and Shield, especially the loveable cast of characters, and the impeccable attention to detail in the Galar region both visually and in terms of the regional dialogue. It’s a great way to start the next core generation of Pokemon games.
Game Informer gave it a 8.75/10 and said: Pokémon Sword & Shield are strong first attempts for the series’ full transition to consoles. While some frustrations hold it back from true legendary status, this new generation proves the Pokémon franchise is still great more than two decades after its debut.
DailyStar gave it a 6/10 and said:Pokémon Sword and Shield are not bad games. But fun character arcs and inventive, creative designs of new ‘mon are often offset by poor pacing and restrictive world design. The world of Galar is charming, and is a Pokémon interpretation of Britain I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid, but between gating what Pokémon you can catch behind Gym Badges, some half-baked route/City designs and a modest amount of post-game content, Sword and Shield can only be called ‘good’ Pokémon games… not ‘great’ ones.