Pokémon Sword And Shield Online Battles Feature Rental Teams, Stadium Challenges And More

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Game Freak kickstarted pre-release hype proceedings for Pokémon Sword and Shield with an unwise reveal.

Rather than begin its press run with a slew of announcements concerning the various new features players will find during their travels in the Galar Region, the developer made a revelation that inevitably proved controversial with fans. For the first time in series’ history, Sword and Shield won’t include a National Pokédex featuring all 800+ Pokémon but rather, a slimmed-down, cherry-picked collection from new and old Generations alike.

That confession, while still leaving a bitter taste in many a Trainers’ mouths, has since abated somewhat due in no small part to the emergence of subsequent gameplay details. To put it bluntly, Sword and Shield‘s eye-watering suite of new content (Galarian Forms, Dynamaxing and Raids, to name a few) more than justifies Game Freak’s contentious decision and the streak doesn’t end there, either.

As per last week’s Pokémon World Championships, the developer outlined its plans for Sword and Shield‘s online functionality which, at least at first glance, looks astoundingly robust. See below for a taste of what’s to come.

As has become standard for the series since the 3DS era, both casual and competitive modes will be available but that’s largely where familiarity for veteran players will end. Replacing competitive matches will be ranked mode. As the name suggests, Trainers who want to test their skill against the strongest of opponents will now have a rank corresponding to their own win/loss record, ranging from Beginner all the way up to Master Ball Rank.

In what’s perhaps the biggest revelation of all, however, Game Freak plans to introduce a new rental system into online play. No doubt resulting from a desire to drive accessibility, rental Pokémon are accessible at any time by inputting IDs (available at launch) corresponding to each Pokémon, eliminating the usual grind of catching and training a crew of competition-ready ‘Mons.

It’s a fantastic move in the right direction to ensuring Pokémon Sword and Shield‘s longevity and we can’t wait to see what other surprises Game Freak has in-store in the lead-up to November. Watch this space for more.

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