One of the many bespoke features showcased for Pokémon Sword and Shield during today’s special Direct stream was Max Raid Battles. Anyone familiar with traditional MMOs and even Niantic’s Pokémon Go will likely be familiar with the traditional endgame activity, though as is to be expected of Game Freak, they come with a neat twist in this year’s biggest Switch releases. In order to asses exactly how Raids function, however, we first need to explain another accompanying new addition: Dynamax Pokémon.
Simply put, the silly-sounding prefix is used to denote Pokémon that grow far beyond their normal physical size and power. As depicted in the trailer, these larger-than-life ‘Mons will be primarily encountered in single-player Gym battles and the aforementioned Raids. The latter, which can only be found in Sword and Shield‘s Wild Area (more on that to come), will require a combined effort between you and up to three other players (AI-controlled Trainers will offer help instead, should you wish to remain offline) to take it down.
Regardless of composition, only one player can trigger their own Pokémon’s Dynamax mode in any given Raid battle, meaning teams will need to decide the best course of action between one another. Chances are, such critical decisions will likely come down to which player is using a Pokémon with a type advantage over the Raid boss, but it’s still early days – Game Freak could well be intending to have each fight contain unique mechanics.
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One variable already confirmed to have an effect on the flow of battle, on the other hand, is the weather. Climate conditions in the Wild Area rotate on a daily basis, not only dictating the zone’s appearance but the Pokémon that appear in Raids. Could it be the case, too, that certain environments will confer buffs to specific elements? It’s a system Game Freak has used in the past, so it shouldn’t be ruled out just yet.
Whatever the outcome, the confirmation of endgame content for Pokémon Sword and Shield is most welcome and we’re eager to see more. In the meantime, feel free to let us know in the usual place below your thoughts on all of the revelations outlined above.