Game Freak’s ambitions for Pokémon Sword and Shield are nothing short of commendable. With the superior hardware – in relation to handheld consoles, at least – of the Nintendo Switch at its fingertips, the developer is pushing the envelope in every way possible for this year’s additions to the franchise. Yes, the poorly-received decision to limit Pokémon transfer from older games is disappointing, but it was made for good reason.
Besides the stark visual improvements and more complex animations for Sword and Shield‘s Pokédex, the Galar Region is overflowing with new features primed to provide the biggest formula change since the series’ inception. Free-roaming, Raid battles, Dynamaxing (and now Gigantamaxing, too): not a soul can criticize Pokémon’s caretaker for resting on its laurels. With that said, not every long-held tradition is being left on the cutting room floor, either.
Sword and Shield, like its forebears, will each be home to several exclusive Pokémon. In a small but no less neat twist, certain gym leaders will also be different depending on which version of the game you own. Check out the gallery below for every major difference.
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Of immediate note this time around are the version exclusive ‘Mons themselves, of which none are exclusive to Generation 8. All four, in fact, hail from adventures past and belong to the Dragon-type. It’s not immediately clear if those so far revealed represent the full list or whether further additions are to come, but the type uniformity is certainly interesting.
As for the aforementioned version exclusive Trainers, they’re named as Bea and Allister, both of which are Gym Leaders. What bearing, if any, the character differences have on Sword and Shield‘s narrative remains to be seen but at the very least, it offers further incentive for fans to play through each version. If you prefer to stick with one, though, worry not – Pokémon exclusive to each version will be tradable, as has always been the case.
Pokémon Sword and Shield are out this November for Switch. If you’re looking for something to help pass the time, see here for our E3 preview.