[Game Review:] Pokemon Sword & Shield are a breathtaking return to the core of an iconic series


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Pokémon Sword & Shield bring the 7th generation to life in a never before seen way.

Pokémon Sword & Shield

Rating: 4/5

It’s time to once again journey into the world of Pokemon as Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield released for the Nintendo Switch. Game Freak’s 7th generation of pocket monster games is charming, engaging and best of all, a fully fleshed out console Pokémon experience, great for newcomers and veterans alike.

Sword & Shield deliver a solid experience, that while not without some flaws and hangups, still make for the best games in the series thus far, and two excellent Switch titles. Picking up where the Let’s Go! series left off, the games are essentially an upgrade to the previous console titles, fully formed and true to the mainline series.

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The Britain inspired locales of Galar are very beautiful and pleasant to the eye.

The latest iteration of the famous series has you traversing the world of Galar. This British-inspired landscape is an exotic world filled with green pastures, farms, industrial cities, icy landscapes, deserts and human-sized mushroom forests. The scenery of the game is largely breathtaking. Nearing the end of the game some of the environments start to seem to repeat and the gyms somewhat look alike, but the vast scale of the environments is amazing.

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Gym battles probably feel the closer than ever to Ash’s epic fights in the original anime.

The world of Pokemon is realized in a way that would have been unfathomable to the 11 year old me playing Pokemon Red.

The world of Pokemon is realized in a way that would have been unfathomable to the 11-year-old me playing Pokemon Red. When battling gym leaders, a crowd of animated fans go wild when you knock out your enemy’s Pokemon. Train stations, high rises and hotels all capture the feel of the UK and modern urban locales. It truly feels stunning to go from the tiny small town you begin at to the televised Pokemon League battles in packed stadiums and a final battle atop a skyscraper with some of the story’s antagonists.

The tunes you’ll hear along your journey are thoughtfully composed and of the high quality you’d expect from a Nintendo original game. The “Gym Leader Battle Theme” straight up sounds like a modern rave track (at least in the intro).

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The Wild Area is the most interesting feature of Sword & Shield. Sadly, it could have been better utilized.

The Wild Area itself could’ve been bigger…

Early on, you reach an area called the Wild Area. This, essentially, is an open world part of the map very reminiscent to Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s large open areas, or Monster Hunter’s instances, where not only hundreds of Pokemon roam, but other trainers across the world, too, if you are connected online. To me, this is probably one of the most interesting novel features in the games, but sadly, its potential isn’t fully realized.

The Wild Area itself could’ve been bigger. Players can take part in “Max Pokemon Raids” where you team up with other players online, or AI controlled trainers offline to take down giant “Dynamax” Pokemon. The concept is the closest we’ve ever gotten to a Pokemon MMORPG, but falls short as Raids are not updated quickly in the online list and are hard to join or find other players to complete with. Worse still, once you beat the game you are limited to only doing high level raids which already are hard enough to find players to complete with. In the future, I would love to see a Pokemon game that explores this area even further, maybe even a side game that branches off into a Pokemon MMORPG based off the Wild Area.

Pokemon Sword & Shield are not perfect. There are graphical frame-rate dips, sadly, no voice acting, mediocre antagonists and plot points, and a relatively short journey and online mode. Many aspects of the game feel slightly superficial, as if a small delay in release could’ve resulted in a much greater game experience.

However, the quality of life changes and streamlining of the core Pokemon game are welcome additions and as a whole, Sword & Shield bring the Pokemon world into modern times as a fully fleshed out version of Pokemon Let’s Go! Pikachu & Eevee. Any fans of the Pokemon games are RPGs should check this one out.

Rating: 4/5

 

[Confession Label:] [New Release:] HOODERS The Mob EP


Confession label releases HOODERS’ The Mob EP

[Bass House/G-House:] Cops – HOODERS

The Confession label’s HOODERS track Cops is quite an interesting blend of G-House, Bass and tech house elements. Fresh off their EP The Mob, Cops comes with a steady BPM, and a meeting of classic house sounds with darker, albeit upbeat sounds for a very unique affair. Check it out above and check out more from HOODERS below and on Confession’s YouTube channel.

Follow Confession on YouTube for more new releases!

[Throwbacks:] [Big-Room/House:] Take a trip down recent memory lane with these Kaskade deeper cuts from Fire & Ice


[Throwbacks:] Early 2010s Kaskade

Electronic music legend Kaskade has come a long way from his first releases. The [city] native began spinning soft house, trancey and even lounge cuts like “It’s You, It’s Me” when he stepped onto the scene. At the time, he was one of few homegrown American house acts and his music steadily became more well known. His monumental remix of David Morales “Here I Am” was featured in The Devil Wears Prada.

Since those days, Kaskade has branched out into many different genres and tends to produce more energetic music. Here’s a look at some of his more iconic deep cuts that brought him to where he stands currently.

Let Me Go (feat. Marcus Bentley)

Ice (feat. Dan Black)

Turn It Down (w/Rebecca & Fiona)

Llove (feat. Haley)


More fire from the time period:

Never Say Never (Alex Gaudino Remix) [feat. Jacqueline Govaert] – Armin Van Buuren

Spaceship (Fedde Le Grande Remix) [feat. Kelis] – Benny Benassi

illuminated music. for music-savvy folk.

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