If you’d just arrived into the Galar region and were given the town map at the train station, upon perusing it, you’d think it was deceptively simplistic and undersized, given the in game map’s almost whimsical nature. But you’d be mistaken.
Galar is huge.
Your journey through Galar starts as earnestly as in other Poke-regions. There’s a bit of narrative to enjoy before you finally get to select a starter and they are all, for the most part, fairly useful and interesting.
Grookey is your monkey inspired grass type, Scorbunny is a bunny inspired fire type, and Sobble is the cutest blue lizard this side of Avatar.
One interesting note, your starter doesn’t gain a dual type as it has in previous Pokemon games, which is interesting and might be one of many nods towards accessibility, in terms of Pokemon typing in the game.
There’s a lot of poke-splaining near the beginning of the game, which isn’t a horrible thing, but after the first hour or so of gameplay, you find yourself in the wild area and there’s so much you can do here that it can be overwhelming. Naturally this is where the tutorial ends and you’re left to figure things out on your own.
The wild area adds to Galars’ size and tourism boon by quite a bit, as there are wild Pokemon to encounter and capture, items to find, and Dynamax raid battles to conquer, which has you plus a team of others (friends or AI) teaming up to take down a giant sized Pokemon. Successfully completing these nets you a veritable gift basket of rare items plus the chance to catch said Pokemon.
The rest of your Galarian journey seems to play out in true poke-fashion, with your travels finding you exploring various routes and encountering a plethora of Pokemon as you make your way through various cities and the stadiums within, where your Gym battles take place in large stadiums, on a massive scale, both locally, and nationally.
Your hard won Gym battles confer not only celebrity status but also the ability to catch higher level wild Pokemon in the wild area.
Stay tuned for more on Pokemon Sword and Shield in our full review.