While it might be shocking to see DLC in a Pokémon game for the first time, Sword and Shield’s Expansion Pass is positively preferable to its conventional model of following up the latest game with one other full-price model simply to ship some new content and a few enhancements. The Isle of Armor, the Expansion Pass’s first of two bundled DLC additions, supplies an entertaining purpose to revisit the Galar area with over 100 returning Pokemon (plus a few new ones) and an pleasant new Wild Area. But this island getaway is in any other case fairly naked bones and disappointingly brief.
Like the free-roaming Wild Area in the most important Sword and Shield marketing campaign, The Isle of Armor’s is full with an extra of untamed Pokémon wandering around, dozens of dens for Max Raid Battles, and loads of gadgets to seek out and acquire. Without the typical Gym construction (and even linear Routes), this DLC’s most important quest line as a substitute has you working missions all through its open house – it’s a lot more freeform than the typical Pokémon experience, which appears like a pure and not unwelcome development after the first Wild Area confirmed how well an “open world” Pokémon may doubtlessly work, even when the story right here is too fleeting to actually savor it.
While it will not be as big as the unique Wild Area in general acreage, The Isle of Armor more than makes up for it in its range and in how well it makes use of the house. You’ll discover tangled forests full of Tangela and oceans the place Sharpedo’s pursue you with scary velocity. Even if it could actually all be seen in a few brief hours, it’s undoubtedly an entertaining trek that does a nice job of creating the world really feel alive and more fleshed out than the Wild Area from the base game.
The Isle of Armor sadly doesn’t mark the return of the full National Pokédex, but it surely does considerably increase the Pokémon accessible in Sword and Shield with more than 100 returning pocket monsters. It’s a nice choice, including some sorely wanted additions like Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and most of all: Lickilicky, which is clearly the best Pokémon ever conceived.
Unfortunately, Isle of Armor doesn’t use its new, lovingly crafted space very successfully, as the DLC’s marketing campaign quantities to simply a few brief missions that may be completed in a couple hours, most of that are uninspired fetch quests. You’ll run around in search of mushrooms and preventing off Slowpoke on a decidedly low stakes journey that appears like a pretty by-the-numbers RPG aspect quest. There are definitely some highlights, like the part the place it is advisable befriend and stage up the model new and fairly darn lovable Kubfu to unlock one among its two legendary evolutions. But all of it feels very shallow with no actual narrative holding it collectively, and Pokemon in the wild nearly universally capping out at stage 60 means anybody who has crushed the base game will be capable to breeze by way of the complete factor like I did.
It also doesn’t assist that one among the DLC’s chief characters, your new rivals (Klara for Sword gamers, and Avery for Shield), are each extremely annoying and written off largely as a punchline fairly than something resembling a actual menace. The different two main characters, a dojo grasp named Mustard, and his wife Honey, are amusing, however don’t get enough time in the highlight to actually shine.
That said, Isle of Armor introduces a few new mechanics that do a lot to interrupt the mildew of Sword and Shield in positive methods. A welcome merchandise called Max Soup lets you Gigantimax your Pokémon even when they weren’t caught in a Max Raid Battle. A shocking new base-building mechanic enables you to improve Mustard’s dojo by spending Watts, unlocking useful new companies and gadgets. And after all, there are many cool new cosmetics, like garments and bicycle skins.
Sadly, there isn’t a ton left to do as soon as the marketing campaign is over, except for catching the island’s plentiful returning Pokémon – although you’ll now be capable to do this with the Pokémon of your alternative following you around the DLC areas, which is a good beauty reward earned by progressing by way of the story. One of the most important attracts is Restricted Sparring, a difficult endgame mode that pits three of your Pokémon of the same kind in opposition to 5 opposing trainers in a row (and then an countless onslaught of them after that) – it’s a artistic new format, however is only interesting in case you’re trying to earn BP for the Battle Tower. There’s also a boring aspect quest the place you run around in search of 151 Digletts buried in the floor that’s nightmarishly tedious, and hardly price the numerous Alolan variations of Pokémon you get as a reward.