Pokemon is my all-time favorite franchise. When I was little, my siblings and I got Special Yellow Edition for the Game Boy Color, which we played as a collective entity. Our dad even got in on it a few times, taking the game to work to help us. I always get excited about each new release, especially Diamond and Pearl since they released in North America on my twelfth birthday. My fandom hit its apex during the sixth generation (X & Y, Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire) because I did catch them all. I went to a McDonald’s local to my college to trade for new Pokemon until I completed the Living Dex. While I didn’t complete the Living Dex again with Sun and Moon, I did get all Alolan Pokemon entries as my Living Dex languished in my PC.
Freedom for Imprisoned Pokemon (But not Really)
I don’t use the vast majority of the Living Dex. The comparatively few Pokemon who go above & beyond get their own box. These are Pokemon who were core pieces of my main game playthrough. Personally, I’m not the biggest competitive trainer, but some of these Pokemon go onto my competitive teams.
And all the rest linger, waiting to come out of the box. Am I going to free them of their torment and release them back into the wild? Nope. Will they see the light of day again? Yes, for breeding purposes. Do I paint their plight in an over-dramatic fashion? You can bet your bottom dollar. The only other time I’ll move them is when they migrate to Pokemon Home. From there, they’ll wait until the next service comes, and then the next. In essence, most of my Living Dex are locked behind a metaphorical trophy cabinet.
This isn’t to say that I wanted the National Dex out of Sword & Shield. If the leaks are confirmed, then some of my all-time greats like Aggron, Ampharos, Krookodile won’t be in the game. I’ll miss them like hell, in part because I know their strengths, and in part because these are Pokemon I care about…
But their absence is okay
Sword & Shield still introduces about 90 new Pokemon with about 15-20 new forms of existing Pokemon. About 400 old Pokemon will still migrate to the new region, meaning we’ll have over 500 Pokemon in Sword & Shield. We are going to have a lot of new Pokemon to play with, and learn about. Those new Pokemon are also coming with an assortment of new mechanics to try out and practice. Don’t let what’s missing distract you from what’s already there.
I am not defending the quality of the games themselves (yet) because I haven’t played it yet. We did not get an advanced copy of Sword & Shield to review, so I can only rely on today’s review embargo for information on the quality of the game. What I am saying is that I’m not going to grade these games poorly just because of the National Dex controversy. When I do get to play the games, I will judge them based on their gameplay, performance, story, and other important metrics. You don’t have to like Sword & Shield, but at least give them a chance and let those who do like it enjoy it.