Pokemon

Are the Pokemon Sword and Shield graphics underwhelming?

by Paul Cotton

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The graphics of Pokemon Sword and Shield have been analyzed intensely in the build up to its release. It has proved to be a divisive topic with some fans thinking they're great, and others questioning whether they live up to what the Nintendo Switch is capable of.


Pokemon Day reveal trailer

The first Pokemon Sword and Shield footage we got to see was in the initial reveal trailer back in February. The footage mostly highlighted the different areas of the Galar region, as opposed to showing off gameplay features.

There was enough footage to gain an idea of what sort of graphics the Nintendo Switch will produce for the latest entry into the Pokemon game series, though. Since then, there have game demos and other trailers but the graphics haven't changed all that much.

Pokemon Company
Pokemon Company
Pokemon Sword and Shield graphics from the initial reveal trailer...

There seem to be two schools of thought on the graphics. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild really showed the Nintendo Switch's potential, which while great for the Zelda series has added pressure to Game Freak as gamers now know what the Switch is capable of. The other side of the argument is that Pokemon Sword and Shield undoubtedly gives us the best graphics a mainline Pokemon game has had to date.

Pokemon Sword and Shield graphics analysis

GameXplain has provided an in-depth analysis of the released Pokemon Sword and Shield footage. Specifically, they discuss lighting, reflections, and environmental details.

The takeaway from the footage seems to be that it is underwhelming. GameXplain state the poor textures could be a result of ensuring the game is able to run at the desired frame rate.

Features such as shadowing, contrast, bloom and reflective textures miss the mark somewhat. Consequently, we can expect vast improvements between now and the release of the full game.

Pokemon Company
Pokemon Company
The outline of the Pokemon is a small but noticeable part of the graphics...

Will the graphics improve?

The cartoon-like feel of the graphics along with the outline effect of the Pokemon is different to Pokemon Let's Go. 

Pokemon fans were expecting something more in-line with Let's Go but perhaps with a more immersive world. There were also rumors the camera would no longer be fixed, which would result in a more explorable world.

This turned out to be partly true as the camera can be adjusted just like it can in open world games, but only in the Galar region wild areas. In other places, such as cities, the camera is fixed.

We'll have to wait and see what player feedback is on the graphics when Pokemon Sword and Shield finally releases on November 15.

Page last updated 15:07 EST, November 11, 2019