E3 2019: Nintendo Treehouse: Live shows off more Pokemon Sword and Shield

E3 2019 Nintendo Treehouse Live Poke Sword and Shield 01

Did you catch this year’s Nintendo Direct stream and Treehouse: Live?

If you didn’t, don’t fret about it! As promised, we’ll be giving this morning’s Pokémon Sword and Shield stream a once-over. We’ll take a look at what goes into a Max Raid, the new games’ compatibility with Pokémon Home and tons of other cool stuff. So, without further ado, let’s go see what the Galar region has to offer!

Weighing in on the Wild Area

According to Masuda-san, who was present during the Treehouse Live stream, the Wild Area is one of, if not the most ambitious feature they’ve worked on within the overworld. Not only is it bigger and more immersive than previous Pokémon games, but the attention to detail is simply amazing too.

That reminds me: weather will play a more important role within the overworld as well. In previous Pokémon games, rain, snow and sunshine were mostly cosmetic outside of Pokémon battles, but in Sword and Shield it actually affects what species of Pokémon you encounter.

For instance, when there’s hail you might see more Ice-type Pokémon plodding around, while rain presents a higher chance of meeting Water-type critters. As the cherry on top, each region or route isn’t limited to just one fixed weather pattern. This means that a region that was previously snowing can be bright and sunny when you return to it later. This means that avid Pokémon hunters will have to make multiple trips (and at various times!) just to see all the potential species within a given route.

Mechanics-wise, fans will also see the return of functions like fishing and the bicycle. The latter is arguably the bigger catch here (no pun intended), since it’s not just a one-dimensional transport anymore. With the help of Rotom, bicycles in Sword and Shield can now traverse water too!

The dynamics of a Max Raid

If you want to grab a sandwich, now’s the time to do so — this segment is going to be pretty substantial.

Basically, a Max Raid is a 4-on-1 co-op wild battle. Four Pokémon Trainers will team up against a single, permanently-Dynamaxed wild Pokémon. We’ll be using some screenshots from the stream to explain how it works, so say hello to our assistant Steelix.

E3 2019 Pokemon Sword and Shield Steelix

In the Wild Area, players will often see huge red pillars of light. These mark the location of Pokémon dens and are basically the residual energies from the Dynamax Phenomenon.

TL;DR: they’re a Max Raid entrance.

After entering the dens, the four players will each select one Pokémon from their party or PC box. It’ll look a little something like this:

Then the battle begins. Of course, the Max Raid isn’t as simple as it looks; there are special quirks that will come into play. For example, when the wild Pokémon’s HP reaches just under 50%, it receives a barrier that negates the next 5 attacks. Players will have to deplete that barrier before they can start damaging the Pokémon again.

However, do note that a Dynamax-ed Pokémon’s attacks will not only deplete two slots, but also deal sizeable damage to the opponent as well.

When the barrier bar is depleted, the wild Pokémon will receive heavy debuffs to its defensive stats. Each participant will have a chance to catch it, although Masuda-san assured that everyone would receive rewards even if they didn’t manage to do so.

Speaking of Dynamax-ing, each player will take turns to receive the Dynamax capability, although only one will be able to perform it. This not only reinforces the importance of planning, but also ensures that nobody hogs the spotlight too often.

West Galar, mountain momma…

Oh, you understood that reference?

This part is more of an announcement than actual gameplay discussion. If you haven’t been kept up to speed, Nintendo will soon be releasing a new piece of software called Pokémon Home. It’s a pseudo-replacement for Pokémon Bank, allowing players to store all their beloved partners on a single platform for easy access in between games. Of course, this naturally leads us to the question of how Pokémon Home will interact with Pokémon Sword and Shield.

Although the answer is simple, it’s a pretty bleak one too.

The bottom line is: players can only import Pokémon featured in the Galar Pokédex. This is then followed-up with the conclusion that there is no National Pokédex either. That explains why the Dynamax Phenomenon is only limited to Galar region Pokémon.

E3 2019 Pokemon Sword and Shield Gameplay

As disappointing as that is, I can kind of understand where they’re coming from. As of now, there are already 800+ different species of Pokémon, so you can imagine what the poor animators would have had to go through if they wanted to include ALL the sprites.

Fair enough then. Anything else we need to know?

At the moment, not really; we’ve already gone over most of the important bits. Of course, if you’ve got a bit of time to kill, you could always take a look at our roundup of the Nintendo Direct because it was crammed full of exciting announcements!

Otherwise, here’s the full Treehouse: Live stream for you to check out.

Screenshots: GameAxis

Kenneth Ang

Kenneth is your dedicated jack of all trades gamer and borderline anime nut. When not writing, he likes to wind down with Overwatch, Apex Legends and a bit of Fate: Grand Order on the side.