Pokemon Sword/Shield – Isle of Armor Review

Just last week came payday, so I finally got the Expansion Pass for Pokemon Sword! And of course, I had to explore the Isle of Armor, which I heard great things about!

But did this half of the expansion pass live up to the hype?


Story

The story is fairly short, as is with post-game storylines. As I was playing on Sword, I got Klara as my rival. I love the beginning where the guy chickens out of meeting with her so that you end up taking his place, in lucky circumstance!

Speaking of Klara, I love how we have an antagonistic rival again that isn’t Bede. It encourages the competition, and it felt good to beat her. Remember guys, I am the true Poison-type master! Klara walked so that I could run. But that’s a topic for another post!

I enjoyed doing the three trials, even though they’d normally be seen as pretty mundane. It allowed for exploration, and practically encouraged it. I love the storyline involving Kubfu, especially taking it around to different locations. And the fast Slowpoke made me laugh, and I still feel that even though I’ve explored everything, there’s still so much that I have to do!


The Map

I knew the map was large, but I wasn’t expecting it to be as large as it was. I felt that through my exploration before I reached the Dojo, I’d covered a lot of ground. However, I soon knew that there was a lot more to cover, and I’d underestimated just how much exploring that I could do.

All round, I definitely wish the original Wild Area was this expansive, I had such a fun time exploring everything, and I think that was the whole aim of the Diglett hunt, as well as the Dojo trials.

My favourite locations has to be Challenge Beach and Loop Lagoon. I love the open beach style of Challenge Beach, with the Tower of Waters in the middle as a huge focal point. As for Loop Lagoon, I love lagoons in general, and generally finding well-hidden areas. Honeycalm Island gets a shout-out here because of its unique shape and its general aesthetic.

I saw someone complaining that there wasn’t a Nursery on the Isle of Armor, and I saw a reply saying that if there was a Nursery on the Isle, we wouldn’t want to go back to the mainland. And honestly, that’s pretty accurate!


The Digletts

I enjoyed the Diglett hunting to a certain point. The main criticism I have about it is that the Digletts appear way too small. I am someone with relatively poor eyesight, so I have to wear glasses to play the game on the TV (which is my preferred method, because of the awful Joy Con drift problem). I also suffer from very frequent migraines (such as I can sneeze and have a horrible migraine). These combined made it hell. I relied on Serebii to help find a few of the Digletts, as I knew that I wouldn’t be able to search for them myself without issues. As it was, my eyes were still hurting even with the help of Serebii, so it was quite infuriating, but I got all of the Digletts down in the end.

So my solution? Just make the Digletts a little easier to see, that’s all!


The Included Pokemon

I have to say that I quite like the array of returning Pokemon. However, I do kinda wish there were maybe one or two more Galarian forms present, Slowpoke and Slowbro aside. I do really like shiny Slowbro though, and its evolution mechanic is interesting, that’s for certain.

I got to use Krookodile for the first time, which I really enjoyed going up against Klara. I always liked Krookodile anyway, but I knew that as soon as I saw Sandile trotting around Potbottom Desert, it was going to be great against her Slowbro.

Be prepared for the chorus of Poliwhirl in the Soothing Wetlands, although that’s never a problem, really.

I’m never a huge fan of using Legendary Pokemon, so to have to bond with Kubfu was something that I wasn’t really too bothered about. However, I did end up bonding with it, and that along with its cutscene antics probably makes it one of my favourite Legendaries. Honestly, I feel that being able to have it follow me around really helped, as I often found myself waiting for it to catch up to me!

Also, fuck Sharpedo.


Extras

I love the idea of having your Pokemon follow you, although I wish that was the case for the entirety of Galar, rather than just in the Isle of Armor. It’d be nice if we saw it in the Crown Tundra too, at least.

I quite like the idea of the Max Soup, and that you have to find the mushrooms in order to make it, so you really have to work to get that final product. For my first, I definitely felt the nostalgia for my first team hit me, and I chose to Max Soup my original Toxtricity. I plan on doing the same for my Poison team, as well as my shinies that can drink it.

I like that I can spend my Watts in the Dojo by making it more of a hub to work with. However, unless you want the token of Honey’s League Cards and a battle, I’d suggest sticking to the 400,000 Watts upgrade, which adds HP Up and Carbos to the vending machine. I do wish that for the last upgrade we got a simple working miniature Pokemon Centre where we could heal our Pokemon through it, rather than go camping, use items or head straight to mainland Galar.

Restricted Sparring is quite fun, and the rules of using one type actually make this quite fun, as someone who specialises in their Poison team quite efficiently.


Overall

Overall, I really enjoyed the Isle of Armor from start to finish. While the story was a bit short, I guess that depended on how long you took to explore the island. I get distracted by exploring in games such as this, so it took me a little while to get through the story.

But with this here, and Crown Tundra coming up later this year, it’s definitely worth buying. I would suggest that the Isle of Armor alone has more content than any Sims full expansion pack (which usually retails around £34.99).

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