Is the Pokémon Sword and Shield DLC worth it? That’s a difficult question to answer when it hasn’t been released yet 😛 But we know a bit of info already.
For starters, the Expansion Pass will cost you £26.99, which is about €30.00 or $33.00. This will grant access to two new pieces of content – The Isle of Armor, launching on the 17th June 2020, and The Crown Tundra, currently slated for November. So you’re paying roughly half the price of a full-price game. But will you get a half a game’s worth of content…? That is the question.
Two new regions to explore
Firstly, Nintendo describes The Isle of Armor as “sprawling,” so it’s safe to say that there will be more than just a gravel path and a Pokémon centre. And within this new locale, you can train at the island’s dojo (basically a training centre) to receive instructions from your new mentor known as Mustard. For this, you’ll receive a brand new legendary Pokémon called Kubfu, who will accompany you to a brand new battle tower – the Tower of Darkness, or the Tower of Waters. (You can only pick one!) In addition, completing The Isle of Armor will unlock a new gigantamax form for your partner Pokémon.
The Crown Tundra, meanwhile, is described as a frozen snowscape where people live in small communities that “support and rely on each other.” This piece of DLC takes the theme of exploration so – presumably – it will be less action-packed than Armor. (Nintendo has alluded to mysterious temples in unexpected places, and incongruous-looking trees for The Crown Tundra. Oof.)
You’ll be at the head of an exploration team that sets out to uncover the secrets of these snowy wastes, and this includes a new co-op mode which enables you to explore Pokémon dens with friends. So it’s safe to say that The Crown Tundra won’t be the kind of adventure that can be completed within a couple of hours. Remember this when you’re asking ‘Is the Pokémon Sword and Shield DLC worth it?’ There’s a lot of snow to walk through.
My only reservation about both Armor and Tundra is that they’re are described as seamless maps like the wild areas of the main game(s) where you can move around freely and control the camera. I just hope this doesn’t dilute the experience. I’d hate it if The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra were just glorified hub areas.
New legendary Pokémon
As mentioned previously, there will also be new legendaries for you to discover on your travels. One of these is Kubfu – who will later evolve into Urshifu – and depending on which battle tower you undertake in The Isle of Armor, you can master one of two different fighting styles – single-strike style (dark), or rapid-strike style (water.)
Then there’s the other legendary, known as Calyrex. Characterised by “graceful, regal movements,” this legendary Pokémon once ruled over The Crown Tundra and is proficient in both grass-type and psychic-type moves.
200 new Pokémon, and lots of cosmetics
And if these legendaries aren’t enough, the DLC will also include 200 new (old!) Pokémon for you to battle against and catch. Whilst we don’t yet have an exhaustive list, some of the confirmed returnees include Slowpoke, Slowbro and Magnemite – to name just a few. There will also be Gigantamax forms of Venusaur and Blastoise to make your opponents quiver.
Moreover – and I guess this goes without saying – there will be version exclusives, so certain Pokémon will only appear in the Sword expansion, and some just in the Shield, but the trading between the two versions of DLC will remain in tact, so your Pokédex can rest easy tonight.
Beyond that, the other perks of the Pokémon Sword and Shield DLC are mostly cosmetic. There will be a larger range of outfits to put on – and haircuts to sport – and there will be new league card backgrounds and effects to dazzle your friends.
But to be honest, I was never a massive fan of the whole league card thing (and I don’t think I ever looked at anyone else’s!) so it’s fair to say that these additions aren’t the biggest selling points for me. I mean – nice to have, for sure. But I’ll be more interested in the adventures themselves as I hand over my £26.99.
So is the Pokémon Sword and Shield DLC worth it?
As I say, the hub-style format of the two regions does worry me slightly, as I didn’t think the wild area was the most riveting aspect of Pokémon Shield. (And it was certainly the most glitchy…) But there’s lots of new story going on, and of course there are new rivals to battle; you’ll be up against the poison-using Klara in the Sword expansion, and psychic Avery in Shield.
And when you think about it, 200 new Pokémon is no small offering when you consider how long it must take to design and animate such a roster. And heck – catching them will probably take even longer, so if completing your Pokédex is something you really, really enjoy, then I reckon the DLC is a bargain.
Anyway, I think I’ll be getting the Expansion Pass, and I’ll dive into these new regions with excitement and mild trepidation. What about you? Is the Pokémon Sword and Shield DLC worth it? Do you think the price is too high? Or are you completely done with Sword and Shield? Let me know in the comments below.