BY GARY LEE
It is time to catch them all!
The first Nintendo Switch Pokemon game, Pokémon Sword and Shield, was released to the public on Nov. 15. Now, a year later, the long-awaited part two of the Pokémon Sword and Shield expansion pack: The Crown Tundra was issued on Oct. 22. With a new picturesque island added to the map, the game offers a brand new adventure in a land filled with exotic new Pokémons, fulfilling the long-lasting dreams of fans wanting more post-game Pokémon content.
However, this fulfillment comes at half the cost of the original game. With such a high price, one question comes to mind: is it worth it?
While the additional downloadable content (DLC) makes up for what the base game lacks, compared to the content from older Pokemon games, the expansion is simply not worth the combined sum of 30 dollars.
With the underwhelming release of the original game, fans had high expectations for the game based on the trailers and new additions when the DLCs were announced, such as events that were promised at its release. In addition, looking back at previous Pokemon games, it was the first time that any sort of additional content would be added from outside of the original game.
Based on the final product, while the DLC itself is not lacking in quality to the base game, the concept overall is what is unsatisfying for the players. Specifically, many expected a whole new adventure filled with interesting stories, awesome new features and more original Pokémon, things that people would generally expect from a new game. Instead, the players got a Pokémon treasure hunt and raid battle minigame that gets repetitive after a few playthroughs.
When playing with the new content, at first, it is enjoyable, but upon completion, you find yourself asking: is that it?
Ever since the integration of the Nintendo Switch, games, especially within the Pokemon franchise, have risen in price. While this can be justified by the improvement in the game's graphics in terms of in-game content, the gameplay is subpar as the recent installment appeals more to competitive Pokemon collectors than the largest portion of their fanbase, casual players.
In essence, the Crown Tundra’s plot revolves around finding three legendary Pokemon: the birds, the Regis and the weird mushroom moose. The first two simply involve exploring the Wild Area to capture the legendary Pokemon, while the third is completing a few tasks across the Tundra. Considering the cost, forced events and lack of interesting developments make the game seem more like a chore than a fun experience.
In addition to the new story quests, the DLC introduces another new feature, the Max Lair system. Essentially, the player battles in consecutive raids while collecting the Pokémon they have defeated along the way. While the whole concept is a unique take on the consecutive battle system, the major flaw lies within the prize of the battles. At each lair expedition, the players encounter a legendary Pokémon of a past game for the players to catch them. The main problem with shoving past legendaries into one minigame is that the game makes it too easy.
Sure, it is fun for fans to be able to catch these super rare Pokémon, but for those that have played previous Pokémon games, it is unsettling to see that these once rare Pokémon could be obtained with such ease. Value is determined by quantity as the more rare something is, the more valuable they are. As a result, with legendary Pokémon being so easily obtainable in multiple games, they are no longer exclusive to a single game. What is the point of treating these legends as rarities if they are just going to show up in future Pokémon games?
In comparison to the previous generations of Pokemon games, the newer games make no attempts to experiment with fresh concepts of Pokémon playthroughs. It is like the game developers ran out of ideas, and now they release a half-complete game to repackage the final content as an extra quirk to gain more profit. First, it was some wormholes and now developers have designed a cave? At least Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire gave their legendaries specific areas and conditions to catch, while Ultra Sun and Moon included their new system in the main game. Ultimately, this begs the question: are all future Pokémon games going to be a lacking main game with the real content restricted behind ridiculous paywalls?
At the end of the day, Crown Tundra is an example of why Pokémon as a whole should stay as a core game without DLCs. The reason is that the DLC degrades the overall value as no one would want to play a game where the full experience is an extra price.