Pokémon Sword and Shield: The Lonely Island of Armor - Review

A detachment from the past

Six months after the his review, today we pick up again Sword and Shield Pokémon to be able to talk about the Isle of Armor, the first of two DLCs released on June 17 2020, but first let's start from the beginning

Each generation of Pokémon has always (or almost) been accompanied by three main titles or in some cases by direct sequels. Starting with Pokémon Blue and Red up to the fourth generation, there have always been three main titles.

Then from the fifth, or with Black and White, Game Freak decided not to publish a third title, but rather the direct sequels of the previous ones, so White 2 and Black 2.

The only exception is the sixth generation, X and Y, the only titles to have received neither a direct sequel nor a third chapter, since the latter has been canceled (Pokémon Z), in order to launch the seventh in advance generation.

Sun and Moon at launch were "incomplete" titles that saw a revised and improved version of them, Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.

Game Freak with the eighth generation, Sword and Shield, has again decided to upset the cards on the table, thanks also to the Nintendo Switch which, compared to past consoles, is able to offer many more possibilities for expansion.

In fact, instead of a sequel or third chapter, two DLCs are announced during Pokémon Direct on January 9, 2020. The Lonely Isle of Armor and the Snowcapped Lands of the Crown.

These two expansions will see light respectively on June 17, 2020 and a generic Autumn 2020.

Thanks to Nintendo we were able to get hold of the Pokémon Shield Expansion Pass, will Game Freak be able to create downloadable content worthy of the name? Find out with us.

Before starting with the review, we want to clarify that the DLCs are not sold individually and that they can only be obtained through the purchase of the Expansion Pass sold for 30 euros, and in separate versions for the two games, on the Nintendo e-Shop by Switch.

Trials to overcome

Once we have obtained the Expansion Pass, the game will tell us to go to Brassbury to be able to take the train and start the new adventure.

To be able to set foot on the lonely Isle of Armor, you just need to have visited the Wild Lands at least once. In fact, if you enter the new part already at the beginning of the game, you will find yourself against Pokémon of level 16, instead if you go once you have defeated the champion, you will have to face Pokémon of level 60.

As soon as you step inside Brassbury train station, you will be greeted by a skit in which the new rival will be introduced.

If you have purchased Pokémon Shield you will face Savory, an expert in the Psychic type, while if you have purchased Sword, you will face Sofora, specialized in the Poison type.

Shortly after you will discover that the rival faced is a student of the dojo present on the island, from which he will try in every way to keep you away, once he understands your skills in the Pokémon battle.

After this introductory scene, you will be given the chance to catch a special Slowpoke.

Got it Slowpoke, you will be ready to continue on your new adventure. Once on the island, you will have to go to the great Dojo to be able to meet the master Mustard, a sprightly old man who trained the former champion of Galar.

From now on, you will have to pass several dojo tests, after which you will receive the new Legendary Pokémon exclusive to this expansion, Kubfu.

Once obtained, you will gain access to one of the two special towers: that of the Dark and that of the Water. Once you have completed one of the two towers, your Pokémon Kubfu will evolve into one of two forms of Urshifu: Single shot e Multi-shot.

A desolate island

After completing the main adventure which lasts roughly a couple of hours, you will have the option of being able to fully explore the whole island or take on the Limited Trial, but it's not all roses and flowers.

The island compared to the Wild Lands of the base game, has improved in terms of exploration, but this is undermined by the absence of a mini map or a compass, in fact not a few times we have resorted to the Flight-Taxi to be able to return to the point of departure.

Furthermore, the exploration phase did not fully satisfy us, especially in the large areas, while the small ones, such as the woods and the narrowest areas, were successful.

Some caves offer alternative routes and an arrangement on several levels, nothing so striking or difficult to overcome, in fact it will not take much to proceed in the dungeon.

La Limited trial instead it can be a valid diversion to test new combinations in the field. It is a challenge that forces the player to field 3 Pokémon of the same type, once completed you will be rewarded with Fighting Points.

Apricorns are back

The expansion brings with it old and new features, absent in the base game. In fact, there will be the very famous Apricorns, fruits introduced in the second generation of Pokémon that allowed the manufacture of special Poké-Balls (legend of the GS-ball, do you feel drawn into question?).

In addition to Apricorns, the Move Insignia returns, which in exchange for some rare rocks from the island will teach our Pokémon some exclusive moves in this expansion, very useful for competitive purposes.

Turning to the new additions, we mention the Zuppamax that if prepared with the right amount of ingredients, will get the shape Gigamax to any Pokémon, as long as it can have one.

Then there is the Cramobot, a special tool that in exchange for four tools of our choice, will provide us with one. You can also get the PP-Su and all the variants of the Poké Balls, moreover if you insert 4 Apricorns, from the Cramobot a Ball rare.

In addition to these great additions, a new item is introduced, the experience amulet which will allow us to earn more experience points after each fight and a strange NPC who, without asking for anything in return, will cancel the prohibited moves of Pokémon from past generations.

The new area is inhabited only by Pokémon absent in the base game, specifically 100 sleep and there are no other coaches other than those specific to the Dojo. In addition, new raids are introduced thus guaranteeing many hours of play, especially if you are looking for the Zeraora shiny.

The usual heated soup

Graphically speaking, this new DLC does not bring improvements, in fact they are used the same low resolution textures seen in the base games.

Overall there is a clear contrast between the internal environments, such as the dojo, rich in details and details that over time can even increase, thanks to the customization given to the player and the external areas, sparse and characterized by few trees, all the same. seasoned with a pop-up of wild Pokémon during the various movements.

An appetizer for a bright future

This first DLC is a clear experiment by Game Freak to test the waters for the second part of the Expansion Pass and for possible future projects.

Although not free from defects, with a trivial plot and a graphic sector unchanged compared to the base game, The Solitary Island of Armor does not try to justify the cost of the entire package by itself, but at the same time tries to make itself attractive to all types of players, offering various activities, such as searching for ben 151 Diglet or the Limit Test.

So whether you are a collector or a competitive player, the first DLC will be able to entertain you for many hours.

With this conclusion, we can close the review of this first part of the Expansion Pass package.

We will meet again this Fall with the second DLC, The Snowy Lands of the Crown, which according to what is declared and shown, on paper will be a much more focused expansion on the adventure and on the Pokémon lore.

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