Pokemon Sword and Shield - Exploring Galar

Galar is a region where Pokemon come together and freely roam around. We compiled a list of currently known returning features and changes that appear in the wild.

Overview

The wild was shown during the Nintendo Treehouse live early gameplay feature. It is home to all sorts of Pokemon, both visible and invisible, the latter being those that can be found in the tall grass. As a trainer, you need to search far and wide to encounter Pokemon in their natural habitat. By doing so, you can record their data to update your Pokedex. In addition, you don’t always encounter the same Pokemon when visiting an area again due to the weather. For example, when a storm is brewing, some Pokemon that wouldn’t normally appear in the location will flock to the area. Have a look at the returning features and changes that occur when exploring the wild.

Returning features

Weather

Although moves such as Sunny Day and Rain Dance have existed for awhile, the advent of weather affecting the world only came in Generation 3. In Generation 4, new weather like snow made trips to new places more difficult. For example, trainers couldn’t use their bikes to cross snow-filled areas. In addition, the thick snow slowed down movement. Weather effects were also present on the battlefield, with Pokemon battles taking place under harsh sunlight, rain, hailstorm, or even a sandstorm.

Pokemon that move around

Those who have played Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu or Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee should be familiar with Pokemon visibly roaming around. Players will find that the same occurs in the Galar region. On top of that, you can even encounter these as “powerful wild Pokemon.” When a powerful wild Pokemon detects a trainer, it will pursue them to force an encounter. When encountered, the text “You encountered a very strong-looking Pokemon” will appear.

Crouching

Crouching premiered in Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire. Sometimes rare will Pokemon pop out when the player is moving through tall grass. However, you won’t be able to walk to them normally like for other encounters. Trying to do so will cause the Pokemon to flee. By creeping toward a Pokemon, they can avoid scaring Pokemon away.

Fishing

Fishing rods are helpful key items that allow trainers to encounter certain water type Pokemon and have been a key feature in Pokemon games since the first generation. In the demo, we saw that fishing closely resembles the feature in Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon. In those games, trainers can only fish in specific spots, indicated by a few circles on top of the water.

Added features and improvements

New weather patterns

As mentioned before, weather has been a feature in Pokemon since Generation 3. In Sword and Shield, the world comes to life with the addition of uncommon weather patterns. Revisiting areas in this weather might result in the player finding new powerful wild Pokemon or snagging a rare species from the tall grass. Players can also expect to find changes in encounters. During a thunderstorm, many electric Pokemon can be found in the tall grass. In addition, the battlefield will be affected by both rain and the electric terrain, boosting the power of water and electric moves.

Whistling

Whistling is another improvement to assist trainers in encountering Pokemon. Whistling allows trainers to attract the attention of some wild Pokemon but can confuse or annoy others. According to the game director Mr. Ohmori, whistling comes in handy when catching flying Pokemon, since they are normally difficult to grasp due to them soaring high in the sky. He added that you can expect that each Pokemon will react differently to the sound of a whistle.

Cycling

Bicycles have existed in the world of Pokemon since the first generation. In Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, trainers can hold down the B button to move more quickly on the bike. Dashing causes sparks to fly out from the pedals and boosts their speed while cycling. Moreover, some attachments appear when trainers enter the water while cycling. This makes a seamless transition from crossing land to surfing the sea. We’re not sure if cycling on water replaces the hidden machine Surf, which allowed trainers to ride their water type Pokemon across the sea.

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