Pokémon DLCs are great but leave a bad taste

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A new Pokémon Direct aired this morning revealing not only a new Mystery Dungeon title but also two DLC packs for their new releases Sword and Shield. This was always something that seemed likely to happen given the lack of a full Pokédex and overall feeling of a glass half full kind of game. I wasn’t expecting the announcement however or what exactly would be coming with the first DLCs but we now have that information. 

I always assumed that they would use DLCs to bring in new Gigantamax forms by introducing them in raid battles and possibly some unavailable Pokémon from previous generations. It appears that they went through with that and then some by also announcing more Galarian forms, new characters, and some entirely new Pokémon. 

Breaking down the Gigantamax forms is relays enough with most of them being expected. We will be getting new forms for Venusaur, Blastoise, and for each of the new starter Pokémon. On top of that we’ll be getting two different forms for the new Pokémon Urshifu. Now we don’t have official artwork yet but we do have some screenshots to go off of. It looks to me like the new Urshifu has the coolest looking forms with the rest being somewhat bland or almost a ripoff of forms we’ve seen before. The most noticeable one being Blastoise who looks almost exactly like the Drednaw Gigantamax form. Overall I’d say I was a little disappointed overall and I was expecting to see something that just looked more appealing and cooler. Regardless it’s nice to see that we are and will be getting more content and more forms for other Pokémon in the future. 

The Galarian forms are the real highlight for me with some big surprises. Slowpoke doesn’t seem to be too different aside from some slight color change but Slowking who we don’t get a great look at, does appear to have a significant shane in appearance. The real highlight though is that we’ll be getting Galarian Forms of Moltres, Zappos, and Articuno. All three look amazing with Articuno maybe being my favorite by design. 

Finally we were introduced to a few new Pokemon, Kubfu who evolves into Urshifu and Calyrex along with two new Regi Pokémon who were unnamed. I don’t care for the look of Calyrex all that much but I am excited for Kubfu and his evolution and the new Regis. I was surprised by the Regis the most but regardless I’m just excited for the addition of new Pokémon. 

With that being all of the new Pokémon information released, it was the overall DLC content that had me the most excited. They could have easily just dropped the new Pokémon in locations we already have but instead they’re introducing new locations and what appears to be two new stories. One for each of the two DLCs. It makes it a better investment for anyone looking for more out of their game and quests to complete. 

It isn’t clear whether there are version exclusives but it seems safe to assume that there likely will be. Surprisingly I’m most excited for the inclusion of some older Pokémon that weren’t previously available, most notably the Gible line, but of course there’s going to be something for everyone and is an exciting step for where this series could go. There is a downside though. 

The worst part about this announcement is that we’re having to pay for more content. I’m not against DLCs because they’re so common now fit most games, but in general I’m not a fan of companies doing it. It’s a way to keep the games fresh by introducing new content, but more a way for them to get more money out of the fans. Pokémon has never gone this route with their core games and there was a lot of controversy with what was left out when Sword and Shield were first released. We can speculate whether or not they were capable of including more Pokémon or having a better post game story, but honestly it appears that they may have intentionally left content out for the DLCs and to make more money. 

I have a problem with this because it’s not how they’ve always done things and is kind of a right hook to the fans. For example, if the national dex wasn’t always included in most of the games then it would make more sense, but since we have had the ability to catch all of the Pokémon in almost all of the games, it seems more like a disservice to make us have to pay for DLCs to get them. I might be looking into it too much and maybe there were other reasons for doing this, but on the surface I don’t like the approach they’re taking.

Despite my feelings about not liking their approach, I am very much excited for the new DLCs and will likely end up getting both of them. It really is an opportunity to keep the games fresh and to keep players coming back to it. They didn’t take a lazy approach of only giving us Pokémon but rather including new side stories to complete. Overall I’m very excited for the release of the expansions and hopefully they live up to what appears to be an exciting new future for their games.

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One comment

  1. It basically is a 2 part second game for Sword and Shield. There was Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon plus many second versions before those.
    Sure, people view it as DLC. But, it is exactly what it’s called. An “Expansion Pass.”
    The Galar Region’s train is a highlight in that it takes the trainer to the Wild Area for the first time. Now, Trainers who purchase the expansion pass will (judging by activity at Wedgehurst Station) receive an entirely new pass for the train. This will allow them to reach the new areas, new storyline, and new pokemon.
    However, trainers who do not purchase the expansion pass will still be able to receive the new pokemon via trade. They just will not be able to proceed to the new storyline themselves.
    Also, the new and more controllable co-op mode had been hinted at from the very beginning of Sword and Shield gameplay being announced. This leads me to personally believe that the expansions were planned early on.
    Moreover, with most second versions trainers must pay the retail price of a new pokemon game ($59.99 USD). With the expansion pass, trainers are able to purchase both parts for $20 USD cheaper than any second version released.
    Will trainers still find fault with the new expansion pass? Of course. With people encouraging the view of it as DLC, gamers feel a sense of entitlement to receive it for free. Then there will be those who purchase it in hope of seeing a specific pokemon come into the game, only to be inevitably disappointed.
    It is, at the end of the day, a video game. It is an entirely new direction for the pokemon franchise. Many of the trainers who have stuck with the franchise since the original games are beginning to “outgrow” them. I believe this is pokemon’s attempt to recaptivate not only those trainers, but an entirely new generation as well.


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