Pokémon Shield: The Isle of Armor DLC Impression
…the island is basically one big Wild Area, for better and for worse.
When first announced, the Pokémon Sword and Shield expansion packs were a hot topic, since, instead of releasing a slightly upgraded new version, like they have done each generation in the past, Game Freak and Nintendo took a foray into new territory for the brand. The first of two announced expansions, Isle of Armor dropped in June, offering a new story, rivals, and a substantial number of Pokémon, new and old, all living in what is essentially an all-encompassing Wild Area.
After a short trip, trainers end up on the Isle of Armor and quickly run into the dojo, which doubles as a Pokémon Center for the island. After proving their potential, trainers are given the legendary Pokémon Kubfu and are tasked with training and bonding with them. The story mostly revolves around getting Kubfu to evolve and Gigantamax, with a new rival to compete with as you go. There’s nothing groundbreaking about it and it’s mostly just a shallow narrative to get trainers to explore the whole island, but it does succeed in that.
The island itself is made up of several different smaller zones, each with its own cycles of weather and Pokémon. The weather makes the biggest impact on what Pokémon trainers will see as they go about their journey, so checking back in on an area when it’s raining might net a Politoed, while visiting when there’s mist might yield a Blissey. There’s also a ton of shiny spots on the ground to examine for treasure, plenty of berry trees to shake, a fair few Pokémon dens, and areas dramatically different from one another, so it’s hardly boring, though it can be repetitive in long sessions.
As said earlier, the island is basically one big Wild Area, for better and for worse. That includes many of the issues present in the base game’s Wild Areas. Slowdowns and glitches such as players on bikes flying over a zone are all present, and it’s a shame these distractions haven’t been rectified.
The Isle of Armor expansion feels substantial enough and worth getting for those who really enjoyed the base games, and it’s definitely a must-have for those who want to play competitively. However, it doesn’t provide that much new, and anyone who ended up disappointed in Sword or Shield — or outright didn’t like the Wild Area — isn’t going to find anything here to make a substantial change.