Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield see the beloved series put a mainline title on a home console for the first time. For some, these titles change too little and for others, they vary too much from the formula.
One of the changes is the EXP share being automatically on, with no option to turn it off. While people have argued about if the EXP share should be used in the past, its no longer up for debate for better or for worse.
10 Combat Focused Purely On Type Matchup (Love)
With automatic EXP share combat can be focused purely on type matchups. With no need to be concerned with keeping the whole party up to level, you can always pick the most effective type for your opponent's Pokémon. In prior titles, you would occasionally be forced to ignore the obvious super-effective type matchup in your party in order to make sure the runt of the group didn't fall too far behind. It removes another facet of the game that was more annoying than anything else.
9 Game Isn't Balanced For It (Hate)
Pokémon isn't the only JRPG to have full party EXP share in its modern iterations. Games like Dragon Quest XI also feature this type of structure where the entire party, even members not in combat, receive EXP. The difference here is that Dragon Quest XI is balanced with this in mind and has difficulty options based around the EXP share. Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield seemingly got made without too much thought being put in around the EXP share, with your parties' levels easily running away from you just for playing the game. If you battle all the trainers you come across and catch Pokémon whenever you see a new one you can very easily end up five or more levels higher than your next gym matchup.
8 Lessens Tedious Turn-Based RPG Grinding (Love)
Depending on what type of person you are, grinding out levels in RPGs and JRPGs is either the worst thing ever or the best thing ever. EXP share diminishes the grinding necessary in the main story of the new Pokémon games pretty much out of existence.
This is great, since battling wild Pokémon doesn't yield much EXP unless they are a much higher level and the games very rarely feature the option to battle trainers again after beating them. In prior titles grinding involved just running circles in the tall grass violently attacking wild animals.
7 Allows For Heavy Starter Reliance (Hate)
The majority of Pokémon playthroughs involve having a slightly OP starter compared to the rest of your team. That said, without EXP share the game forced you to make sure the other members of the team got used. Otherwise, you would eventually hit a roadblock that your favorite animal couldn't get through. With EXP share you can use your starter as often as humanly possible, with little to no consequences. Occasionally type matchups would remove them from play, but other than that the game doesn't force or really encourage making sure every member of the party gets used.
6 Easier To Bring Low-Level Pokémon Up To Speed (Love)
Back in the day, bringing a low-level Pokémon up to level took some tremendous and annoying effort. It involved returning to an area where low-level wild Pokémon could be ground out or throwing the low-level party member out at the start of battle and switching them out immediately. Now just bringing them along can get them up to level, which makes it far easier and less time consuming to try out that Pokémon you caught a couple of hours ago. This gives more freedom to be able to change up the party without taking a few hours to power level.
5 Options Are Always Better (Hate)
There is absolutely no reason why the EXP share can't be optional. The game isn't balanced heavily enough in its favor that it would be too difficult without it and it's been optional in the past. Video games should also feature options when it comes to difficulty and Pokémon doesn't feature any options without being able to disable EXP share.
Having it on by default would mean that most players use it, but the option would make a lot of series veterans happy. The game doesn't justify having it always on in any meaningful way, so it should be optional.
4 Areas With A Single Type Of Pokémon Don't Destroy Team Balance (Love)
Pokémon games almost religiously feature at least one route or area that features a single type of Pokémon exclusively. Deserts or snowy mountain tops, battling through and catching wild Pokémon in this area usually calls for the use of one member of your team for optimal type matchups. The problem used to be that at the end of these sections one member of your team would be a couple of levels higher than the others, forcing you to try and rebalance that. EXP share removes this issue by always rewarding the whole team regardless of who gets used. The Pokémon that got used will get more, but it's better than nothing.
3 Removes The Only "Challenge" (Hate)
The problem with turn-based RPGs that don't have actual "easy medium hard" difficulty options is that the difficulty of the game is based purely on the intelligence of the A.I. and how hard it is to level up. Pokémon has notoriously dumb A.I. opponents so for many players grinding out levels was where the "challenge" in Pokémon came from. While the argument that grinding is super tedious exists, having EXP share does successfully destroy any challenge the games have. While the target audience is children, many adults play the games and get frustrated by not having any real challenge.
2 Can Use Your Favorite Pokémon Without Consequence (Love)
Sometimes you find yourself a pocket monster that you just absolutely adore using. So much so, that you want them in front of your party as often as possible, regardless of what the game dictates.
With EXP share, your favorite Pokémon can be used without the rest of the team becoming underdeveloped and worthless. A big appeal of the game is the many different Pokémon and players almost always have a favorite, so why not let them favor it without punishing them.
1 No Way To Avoid Power Leveling (Hate)
Unless you're going to remove a member of your party temporarily or level them incapacitated so they don't gain experience, there is no way to stop one of your Pokémon from leveling if they get too powerful. While being powerful is great, having a Pokémon that one-shots most opponents can be boring, but there is no way to stop them from earning EXP and leveling up without just putting them in your boxes or leaving them at zero HP, which means they can't be used in a battle easily.