One of the most consistent things about the mainline Pokemon games, a series well-known for staying consistent, is the way the difficulty scales throughout the mostly linear adventures. The way they’re set up, players never really have to worry about wandering off the intended path and coming across overpowered opponents they have no chance of beating at that point. Pokemon Sword and Shield are going to do things differently, however, by letting players do just that, if they so choose.
The Pokemon series’ first mainline console entries will be shaking things up in more ways than just turning Meowth into a hilarious meme. One of the biggest shakeups will be the addition of the Wild Area, a big open-world area in the heart of the Galar region where players will be free to explore to their hearts’ content and experience things like different biomes and changing weather. Eurogamer recently got to go hands-on with Sword and Shield, and it came away with brand new details about the Wild Area that should excite fans eager for a little unpredictability.
In the Wild Area, players will be able to encounter Pokemon in a variety of ways. In addition to the traditional random encounters triggered by walking in tall grass, Pokemon will also appear roaming around like in Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee. Moreover, exclamation marks will occasionally appear in tall grass, signaling a rarer Pokemon encounter that players can approach or avoid at their leisure.
While past games may have constantly scaled Pokemon in the Wild Area so as to make them never too far above players’ current levels, Pokemon Sword and Shield aren’t bothering, according to Eurogamer. This means players can head into the Wild Area early and, depending on where they wander, come across “drastically overleveled” Pokemon that will absolutely steamroll their fledgling team.
Besides over-leveled Pokemon, players will also encounter what Eurogamer referred to as “very strong looking” versions of regular Pokemon in the Wild Area. Taking another page out of the Let’s Go games’ book, these Pokemon will stand out from their normal counterparts by emitting a faint aura. More than that, these rare Pokemon will always boast a number of maximum “IVs,” the hidden stats that are randomly applied to Pokemon upon being caught.
Players will definitely want to capture these Pokemon when they get the chance, though the words “very strong looking” make it clear that it’s going to be quite the challenge to get them. If that doesn’t work, though, at least they’ll potentially have 500 other Pokemon to catch in Pokemon Sword and Shield.
Pokemon Sword and Shield will release for the Switch on November 15.