Many moons ago, yours truly reviewed the first part of Pokémon: Sword & Shield’s expansion pack the Isle of Armor. And being the completionist that I am, a review of Crown Tundra, the second and supposedly last installment of the 8th generation of Pokémon games DLC, was a must.
Now, the first point that I would like to make that deserves our utmost attention is that there are no rival trainers within the confines of the Tundra. This expansion focuses primarily on exploring the environment and the secrets that it holds, which benefits the release greatly. Also, the experience is significantly better when your main companion, Peony, is a more entertaining character than the rival that you meet at the dojo in the Isle of Armor. I dare even say that his theme song is my new favorite song in the entire game.
However, while you are given a large area to explore, there is an argument to be had over whether or not it offers diversity in its nature-inspired setting when compared to the previous expansion.
When it comes to the Legendary Raids (which is where you can catch most of the legendary Pokémon), I have developed somewhat of a love/hate relationship with it. The concept behind these “Max Raids” as the game calls them, sounds good on paper, but it plays out weird when executed.
When you start a raid, the four characters embark on the selected journey and you cannot walk in with your own Pokémon. The game gives you three options, and players can only choose one; when the journey starts, each player chooses their own path. When the players arrive to the area where the Legendary Pokémon is located (which you only know one of its potential types before they reveal themselves), you meet the different Pokémon and their distinct types that you can capture and exchange with the one that you have currently borrowed, which can be prove to be helpful feature depending on the type that you currently have.
Where is the negative of it all? Apart from a moronic AI that usually causes more trouble than they are worth; the medal for worst feature goes to the fact that you can only keep one copy of each legendary. Normally, that would not be an issue (I mean, that´s how its always been in Pokémon). But there is an unfortunate chance of meeting a Pokémon you already have, which causes the Max Raid to “end” rather quickly, depending on how many friends you are playing with.
Granted, whenever you enter a Max Raid, the player(s) are rewarded with what the game calls a Dynite Ore. You can exchange these for various items that can be quite hard to obtain without a Dynite Ore. But I can only see some hard-core fans who enjoy battling online taking advantage of this feature, even after catching the last legendary.
At the end of it all, Crown Tundra is the meat and potatoes for Game Freak and The Pokémon Company. While I´m unsure if their first attempt at DLC is really worth the $15 USD estimated price point (taking into account that the price for the DLC packet is $30 USD), it is certainly the one I would recommend if both this one and Isle of Armor were sold separately and you could only afford one of them.
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