Historically, Nintendo hasn’t done much in the way of DLC. For the new Pokemon games, Sword and Shield, Nintendo added a season pass to make the Galar region more expansive. The season pass includes The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra. Players were introduced to the Isle of Armor in mid-June.
The goal of the DLC is to become a master in the Kung Fu arts with a new Pokemon and defeat a new rival. I played Pokemon Shield, so my new rival was a weird spindly fellow with a tall hat, a so-called Psychic Pokemon expert named Avery. The rival for Pokemon Sword is a funky poison expert named Klara.
When players first arrive on the island, they are introduced to an expansive island filled with Pokemon not found in the Galar region. It’s always exciting to see classic Pokemon to catch and new areas to explore. But this new sensation only lasts for so long.
Not long after the first encounter with Avery, players head to a dojo. It’s there they meet with the Master of the dojo, Mustard. He gives the player and his students, including Avery, a few tasks to follow before granting the player a new legendary Pokemon, Kubfu, a ninja bear.
Mustard then tasks the player to take this new Pokemon and level it up around the island before taking it to either the Water Tower or the Shadow Tower to have it learn it’s true power. Each tower lets Kubfu learn a new type of move in addition to the fighting-type it already knows as well as evolve into Urishifu.
In the dark tower, Urishifu learns Single Strike Style, which is fighting and dark-type. It can learn the signature move Wicked Blow, a dark type move that results in a crit, ignoring any opposition stat changes. In the water tower, Urishifu learns Rapid Strike Style, fighting/water-type move. The signature move, Surging Strikes, is a water-type move. It always hits the opponent three times with each hit being a crit. This move also ignores the opponent’s stat changes.
The problem with The Isle of Armor expansion is that it feels like padding. When I arrived on the island, I was the Champion of the Galar Region. I was the best of the best that could exist. And no one had heard of me. No one on the Isle of Armor had heard of the new champion, which feels wrong.
I’ve been a champion for six months and no one knows who I am? Plus, most of the members of the dojo, including Avery, are only level 60 at best. I was at least 75 with most of my Pokemon, as I needed to be to defeat Zamazenta and catch him successfully. So the The Isle of Armor is no challenge and feels more like a burden instead of a fun addition.
There are a few additions besides new Pokemon. There are raid battles with the Mythical Pokemon Zeraora, but players aren’t able to catch this Pokemon after a battle. Also, there’s a man who has somehow lost 151 Alolan Digletts across the island and requests that the player find them. I found about 127 before losing interest due to the extremely repetitive and non-intuitive ways to track the Digletts left.
I adore the Pokemon series. I’ve been playing it as long as I remember. But this has been the first time I have played a Pokemon game and felt like it was just a cash grab. It wasn’t anything special. It added nothing to the game and felt like busy work. I didn’t really want to complete it. But I did so I could be ready for The Crown Tundra expansion in the fall. For those who want a new adventure and haven’t tried Pokemon Sword and Shield yet, this expansion would probably work out better for you.
It would be a place you could adventure to while also becoming a champion of the Galar region. But for those who have played the game, The Isle of Armor doesn’t work well with the game play. It’s additional and unfortunately not entertaining or well organized. I’d pass on it if players are looking for something fun and new. This expansion isn’t it. Maybe the next one will be.
Pokemon Sword and Shield – The Isle of Armor is part one of the Galar Region Expansion Pass. It’s available now for $29.99 and was purchased by the reviewer. All images taken from in-game screenshots.