@KayFiOS Agreed. I've been playing since Red, completed the Red Dex and the National Dex in Pokemon X/Y. The series as a whole has steadily stagnated over the years, with brief moments of improvement only acting as a band-aid for the lack of ambition and aimless slog of annual releases. X and Y were a surprisingly great graphical step forward for the series if nothing else, Black and White 2 (and the original versions) were a unique take on a less traditional Pokemon storyline, which was refreshing, but these improvements on their own do little to hide the now incredibly stale and tired gameplay formula Pokemon has been re-hashing for longer than many players have been alive.

The turn-based battle gameplay is incredibly bloated and slow while still relying on text rather than gameplay to communicate information to the player (think Breath Of The Wild — if this game were a Game Freak project, a lazy "Brr, you are freezing! Seek fire or warm clothing to get warm!" message would appear on-screen to inform players that Link is cold).

Sword and Shield in particular show that there is clearly a fundamental problem, be it a time/resource or development goal-related issue, between TPC and Game Freak that is preventing them from producing a fully-realized, cohesive game experience. The games utilize a bizarre amalgamation of open world mechanics with the utterly rigid linear hallway design of old Pokemon titles. The series continues to introduce half-baked game mechanics that many players don't even make use of, only to quickly forget them with the next poorly-conceived entry.

There is a distinct lack of synchronicity between the level design and the game design in that the games vainly attempt to imitate open world design without actually integrating open world mechanics, such as creating interaction between Pokemon and the game environment or taking any other steps to actually produce a world that appears to be lived-in by humans or powerful animals. No Pokemon interact with each other or the environment, no bird Pokemon fly food to their young, no NPCs can be seen interacting with the world or catching Pokemon, having battles, etc. It is a half-baked world full of stationary 3D models and floaty Pokemon models T-posing their way in circles within a set radius.

The same items spawn repeatedly in the same spots of the small, lifeless alpha testing room that is the Wild Area. "Weather effects" are more akin to a manic person's mood swings in that they devolve from sunny blue skies into tornado-of-death conditions in the blink of an eye with gaudy transitions. Art assets like the entirely useless Berry Trees visibly clash with the non-interactable Nintendo 64 overworld trees that meaninglessly dot the often completely flat terrain. The storyline is nonsensical to the point that it doesn't deserve a mention, the lighting is so abysmal that even official promotional screenshots for the upcoming DLC look under-lit or over-exposed in places. It's worth mentioning that the lighting is so poor that it can actually negatively impact gameplay in that it makes it easy to confuse a poorly-lit wild Pokemon model for a shiny, especially for children. Even the small details leave a sour taste: the animated loading screen icon still has a floating pixel on one of its frames. There is visible white screen tearing at the top of the screen in Shield's portable mode in the Wild Area at night time (try standing near the Day Care at night). The North American eShop bundle listings for Sword and Shield feature text in the item image that is overlaid by standard eShop "Bundle" text, as if the asset designer hadn't reviewed how it looks in the shop or looked at other examples of bundles in the shop before slapping an image together for the eShop listing.

I could go on, there are no limits to the issues present in the latest Pokemon titles (and the series as a whole). After they push out the rest of the game that should have been on the cartridge for $30 to greedily scrape every last nickel they can out of this release, they need to cancel the development of any future projects and take a solid two or more years to address their shortcomings, develop infrastructure to meet those shortcomings, place a game director in charge who not only actually understands the Switch architecture but is passionate to bring a different type of Pokemon experience to it, assign a data team to collect and analyze fan feedback for developers to reference, and implement a strong development plan based on a greater understanding of the Switch and what Pokemon fans want, all of which are necessary to produce a high quality modern Pokemon title that matters.

Fire whoever is handling TPC's PR and let go of the unprofessional Game Freak art director who publicly shared a social media message indirectly calling fans of the series the C-word (fans who were passionate enough about Pokemon to criticize their favorite series when what they saw from its promotional material wasn't living up to their expectations for the series, I'll add), and issue a sincere apology for his conduct. Apologise to long-time fans of the series for disappointing them with Sword and Shield, and commit fully to producing a better-executed, better planned, and simply better game that fans of Pokemon and Switch owners will love. I'm not holding my breath for any of this, unfortunately.