We attended a presentation session for this second part of the Expansion Pass; the most ambitious DLC of the set, packed with content and new features.
Pokémon is in a particularly special moment, one marked by experimentation in what is now its third generation in three dimensions. The farewell of White 2 and Black 2 in Unova in style in 2012 gave way to 3D, that started in Kalos and continued in a tropical Alola. Nintendo Switch now places us in Galar in Pokémon Sword and Shield, a region that, for the first time in these twenty-four years of history, has been complemented with an injection of life, an expansion pass, instead of a vitamin edition; It is time to tell you about the second part, Las Nieves de la Corona, after a digital meeting that FreeGameTips has been able to attend.
After a remarkable Isle of Armor —focused on combat and individual self-improvement—, this new DLC included in the Expansion Pass shakes hands with cooperation, dons a raincoat and uses good fanservice to give us much more territory large, versatile in ecosystems and endowed with a game mode with cooperative adventures that culminate in the confrontation of a legendary Pokémon. How many? Everybody. Nobody is missing here.
A territory that inherits the best of La Isla de la Armadura
First of all, it is necessary to answer this question, what is Las Nieves de la Corona and what does it add to the experience of Sword and Shield? Broadly speaking, a second area located south of Galar where everything is completely snowed. New mysteries, new areas to explore and a new story to complete; this time with greater emphasis on exploration and Legendary species, which hide surprises in the Dynamax phenomenon.
In this freezing area where winter mountains abound, the inhabitants live in small communities and help each other. One of them, Peony, will introduce us to what is happening in Las Nieves de la Corona, will give us that warm orange uniform and … the adventure will begin, which we will talk about in depth soon in our Reviews. And yes, it is possible to access this area without completing Sword and Shield, just visit the station three of Pueblo Par; as with the Isle of Armor. Also, the level of the wild Pokémon will be adapted to ours so that the progression system is not broken, although we were not told the limit of that level.
In this test session Nintendo presented a breakdown of what we are going to find. For those who might have doubts about whether this second part of the Expansion Pass will be more or less concise than the Isle of Armor, the answer was very clear: “It is a much larger territory”, with more biomes; not just the snow, which is the common denominator of most areas of this unexplored place. In fact, it is based in Edinburgh, Scotland, from which we hope to identify reminiscences of its nature. One of them, the high mountains and the contrast in the same territory of ice, water and mountains. The verticality of the stage is total, inheriting the lines of stage design that we liked so much on the Isle of Armor; here the Wild Area is kept for the entire map and that is appreciated.
From all the material that we have been able to see, we want to highlight the abundance of pine trees and how the use of snow has been cohesive with areas of frozen water. It is not just an environmental element, but the wild species we encounter will be in line with those guidelines. This is something that Game Freak already declared last June: the hundred new creatures on the Isle of Armor – the same for The Snows of the Crown – were going to be a selection made to measure to make sense of the environment. The result of these well-structured environments in the form of the Wilderness Area ceases to be promising to become a real element of the Japanese company’s set design policy. If in Galar we had a timid approach to that area in the open world, throughout this Expansion Pass we have found open routes, free camera, changes in inclination, verticality and, ultimately, desire to explore. We hope this is the future of the series from now on, because it is a future that we would love to continue.
Dynamax Adventures: eight generations of Legendary Pokémon camouflaged in the snow
Apart from the dozens of new species that are back and that are added to the more than 500 total species of the Galar regional Pokédex (now the figure should well exceed 600), this adventure focuses on research and collaboration with other players to continue discovering the Dynamax phenomenon. That includes the story chapter focused on the legendary Calyrex (Psychic / Plant), who legend has it that reigned in the Galar region and enjoys supreme intelligence. It also highlights the incorporation of Slowking de Galar, the evolved form of Slowbro that we can capture in this new territory. And, of course, the new regional forms of the legendary birds of Kanto, Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres; added to Regieleki and Regidrago, who will continue to delve into the historical background of the license. We remember that they are species with two decades old.
And we come to the high point of this second part of the Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass: the Dynamax Adventures. For those of you who have played Pokémon Emerald and remember the Battlefront, this is a modernized evolution of the Battle Wyrm. This time online, in cooperative, but with really similar rules. Here the Dynamax phenomenon is once again the leitmotif, only that we complete the challenges in the company of a totally random team where each member has a single Pokémon. At a certain point in the adventure we can access this mode in which, unlike Galar’s raids, we can play with up to four people, both friends and strangers, to chain confrontations with Pokémon Dynamax until we reach the end, where a Legendary Dynamax.
We asked Nintendo if it would be possible to play without being connected online and the answer was yes: we can play the Dynamax Adventures offline, with companions controlled by the CPU. Nobody is left out. In case we prefer it, the local and online multiplayer options are maintained, but in this session we were shown an online game.
The rules are simple to understand: an initial board will present different routes and, from each route, several branches will appear to continue advancing. To advance you have to win fights, although the damage is maintained and, if all four members die, it is time to start over (there are four lives, one for each member). In total there are four confrontations: the previous three against Dynamax creatures of which we will only know the type before we start (unless you identify the silhouette) and the final Legendary. The particularity of the Dynamax Adventures is that with each completed confrontation we will have a Pokémon exchange bank, so at the end of the fight we will be able to choose whether to continue with our current team or keep the one we have captured.
Little by little, as we move forward, our health will suffer. Depending on the choice of route we can find lots of berries or we can heal one of the members of the group thanks to an ally character. The end result is a match against a Legendary with a 100% capture rate once defeated. We will always capture the Pokémon resulting from the Dynamax Adventure. Who are we talking about? Of the legendary species of the eight generations. From Latios and Latias through Giratina, the Tapu, Xerneas, Thundurus, Heatran, Uxie, Rayquaza … Dozens, we have content for many hours if we want to get hold of all of them and complete the Pokédex.
Finally, we were able to see several gameplay videos of the Galar Stars Tournament, a competition where we can join forces in 2v2 battles with other emblematic characters of the adventure, not just Gym leaders. In this case, it will be necessary to have completed the game to participate.
Soon we will give you more details of our impressions after playing and exploring everything that Las Nieves de la Corona has to offer, this complete DLC that is part of the Expansion Pass of Pokémon Sword and Shield. The feelings, for now, are positive.
We made this breakthrough after participating in a preview session hosted by Nintendo.