With every new game and every expansion, Pokemon continues to make it easier for players to do what they love: from building competitive teams to befriending their companions. And with new landscapes and stories to explore, Pokemon Sword and Shield’s Crown Tundra offers more of the good stuff while leaning into some welcome nostalgia with returning favorites and new takes on iconic legendaries.
Dynamax Adventure Your Way to a Dream Team
Pokemon Sword and Shield made it easier to craft your Pokemon team with nature-changing mints readily available if you had the skills to earn the necessary Battle Points. Crown Tundra builds on this with Dynamax Adventures which give you the chance to add Legendary Pokemon to your team. Additionally, you can potentially nab useful items as victory rewards, such as Bottle Caps, Dynamax Candy, Armorite Ore, and the new Ability Patch – which lets you change a Pokemon’s Ability to its species’ Hidden Ability if it has one.
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Explore these max lairs with up to thrree others, with each of you choosing just one Pokemon to borrow for the quest. Thanks to this rental system, the barrier of entry is practically non-existent but that doesn’t mean success is guaranteed.
One of the most compelling elements is the fact that you’re presented with a series of pathways to choose from. This added player autonomy is a welcomed addition to the random nature of raids. Each pathway allows you to battle a different type of Pokemon (ex. Poison vs Flying) so you’ll need to be strategic about which challenge is best for your team.
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Once you’ve defeated a Pokemon in battle you can catch it and choose to swap it with your current Pokemon or leave it behind and keep rolling with the one you brought to the battle. But the catch is your current Pokemon’s HP and status effects carry over after the fight, so a new one in better shape could definitely be worthwhile.
Each adventure takes you through four total battles and by the end you’ll get to choose one Pokemon you’ve defeated to add to your team permanently. Of course, most folks will likely pick whatever glorious legendary is waiting for them at the end, but still, it’s nice to have options.
To offset this challenge, there are NPC trainers along the way that provide a helping hand by lending you a different Pokemon, giving you a held item, or healing up your team for the battles ahead. Of course, this aid comes in the form of a dice roll to keep things interesting. And if four Pokemon are knocked out you’ll have to start from the beginning.
Becoming a Pokemon Star
Finishing all the stories in the base game and both DLC packs gives you the chance to participate in the Galarian Star Tournament multibattles. And you’ll get to partner with other NPC trainers you’ve met to face off against the best in Galar.
Apparently the NPC trainers you choose to team up with can reveal a whole new side to familiar friends and foes that you didn’t see before. Hopefully, those mysterious variations end up being meaningful or interesting and not something so subtle that it goes unnoticed entirely. Overall, the Galarian Star Tournament is definitely here for those players who are hungry for more ways to battle once the story is over.
More Stories to Discover
The wild area was one of the most exciting additions to Pokemon but its scale and scope weren’t quite as grand as I’d originally envisioned. Thankfully each expansion has also meant more areas to explore. And with that comes more stories to uncover. Without any spoilers, I can say I’m interested in seeing the ominous wonder of the Crown Tundra unfold.
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With Isle of Armor being a fairly short experience, I imagine Crown Tundra’s campaign will be comparable in length (though I wasn’t given a specific estimation). While there are some promising elements from what I’ve seen of Crown Tundra and more to do for those already invested, the DLC may fail to demand the attention of lapsed players unless they have very specific goals for their Pokedex or competitive teams.
Janet Garcia is IGN’s associate guides editor. You can follow her on Twitter @Gameonysus.