For the first time in the series’ history, Pokémon has received its first paid downloadable content. Pokémon: The Isle of Armor is the first of two expansions to come to Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, and with it comes a host of returning Pokémon, a new story, and a brand new location.
First and foremost, The Isle of Armor is more of the same. If you were a fan of the base game, you should get some enjoyment out of this. In saying that, much of the base games problems are still prevalent here. You’ll still encounter framerate issues, especially when online, and graphical-related problems like texture and object pop-in are present too. Despite these issues, I still found The Isle of Armor to be a really fun experience.
The Isle of Armor is located just off the coast of Galar. Essentially, it serves as one big Wild Area, although it’s not quite as big as the one in the base game. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing however, as the island is by no means small and I believe it succeeds over the base games Wild Area with how varied the terrain is. On the island, you’ll come across damp wetlands, a scorching desert, a deep forest, multiple caves and there’s the expansive sea surrounding the island.
The expansion’s main narrative centres around the Master Dojo and its master, Mustard, who tasks you with completing its trials. This eventually leads to receiving Kubfu, who you must work with to complete one of the islands challenge towers. The questline is quite short, and you could easily beat it within three hours or so. It’s still really fun however, the characters and writing are charming enough and Kubfu and Urshifu are among the stronger designs of this generation.
Speaking of designs, Galarian Slowpoke and Slowbro are also great, but I will admit I was a little disappointed to find that these were the only Galarian forms added in the expansion. To be fair, I don’t think more was ever promised, but it would’ve been a nice surprise regardless. The Pokédex itself isn’t as expansive as I would have liked either. We’re all aware of the criticism Game Freak caught for excluding so many Pokémon from Sword and Shield, so I was disappointed to see only 111 Pokémon introduced to the game.
A prominent topic around DLC and expansions is always if they’re worth the price to pay. It’s one that’s hard to discuss with the Isle of Armor, as the amount of content it provides really depends on how you play. I mentioned that the main storyline can be completed in under three hours, but you’ll accrue more time if you want to do the sidequests and fill out the Pokédex. This is how I’ve chosen to play through the expansion, so I’ve spent around eight hours with the expansion. This will differ slightly among players, but there’s also the option to either ignore or transfer the new Pokémon from Pokémon Home, meaning the time investment would be reduced significantly.
Ultimately, if you enjoyed your time with Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, you’re bound to enjoy The Isle of Armor. The expansion is more of the same great content that we received in the base game, with a few quality of life improvements as well. In terms of time investment, you’re looking at an eight-hour experience if you’re interested in doing everything that’s available. If you’re just looking to do the main storyline and grab Urshifu, you’ll only need around three hours. If this is the case, you’re probably better off waiting until the expansion goes on sale or getting Urshifu through trading.
The Isle of Armor is now available to download on Nintendo Switch. If you’ve yet to purchase, ensure that you’re buying the correct expansion pass for the game that you own. You can purchase the expansion pass for Pokémon Sword here. The expansion pass for Pokémon Shield can be purchased here.
Pokemon: The Isle of Armor
The Isle of Armor is more of the same great content that we received in the base game, with a few quality of life improvements as well. It’s well worth the investment if you’re a hardcore Pokemon fan, but if you’re just looking to grab a legendary then you’re better off getting it through trading.
- Great follow up to the base game
- The Isle is a great locale
- Quality of Life Improvements
- Not enough returning Pokémon
- Issues from the base game return