The good and bad of the January 2020 Pokémon Direct

New Pokemon! Fashion! Thirty dollars per game!

The good and bad of the January 2020 Pokémon Direct
First published: | Updated:

| Pokemon Sword & Pokemon Shield

Pokemon. Sorry, I need to type it out without the accent for the sake of SEO. Pokémon. Ah, there we go.

Pokémon just had one of its biggest-ever Direct stream showcases, and displayed a brand new (sort of) Pokémon game, in addition to a whole bunch of DLC content coming to Pokémon Sword and Shield, which is nice, honestly.

While much of what was shown off was very cool and gave Pokémon fans reason to be excited, a bunch of it also gave me pause for thought. And, well, that's what this article is here for. Strap in everyone, it's time to go through the good and bad of the January 2020 Pokémon Direct…

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon isn't very good

Sorry, it's just not. Some people like randomly generated dungeon crawlers, I get that, and back when basic PCs and simplistic consoles were all anyone had, a randomly generated dungeon crawler literally offered more content than any other game on the market. Conceptually genius, honestly.

Playing them in the modern-day, though? Bad. Awful, even. And I would heavily question whether or not this series would have any legs today if it didn't have the Pokémon branding attached. Yes, I know there are non-Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, but no one actually talks about those, which is basically my point.

Regardless, these remakes of the original Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games actually have a demo available on the Nintendo Switch eshop right now, so you can judge for yourself how good they are and then come back to berate me.

Sword/Shield DLC, Isle of Armor, Crown Tundra

So there's no third version of a Pokémon game releasing this year, instead we're getting two big DLC additions, The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra, releasing in June 2020 and Fall 2020 respectively.

I have absolutely nothing against this, in fact I rather like the idea of not having to play the same game all over again for the sake of reviewing what amounts to DLC expansions, and I hope this will at least somewhat appease the Dexit crowd. The expansions come with huge new areas, and seemingly loads of new content, including Pokémon, so this should beef up the game's content, and the amount of time you'll spend playing them, pretty considerably.

New Pokémon forms and legendaries

I actually love new Pokémon forms. Just keep giving Slowpoke new colours instead of adding new Pokémon - I'm actually all for it, it breathes new life into the series without me having to memorise a new set of Pokémon for the dozenth time.

We also get a few brand new legendary Pokémon added to the game, including some weird fighting bear which evolves into either a water fighting bear, or a dark fighting bear. I don't know what this means, but it seems fine.

Old Pokémon are back, kinda

The best part is the fact that it seems almost all of the legendary Pokémon from older games will return in this DLC expansion, and the original legendary bird trio looks hella cool. I'm all in for that, honestly.

The Regi trio from third-gen are returning too. Honestly, this is all fine, but I'm not sure these are anyone's favourite creatures.

My mentor, Mustard

Apparently the Champion Leon had an old man named Mustard mentor him. Weird, because I just defeated Leon by using a handful of moves over and over, and I didn't even need a mentor. I guess he's not very good.

There are also a few new Gym Leader wannabes hanging around, but I don't expect them to be much more threatening than everyone I've already dismantled thus far.


The fully evolved versions of your starter Pokémon are getting brand new GIGANTAMAX forms! I have to spell it with capitals because they're big! Why weren't these in the games originally! No one knows!


Okay, I actually love the second generation of Pokémon, so I'm perfectly fine with Apricorns returning. These are essentially berries you can have turned into special Pokéballs. I'm all for it.


New clothes! Fashion! Work it, girl! I'd make a joke here, but you can actually update your Pokémon game right now and get customizing with new items immediately, and that's pretty cool, so no qualms here.

Pokémon Home

Finally, Pokémon Sword and Shield are getting Pokémon Home compatibility next month, February 2020. No, this doesn't mean you can add Pokémon not currently in the Galar dex, sorry. Yes, I know you have already completed the Pokédex and this is pointless. No, it is not my problem.

Thirty dollars

Okay, this is actually a big complaint from me. Thirty dollars is less than buying a new physical game, yes, and you do get both expansions, yes, but this robs anyone that has been patient.

Traditionally a Pokémon game releases, and a new version with added content is available within a year. Many people don't like that, but that's how it is. As a result, many players decide to just wait until the third version is available and buy it complete with all the content from day one. That's great.

But now, and get this: that is not an option. Thanks to Nintendo's incredibly stable and predictable price points, we know we won't be buying Pokémon Sword and Shield for anything less than £40 in the next year or two, but in addition to that, you'll have to spend thirty dollars for the DLC expansion no matter what. Per game. Yes, if you are a Pokémaniac and have both versions, you'll be coughing up money for the DLC expansion for each. Both of them. Separate purchases. Suddenly, this is getting very expensive indeed for the hardcore Pokémon fans…

All in all, today's Pokémon Direct was a good one, but ouch - my wallet hates me right now.

Dave Aubrey
Dave Aubrey
Dave is the Guides Editor at Pocket Gamer. Specialises in Nintendo, complains about them for a living.