Released in June 2020, Pokémon received its first piece of paid DLC in the form of The Isle of Armor. With prior generations of Pokémon, GameFreak released a third game that adds more content to that generation. This can take the form of new area, characters, story elements, or even new Pokémon. However, with the release of Sword and Shield on the Nintendo Switch, GameFreak is taking a new approach to new content by using DLC for the first time. The Isle of Armor does exactly what previous updated versions of Pokémon have done in the past. New Pokémon have been added to the game, many older Pokémon return, and a new area to explorer.
The first piece of DLC only offers two new Pokémon; Kubfu and its evolution, Urshifu. This Pokémon is unique as it is the only legendary Pokémon capable of evolution. In terms of Pokémon, this first wave is lacking to say the least. While it is nice that many fan favorite Pokémon have returned such as Lucario and Metagross; many other Pokémon are still unknown in terms of release. This leads to many fans not being able to transfer over Pokémon that they may have raised since the generation three. Even the new gigantamax forms are a bit lacking as well. Only offering five new forms for the rest of the Kanto starters, the Galarian starters, and Urshifu. With a game that markets gigantamax Pokémon, there is not much of a focus here. All the focus is on Kubfu and Urshifu.
Exploring the Island
There are many areas to explorer on The Isle of Armor. From the many different caves, to a small forest, exploration is massive for this somewhat small island. However, the focus of this island is of course the dojo. As this story centers around the various tasks given assigned by the dojo, many players will see it immediately. These tasks will have the player visit various locations on the island finding certain items or taking on certain Pokémon. Once Kubfu is obtained, two towers will open: The Tower of Water and Tower of Dark. Upon completion of one of those towers, Kubfu will evolve into one of Urshifu’s different forms: Multi-strike form as a fighting water type and Single Strike as a fighting dark type.
There is also an incentive to searching the entire island once the story is complete. 151 Alolan Digletts are hiding around the island. These Digletts can be found underneath trees or even on deserted islands off the shore. Finding them will unlock new customization options and items. Like how the Zygarde cores worked in Sun and Moon or the Totem Stickers in Ultra Sun and Moon. This massive hunt all over the island is something that forces the player to see every part of the island.
While not much was added in terms of new mechanics, there are still a few to make note of. The first one is the inclusion of Max soup. By gathering certain ingredients all over the island, creating this soup will allow any Pokémon to obtain a gigantamax form. Before, most players would have to get lucky by through raid dens or events. But now obtaining a gigantamax Pokémon is a lot easier. The other new mechanic is one that many fans have asked for. A returning mechanic from generation four, Pokémon will now follow you. The first Pokémon in the party will follow the player around on the map. Some are slow, some run after you, and others float. It is nice to see this mechanic brought back from previous games. However it is only on the island after the story is completed. This does not work on the mainland.
It is nice to see Pokémon catch up with modern gaming trends. While this first wave of DLC may be lacking in a few areas; for a first time, this is not the worst DLC released. This is much better than paying for a full price game a year. With the second of DLC releasing sometime in Autumn, things are looking positive for this generation.