Pokémon Sword and Shield’s

Pokémon Sword and Shield’s The Isle of Armor DLC is as much a bold step forward for the franchise as it is an inevitability. The series has always flirted with the idea of Pokémon being a long-tailed service game but taken baby steps to the altar.

That’s because there’s always been an odd tension in Game Freak’s approach to its mainline RPGs. Players are asked to forge lifelong bonds with their monsters, but just as easily throw them to the curb once next year’s sequel or remake comes along. Isle of Armor marks the first time the developer has asked players to continue their journey, rather than rushing them along to a new adventure.

While the expansion lacks the depth needed to turn Pokémon Sword and Shield into an enticing ongoing experience, Isle of Armor is a pleasant little coda that improves on some of the base game’s best ideas.