Pokemon Sword and Shield's main conflict is pretty weak, even by the standards of the Pokemon franchise. Most Pokemon fans don't really play the Pokemon games for the deep storyarcs, which all follow a basic pattern. Early on, players encounter a villainous "team" that wants to use Pokemon (usually a Legendary Pokemon) for some sort of villainous purpose. After multiple conflicts, players confront the leader of that villain, defeat him in single Pokemon combat and show them the errors of their ways.
[SPOILER WARNING FOR POKEMON SWORD AND SHIELD]
The last two Pokemon games - Pokemon Sun and Moon and Pokemon Sword and Shield - have added a new twist to that formula: revealing that the villainous Pokemon team isn't actually the villains. In Pokemon Sword and Shield, Chairman Rose (the organizer of the Pokemon Gym Challenge and the owner/CEO of most of the Galar region's major corporations) is revealed as the true villain towards the end of the games. Rose is concerned about sustaining Galar's energy costs and decides to secretly build a power plant under the Hammerlocke Gym in order to harness the power of Dynamax Energy, which is generated by a Pokemon named Eternatus.
However, both Chairman Rose and the Galar region's Champion Leon note that the Galar region's energy problems won't occur for at least a thousand years, so there's no real need to imprison a Legendary Pokemon that once triggered a catastrophic event known as the Darkest Day and can apparently Dynamax Pokemon at will. Chairman Rose decides to proceed with his plans anyways, interrupting a battle between Leon and the player character and also broadcasting his intentions to the entire Galar region.
Basically, the plot revolves around Rose's desire to quickly find a solution to an energy crisis that won't happen for a thousand years, and then manipulating his friends and allies to further that goal. While the Dynamax phenomenon is apparently new to the Galar region, that doesn't stop Rose from finding a quick solution for a problem that might occur somewhere in the distant future. And while it's interesting to paint Rose as a pragmatic futurist, he is solving a problem that hasn't yet occurred. Even with the threat of global warming looming over the Pokemon world, it seems weird to turn to imprisoning a dangerous Pokemon when more common Pokemon (the Rolycoly line) provide an unlimited supply of coal. Maybe Rose is an environmentalist, but something tells me that he doesn't really care about that if he's willing to risk a second cataclysm on the level of the Darkest Day.
The whole plot of Pokemon Sword and Shield also ignores the uncomfortable reality that humanity has figured out a way to transfer massive monsters (some of which weigh hundreds or thousands of pounds) into energy contained inside a baseball-sized device, and can also apparently use short-range teleportation devices. Are we expected to believe that Silph Co. won't create some sort of self-sustaining energy source within the next ten years?0comments
Luckily, no one plays a Pokemon game for the plot, so it's best that everyone just nods their heads when Chairman Rose rambles about the future of the Galar region. All the dude needs is a solid buttkicking in a Pokemon battle to come to his senses, and players ultimately earn a really cool Pokemon for stopping his misguided scheme.
Pokemon Sword and Shield is available now.