Pokemon Sword and Shield's Crown Tundra DLC launches tomorrow, and a few lucky trainers have already put down footprints in the new territory. Going by these early impressions of Crown Tundra, it seems there are tons of new challenges to engage in. There's also ample opportunity for exploration: these Pokemon pioneers point out Game Freak has become even better at building a lively open world for its critters. "Without any spoilers, I can say I’m interested in seeing the ominous wonder of the Crown Tundra unfold," writes IGN's Janet Garcia. She adds that the new DLC is "the best way to build competitive teams."
It sounds like the Pokemon Sword and Shield DLC pack continues to justify Game Freak's decision to have DLC replace "complete" edition games like Pokemon Emerald and Pokemon Black 2 and White 2. VG247's Alex Donaldson has an overview of Crown Tundra that outlines the new content you can expect, and there's a lot going on, especially for competitive players. One of the standout activities is Dynamax Adventures, which are miniature dungeons four players can tackle together in hopes of defeating and capturing Dynamax legendary Pokemon. Participants are handicapped by specific rules, however. You're gifted one "rental" Pokemon whose HP and PP aren't healed between fights with Dynamax Pokemon. If you make it to the end of the dungeon and take down the Dynamaxed legendary waiting for you there, you can catch it. But you can swap it out for your hard-working rental Pokemon if you like.
The Galarian Star Tournament is also an option when you've finished the story content for Crown Tundra and the Isle of Armor DLC. According to Donaldson, the tournament is packed with "anime energy" that's reminiscent of the long-running Pokemon TV show. You and a Galar Champion of your choosing (Melony is the correct answer here, obviously) work as a pair to take on a wave of competitors. Apparently, we can look forward to lots of banter between contenders during these matches. Given the surprising amount of drama Sword and Shield thrust behind its Gym Leaders, I'm down. Donaldson says a Pokemon representative informed him the Tournament is "the hardest challenge in the game," but I'm sure hundreds of thousands of veteran players will flatten the challenge in good time.
Crown Tundra's big day is on October 22, but I think we can confidently say Game Freak and The Pokemon Company have done well for their first major Pokemon DLC. The noticeable improvements between Sword and Shield and its DLC suggests Game Freak is successfully working through the "awkward phase" of making fully 3D Pokemon environments. If the next game is on the Switch (or the fabled Switch Pro), it will likely demonstrate a big graphical leap, much like how Pokemon Sun and Moon for the 3DS smoothed out all the new ideas Game Freak tried with Pokemon X and Y.
I'm also just appreciative we can jump into content like Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra without having to go through the game's main story all over again. Not only does it save us money (if you even bought these secondary editions—which I often didn't), but it lets Game Freak focus on pouring pure content into the Pokemon Sword and Shield post-game. Pokemon Sword and Shield's DLC has allowed it to become the most expansive and ambitious Pokemon game to date, and the price is certainly right.