The Crown Tundra, Game Freak and The Pokémon Company’s second DLC for Pokémon Sword and Shield, has finally released. Rather than traversing a lush and tropical island (Isle of Armor), this time around you find yourself exploring a wintery wonderland. Once again, Game Freak ups the ante of Sword and Shield by drawing trainers back to the Galar Region with the nostalgia of Pokémon-catching and a decent story.
Once you arrive in the Crown Tundra, located at the southern tip of Galar, you witness an argument between Peony and Peonia. The argument gets heated with Peonia telling her father that she does not want to explore the Crown Tundra but instead wants to take part in Dynamax Adventures, one of the many attractions the Crown Tundra is rumored to have. The thing about the Crown Tundra is that not many humans inhabit this part of Galar, which allows for Pokémon to flourish and is home to never-before-seen, magnificent Pokémon.
As we watch the argument continue, Peonia drags us into the family drama, and one thing leads to another until we’re battling Peony. When the dust settles after a short battle, Peonia is nowhere to be found. After a bit of exploring, we find out that Peonia has rushed into the Max Lair, against scientist’s warnings, and Peony rushes in headfirst without another thought. The scientist proceeds to tell us about the unpredictability of the Max Lair: you have to use a rental Pokémon to enter the lair, and at the end of the cave is a legendary Dynamaxed Pokémon.
The story continues after your first Dynamax Adventure and instead of father and daughter touring the Crown Tundra, Peony asks you to explore in his stead. Soon you are on a scavenger hunt to research certain rare and legendary Pokémon and stories. The scavenger hunt and puzzles in this DLC were quite refreshing and easy, requiring you to use your knowledge of Pokémon as clues. Aside from the scavenger hunt, I enjoyed the story of The Crown Tundra. With each legendary Pokémon revealed we get a little more lore of the Pokémon world and where they fit in. The fetch quests and the back and forth were a bit annoying but being able to fly to a discovered destination made things easier. Peony is an over-the-top character, similar to your rival Hop, but his actions and demeanor are relatable. He’s just a family man trying to make cherished memories with his loved ones but learns a valuable lesson of having to let go when your children reach a certain age.
What really stands out in The Crown Tundra DLC are the Dynamax Adventures. Game Freak definitely revitalized raiding and put a fun spin to it, with the reward being a rare legendary from past regions and games. In regular raid battles, you can use your own Pokémon to try and catch the Dynamax creature. However, this time around, you get to choose to rent one Pokmon out of three. Once you choose a Pokémon, another Pokémon is replaced and another player gets to choose a Pokémon until four players have chosen their monster. After everyone has made their choice, into the raid lair you go. Note, you can take on Dynamax Adventures with friends or play them solo. If you are going solo, you are paired with three computer-generated trainers. As much as I would like to use my own Pokémon, using a rental system makes things balanced and adds a bit of a challenge to this new feature. You may know of some of the Pokémon that you can select however, what if you’ve never battled with them? Sometimes the move set the Pokémon has isn’t to your liking. With the rental system, raid battles definitely feel fresh.
Once you enter the cave, you view the cave in a top-down fashion and can see only the type of Pokémon in the different tunnels. The actual Pokémon are obscured by black and purple Dynamax clouds. Depending on where you are in the cave, you will have a choice of two to three Pokémon to fight. You can only fight one Dynamax Pokémon at a time and once you defeat and/or capture it, you move on to the next. There are a total of four rounds, the fourth being a legendary Pokémon which is your prize if you can defeat it.
Before reaching the Legendary Dynamax Pokémon, any Pokémon you catch before that can be used in future battles. The Pokémon you battle with will lose both HP and PP. You’ll likely want to be fresh taking on another Pokémon, especially the prized Pokémon. Once you swap monsters, it is treated as a fresh monster and you continue the gauntlet. Dynamax Adventures differ from regular raid battles because the Dynamaxed creature you face does not have any shields.
Also, in a regular raid battle, if trainers are collectively knocked out four times, they’re kicked out of the raid den. That’s not the case this time around. If you and your team are knocked out four times collectively, you fail the adventure. With so many new rules, it really shakes things up and makes raiding exciting, especially for past game favorites.
The Crown Tundra is a decent DLC, getting straight to the point of catching Pokémon, with Legendaries being the primary focus. There are a lot of familiar faces but the new additions are a sight for sore eyes. Dynamax Adventures is the real winner here and it can be enjoyed by yourself or with friends. This also leaves room to speculate what else Game Freak and The Pokémon Company have up their sleeves to keep Pokémon Sword and Shield alive outside of competitive battling.
The Crown Tundra DLC is available now for Pokémon Sword and Shield.
The Crown Tundra—Pokémon Sword and Shield DLC
- Rating - 8/108/10
The Crown Tundra is a decent DLC, getting straight to the point of catching Pokémon, with Legendaries being the primary focus. There are a lot of familiar faces but the new additions are a sight for sore eyes. Dynamax Adventures is the real winner here and it can be enjoyed by yourself or with friends.