All the differences between Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield

This Friday will see the legion of Pokémon fans worldwide getting ready to “Catch ‘em all” all over again, thanks to the release of the first true mainline entry to arrive on Nintendo Switch. As is tradition, the new Pokémon game will launch as two versions, Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield (unless you opt for the package deal), ostensibly offering players the same experience albeit with some slight differences.

It’s in this guide that we’ll highlight all the major differences between Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. As already alluded to, they’re usually extremely minor, but important enough to series fans that some may even consider picking up both versions. So, it’s time to set the Pikachus apart from the peek-a-boos. Here’s all the differences between Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield (that we know of).

Pokémon Sword camera

A legendary Pokémon is exclusive to each version

A time-honoured tradition for every Pokémon game is to include a flurry of new collectable creatures. Most of interest are what’s known as the legendary Pokémon, who once again take centre stage as the cover stars of Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. Zacian is the new legendary pokémon for Pokémon Sword, and likewise Zamazenta makes his series debut in Pokémon Shield. Both legendary Pokémon remain exclusive to their respective game, at least until the inevitable third version of this generation of Pokémon game brings them together under one roof.

As always, you’ll meet either Zacian or Zamazenta towards the end of Pokémon Sword and Shield’s main adventure, likely having one opportunity to catch and add them in your line-up. Zacian wields a sword between its maws while Zamazenta has a mane that works much like armour. Both Pokémon are sure to be strong foes on the battlefield, highly sought after amongst traders who want to own both.

Version-exclusive Pokémon gym battles

Whereas previous instalments Pokémon Sun and Moon scrapped the traditional Pokémon gym boss battles to make way for challenges, Pokémon Sword and Shield sees them return in full force. And not only that, but this time certain gyms will remain exclusive to each version of the game. It’s not all the gyms that will remain locked off to half of players, instead just a small selection. It’s unclear exactly how much these game-specific boss battles will differ between games. However, we do know that fighting-type gym leader Bea will be in Sword, while in Shield she’s replaced by Ghost-type trainer Allister.

Pokemone Sword dynamix

General Pokémon exclusive to Sword and Shield

Like most previous entries, Nintendo and developer Game Freak wants to give Pokémon fans a reason to purchase one version over the other and this is their chief method. You see, it’s not only the legendries themselves that can only be caught in either Sword or Shield, but a handful of regular pokémon as well. Here we’ll break down the names of these version-exclusive critters:

Sword-exclusive Pokemon

  • Farfetch'd
  • Sirfetch'd
  • Deino
  • Zweilous
  • Hydreigon
  • Jangmo-o
  • Hakamo-o
  • Kommo-o
  • Zacian

Shield-exclusive Pokemon

  • Pontya
  • Rapidash
  • Larvitar
  • Pupitar
  • Tyranitar
  • Goomy
  • Sliggoo
  • Goodra
  • Zamazenta

Where to buy Pokémon Sword and Shield at the best price:

Know enough to determine which version of the Pokemon generation might be for you? Below we've dropped in the current best price for both ahead of its November launch:

Compare deals

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch

Pokemon Sword
Digital key/code for Nintendo eShop
In Stock

Compare deals

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch

Pokemon Shield
Digital key/code for Nintendo eShop
In Stock
Latest Articles
17 hours ago
Upcoming Xbox Exclusives for 2023 - Starfield, Stalker 2, Redfall and more.

Get excited for the new year with these upcoming Xbox exclusives for 2023, including Starfield, Stalker 2, Redfall and more. See the full list and release dates here as we look at the best Xbox has to offer this year.

Continue reading
1 day ago
What is the difference between the Xbox One, Xbox Series and Xbox Elite controllers?

Our quick and easy guide on the types of Xbox controllers, from the original Xbox One, to the latest Xbox Elite Series 2 controller. Which one will suit your style of gaming?

Continue reading
1 week ago
Upcoming PlayStation Exclusives for 2023 - Forspoken, Final Fantasy XVI, Marvel's Spider-Man 2 and more.

Get excited for the new year with these upcoming PlayStation exclusives for 2023, including Fospoken, Marvel's Spider-Man 2, Final Fantasy XVI and more. See the full list and release dates here.

Continue reading
2 weeks ago
Every Nintendo Switch Limited Edition Released

Get ready to take your gaming experience to the next level with a limited edition Nintendo Switch console. Not only do they look stunning and feature unique design elements, they also come packed with exclusive content and features. From custom artwork to bonus in-game items, you can enjoy your favourite titles in an entirely new way that no other console offers. Whether you’re adding something special to your collection or just want to stand out from the crowd, these limited-edition consoles will be sure to make a statement.

Continue reading
An update is available
An update is available to improve your app experience

We've pushed some shiny new code to make your browsing experience even better.