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Everything to know about Pokémon Sword and Shield Isle of Armor's launch

When can you start playing Isle of Armor?

Pokémon Sword and Shield's highly anticipated first expansion, Isle of Armor, will be released in just a couple of days. Those of you eager to explore the new area, experience the new story, and find all of the new Pokémon that are coming want to know exactly when you can expect to play. As such, we've rounded up all the necessary information here for you.

What time will Isle of Armor be released?

Update: The Pokémon Sword and Shield's Isle of Armor expansion was released for Nintendo Switch around 10 a.m. Eastern following a special presentation.

The original release time guess: The official release time for Pokémon Sword and Shield's Isle of Armor expansion hasn't been confirmed by Game Freak, Nintendo, or The Pokémon Company yet, but we can make an educated guess to when it will go live. "Digital-only software will usually be available at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time on the day of release," Nintendo's support page reads.

At the very least, this means we should be able to play the expansion by 12 p.m. Eastern on June 17, 2020. As a first-party Nintendo title, it's also possible that the game will go live at 12 a.m. Eastern on June 17. After that time, you should be able to buy and download the Isle of Armor expansion pass for Pokémon Sword and Shield whenever you'd like.

Can I pre-load Isle of Armor?

If you want to be able to play the Isle of Armor expansion right when it goes live, you'll need to pre-load it. After buying the Pokémon Sword and Shield expansion pass for $29.99 on the Nintendo Switch eShop, you should be able to pre-load the expansion. Once the expansion officially released on June 17, you should be able to hop in right away and explore to your heart's content.

What new features does Isle of Armor bring to Pokémon?

While you should check out Inverse's full breakdown of the expansion, it's useful to know what it is adding if you are pre-ordering and pre-loading it. The expansion takes place in the titular Isle of Armor, which functions as the Wild Area in Sword and Shield's base game did. The expansion sees players befriend a new Pokémon named Kubfu and climb the Tower of Darkness or the Tower of Waters to evolve it into one of two forms of the Legendary Pokémon Urshifu.

While that will be the main driver of the expansion, fans will be happy to new that the Isle of Armor expansion will also bring tons of Pokémon back to Pokémon Sword and Shield, which culled several of them initially to focus on aspects of the game. A Galarian Slowbro is also being added, as are several new Gigantamax forms. Even if you don't buy the expansion, these can still be traded into your game following a June 17 update.

Is it worth buying Isle of Armor if I haven't beaten Pokémon Sword and Shield?

Those that still haven't beaten Pokémon Sword and Shield may wonder if it's worth picking up this expansion if it's only post-game content. Fortunately, that is not the case.

According to IGN, Pokémon Sword and Shield Isle of Armor can be accessed as soon as players visit the base game's Wild Area for the first time, which is relatively early in the overall experience. The levels of Pokémon also scale depending on the players' average Pokemon level, so you don't have to worry about Isle of Armor being too easy or too difficult for you.

Pokémon Sword and Shield Isle of Armor will be released for Nintendo Switch on June 17, 2020.

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