The Unlucky Husky
Those aren’t really fair criticisms as this has always been with Pokémon. The animation had been the same as it was ever since. So had the difficulty to the games as well. More accessible, yes, but Pokemon had always been an easy game. I say people had their hopes up too high, expecting the game to look more like Breath of the Wild, but it’s actually the dex cut that really made them upset and now saying that the things GF had done for years is a problem?My thoughts: Yes, some of the hate for it is absolutely unfair but some criticism of it is well-deserved. And you can't compare Sword & Shield only to previous Pokemon games, you also have to compare it to non-Pokemon contemporaries on the market too.
One of the big criticisms is the limited battle animations -- and let's be blunt: the individual Pokemon basically just perform "spellcasting" gestures while the rest of the attack plays out as independent particle effects. This isn't a bad system (nearly every RPG ever has done it to some extent!), but Pokemon moves are more than just "spells" and the repertoire of gestures each creature has access to is extremely limited compared to the array of attacks it can legally perform (especially with Copycat/Mirror Move users). Some Pokemon have signature moves with entirely custom animations (which look amazing) but this can only be feasibly animated per individual matchup of specific Pokemon and specific move (which theoretically has not just thousands of permutations, but tens of thousands).
Another large criticism is the overall level of difficulty -- and again, let's be blunt: to a seasoned Pokemon fan, Sword and Shield are easy. The average Pokemon battle is won even before it begins, just based on Pokemon matchup, moveset and individual stats. Per-turn tactics are almost moot. And with EXP always being shared across the entire team, it's extremely easy to over-level your team. If you put in the work to keep your team relatively level-matched with the next Trainer battle then the difficult curve is actually fine, but again, most battles can be won with relatively little thought beyond which Pokemon you bring in and what their default movesets are.
Speaking of movesets, that's another big criticism: 90% of Trainer battles use only Pokemon with default level-up movesets and a simplistic default AI that knows basically nothing beyond elemental type matchups. Certain movesets do lend themselves well to this default AI but high-level strategies require actual scripting, which just isn't feasible on a large scale.
I could go on (and for a long time), but the bottom line is that Game Freak's relatively small team size just isn't able to keep up with its contemporaries on an HD-tier console platform -- they have the financial backing of a AAA developer but just isn't making full use of it -- and THAT's a criticism well earned.
As I said, I really enjoyed Sword & Shield and they things GF done to that games made me appreciate it much more. For example, third versions and impossible kind of Pokemon are gone. I always hated that third versions exists and wish GF would make their extra content DLC, so I am really happy my little wish came true. But my issue with third versions isn’t really a criticism. Haha