I have not played a Pokémon game in years, at least not all the way through. The last game I completed was Pokémon White, which was released in 2010, 10 years ago! The reason for this is simply the expense of Pokémon games, they are released at full price and never depreciate over time. Which considering, there is truly little improvement from generation to generation it’s simply not worth it.
This is only the second game in the main series that has 3D graphics which is awful considering how long it has been since the first game. Even though it is in 3D, the game developers have not made any effort to really utilise this. The game is remarkably like Pokémon White I played ten years ago with extraordinarily little changes. There are many new monsters to collect, and a few of them have specific animations for specific moves which is different to other Pokémon which is a great edition.
A new addition to the series, is Dynamaxing. During Gym battles and a few other scenarios, you are given the option to Dynamax a Pokémon. This enlarges the Pokémon to at least 10x the size and they can use Max moves which are more powerful than the originals. Your opponents also have this option, so rather than wasting it as soon as the battle starts, it is best to wait until they use theirs so that you’re of equal footing.
There are also cracks in the ground where you’ll either game Watts (Can be used to buy a variety of items), or they may contain a Dynamax’d Pokémon. Beat this Pokémon and you will receive a bonus amount of Watts. Which I have never really needed.
A new feature of the game is the camping mechanic. Any wild area in the game, that is solid ground, you can camp out with your Pokémon. During the camping mechanic you can play with your Pokémon and befriend them. If you keep doing this, if a Pokémon is dealt fatal damage there is a chance that they will shrug it off and stay in the battle with just 1Hit point which can be especially useful.
Another part of camping is that you can cook meals using berries that you knock down from berry trees and a main ingredient that you can buy from shop’s around the world. You are then put into a cooking mini game, where you must fan the flames first and make sure not to burn the curry. Once the fanning part of the game has been completed you then need to stir the dish without spilling any over the edges. Finally, there is a timing mini game, where a circle reduces in size and if you hit the A button at the right time you’ll hit the sweet spot that will boost the effects of the curry. Your reward is normally health and ailments restored and Exp. The better you complete the mini game the better the Exp as well as the Pokémon will be more friendly towards you.
Repetition Is the Name of the Game
Like I have said before, not a lot has changed. You still battle and capture Pokémon in the wild areas. If your Pokémon is more than five levels above your opponent then you are guaranteed a win, even if the type is to their advantage. I found it so easy to power-level during the first wild area, once I made it to the gym battles, I smashed through them like they were nothing. This was very disappointing.
Honestly, I found this game to be a bit disappointing and I had no incentive to complete the game. It is more than likely that once I complete the main campaign it will be going back to the rental company. The fact I completed it is the only reason it will be getting any rating at all. For those who are long time fans of the series, this is more of the same which you will like. For others, it’s disappointing to see a game that has been around 20 years to show little improvement, when there are numerous other series (Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid) that have made many improvements over the years. So for this reason, this game gets a disappointing 2 out of 5.