By Gary Lee
Cough up those 60 dollars, it is time for a “brand new” Pokémon game.
Making its unexpected return, the new and improved New Pokémon Snap was officially released on Apr. 30. Ever since its reveal back in June 2020, Pokémon fans across the world have been dying to get a piece of that fresh 6 GB of nostalgia.
Dating back to the good old days of the Nintendo 64, Pokémon Snap had always been regarded as one of Nintendo’s most memorable antics. From delivering some of the most iconic games in history to scamming families out of $150 for a photo simulator, just how do they do it?
However, putting that behind us, it is now all about the new, and more importantly, less expensive New Pokémon Snap. Now equipped with brand new features, a whole new storyline, and god-like visuals, the new remake is ready to take the gaming world by storm…is what Nintendo hoped for; however, the game itself does not exactly meet those expectations.
Before getting into all of that, let us talk about all the things that make New Pokémon Snap so great. First of all, the graphics. Since the game focuses on taking pictures, pretty much all of its fame derives from the game’s good looks with never-before-seen realistic animation combined with the concept of free-roaming Pokémon. The game stands out as one of, if not the best-looking games in Nintendo. The realism that showcases the world of Pokemon is perfectly incorporated through both the environment and its inhabitants of the game. Additionally, the game allows customization of the photos the players actually take, a feature that was not included within the original game.
Overall, as true to its name, the New Pokémon Snap just remastered everything from the original piece. From the story to mechanisms, everything was undeniably improved far beyond anyone’s expectations back in 1999.
With that being said, however, as times change, so do the expectations of games. Now more than ever, people expect perfection and well-roundedness in every single game, something that the New Pokémon Snap clearly does not have as a simple camera simulator. Of course, the graphics are good, and the concept is solid, but what about the story? What about the characters? What about the game content? Just because it is a reboot to a nostalgic game does not mean it is automatically good in the eyes of the critical consumer.
To elaborate, while there is story content and proper characters, the main problem is the game mechanics itself. It is no surprise that taking pictures of Pokemon would grow stale after a couple of hours of gameplay. Sure, there are occasional occurrences such as rare Pokémon or cute scenes. However, between the special locations combined with the day to night alterations, there is simply not enough to make the gamers stay. True to the original, each part of the game is meant to be played multiple times. With that said, there are barely any changes between each playthrough and thus become repetitive once the players finish the story. Even with additional side quests—quests outside of the main plot—the results are heavily reliant on luck to the point where there is no point in playing.
Originally, the Snap franchise’s purpose is to be a fun, relaxing and refreshing diversion from the classic Pokémon game. Unfortunately, that freshness is now gone, replaced with money-grubbing motives. For a game that costs as much as the core Pokémon series, no matter how good the Pokémon tag makes the content out to be, at the end of the day, the cost is not justified.
Ultimately, the game, in comparison to the core series, is not for everyone. Not everybody is willing to sacrifice hours upon hours of gaming time just for a small achievement in the form of a digital image.
Hopefully, once the drug of nostalgia wears off, people shall soon realize that even with better graphics, fun storylines and fancy editing features, Pokémon Snap was something that was not meant to be made twice.