About 3 months ago, the Pokemon company had revealed their next projects after completing the DLC for Pokemon Blade Wolf and Shield Neck. These would be the long awaited Gen 4 remakes fans have, lets just say, screamed for. Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, a naming scheme they probably went with to not attract the Jojo fanbase, is coming out on November 19, 2021. Alongside these games was the surprising reveal of Pokemon Legends: Arceus, a prequel game about completing the Sinnoh Dex in what looks to be ancient Sinnoh. Also you’ll find God, but whatevs.
I will admit, I didn’t want the remakes. Legends is a welcome surprise, but the Sinnoh remakes was something that I dreaded. While my love for the franchise technically started with the Gen 3 era, watching the anime and playing my brother’s Firered and Emerald, I didn’t get my first game till Diamond Version.
So yes, I am a Gen 4 baby and have always loved that era of the franchise. But I did not immediately join the #Gen4Confirmed bandwagon. In fact, I would have rather have it come later and be fully fleshed outside the “One year to make it” rule. You might be asking, why was I not excited for the remakes of the region I started in? Honestly, after the past few years, I’m hesitant to going back into the mainline game.
Now, I can’t come on here and say I don’t like Pokémon anymore or that I’m some Pokémon hater. I still love many of the games and the anime, which the latter to me is at its really, and I am hopeful with Legends. To say I’m some Pokémon hater would be untrue. However, during the last part of Gen 7, my eyes opened to the practices of Gamefreak and the Pokémon Company, and after playing Sword and Shield my love for the current mainline games waned. The remakes are being made by another company, who made Home, but judging by the information of the games it’s hard for me to have some faith in them.
So, though super late into this conversation, I want to get into why I personally am not getting these remakes, why I’m cautious about Legends, and why I’ll still probably get the soundtrack. It’s Gen 4 music. Pokémon has the inability to mess up soundtracks, at least. But I’ll interject my history as to why I’m so hesitant in the remakes before fully explaining what I believe will happen to the remakes.
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl: The Trailers
From the trailer, these look like a Final Fantasy remake app (I played FF6 on there), and it’s on the Switch. While I do like the chibi style, everything about the execution feels and looks weird. The lake area is gorgeous but some of the lighting in Snowpoint City and the look of Jubilife City makes the areas look cheaper. Especially the overworld models, which I feel the original did it better, and the battle models, which the trainers look like the toys and the Pokémon are about as lazy as they were in Gen 6. Yep, still using them. The Pokémon Company sure love Earth Day.
The look of the games just leaves a lot of disappointment. Now, I understand that this is being made by another company, ILCA, and not Gamefreak, but the trailer feels like a slap to the face against the people who wanted these remakes and to the people who wanted a fully realized Sinnoh. Cause, you know, outsource the game that’s been anticipated for years to the company who made Home. Instead of creating a Sinnoh region that can be fully realized on the Switch, a home console with games such as Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild, they make the same looking thing 15 years ago that looks like it can be run on the damn 3ds.
The Remakes Predications: Featuring Killer Queen
Going into actual gameplay, according to Pokemon, they want to preserve the originals as much as possible. This, again, has huge downsides. While this is a trailer and nothing too much has been revealed, by this point I can predict what this means. One, it’s unclear if Platinum content will be added, just like how ORAS didn’t really have what Emerald had. People have noticed an NPC in Floroma Town who was only available in Platinum, which does give some hope, but just one NPC doesn’t mean the Battle Frontier or the Distortion World. Two, that may mean nothing new like the Sevii Islands in FRLG or the Safari Zone in HGSS will be added. So, these “remakes” may just be the Diamond and Pearl experience we all know and love, and I feel disappointed in that. Especially if that would mean only 3 fire types (Infernape, Rapidash, and Magmortar).
Now, as previously stated, these are being made by ICLA and not Gamefreak. However, with Junichu Masuda of Gamefreak overseeing the project, I can’t say good changes may be implemented. As the person who said they removed the Battle Frontier in ORAs because they felt kids wouldn’t have the attention span for it, this man brings a striking amount of fear. Now, I don’t hate him, at least not enough to send death threats, and you could say that one person cannot possibly ruin the game. But because of Masuda’s philosophies and previous comments concerning the 3d game’s lack of content, I feel like he hasn’t been the Masuda who helped make the Gen 2 remakes and the lead director of the Gen 5 games. He’s been there since the beginning, but a lot of the current gen doesn’t reflect that man. Onto more foreseeable problems.
The remakes may become easier in some way. Sun and Moon, at least to me, felt like a reasonable challenge, but many games since Gen 5 have become way easier. Now, Pokémon isn’t a especially hard series. Final Fantasy proved me right. However, the A.I, movesets, and teams of previous games for some Gym Leaders and Elite Four could be especially challenging. The entirety of Gen 2 is only really difficult due to the crap leveling scale, but it felt fun being able to go through the Elite 4 one step at a time. But in recent games, GF had been putting in anything to restrict the difficulty and make the games piss easy. USUM had the Rotom Dex which, while I never really used, had shit like full restores and PP restores. While it’s a lottery, waiting enough times throughout your play through can get you things you shouldn’t have accessible until later. Z-moves could become broken, the EXP share now gives EXP to all mons (now unremovable in Sword and Shield), rivals now healing your Pokémon before a battle or giving you crap, and Gigantamaxes. The games have been giving so much to encourage just blasting through.
The Sinnoh remakes may fall into the same trap of making everything easier to an unenjoyable level. It wasn’t particularly hard, but it was engaging and challenging enough to enjoy. Imagine making Cynthia easier. She may have been hard, but it felt rewarding having an actual strategy (or brute force) and beating her. I’m hoping the devs learn from Gamefreak’s mistakes, but with Jun as head its hard to have faith.
Now, for newer fans who never played the originals or Platinum, there are positives to this remake. The biggest problem with the originals games is bootlegs. I’ve been duped before with a bootleg Soulsilver, but at least the official version has a different colored cartridge; which would be a black that would be used in Gen 5. The Sinnoh official cartridges, however, have this grey look that is easily replicated, making finding an official one a stressful ordeal. Plus, finding the right price is a challenge. While Gen 2 and Gen 3 had the internal battery issue, there are genuine issues with Gen 4 that justify a new console re-release.
But, to me, the way these remakes are going are just sign of the Pokemon Company’s laziness. What made HGSS great remakes was because of how much they improved the Gold and Silver experience. From new locations, minigames, different designs, and even things they couldn’t put in the original (like an expanded Kanto Region or the Safari Zone), they were the same experience made better and fresh. Some would argue they’re really a remake of Crystal. ORAS expanded the region as well, giving it an all new look while adding content such as the mirage islands, the inclusion of every legendary, and the post game story that would add the multiverse theory.
I would say ORAS did a little less than HGSS, and I wish it was more Emerald than Ruby and Sapphire, but there is not denying the remakes brought a new light to the original. I never played Let’s Go, for reasons I’ll get into, and a $60 game with less than FRLG just isn’t worth it, but at least it changed the art style in a graphically appealing way(plus, I do like the inclusion of Archer from Gen 2 as a cool little foreshadow). I love Gen 4, but to experience the same thing with nothing new with a company with a bad track record doesn’t appeal to me.
Pokémon Legends: The Game Where Lama God Is Finally The Box Art Legend
This game gave me hope when I first saw it. It takes us back to the history of Sinnoh, something touched upon the original (but hopefully not the marriage aspect). An actual open world shown in the trailer that isn’t just one location like in SWOSH. One that’s large and hopefully not barren. And, finally, battles that are in-location instead of a Super Sentai location switch and Pokémon that actually make contact when they smack each other. Since this game is about completing the Sinnoh dex, you get a variety choice of starts: Cyndequil, Rowlett, and Oshawott. I would have liked other Pokémon besides just the usual starters, expanding out from the usual “Fire,Water,Grass,” but it’s a good step for this game. These games may or may not be mainline games, but the direction they’re taking feels like a truly original experience I hope it lives up to expectations.
However, after another look, there were some holes. I never played Breath of the Wild fully, but I have dabbled with my brother’s copy on fun nights. I do love its expansive world and characters, but it seemed barren at the same time. Looking at the trailer, I’m afraid the overworld in this game will be barren and lifeless besides the Pokémon. Of course, there will be towns, but I hope each location has replayability and memorable. Speaking of the Pokémon, my Arceus they lagged so much…in the trailer. Things could change, but it such a bad second impression (first for anyone else). Gamefreak seems to really be ambitious with this one, but with the track record they’ve had in the past few years its hard to have faith they’ll execute it.
I’m hoping whatever replaces the Gyms, Elites Four, or whatever is creative and challenging. I always wanted Gyms who used specific strategies than just types. It’s not an original idea but imagine a boss who uses trick room or weather. Sword and Shield gave a taste of this with Raihan, the dragon gym leader who uses weather as a tactic. It wasn’t perfect, since he uses all 4 instead of focusing on one, but he became one of my favorite gyms because he’s unique in his strategy. However, an entire lineup of bosses with this would be incredible.
The games aren’t coming out till 2022 so everything initial can improve by then, and it’s great knowing Gamefreak is given the time they need to really make these games great.
Post Reviews: My Original Departure from the Mainline Games and Pokemon in General
With my thoughts on the remake and Legends done, I want to get into why I’m so heavily critical and down with my predications on what might happen to these games. This is me basically venting out my frustrations, with some happier feelings in between, that had come in the last few years. It’ll be like mini reviews of the games and how I felt during the lead up to this point. If you’re just here for my takes on the Gen 4 remakes and legends, totally skip this long flashback segment for the overview.
Gen 6: The Cracks Form
A lot my faith issues with the mainline games developed since Gen 6, so I do want to give my personal history. Like I said, I loved ORAS at the time and became one of my favorites in the franchise. I can understand many of the issues people have, but I enjoyed it for what it at least tried to do (and hate what it didn’t. Seriously, why was there no Battle Frontier).
But, then I played XY, and the comparisons to the past came, especially with Gen 5. XY became one of the worst games for me due to feeling too safe with its world and gameplay. For example, the gym leaders were easier than those from before and they weren’t important to the story like the leaders in Gen 5. The story was alright, but Team Flare were a mess and the AZ storyline went nowhere.
I did like Lysandre, but Team Flare was just forgettable. The games were also way easier and, after the really good post game story, there wasn’t much content left to keep me going. Without the Z version, these games felt incomplete. A beautiful region, but a downgrade after Black and White 2.
Gen 7: The Second Coming of Gen 1
Then Gen 7 came around. Sun and Moon(the latter I played) was one, honestly, of the best Pokemon experiences I’ve ever had. I can’t lie that it was a unique and refreshing experience. I loved the main story learning about the culture of Alola, dealing with a psycho mother and her jellyfish, and being a part of the region’s first championship. I found the Trials a unique differentiation from the Gyms, the aesthetics of Alola, and the Pokemon themselves. Characters like Guzma and Lillie felt really developed by the end. However, after everything there is no reason to replay it. The cutscenes never bothered me at the time, because then why would I not like Final Fantasy, but I can see the argument that there was too many for a Pokémon game. Plus, similar to XY, there wasn’t a lot to actually do compared to the content of Gen 4 or 5. By the end of the UB quest, the game is just barren besides pretty locations, stellar music, and the Battle Tree. I personally loved what these games did for the franchise, but the problems of XY persisted into them. It’s after this point when things took a huge nose dive for me.
USUM came out and the amount of hate going on in the fandom started to weigh heavily. I didn’t mind the games at first due to their difficulty, but there was no denying the huge flaws it had. It ruined moments from the original SM story and tried to make it way easier with Rotom. The Ultra Recon Squad were unnecessary and underdeveloped, and the plot between Lillie and her mother is just resolved off screen unlike the original’s more emotional ending. Besides Necrozma holding these games on his/her shoulders, the story just felt like the same but worse.
Like XY, which was a breeze, I had to make some arbitrary difficulty just to enjoy it. It did add really cool features like the photos, which are more expanded since HeartGold, the surfing, and little details the original missed like new buildings and grass textures. However, unlike previous 3rd games, I can’t tell what they were going for in terms of direction. I remember them advertising it as a different dimension to the original, which is why there are two versions instead of one, but the changes in story and world were so miniscule that I felt the concept wasn’t executed well. I don’t think these games should be as hated as they are, and though I like these games, it’s not hard to see the many faults compared to the original. The fandom’s entire ferocity against these games did leave me feeling less hopeful of the future, and situations like the Stars debacle left a sour taste in my mouth.
Generation 7 was the 20th anniversary of the franchise, and yet the worst aspect of the franchise showed its ugly hide: Gen 1, Gen 1, Gen 1. Personally, while I think Red and Blue are one of the worst games, I don’t personally hate Gen 1 as a whole. It’s the reason I’m even talking about this franchise, and I did enjoy aspects of it like the anime. I understand that it was the anniversary, but Jesus Christ it became too much. The Alolan forms were exclusive to Kanto mons, they made the anime inspired I Choose You movie and a remake of Mewtwo Strikes Back, they made gen 1 merchandise by the dozens, and the Kanto references in the main anime and games such as Oak’s chill cousin.
Tell me otherwise, but there was so much it that it made me realize how much Kanto was in the rest of the franchise. Kanto as a location is in every generation until Gen 5, they gave you the starters in Gen 6 that were so much better than the actual starters that you got in Kalos, and then It felt like you had to be a Gen 1 fan to enjoy the anniversary. It left me really tired and cynical, which really affected me in a terrible way. The nail to the coffin came with the announcement of Let’s Go, a third remake for the overdone region. Keep in mind that this is the same generation that put the Gen 1 and 2 games on the 3ds Virtual console, so they released the original and the remakes. By this point, I couldn’t take the Gen 1 pandering anymore. I didn’t buy Let’s Go at all, rather taking a break from the games.
Before the reveals of Gen 8, I took the time to play older games: Platinum, Soulsilver (twice cause the first was a bootleg), Black, and White 2. Suddenly, the magic was back for me. I continued the Gen 7 anime and had a blast with it till the end, becoming one of my favorite anime of the era. But, I realized the magic that Pokémon had stayed in the past and was gone in the current era of games. After Sun and Moon, everything else felt like a cash grab. Around that point, I played the Yo-kai Watch games as well and enjoyed every minute of the franchise’s spotlight while it lasted. Instead of seeing it as a clone of Pokémon, I saw it as its successor in terms of gameplay and fun. This extends to Digimon Cyber Sleuth and Hacker’s memory, reminding me who is the true winner of the Mons war.
Gen 8: The Downfall
Sword and Shield were finally revealed to the public, and the more information that came out the more a split had occurred in the fandom. No national dex and a few Pokémon coming back were enough to piss off fans. At first, I was okay with it until I later learned how much of a lie their excuse was. The whole “gotta catch them all” was removed to improve the graphics and animations, by which they meant reusing the same Pokemon models since Gen 6. Combined with more screenshots, including the dreaded N64 TREE, the fandom was in a divide. To summarize, it was a bad time to be a Pokémon fan.
Christmas came around and, after deciding to give Gamefreak once last chance, I got Shield. That last chance lasted a good while before I decided Gamefreak are the worst. Positives include the music such as Spikmuth, the Pokémon designs like Corviknight and Dubwool, and the execution for the gym challenge. The whole idea of endorsements from companies being the driving force of your adventure and the relay race for beating every gym was really good. Positives over; these games sucked. Like before, they were incredibly easy, removing the option to turn off the EXP share (akin a dumbed down Final Fantasy) and dumbing down the AI. The graphics and animations were about the same as before but also worst, especially when people move. Like when Oleana walks back and forth in the Dragon gym, she walks, turns left twice, then walks again…quality.
The map of the region is huge, but your journey is just a hallway where there is so much to see but all of it is blocked off. Every cave is done in minutes and, besides aesthetics, nothing really happens. Routes barely allow you to explore it and the joy of going back when you’ve progressed further is gone because there is nothing. I remember the lake near Professor Magnolia’s lab being the only instance of a place having more to it when you got the HM thing. Other than that, every route has little to no content.
The Wild Area was great, but its just one area that only connects to two towns instead of the whole region. And its just outside. Once the novelty of exploring every small forest, patch of grass, desert, and field is done, that’s it. No sprawling caves (which looks fixed in the DLC), no other entrances to other dungeons like the clearly visible ice mountain on the map. Just a few areas, dens, and your done.
The story was a mess, where everything interesting blocked from you at every corner (destroying some world building to me) until it’s all dumped on you at the end. So, Rose is a businessmen who uses a straight up skeletal alien dragon to recreate the Black Storm that caused a bunch of Pokemon to grow big in order to power Galar forever. Sounds cool, but no depth to it to make it interesting and the game horribly hints to this before it all comes at you by the end. There was this cool mystery about how the wolf legends were smeared from history and instead replaced with a sole human hero who stopped Eternatus, but this bit of lore is never important to the story or EVEN given an answer. It’s meaningless, and told to you by Sonia through quizzes so childish its like you’re being treated like a damn 4 year old. The story was so miniscule that the anime managed to tell it in only 4 episodes…and improve it.
Finally, besides the raid dens (which aren’t that fun unless you have friends who paid 20 for online) and the championship, it still suffered from lack of post game very similar to XY. Overall, the time I had was short and I just couldn’t anymore by the end of it. The first ever mainline game (if you don’t count Collosseum or XD), and its shorter than a Gameboy game. From the lie GF made about the dex to the poor execution of everything, my love for the main games and its future died permanently.
More had come out for SWOOSH, but much of it was more of GF and the Pokémon Company being scummy. DLC was added to the game, giving an island with Kung Fu bears and an ice region with a bunny king, to get more of your old favorites, not all, for content that should have been in the original behind a paywall. From what I’ve seen of it, it’s looks about the same as the base game. Okay graphics and nothing that looked too worthwhile. the wild areas look better, but the content provided like creating Gigantamax Pokemon and more raids but as a dungeon crawler just didn’t seem worth it. This is especially the case since the full experience of SWOOSH costs more than previous games.
All of it for $40, or more if you bought both versions. Then, Home came out with another paywall for $16, just to do something that was free before to transfer all your favorites that you can’t even use because Sword and Shield can’t “handle them.” As AccousticHarmonia said, it’s basically ransomware because you have to pay. $116 bucks for a game with about less or equal content to previous games at $40. Combined with the online service (which isn’t bad on its own) that’s $20, and you slowly realize the full experience of one game costs more than what its worth. Remember when games came out for the price that was actually set?
I know that this argument has been used a lot, but suffice to say that Pokémon, a company and franchise that gets so much money because they’re so damn popular, has to fork out so much money from you just so you can experience an okay game and keep your Pokémon hostage in a service with no real knowledge that those unavailable Pokémon will be put in a game. Seriously, this franchise is so popular my own spell correct knows the name Pokémon, for the accent over the E I mean. And this is for the mainline games, the most bought ones.
Finally, and not as attack on the fans, but the sheer amount of yelling for the Gen 4 remakes helped nothing. Again, not to say every fan, but a majority of the fanbase pisses me off. People were hating on USUM for being cashgrabs and people were hating on Sword and Shield for being rushed and bad. So why were they seriously hammering Nintendo and Pokémon in every direct for the Gen 4 remakes as if it wasn’t happening!? I understand that they are loved, but after complaining about the Gen 4 remakes looking like crap after seriously rushing them to make the games makes no sense. So many people complain about Pokémon games being rushed yet they were rushing the company to make the remakes. If they wanted the Gen 4 remakes to be good, then they’d tell and show Gamefreak to take their time by not buying the games they felt were rushed. Honestly, though this is a smaller company making the game, I would have believed Gamefreak made that cheap look because they had fans on their a$$ hammering at them. I don’t want to attack the fans because not all of them were or are like that, and people can be excited for a game to come out, but I can’t help but get frustrated by the fandom’s sheer amount of impatience.
Overview: A Tired Person With A Little Spark After All
Sinnoh and Gen 4 are genuinely one of my favorite gens of games from the series. The local of snowy Sinnoh, the unique chill of the music, the challenge it presents through its gameplay, and journey from Twinleaf to the Champion will always be one of my favorite moments in my life. But I can’t let my own nostalgia blind me to the terrible state the franchise is in, and the abysmal future these remakes have. I don’t feel happy about these remakes, and I certainly don’t feel like jumping into that adventure. Rather, I feel depressed because a high-quality game is about to become soulless for money. The preservation of the experience is a step back rather than a step forward. Instead of improving these games to be what they couldn’t years ago, they’re selling the same experience with a higher price point just to ride of the hype for years. And, honestly, it’ll get away with it because it’s Pokémon. It’s one of the biggest names in gaming, being able to make Sword and Shield one of the biggest sales for the franchise. Not to say that being a fan is bad, but it’s a reality considering they release a mainline game every year.
I generally don’t like being this negative, but with the release of these games I had to at least put in my input. If you’re a fan of the series, power to you. Of course, I could be wrong in my predictions and the games may be spectacular. But to me, I can’t take another disappointment from the mainline games. I would have talked about how spin-offs are becoming as soulless as well, but the release of Mystery Dungeon DX (which I have played) and Pokémon New Snap (which I haven’t but looks amazing) gives me some hope for that side of the franchise. Should I be buying these spin-offs if I want to show the company that they need to get their act straight? Probably not, but I always thought buying them over the mainline games would also serve as something. It’s why I’m talking primarily about the Mainline games because I am totally supporting the Snap and MD series. If we could get a new Mystery Dungeon game, I’d be happy. Other than that, that’s all I have now.
Child of Light: A Small Game, A Grandiose Adventure
A modern fairy tale RPG with fantasy and rhyming alike, take on the slippers of Aurora as she explores Lemuria back to her home before Chaos comes along (Guess Station Square wasn’t enough). Though it isn’t as long as a typical Final Fantasy game, this game’s unique world to explore, fun cast of characters like Ignis the blue fire ball, unique Active Battle System and the fun rhyme in each dialogue made for a unique playthrough. Any RPG fantasy fan should give this Ubisoft game a chance.
Star Wars: Republic Commando: The OG Bad Batch
While I would say the PC version is better than the Switch version, this timeless Star Wars game is still one of the best out there. Set during the start of the Clone Wars, you lead a squad of some rough and tuff Clone Commandos completing missions no other reg could do. Beyond just a FPS, this game has a mechanic of commanding the others to do different jobs like sniping and planting bombs to open doors. 3 maps and stories, different levels for each, and enough banter between the boys to get a giggle out of you, this dirty war game stands out strong in challenge and fun. This legends game, to me, is what a true Star Wars Prequel experience is. Now, if only we could see the Omega Squad again.
Okami HD: Twilight Princess but with more SUN!
Based on Japanese Mythology, the tale of a Sun God Wolf traveling the world to rid the world of evil was an incredible experience. It has the gameplay feeling of Zelda, but the story and lore to give it its own identity. Also a bark button…10/10. A colorful cast of characters, a colorful artstyle, and a colorful soundtrack. Okami is more than a game, its an actual piece of art that anyone with the interest in it should play.