I will say right off the bat that I’ve got a weird relationship with Pokemon. When the first Pokemon games and anime were released in the US when I was around six years old, I was instantly obsessed. I saw every episode of the show and played through both Red and Blue, multiple times. From there, I began collecting the cards, and I even still have a set of the original 150 in a binder today. Pokemon will forever hold a special place in my heart.
However, around the time that I completed Pokemon Sapphire back in 2002-2003, something started to change. I didn’t enjoy playing through the game nearly as much as the last few, and by the time the fourth generation came around, I couldn’t even complete Pokemon Diamond. While it seemed that others weren’t bothered by playing the exact same game over and over and over again, I couldn’t stand it. There were a few minor differences between games, but for the most part, it felt like setting out on the same adventure with the typical mission and all the same challenges. It was devastating to feel my love for Pokemon die slowly, but there was nothing to be done about it. There was just no new content to hold on to.
When Pokemon Go entered the scene, it kickstarted my passion again temporarily, but that seemed to perish as quickly as it ignited. In a similar fashion, the announcement of Pokemon Legends: Arceus certainly caused excitement in me, as a new take on the main Pokemon games is exactly what the franchise needs. Unfortunately, it’s hard to remain stoked about something that isn’t going to be around until sometime in 2022.
Then enters New Pokemon Snap.
Now, I did play the original Pokemon Snap for the N64, but considering that was back when the other Pokemon games were still “new enough,” I wasn’t terribly obsessed with it. It was a good game and I enjoyed it, but New Pokemon Snap hits in a vastly different way in 2021 than it did in 1999, after more than 20 years of basically getting the exact same Pokemon content with every game release.
New Pokemon Snap is everything that I needed to fall back in love with Pokemon again. Goodbye to wandering around in the wild and grinding to defeat gym leaders and hello to being able to explore nature and capture in thousands of different pictures why I loved these adorable pocket-monsters in the first place. New Pokemon Snap discludes all the gameplay that’s been beaten to death so many times in previous Pokemon games over the years and replaces it with simple yet exhilarating ways in which the player can connect with the Pokemon in their natural habitat.
Furthermore, the actual mechanics of the game are fresh and enjoyable after spending so many hours clicking the buttons repeatedly for “[Pokemon], use body slam!” Attempting to take the best pictures of Pokemon while tossing them fruit, activating Illumina Orbs, or scanning your surroundings is the kind of action in a Pokemon game that I never knew I was missing. Yes, there is still an element of grinding since you must take a whole range of different quality photos for each Pokemon, but since the grind is so different from the main series, it doesn’t feel like something I’ve already had to do for the last 20 years.
New Pokemon Snap has done what a Pokemon game hasn’t done in so many years—offered us new content. This was definitely leaping several steps ahead for the Pokemon franchise, and I can’t wait to see what Pokemon Legends: Arceus adds to this next year.
Next: New Pokemon Snap One Hand Freeze Request Guide
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Stephanie is an Editor at TheGamer, solidly aligned chaotic neutral. Though her favorite game is Fire Emblem: Three Houses, she vows to do everything in her power to one day see a Legend of Dragoon remake. Absolutely nothing can top her immense love for The Lord of the Rings.
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