/Dueling opinions on upcoming Pokémon games

Dueling opinions on upcoming Pokémon games

By Katy Barnes

This February marked the 25th anniversary of the Pokémon Franchise, and in true Nintendo fashion, they used this anniversary to announce the long-awaited “Diamond” and “Pearl” remakes for the Nintendo Switch. While rereleasing remasters of Pokémon games have been a staple since 2004, many fans find themselves underwhelmed with this decision.  

Originally released in 2006, “Diamond” and “Pearl” were the first Pokémon games made for the DS System. For many fans my age, “Diamond” and “Pearl” were their first introduction to the world of Pokémon, and as such we have the fondest memories of playing through Sinnoh with our starter Pokémon of choice.  

Time marches on, however, and since 2006 video game graphics have come a long way. Screens are bigger, they have more pixels, and the art style in Pokémon games has shifted dramatically in the last 15 years, leading many fans to be underwhelmed with the final product. 

For many people, the main issue with the rerelease is disappointment with the way “Brilliant Diamond” and “Shining Pearl” look.  

For this specific game, Game Freak, the normal creators of Pokémon games, has outsourced to ILCA in the design portion.  

ILCA has worked on Pokémon before, with the app “Pokémon Home” – a Pokémon Storage app designed for easy transfer of Pokémon between games. ILCA is mostly known as a design support studio, so this would be one of the first projects they completely control. 

The designs for the characters are in an art style known as “Chibi” – a Japanese way of drawing characters with small bodies and large heads.  

Coupled with the 3D aspect of the new game, it results in a look many have called reminiscent of app store games, or another notorious game series for the Wii called “MySims.”  

The dramatic art style shift was made even more apparent by Game Freak’s announcement of another new game “Pokémon Legends: Arceus” – an open world type Pokémon game also taking place in the Sinnoh region. 

Many fans cite they would rather the remakes look like the upcoming “Pokémon Legends” game. As an avid Pokémon fan and a casual gamer however, I find I much prefer the Chibi style of the remakes. 

It’s important to note that game franchises should be visually different. “Pokémon Legends” is a different line of games than the Pokémon main titles – naturally they need to change the way the two games look.  

This choice allows for a wider variety of interest in their titles. If you don’t like the way “Brilliant Diamond” and “Shining Pearl” look, then Game Freak has another option for you. 

For me, I want the remake. It’s traditional for Game Freak to rerelease their older titles, and for my personal favorite to be left out would insult me as a longtime fan. I have been looking forward to this game for ages and when it comes to video games, story is the most important thing.  

By Harrison Neville

When I was a kid in elementary school, my cousins and I used to run around our grandmother’s yard and pretend to be Pokémon trainers.  

When we got our hands on our first packs of Pokémon cards, we didn’t understand how to play the game, so we just ran around and pretended that those were our Pokémon and held mock battles – which usually involved lots of arguing over whether our Pokémon dodged attacks.  

I’ve stayed interested in Pokémon for years, though I quit watching the show years back.  

I probably wouldn’t have clicked on the trailer for “Pokémon Legends: Arceus,” if one of my cousins hadn’t texted in a group chat about a remake of the Pokémon “Diamond” and “Pearl” games, which we had all loved.  

I was riveted by what I saw in the trailer, and one of the first things I messaged my cousins back was “You can roll!”  

For some, this may seem like a small thing, but I’ve been a long time Pokémon fan for a long time, and have spent most of my time playing the Game Boy Advanced and DS Light games, which are fairly restricted in how characters move.  

It was only later that I figured out I hadn’t watched the trailer for the new “Diamond” and “Pearl” remakes, but a trailer for the completely separate open world game.  

Naturally, I immediately watched the trailer for the remastered “Diamond” and “Pearl” games, now called “Brilliant Diamond” and “Shining Pearl.”  

While the trailer did conjure up in me a sense of nostalgia that “Pokémon Legends: Arceus” trailer did not, I was ultimately disappointed.  

The graphics look significantly improved over the original games, but that is about all I can say for it.  

Instead of using the same free flowing movement style of “Pokémon Sword and Shield,” it appears that they have chosen to keep to the same grid-like movement that players were stuck with in the original games.  

This seems like a waste to me; this is a chance for them to take an excellent story and give the actual game an updated look and feel to match the higher quality gameplay players now experience.  

In comparison, “Pokémon Legends: Arceus” seems to be exactly what the Pokémon franchise needs to help keep fans both old and new interested in the series.  

As I noted before, you can roll, and not only that, you have the ability to stalk Pokémon and attempt to capture them by throwing poké balls at them without engaging in combat.  

One of the first things one of my friends pointed out to me after he had watched the trailer was the resemblance to “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” which is an open world RPG. Several other sources, including Screen Rant, have made this same connection, and it has been confirmed that the game will be an open world RPG.  

Personally, I think this is exactly what the Pokémon series needed. As longtime fan, I have often felt that Pokémon wasn’t taking full advantage of the opportunities that their massive world gave to them. This seems like they are finally choosing to take hold of some of that potential for broader storytelling and running with it.  

I can’t wait to dive into this new and exciting world of Pokémon, and look forward to seeing the finished product released next year.  

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Harrison Neville is the previous Editor in chief for The Alabamian. He is a fourth-year English major whose hobbies include reading, hiking, cooking and writing. He has previously worked for The Alabamian as a managing editor, distribution manager, copy editor and SGA columnist.

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Katy Barnes is a writer for The Alabamian. She is a third year theatre major who enjoys movies, comics, and Montevallo culture. Previously she has written a Lifestyle Column for the Alabamian.