And so, a new Pokémon Generation begins. Had to endure people whining about Gen 8 constantly despite it being one of the most fun and diverse generations, yet people whining that the national dex was no longer around. But with the new gen I no longer need to deal with that for now.
So I’m going to start off with the big issue first. The bugs are vastly over exaggerated. From what I’ve seen they appear to be done by people that didn’t install the day one patch and are intentionally looking for bugs at that. That said I have found incidents of slowdown when it came to Pokémon and Water. Ok now that’s over let’s get to the review proper.
As said this is the 9th edition of Pokémon set in the Paldea region, which is basically Poké Spain (gen 8 was Poké UK and gen 6 was Poké France). It comes with a whole bunch of new Pokémon as well as regional forms (well not that many regional forms but I did get a lot of fun out of Aqua breed Paldean tauros).
The Paldea region is as much a draw in this generation than any other Pokémon game (except Legends Arceus) as building on that game and the wild areas of gen 8, this game is open world with Pokémon happily wandering around out in the open. This means you don’t find Pokémon by wandering about in grass (and sadly unlike Arceus you can’t hide in the grass to catch Pokémon without battle) but that they will be swimming, wandering and flying about in the wild. Which also makes seeing shinies a bit easier.
But you need not just walk about in this game, for you are accompanied by the cover legendary who will turn into a bike for you.
The story of the game is very open and free. The standard story of going about beating gym leaders and facing the league before fighting the champion, is just one story (and the one presented by your meme worthy battle nut of a rival) of three, of course you need to do all of them to get the proper ending by the end as they all come together for the final chapter. The other two are one that has you fight giant titan Pokémon for mystical herbs that will unlock new abilities for your legendary allowing greater exploration of the region. And the third sees you take on the local villain team, Team Star.
I’m happy to say that the trend of Pokémon games improving on characters continues with many of the people you encounter getting far more development even if they have a short time on them that will leave them being well remembered, especially Larry.
So how is the gameplay? well… while I will say yeah there is the odd graphical issue it’s the most fun I’ve had in Pokémon games yet (and I loved gen 8 and Arceus so.. yeah). the region is great to explore and feels like a proper location with secrets to be found. The new battle gimmick of terastalize is the most balanced they have been and much welcome after the ‘I ‘win button of megas.
The raids are a bit of an issue however, for they are harder than the ones in Sword and Shield, which at first you would think would be a plus, but then you find often cookie cutter builds are the only way to really go. I suppose it’s a good thing that they kept the means to get competitive Pokémon set up quickly.
This is definitely not a generation to skip though, the story goes considerably deeper than the franchise is known for especially once you reach that last section of the game. But I won’t lie and say graphically the game didn’t need a little more polish after experiencing those slowdowns on Water.