When Nintendo stealth released a sequel to beloved Pokemon series Pokemon Snap earlier today, fans of trying to snap pics of your favorite Pokemon around the world were understandably ecstatic. Who could have expected this, after all? The franchise has been dormant for 17 years and with Nintendo recently holding an investors meeting and making no mention of this game, it couldn’t have been more out of left field. How, though, would a Pokemon Snap sequel hold up today? Well, I’m happy to tell you quite well.
There were times in the opening first few levels of the game that had me worried that they’d strayed too far from the Pokemon Snap that I remembered. To my surprise, the game is entirely open world, unlike the previous game that was basically an on-rail shooter with a camera instead of a gun. They throw you into this beautiful world with just a camera, a roll of film and a dream and you’ve got to make the best of the situation. It was a good three hours before I even saw another character in the game, Pokemon or otherwise. The map is just that massive. When I finally did find a Pokemon it was a Diglet and I didn’t want to waste any film on a Diglet so I kept searching but after ten hours of combing the forrest area they drop you in I couldn’t find any.
This might sound like a negative, but it really isn’t. The world is absolutely gorgeous to look at and just the thought of finally seeing a Pokemon that isn’t Diglet had me so excited I could barely contain myself. Eventually I found many Pokemon, from Squirtles to Charizards to a bunch of ones that came out after I stopped paying attention to Pokemon, like chandeliers and key ring Pokemon. The weird kinds of Pokemon. The wrong kinds of Pokemon.
Weirdos aside, the game is a lot of fun. Eventually you come across a man in a hut just south of the swamp region that will buy pictures of Pokemon bending over from you. It was unclear what he wanted to do with the pictures but I took his money and boy did it spend!
That’s another thing; there’s currency in this game. You also have a house that you have to help pay the monthly mortgage on as your father just died and your mom in the middle of a nervous breakdown. The game comes with a complete day and night cycle. You have to go to bed and 9 P.M. every night and every month you’re going to have to pay the bills. Want electricity so your mom stops crying in the dark? Well, you better get out there and sell some pictures!
The ultimate goal of the game is to get a picture of an all-new Pokemon that lives in Hell. Finding the path to hell is hard enough and getting out is even tougher. If you manage to do it with your soul intact you’ll get the “good” ending. If you fail to get your soul back from the Dark Prince, however, you’ll get the bad ending, and believe me, it’s bad. Some real bad stuff happens to some good honest Pokemon.
So was this sequel worth the wait? Yes. Is it better than the first Pokemon Snap? Almost certainly. Do we need another Pokemon Snap in 2016? Well, let me ask you this: do we truly need anything? No, we don’t. Nothing but the promise that one day death will come and we’ll finally be at peace again, like we once were. A long, long time ago. Before being born into this colorless world with boring animals that don’t fight each other for sport.