Pokémon invites us to return to the same Sinnoh we met three decades ago. A respectful, conservative and somewhat wasted remakes. Pokémon has turned twenty-five years old in 2021. An anniversary that has been celebrated aware of the need for a change in the saga, to pause and assess where you are and where you want to go. Those who started playing with the first generation are now inevitably adults, and that poses difficulties. Because the main series of video games spearheaded by Game Freak continues to gain millions of followers with each new pair of main deliveries, resulting in an increasingly wide age range and, consequently, with different desires and interests. Pleasing everyone involves achieving a balance that responds to both audiences: newcomers, those most disoriented; and the seasoned, who demand a leap that allows us to glimpse new horizons.
The return to Sinnoh with Brilliant Diamond and Shimmering Pearl is no accident, it is fundamental. Pokémon Pearl and Diamond (2006, Nintendo DS) were the first major wave of new players since the original iterations, Red / Blue / Yellow (1996, Game Boy). A massive console, with a double screen and the ability to connect to the Internet. The team led by Junichi Masuda brought many novelties in playability and reached its zenith so far in terms of design, complexity, depth and versatility. Two excellent videogames that improved even more with the always remembered Platinum (2008, Nintendo DS). We were told the origin of everything, a region rich in ecosystems was presented, overflowing with lore and with a Pokémon League as challenging as it was charismatic for its characters.
This is how we get to 2021, with some remakes that all audiences try to yearn for; While Pokémon Legends Arceus will be, in 2022, the one that kicks off a parallel branch that will make us discover hitherto unknown confines in an ancestral Sinnoh. The result of the titles today protagonists for Nintendo Switch is, above all, a worthy reunion with the Sinnoh region, but also an opportunity to conform to its aspirations.
Understanding the concept of “remake” of these installments
Starting the adventure in Sinnoh is as exhilarating as ever. Its music, its color palette, the particular way to start the journey in what would be the last canonical region based on a Japanese territory (Hokkaido). The gleaming Monte Corona; the lakes; the confrontation against Cintia. Wow, big words. ILCA takes over from Game Freak and raises here the great difference of these titles compared to the previous ones: for the first time in the history of the main saga Game Freak does not lead development. A Japanese studio with experience in project assistance from Bandai Namco – with whom The Pokémon Company has already worked on several occasions – is leading the charge. After taking charge of Pokémon HOME, this is their first (great) video game, and the first thing we would like to make clear is that they have done a meritorious job in what they have been asked to do: respect 1: 1 what Pearl and Diamond meant, with all the good and, therefore, also all the bad.