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Fashion Model

Jordan Smith

Reviewed By:

Review Date:

11/05/21, 17:35

Pokémon Snap Review

For the last week here at 3Bit, we played a title that many are already claiming to be an instant classic. That's right, we have been playing New Pokémon Snap, a sequel to the Popular Pokémon Spin-off game that debuted on Nintendo 64 over 20 years ago. New Pokémon Snap takes us to the Lental Region, where a small Pokémon research team explores the archipelago that makes this region. Filled with new environments, interactions and of course, new Pokémon, this new entry to the Snap Series was set out to be incredible based on the preview, but has this title stood up to the test of time or has it faded like an old photo? Check out our review below to find out more.

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Gameplay: Not Your Average Shooter

"Pokémon Snap keeps it simple as you explore the many islands in this game, meaning anybody can pick up this game and get stuck in almost instantly"

There is not much you can change in terms of the formula when it comes to photography in video games. Much like FPS games, you need to look around, find your subject and shoot. Without going into the more complex side of photography, with factors such as aperture, shutter speed and ISO, this is as simple as photography gets. Pokémon Snap keeps it that simple as you explore the many islands in this game, meaning anybody can pick up this game and get stuck in almost instantly. The real challenge with Pokémon Snap is the same challenge that comes with photography in real life, timing! This simple yet critical factor is everything when capturing any photo in New Pokémon Snap and can be the difference between you capturing a Magikarp as it jumps out of the water or capturing the clear blue skies of the Lental Region. This element of timing means you can have a lot of fun with how you photograph your Pokémon, too, as one minute you can be taking a shot of a roosting Pidgeot then in the next you could capture a photo of it as it begins to take flight.


Moving away from timing, New Pokémon Snap also offers ways to create your own moments with several handy tools that can change how Pokémon act around you. Some of these tools include Fluffruit, which can lure some Pokémon closer and even give you a shot of them eating. Another handy tool is the Pokémon Radio, which will play a Pokémon Flute, which wakes up sleeping Pokémon and can make some Pokémon dance for even more great photo opportunities.

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Another great feature that makes New Pokémon Snap a lot of fun is the day and night cycle, where as you would expect, you can explore various parts of the island at different times of the day. Heading out at different times means you will find different Pokémon, certain Pokémon sleeping and maybe even some unique events happening, such as the Illumina events, which is a new feature, where special plants are causing a natural phenomenon that makes Pokémon glow vibrantly. When it comes down to it, even with all of these features, it doesn't take away from the fact that New Pokémon Snap gets very repetitive, as you explore the same lands taking the same photos of the same Pokémon over and over. Thankfully, Developers Bandai Namco has brought in several challenges for each stage at each rank so that you can pursue all-new ways to photograph your subject and maybe even find some new Pokémon and secret passages along the way.


Of course, one essential tool in a modern photographer's inventory is photo editing, and New Pokémon Snap offers this too, in a new feature that allows you to edit saved photos from your trip, with filters, stickers, frames and much more. As we explore the Lental region further, we can unlock even more items to edit with, and if we are particularly proud of a photo, we can even share them online with friends and other Pokémon photographers, in an all-new "social media" style feature where we can also like other players photos. This feature can be a lot of fun and can be a great way to find valuable tips on where to track down rarer Pokémon, such as Heracross.


When it comes to the controls of Pokémon Snap, I found it all rather accessible, and the option for motion control is a great way to play, especially when your Switch is in handheld mode. Unfortunately, this is also where I found my one and only gripe with the Gameplay for Pokémon Snap. Both the motion control and standard thumbstick control felt too slow, even with sensitivity's racked up to their highest. When you are trying to line up, that perfect shot could be extremely irritating. A great example of the sensitivity's sluggishness would be when I was exploring the jungle during the night and wanted to get a shot behind me. At the time, I was trying out the motion control in handheld and in order to get this shot behind me, I had to spin myself around almost 360°, whilst I could just use the D-pad to make quick 90° turns, I feel that that just took away from the fun of using a computer chair to spin around taking photos of Pokémon.

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Story: Exploration and Discovery

"What surprised me even more was the presence of voice acting within a Pokémon game, and whilst not every line was acted out by voice actors, there was a lot more than I was expecting"

What surprised me the most about New Pokémon Snap was the amount of story we would get, especially at the beginning of the game. I went into the game expecting a bit of story through some text-based conversation, but instead, we got a mix of these conversations with some great little cutscenes that really captured the environment and the expressions of wonder with each character as certain events unfolded. What surprised me even more was the presence of voice acting within a Pokémon game, and whilst not every line was acted out by voice actors, there was a lot more than I was expecting, which elevated the story experience of what could have easily just been a game filled with Pokémon noises. The story of New Pokémon Snap elevates the overall gameplay by bringing a back story to the Lental region and how an explorer discovered the land and the Illumina phenomena and even explained the importance of this phenomenon that you and your research team are following.

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What further enhances the story is the cast of characters, from the professor studying the Ilumina phenomena, Professor Mirror, to his small research team, which includes yourself, Professor Mirrors assistant Rita, and a young researcher named Phil, who is the protégé of Todd Snap, who many may recognise as the protagonist of the original Pokémon Snap and can often be found helping the research team too in New Pokémon Snap.

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Audio: So That's What They Sound Like

"Whilst the soundtrack does capture the scene of each area perfectly, I do wish there was some of the zaniness from the original Pokémon Snap"

When it comes to the soundtrack of New Pokémon Snap, I have to say I was blown away, each section of the game had its own theme, and every level had its own ambient soundtrack to go with it, giving the game over 30 incredible tracks to help set the mood of every stage.  Whilst the soundtrack does capture the scene of each area perfectly, I do wish there was some of the zaniness from the original Pokémon Snap. That being said, I do love the orchestral pieces used throughout the game and honestly could not fault the soundtrack in any way as composer Hiroki Hashimoto perfectly pairs each and every environment to a piece that suits the theme and the Pokémon present.


As I mentioned in the Story section of this review, there was a surprising presence of voice acting within Pokémon Snap, even within the text-based conversations. Unfortunately, within these conversations, the Voice Acting fell short. You would often find that lines were only partially being read, or different words were being said more as a reaction instead of the whole conversation. What made the matter slightly more frustrating was the number of repeated lines that would make it into the conversation. For example, when learning about a new feature, you would have the text in front of you explaining the feature, but the words being said by the character were "cool" and "isn't that amazing". Whilst for somebody like myself, this isn't a hindrance. It could be for those who cannot read instructions through the text-based part and are more dependent on stronger audio queues and instruction for what they are meant to do.

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Graphics: Don't Look Too Close

"When it comes to the graphical side of New Pokémon Snap, it is easy to say that this is undoubtedly one of the best looking Pokémon game so far"

When it comes to the graphical side of New Pokémon Snap, it is easy to say that this is undoubtedly one of the best looking Pokémon game so far. Whilst I would not put it on par with other AAA games that have recently released, the environments and Pokémon are superb, as you look around the level from your pod, with vibrant grasslands, shimmering waterfalls and of course, colourful and instantly recognisable Pokémon for you to snap. Unfortunately, that story changes when we zoom in with the camera. As we zoom in, the graphics begin to look a bit weaker. Certain textures like grass look incredibly flat, vibrant flowers look very basic, almost N64 era like and some Pokémon, particularly the smaller ones like Pichu, look relatively blocky and in some cases unfinished. Thankfully, this doesn't take away from the game's overall experience, as you are more focused on getting that perfect shot or reaction before you run out of time. It is only really on the rare occasion that this sticks out like a sore thumb.

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Review Summary:

Family Fun

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Gameplay: Not Your Average Shooter

Story: Exploration and Discovery

Audio: So That's What They Sound Like

Graphics: Don't Look Too Close

Overall, New Pokémon Snap is an incredible new title that is guaranteed to be fun for all the family. Whilst there are some very minor issues within the game that may or may not be fixed with time, there is nothing there that truly detracts from the overall excitement and experience that this fantastic photography game offers. New Pokémon Snap offers a little something for everybody, with its outstanding soundtrack, well laid out level designs, challenges of varying difficulty and breathe taking events. That is why Pokémon Snap has received an 8/10 from us here at 3Bit. I personally recommend this game to any Pokémon Fan who has been on the fence as to whether this new entry into the Pokémon Snap franchise is worth buying now or later. With several ways to experience one level alone, you can guarantee hours of fun throughout all of the stunning levels.  If you plan on picking up this fun and colourful game or have done so already, be sure to let us know your thoughts on whether you agree with this review on our social media pages by searching @3BitUK and commenting on this reviews post

Pros:

  • The Best Pokemon Has Ever Looked


  • Great Level Design


  • Awesome Soundtrack


  • A Vibrant and Beautiful Game


  • Accessible To A Wide Audience

Cons:

  • Choopy Up-Close Details


  • Can Be A Bit Slow At Times

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