I have been a Pokémon fan most of my life, while I’m not as into it as I was many years ago I do like to play each new generation and see how things are going in the series. This was a big leap above Sword and Shield, I like that it took the open areas from that game, combined with Arceus elements, and just made that the whole game. After the usual slow start it is cool to just be set out into the world to complete the different objectives and find Pokémon without hand holding.
The usual 8 gyms are here (combined with some bizarre pre-fight mini games/tasks) but there are also a couple other interesting sets of primary objectives: titans and bases. The titans are large scale Pokémon fights (with a surprisingly tender story) and the bases are a little gimmicky but I did like this twist on the typical Pokémon villain “team”. Exploring the world gets better as it goes too, you get moves that make it faster and easier which is nice. Combat is what you’d expect, the new terra mechanic seemed a bit pointless to me but otherwise it’s solid and I enjoyed a lot of the new Pokémon.
The story that unfolds in the last third of the game I actually found super interesting which I can’t believe I’m saying, but I did actually find this to be entertaining. Where I have to dock the game is of course performance, I am not someone who is a stickler about this but it’s pretty rough. Drake drops, studdering, horrible draw distances, times where you can’t throw your Pokémon out to roam cause it can’t load, and full cutscenes with no sounds. A Switch 2 could elevate this game a lot, as it stands for me this is my fav generation since the original Nintendo DS and I see a great path forward between this and Arceus.