I played pokemon as a kid and haven't really been interested in it since generation 2. I was surprised to see a great deal of my friends now in their 20s who were all picking the game up on launch day and playing it together. I personally am too busy for games presently, so i figured something easy going like this might be alright. (aka peer pressure got the better of me)
I bought the Japanese version because that's where i reside most of the time, but was pleased to see I can play the game through entirely in english regardless (not that Japanese is a problem for me, but i know my pokemon in english).
Anyway the review.. The game has stepped up in several ways. The concept remains the same, but there is a lot of additional extras added. Here are some i've noticed this far (writing this review after about 20 hours of gameplay)
Graphics - The game has stepped the graphics up a major level. The environments look fantastic as do the pokemon. The world feels nicer to be in.
Customisation - Your characters clothes, hair, style etc can all be customised. I was surprised by how much so, but you'll have to play for awhile to get there.
Pokemon - There are now the super training amongst other 'hanging out with pokemon' type things to do. I personally don't think these features are SO great. They're essentially mini games that make your pokemon happy with you or level up stats.
But i would happily play the mini games if i wanted to later once i was dedicated to which pokemon i was going to train... The games aren't boring or anything.. but you know.. i'd rather be leveling right now. Thankfully neither of these features are mandatory.
Mega evolution - There's enough info on this already, it's a cool novelty..
Movesets - This was the main thing that changed my skepticism. There is a hell of a lot more strategy involved in moves than when i played last. You now have a plethora of moves which work well with others, power up allies, work under certain conditions or change the playfield. When i played as a kid it was just like 'kill everything with your one move, recover pp at pokemon center and proceed'. Now i find myself making a balanced team that can fend off every threat.
AI - Pretty poor at times.. Sometimes enemy trainers will continue to use harden after they've reached the max defense and things like that. Which brings me to the reason you shouldn't care.
Internet - This is the best part of it all. You can now battle anyone at any time, trade with people all around the world and generally share your journey with thousands of other players (if not more). This is what got me sticking around to see it out. I am enjoying building a balanced team which will hopefully destroy every other player i encounter. The game itself is fun, but this is the endgame i needed to enjoy pokemon again.
The first couple of hours were slow, i felt like i wasn't going to get much from this game. But I am honestly glad i stuck around. If you rate this game standalone and forget its predecessors, it would be a 10. It's an amazing concept as always with hundreds of creatures to discover and train. I'd recommend this to adults and children, people who haven't played pokemon and those who have. There is really nothing bad about this game.. it gets a 9/10 purely because i am probably too old to enjoy the super training and petting your pokemon haha. But seriously, you need this game.