Pokemon Sword and Shield, the Let’s Go games, and Legends Arceus have innovated the franchise in many ways, and some of their features have rendered certain ‘old-school’ mechanics completely obsolete in our eyes.
For years, even the most hardened and loyal Pokemon fans would acknowledge that for a while, the games relied on a tried and tested formula with familiar ideas. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with this, but when you get to the crux of the matter, it’s clear that some innovation was sorely missing.
Recent entries like the Let’s Go games, Sword and Shield, and Pokemon Legends Arceus have not only breathed fresh life into the series but also shown that the tall grass can, in fact, be greener on the other side. On the other hand, the recent remakes of Pearl and Diamond were accurate, almost too accurate, meaning they were devoid of many current trends players want in their Pokemon games.
As a result, future Pokemon games need to adopt the traits of a modern-day Pokemon game and say goodbye to the past.
8. Random Pokemon battles where we can’t see who we face
Anyone who’s tried to fill out a Pokedex will know how much of a sore point this has been in the past. Your Pokedex gleefully informs you of the Pokemon’s whereabouts, but once you get to the area, it’s up to the fate of the Pokemon gods who you’re randomly paired with.
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See, I can understand why this would’ve been done in the earlier games as the Nintendo Game Boy consoles wouldn’t have had the power to have several Pokemon roaming around on screen at once, but Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee changed everything.
Pokemon Sword and Shield both followed suit, as did Arceus. Let’s hope it stays that way.
7. The three ball shakes
You’re battling a potential new recruit for the team, you’ve done what the game has taught you to do and weakened them. You pull your good throwing arm back, smack the poor thing in the face with a Poke Ball, and it shows its displeasure by making you wait up to three wriggles for it to be caught.
This is to build tension and make you wonder if you’ve managed to catch the Pokemon in question. It was cool the first couple of games, but when you’re trying to catch over 100 Pokemon and multiple versions of the same Pokemon too, it can be a bit much – especially if it requires multiple takes.
Pokemon Legends Arceus has shown me the light as it now only goes through one ball movement before letting me know the outcome. Much quicker.
6. Forgetting moves to make way for new moves
When you think about it, this is quite insulting to all Pokemon, especially when an Alakazam with a supposed IQ of over 5,000 can’t remember more than four measly moves.
Once again, Pokemon Legends Arceus has shaken up the playbook and made it so that Pokemon’s moves are now allowed to intermingle with one another, freely. Trainers can swap out an old move for a more powerful new one, but can also switch back if they really want to!
5. Trading to complete a Pokedex
Game Freak was actually ahead of the curve on this one with Pokemon Red and Blue, as it was an early example of multiplayer and social bonding. However, it made completing a Pokedex impossible in earlier generations if you didn’t know anyone that had the game, or had a trading cable.
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Leaf Green and Fire Red change things by including a wireless adapter with copies, but it was still a cumbersome way of fully completing the game and not inclusive of solo players. As with other entries on this list, we have to point to Arceus as the game has broken the curve and allows players to obtain all 242 Pokemon, solo.
4. Inability to turn off EXP Share
Hear me out…I understand that EXP Share is not for everyone, and I completely agree that players should have the ability to turn it off.
But it’s a very useful tool to have and if you don’t have all the time in your life that you’d like, then EXP Share is perfect for leveling up all your Pokemon at once instead of grinding away for many extra hours. In all fairness, the last few games have featured EXP Share, even Shining Pearl and Brilliant Diamond.
But I feel it needs to be in all Pokemon games without question, just maybe give players an option to turn it off?
3. Having to go through menus to change Pokemon
This is one of those subtle quality of life improvements that also saves time in the long run. We love running around the Hisuian region and being able to quickly cycle through our main group of six Pokmon at the press of a button.
It’s just a lot easier, isn’t it? You’ve just seen a wild Vulpix and want to defeat it? Oh, I’ll quickly switch to Psyduck. Bless my eyes is that a Roselia I see before me? Let’s switch out Psyduck for Typhlosion and melt the poor thing.
2. Having to battle a Pokemon to catch it
One of the things that’s made Pokemon Legends Arceus so heavily revered and profitable is its accessibility and addictive gameplay. Previous games have been guilty of being stop-start, forcing players into trainer battles to progress, and initiating random Pokemon battles every few seconds.
You can theoretically catch 50 Pokemon in a row in Arcerus without ever whipping out one of your good buddies even once. It’s the kind of liberating gameplay that fans of the franchise have craved for years and is a brilliant move.
1. The absence of “Super” fights
In the space of three Pokemon games, we’ve had Let’s Go’s tense, timed-battles against tough foes, Sword and Shield’s raid-like Gigantamax battles, and now Acreus’ Noble fights.
Gym Battles are always a delight in traditional games but all of these aforementioned encounters just have special fight feels that you can’t get anywhere else. We’re not saying every subsequent game needs to reinvent itself and come up with a new gimmick because, to be honest, these three types work really well.
Find a way to incorporate them all, Gym Battles, and even Sun and Moon’s trials, and you’re giving players a wonderful and varied experience.