The Pokémon series is one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises, and its glory is well deserved. Pokémon Red & Blue were released in the States on the original Game Boy in 1996, and the series has been cherished by poké-maniacs ever since. The brand was so popular that it spawned TV shows, movies, a trading card game, and a boatload of spin off video games. Over the last 20 years, the main-line Pokémon series has released over 20 unique titles on Nintendo’s handheld platforms. The Pokémon franchise is unstoppable — year after year Game Freak’s masterpiece is reiterated and built upon. I have always held the Pokémon series near and dear to my heart, and while I think new features like Mega Evolution and Super Training are unique assets to the franchise, I want more. I want a reinvention of Pokémon — let me explain.
New Starter Types
This is a drum many gamers have been beating over the years. I think this simple feature could add a whole new dynamic to how you start your Pokémon journey. Having to start with a psychic, rock, or even fairy type Pokémon could alter your whole experience in your first couple of hours with the game, and ultimately create a fresh feel for the series. Minor features like this can go a long way, and I think gamers would appreciate the change. At least with Sun and Moon we’re seeing cool mix-ups like Incineroar being fire/dark.
No More Random Encounters
A lot of gamers would say that randomly generated battles are something that makes Pokémon… well… Pokémon. Although it’s never tampered with my overall experience of the game, I’ve always found them a little tedious. Trying to quickly make it through Route 16 so you can buy some more Pokéballs? Your access will quickly been denied by a buttload of monotonous, random Pokémon encounters. I think this feature should have toggle capabilities so with one click of a button you won’t have to worry about any interfering and unwanted battles. It would be much more logical than spending thousands of Pokédollars on repels. (Yes, everything is Poke-something when we’re talking about Pokemon)
There is no arguing that Pokémon’s story has always been a bit of a after-thought to Game Freak. Don’t take that negatively, when somebody buys a Pokémon game, they’re not thinking about the gripping story that’s about to unfold. However, I’ve always wanted a little more out of the game’s storytelling and presentation. We all are familiar with that same old song-and-dance of Team Rocket or a Team Rocket doppelgänger wreaking havoc among the Pokémon regions. Something bad happens, something good happens, you become the Pokémon world champion; there has never really been a time that the story actually grabbed me and generated an emotional response. I think this needs to change with future releases of Pokémon. The Pokémon brand has a smorgasbord of awesome animated TV shows and movies. They achieve what the game doesn’t and actually cause viewers to feel some type of instinctive emotion of intrigue or disgust. Which brings me to my next topic of discussion.
Animated Cut Scenes
I think animated cutscenes are the first step to having a more in-depth storyline. This thought first came to mind when I watched animated trailer for Pokémon Black & White 2 — fast forward 4 and half years and now we’re seeing Pokemon Generations, which makes this sentiment even more obvious. To get an idea of what I’m talking about, check out the video here. If Nintendo took a page from the creative minds behind the animated TV show, they could go a long way in delivering an intriguing story and a AAA presentation for the series.
Normally I’m against the recent trend to make every single player game feature a multiplayer mode. However, I make an exception with Pokémon. I think it would be wildly fun to traverse the land with a buddy by my side. Teaming up to take on Pokémon in legendary battles sounds like a blast. Thanks to the character customization added in the most recent titles, every trainer looks different. I say, why not? One of the key appeals of Pokémon has always been the social aspect. Battling, trading, and collecting Pokémon with friends is essential to the Pokémon series. It would be great to see Game Freak build upon that. We’ve killed a thousand Zubats already, let’s kill a thousand more with our friends.
Revamped Battle System
Nintendo has made minor attempts to mix up the core battle system of the Pokémon series. Although things like Mega Evolution and adding a fairy type have made things feel fresh, it seems the overall turn-based strategy combat hasn’t changed much. Sure you could say ”don’t fix what isn’t broken,” but this isn’t a matter of being broken, just outdated. Some would agree that the combat has gotten a little stale over its history of twenty years. I think it’s time to really shake up how we battle in Pokémon. Allow Pokémon to learn more than four moves. This would surely spice things up on the battlefield. Having a Pokémon with to six to eight moves sounds like complete chaos, and would add a whole new dynamic for professional and competitive players. (or completely ruin it, what do I know?)
Lastly, (this one is a stretch) I think featuring timing focused gameplay (similar to Paper Mario) would truly redefine the combat as we know it. From trying to dodge Charizard’s flamethrower with a perfectly timed flick of the stick, to quickly tapping A to perform a supercharged ice beam on your foe, there are a ton of timing-focused mechanics that could be implemented into the traditional turn-based gameplay. Or at least make it an option to the Player
I believe the series could survive without changing a thing (due to the dedicated fans out there). However, I think a revamped battle system (of any sort) would do the franchise great justice.
How do you feel about the current state of the handheld Pokémon series? Are you completely content with how things have been? Are you itching for something different? Leave all your thoughts in the comments!