16th February 2014, 12:52 PM
Pokemon Regional Analysis and Ranking
Some backstory on this: My buddy is trying to get a group of friends (so far it is just me and him) to blog several times per week on pop culture matters. I joined up because I have a tendency to like to ramble on at length about whatever, and the first topic I decided to tackle was a six-part series where I ranked and reviewed the 6 Pokemon regions. I finally got it finished as of yesterday, and I thought I would dross-post it here for your viewing eyes. Maybe it will get some discussion going, or maybe someone will just find it interesting.
(Opening note: My blog had pictures included that I'm PROBABLY going to be too lazy to repost here if they don't copy over on the cut-n-paste. The pics are generally used for humor or just art, so I don't think this topic will lose anything for their not being here)
(Opening note 2: I tend to sometimes occasionally use a bit saltier language at times on my blog than would be welcome here, so I'll just let the asterisks take care of that)
Kanto, Generation 1 – Pokémon Red/Blue/Yellow (and, subsequently in remakes, FireRed/LeafGreen)
Oh, classic Kanto. It was not even named originally in Red/Blue/Yellow (the first Pokémon games released in North America), and the area wouldn’t come to be called Kanto until Generation two. It was just… the place where everything happened. Kanto was the home of the original 151 Pokémon.
Gameplay: ****, Generation 1 was glitchy and O.P. as ****. Don’t get me wrong… the games were awesome, and there’s a reason they’ve spawned nearly 20 years of sequels, cartoons, and product with enough GDP to qualify as an independent country. But damn were the original games messed up. Who among us that has played the games can forget binding moves (like Wrap) that kept the opposing Pokémon from being able to do ANYTHING for 2-5 turns? And what about how just WAKING UP FROM SLEEP was an entire move for a turn, so if you were facing anything faster than you that could put you back to sleep, you were toast? Oh yeah, and who can forget how Psychic types ran roughshod over everything because there was nothing to stop them? To this day, I still think the move Psychic is one of the best in the game just because I’ve STILL not gotten over how destructive it was in Gen 1. And those examples are just the tip of the iceberg (remember MISSING thrown Pokeballs? Resetting your stats if you boosted too high? Terrible computer A.I. that spammed Agility against Fighting types because Agility was a Psychic-type move? No inherent abilities? No real side adventures to partake in?). OVERALL: 1/6 (SCORING: Scoring is done as a ranking of the regions/generations. This score means that Kanto is the worst of the 6. The best would be 6/6)
Starters: Oh, here’s where you don’t mess with success. Chalk it up to nostalgia, but the Generation 1 starters are rightfully revered for being classic. A water-based turtle who eventually sprouts cannons from his shell? A plant-based dinosaur with a useful secondary typing of Poison and growing a big ol’ tree on its back? FRIGGIN' CHARIZARD? Yeah, these guys are all great, and they’ve lasted in quality for years, even as Generation 6 has breathed new life into each of them. There actually is one generation whose starters I like as a whole more than these three, but they’re still so great that they deserve… OVERALL: 5/6
Other Pokémon: It’s hard to discuss Kantoan Pokémon without touching at least a bit on the whole “Genwunner” thing. It’s the idea of a small minority of Pokémon fans that only Generation 1 Pokémon count, and anything introduced after them are pale imitations. The thing is, every generation has winners and losers. Generation 1, for example, had my absolute favorite Pokémon ever (Butterfree), as well as some great designs like Dragonite (friendly, cuddly, giant, destructive dragon!), Gyarados (the power of potential when a crappy, useless Magikarp evolves into a powerful water dragon!), Ninetales (mystical fox!), and Gengar (evil ghost doppelganger invading our dimension!). The downside is that Kanto also introduced Magneton (three Magnemites stuck together!), Voltorb (evil Pokeball!), Jynx (black-face! Seriously. It’s friggin’ black-face), and Mr. Mime (so it’s just a mime? Like a guy? And a mime?). Overall, I give Generation 1 a lot of credit, though. They created 151 Pokémon right off the bat, giving it the second most ever released in a single generation, and enough to fill a brand new universe and allow players the ability to create whole new teams for several replays. OVERALL: 6/6 (and now I feel like a Genwunner myself)
Legendaries: The legendaries of Generation 1 are, in my opinion, a bit lacking. Let’s start off with the legendary birds, Moltres, Zapdos, and Articuno… there’s really no story to them. They’re just powerful bird types that are in the game with no history or reason at all. They’re just there. Subsequent generations would do a better job fleshing the legends out, but for these three? They just are, and that’s it. Mewtwo, though, actually does get a nice story if you follow the game. At various points in the game, most notably in the Cinnabar Mansion, the player can find journals and data relaying the history of Mewtwo, the genetically-altered offspring of Mew. He was created by humanity, most likely as a weapon, until he grew too violent and escaped to live in the wild, away from humans. You know, until you catch it and cram it in a ball and make it fight rhinocerouses for you, but until then, there is a nifty bit of creepy backstory the game gives you in little spoonfuls. Also, there’s Mew who is the first Pokémon ever (except for maybe Arceus later on? One is considered the first pokemon from whom all others are made… the other is considered God who created the Pokémon universe. So that’s not conflicting at all, GameFreak. Good job). Also, Mew doesn’t live under a truck in Vermillion City. OVERALL: 4/6 (due to the laziness of the Spanish number birds).
Villains: Team Rocket is the first villain team you face in the Pokémon games, and their desire is pretty simple: use Pokémon as a means to make a lot of money. Team Rocket, as originally conceived in Generation 1, is a neat idea because they are very much like a gangster mafia operation. They run a casino, and they poach and sell rare, exotic creatures. Also, their leader is clearly Italian (I mean, “Giovanni”. Really?). There’s a neat little bit of mythos you can find in the modern era that explains that maybe Team Rocket were secretly good all along (a lot of their activity in Generation 1 can be explained as trying to find a way to defeat Mewtwo), but that’s not really canon. It’s fun to consider, though! As a bonus, in Pokémon Yellow, based on the Pokémon TV show, you actually get to battle Jesse, James, and Meowth, the comically awesome villains of the cartoon. OVERALL: 4/6
Rival: An underrated aspect of most Pokémon games is the rival[s] the game gives you when you start your journey. Generally, your rival is a fellow young Pokémon trainer who starts the same time as you, takes the starter that is strong against your own, and battles you several times throughout the game in a “let’s-measure-how-far-we’ve-come” kind of way. Some rivals are quite friendly, and others are more malicious, and the Kanto rival, Blue, fits nicely right in between there. He’s allegedly a childhood friend of yours, but while he’s not villainous, he’s every bit a smug *******. He’s constantly telling you how far ahead of you he is and telling you to try not to suck so much. Blue is fun, though, because really… that’s totally how kids would act towards each other. “OH YEAH, I TOTALLY CAUGHT 800 POKÉMON. WHY ARE YOU STILL USING THAT STUPID WORM? YOU SUCK! SMELL YA LATER!” OVERALL: 4/6
Champion: In a nice turn, and one I’m surprised NONE of the subsequent games have replicated, it turns out that your rival, Blue, ends up being the league champion. He beats the Elite Four apparently moments before you do, so to be the champ, you have to whoop him one last time. His team is diverse—he packs several different types of Pokémon—and he is at a decently high level. Also, there’s instant feelings there, because it’s the same smug jerk you’ve battled half-a-dozen times while he keeps telling you how bad you are. Beating him isn’t just an achievement, it’s a pleasure. Also, after you beat him, his grandfather shows up and tells him what a disappointment he is. SCORE. No, Blue; I’ll smell YOU later. OVERALL: 6/6
TOTAL: So generation has a lot of faults, but most of those lie in the glitchy, not-yet-perfected gameplay. Almost everything else, it did right (if not downright excelled at). It’s really no surprise to me that Pokémon took off like it did because Kanto is a vibrant, fun, creative world with IMMENSE replay value, and tons of charming, cute, threatening, weird, and just plain flavorful creatures at your disposal. If there is a problem with Kanto that extends beyond the gameplay, it would be that the story doesn’t feel as grand as other generations would incorporate. It’s a very basic RPG in the sense of “Here’s what you do, now go do it”. There’s not a lot of mystery or intrigue or emotion involved. But it’s still classic and fun! TOTAL SCORE: 30/42
Next time: Generation 2 - Johto!
Last edited by Sid87; 16th February 2014 at 12:55 PM.
16th February 2014, 12:54 PM
2. Johto, Generation 2 - Gold, Silver, Crystal (and, in remakes, HeartGold and SoulSilver)
I’m a bit biased here, because I loved Generation 2 for a long time. Not only was Pokemon Crystal my favorite game in the series for years and years, but I still have a functioning copy of it to this day. I don’t own a Gameboy, but I’ve got an N64 with an adapter! Woo!
GAMEPLAY: Johto may not have the BEST Gameplay, but i give it a LOT of credit for what it did: improve on so many of the flaws from Generation 1. The basic gameplay glitches I mentioned last entry regarding from the Kanto Generation (The annoyances of waking up and binding move mechanics, etc.) were all removed. What’s more, Johto introduced so many new mechanics that would go on to become mainstays of the series! Two new Types or Pokemon and moves were introduced (Dark and Steel) to help bring balance to the game; genders were added to [most] Pokemon, and breeding became a new way to get the Pokemon you wanted; shiny Pokemon were introduced (wooo!); friendship with your pokeys became a thing. Oh hey… breeding; can we talk about how awesome that is? You drop off a female and a male Pokemon at the Daycare (A DAYCARE!), and x-amount-of-time later, you come back and the daycare worker tells you that your Pokemon had an egg, but THEY DON’T KNOW HOW IT GOT THERE. This is the least responsible daycare system in the world! Can you imagine if you dropped off your kids at a daycare, and when you came back the employee was all “Hey, your kids had a baby while you were gone. We don’t know where it came from, but here it is. Do you want it?” Keep a better eye on my friends, Pokemon Daycare! Where was I? Oh yeah, Johto introduced a lot of fun stuff.
Wait, I’m not done. The best thing Johto did that no game since has replicated? You actually got to visit other regions and battle there! After you beat Johto, you got to travel back to Kanto and wreck their ****, too? How great was that? Why can’t any other games do that? I want to go smack up other regions, games! Make it so.
Also… heh. Remember the PokeGear? And the ability to call and be called by NPCs? Which only lead to one of the best memes ever… OVERALL: 5/6 (Scoring reminder: 5/6 means that Johto has the second best score out of all regions… the best region—to be revealed later—will be the one that scored 6/6)
STARTERS: Here’s an odd fact about Johto and its starters: they are the only trio of starters that all maintain a single monotype through each of their evolutions. So it’s the only gen where the starters are all purely Fire/Water/Grass. Interesting!
But, eh… not that interesting. While Johto’s series of starters isn’t bad, they aren’t outstanding, either. Aesthetically, they are middle-of-the-road; Feraligator is a vicious monster fully-evolved, but Meganium (Brontosaurus/flower amalgam) and Typhlosion (fire hedgehog? What even is this thing?) are just kind of “okay”. Typhlosion is a decent enough Pokemon competitively (especially in multi-battles, but more on those in later chapters!), but the other two are just average. OVERALL: 3/6
OTHER POKEMON: Johto has the unfortunate distinction of being the region that introduced the second-fewest total of new Pokemon in any generation, at just 100 new pokeys created in generation 2 (some of whom were just holdovers that were left out of generation 1). Johto instantly loses a touch of credibility for the low number of new options (even though Sinnoh barely outpaces it at 107), but the fact that so many of the newly-introduced Pokemon were just pre-evolutions of existing ones (Pichu, Magby, Cleffa, etc) while others were just retarded (Sunkern/Sunflora, Unown, Delibird) doesn’t help. There were some gems in the rough (Sneasel, Gligar, and Piloswine aren’t great, but were helped by evolutions in later games), but overall, this really just wasn’t a great generation for new pokeys. OVERALL: 2/6
LEGENDARIES: Johto suffered a bit from the same problem that Kanto suffered from, in that its legends didn’t have a great storyline. The Johto legends had a bit more going for them than Kanto’s legendary birds (in that, they were at least more than “There just because”), but they didn’t have any stories as intriguing as Mewtwo’s, either. The legendary beasts were Pokemon who died in a fire, but were returned to life by Ho-oh (easily the worst named of all Pokemon, right? Majestic flying fire bird, named after a delicious Hostess treat?), and one of those beasts was being stalked by a… magician? I am not really sure what Eusine’s deal was supposed to ever be. Ah well. Oh, and in the remakes, Lugia and Ho-Oh became a bit more relevant because you had to become worthy of one of them to advance the game. So that’s something, I guess. OVERALL: 2/6
VILLAINS: Aw, Johto has the distinction of being the worst region for thwarting villainy, because the evil group threatening the region is just… leftover jobbers from Team Rocket, desperately trying to get their old boss, Giovanni, to come back and lead them. This is SUCH a bad region for bad guys, that until the HeartGold and SoulSilver remakes in generation four, NONE of the Rockets you faced even had NAMES. The leaders you had to vanquish were just ROCKET EXECUTIVE. You don’t even bother to get their names in generation two! And about halfway through the game, you’re completely done with them (You stop their plans well before you get to the Indigo Plateau, and by the time you’re off to Kanto, they’re a distant memory). Gen 2 really mailed in the evil factor. OVERALL: 1/6
RIVAL: So maybe Johto had villain dysfunction, but they did manage to make up for it in the rival department. Johto ends up being the only region where your rival is not your friend—he’s actually a criminal youth who gets his first Pokemon by stealing it from Professor Elm after the protagonist leaves town on his adventure. Silver is a brute of a young man who views his Pokemon as tools of battle and cares only about crushing the weak (He even out-Blues Blue in how he tells you about how awful and weak you are every time you beat him). Of course, over the course of the game, he comes to understand his views are wrong and comes to care for his companions (a change you can note when his Golbat has finally evolved to a Crobat late in the game, which is nice, subtle storytelling from a friggin’ Pokemon game). Also of note, it’s never mentioned in-game (well, I suppose it is in the remakes if you got a special event Celebi), but he’s actually Giovanni’s abandoned kid. PLOT TWIST LIKE WHOA or something. OVERALL: 5/6 (Okay, I’m cheating here. Silver is actually, story-wise and competition-wise, the best of all rivals. But I have a personal preference for a later one that I’ll get to).
CHAMPION: On one hand, the Champion of Gold/Silver/Crystal is almost a let-down. It’s Lance, the dragon master, who is in generation one as the last of the Elite Four, and the guy you beat before you battle Blue for the Championship. On the other hand, Lance is used well-enough in the game that I forgive it. He is the most pro-active of all league champions, and he shows up in-game to assist you with taking out Team Rocket. You actually full-on infiltrate a Rocket lair with him! And his team is decidedly tough. He is a dragon-master, but his team has decent diversity just because through Generation 2, there was really only one dragon-type, and that was Dragonite (which he has THREE of, the bastard!). Past those three, he’s got an Aerodactyl, a Charizard, and a Gyarados, so it’s a good team, even if one dependable Rock type (and maybe an electric type for Gyarados) really makes him sad. OVERALL: 4/6
TOTAL: So I guess Johto didn’t score as highly as I might have anticipated, which is kind of sad. I will preface that I think Johto’s plusses (getting to battle across two regions, a more open-ended map that lets you have options instead of being guided along linearly, and introducing so many important gameplay mechanics going forward) strongly away the negatives (shitty villains and legends). As I mentioned, I really loved Crystal for quite a while, and the games the eventually replaced it as my favorite in the series? The remakes of Gold/Silver. It’s not my FAVORITE region, but it might be the most enduring. TOTAL SCORE: 22/42
16th February 2014, 12:57 PM
3. Hoenn, Generation 3 - Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald (and, in remakes, NOTHING YET! Ha ha! Oh, man. Everyone has thought for about 3 years now that they’re going to remake these games, but not today, suckers)
You know what I’ll always remember about Hoenn? It was the region that first KIND-OF disenchanted me from Pokemon. It just introduced a LOT of new aspects that, while in retrospect are fantastic additions to the game, I was not a huge fan of at the time. I remember getting bored with Ruby fairly quickly and going back to the Johto games… at least until generation three remade the original games as LeafGreen and FireRed. So, heh, I was kind of an early genwunner. Darn.
GAMEPLAY: Like I said above, generation 3 really messed with the formula in a few regards, and mostly in ways that were a great boon to the series. Honestly, it’s hard to remember a time BEFORE Pokemon had innate abilities, but those were not introduced until generation 3. They’ve become an ingrained staple of the series. Pokemon just have innate abilities that affect how they battle and what they do. Duh, of course. But not in Gen 1 or Gen 2…. so weird. Oh, and big ups to abilities at that, because they made my favorite Pokemon ever—Butterfree—a Pokemon worth using. Compound Eyes! Nearly 100% accurate Sleep Powder, *****es! That’s good gravy. Hoenn also first showed us battles involving multiple Pokemon, in the form of Double Battles. I LOVED Double Battles (and would subsequently love another Battle type even more, but I’ll get there when I get there), because, pffft, who just wants to use one Pokemon? Not me! I want to use as many Pokemon as possible! And, at the time, that was TWO. And it was AWESOME.
Hoenn also introduced another neat concept in Pokemon Contests. While the main thrust of Pokemon games is growing your team, defeating gym leaders, and becoming the Pokemon champion of battling, contests introduced a new idea: you could become the champion of dressing up your Pokemon and performing for judges. I don’t… I don’t KNOW anyone who ever took the Contests super seriously, but it was an IDEA, and I appreciate that. It was like they thought “This might be getting a bit monotonous. Let’s throw some new mechanics and ideas in”. And that’s rarely a bad idea.
STARTERS: Most Pokemon fans would assail me on this matter, but I was never enamored of the starters of the Hoenn region. For my money, and I’m spoilering the score here, there’s only one generation that did starters worse than Hoenn. I know, I know… competitively, they’re a decent bunch. Swampert has a good secondary Ground typing; Sceptile is fast and has good Special Attack, and Blaziken is an Uber (I… uh… I’m not going to get into Smogon and competitive tiers. So I’ll let you just use your own reading comprehension to figure out that Uber means really damn good). But, for my flavor? They just don’t do it for me. I mean, let’s look at them aesthetically: Sceptile has a big, spazzy fan-tail-thing. What IS that? Swampert is SUPER derpy looking. And Blaziken is the most retarded thing on two legs. It’s a lanky, gangly, fighty chicken with its wrists taped? STFU, Blaziken. You look awful. “Oh, they gave me Speed Boost as a Hidden Ability; I’m an Uber now. WoooOOooo”. You’re a stupid looking chicken. I never liked you. Even in their first evos, they’re silly. Torchic has no arms; Treecko looks like a hooligan, and Mudkip… okay, Mudkip’s cool. Everybody lieks Mudkips.
OTHER POKEMON: Hoenn, at 135 new Pokemon introduced, clocks in at the third most Pokemon who first appeared in one generation. What’s more, Hoenn is the region with the MOST new Pokemon in which old Pokemon also appear (which obviously would not be the case for Kanto, but is also not the case for the region that introduced the MOST new Pokemon in one generation, which I’ll get to later). That’s pretty snazzy because it means that the games have a metric butt-ton of replayability. You have so many options for team-building! So based on sheer numbers, Hoenn’s Pokemon do well, but was it a case of quantity over quality? Well, like all regions, Hoenn has its ups and its downs. I mean… Luvdisc and Castform, you know? Those are pretty much always junk (though you can somewhat excuse Luvdisc because at least they are likely to be holding Heart Scales if you catch them). And Sableye, Illumise and Volbeat were beyond worthless until they all received Prankster as a Hidden Ability, and that was generations later. On the upside? Hoenn brought forth TWO massive monsters in the form of Metagross and Salamence. They also came up with a lot more Steel and Dark types to finish what Johto started, as well as FINALLY introducing several dragons into existence, with the Salamence, Flygon, and Altaria lines. This helped bring more balance to the games, and that’s always good.
LEGENDS: Hoenn is the generation where GameFreak just said “**** it”, and went balls-out on legendaries. Kanto had 5 legendary Pokemon; Johto introduced 6. Hoenn upped the stakes into DOUBLE-FRIGGIN’-DIGITS by introducing TEN new legendary Pokemon! But I can’t be mad at that, because I actually really dig them. The region’s roaming Pokemon (a concept introduced in Johto by people who hate us that there are legendary Pokemon who don’t hang out in one spot and try to kill you, but actually roam all over the map and you have to painstakingly search them out even though they always change locations when you try to get where they are so you backtrack but **** they left again and now they’re over THERE so you fly to get them but GOD ****ING DAMN IT THEY LEFT AGAIN THOSE ASSHOLES) are the twin Psychic/Dragons (making them the first fully-evolved Dragon-types without a 4x weakness), Latias and Latios. Hoenn also introduced the idea that legendaries could be integral to the storyline with Groudon (Ruby) and Kyogre (Sapphire), and later (in Emerald), Rayquaza being important plot points in the games. Then, just because why-the-hell-not, they introduced TWO event-only exclusives not found in-game, Jirachi and Deoxys. And THEN-then, they gave us the original Regi-trio (because every game needs a themed trio of legendaries… not sure why that is), Regirock, Registeel, and Regice. I’ll let you work out what types each of those might be. Anyway, it seems like they overdid it, but all of these guys (and gal, Latias) have unique, interesting designs, and are good additions to the burgeoning Poke-roster.
VILLAINS: For the first time, Pokemon switched up the villains on you. You actually face a different enemy team based on whether you get Pokemon Ruby or Pokemon Sapphire or Pokemon Emerald. In Ruby, you face the threat of Team Magma, an organization out to eradicate all water on the planet so that land-based life-forms have more room to dominate! In Sapphire, you thwart the plans of Team Aqua, a unit dedicated to flooding the globe so that water-based organisms can thrive (you know… water-based organisms. Like NOT HUMANS. Good job, idiots!). In Emerald, you square off against both. It’s a unique concept, and it’s a certainly a step up from Johto’s blah villain department. If there’s a problem with Hoenn’s foes, it’s that they’re a bit comically overreaching. I mean… both those plans are pretty silly (and based around the fact that the creators REALLY just wanted to ramp up the weather system generation 2 introduced). But they shot for the moon this gen, so I give them credit for that. You know what’s the worst part, though? They don’t use themed-Pokemon! Magma doesn’t favor Ground-types any more than Aqua uses Water-types. Mostly they just use generic “bad guy” Pokemon like Golbat and Mightyena. Real missed opportunity there.
RIVAL: Rival? Rival?! Hoenn don’t need no stinkin’ rival! True, sad story; you don’t have a real, consistent rival in Hoenn. You start off with a few battles against Professor Birch’s kid (who takes on the role of Kid Who Takes The Starter That Yours Is Weak To), but midway through the game, they just drop off the map. They’re kind-of replaced by Wally, a brat you help catch his first ever Pokemon, a Ralts, so he’ll have a friend after he moves away. But you only battle Wally, what, twice the whole game? If that. Hoenn finishes a distant, distant last in this race.
CHAMPION: Not unlike what the game does with its villains, the champion changes based on the third game in the set. In Ruby and Sapphire, you do battle with Stephen, a tough champion with a team of varied types of Pokemon; in Emerald, the league champion is Wallace, who is actually the 8th gym leader in R/S, and is a Water-type trainer. Steven is a notoriously difficult champ, whereas Wallace… eh. Just bring an Electric and a Grass type and you’ll whomp him. Steven does a better job covering his weaknesses than Wallace. Both these guys place Hoenn as middle-of-the-road as far as champs go, though.
TOTAL: In summary, I do actually enjoy Hoenn more now than I ever did when it was released, so I feel bad I was so down on this generation for years. My problem with Hoenn is that it’s mostly a middling gen. It falls right in the middle for me as far as Pokemon games go. It’s a lot of fun, but not as much as some others. It’s a good story, but other gens have better ones. It has a lot of pokeys that are not memorably awesome of lame. To me, it is the “just there” generation. Which is why I’m always so surprised that so many people are clamoring for a remake. Don’t get me wrong—if they do it, iIll get it! But I don’t think Hoenn’s really dying for it.
TOTAL SCORE: 22/42
16th February 2014, 12:59 PM
4. Sinnoh, Generation Four - Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum.
After a relatively long wait after Generation 3 (which concluded with remakes of the original Red and Blue games in the form of FireRed and LeafGreen… remakes which were somewhat necessary because there was no connectivity between Generation 2 and 3, so players had no way to get some Pokemon from the first set of games onto their modern ones), Nintendo and GameFreak released Pokemon Diamond and Pearl on this strange new handheld device called the Nintendo DS. Be it the original, the Color, or the Advance, all the previous Pokemon games had been GameBoy games; it was generation four that launched the series into the DS era. How did that initial transition go? Let’s look to the scoreboard…
GAMEPLAY: For being introduced on a new system, Sinnoh did not introduce a lot of changes, but there were two incredibly important ones. One was more-or-less bungled on its initial arrival, and that was wi-fi connectivity. The premise was that it was friggin’ 2007, and players should be able to connect all around the world to trade and battle their pokeys… not just with someone in reach of a link cable. Unfortunately, the connectivity of the DS models was sketchy, so this wasn’t a real option for many players (myself included; I never managed to get my DS Lite or DSi XL to accept a Wi-Fi connection in their lives, curse them). It was, however, essentially, good groundwork for subsequent games. The second major addition was much more successful and integral to the games, and that was the Physical/Special split. Without droning on TOO MUCH about how the games themselves work, Pokemon had had both physical and special offensive and defensive stats since forever, but moves themselves were stuck in lame bundles based on what types they were. ALL water-type moves worked on the special level; all ghost-type moves were physical, for examples. It was silly, and it didn’t allow some Pokemon to reach their full potential (lookin’ at you, Gyarados). Gen 4 said “screw that” and brought in the ability for moves of the same type to be either physical or special based on the idea that they could derive from a more physical blow or be energy-based (Flamethrower remained a special attack, but Fire Punch became a physical move). This was a HUGE adjustment to the series, and like innate abilities from Gen 3, it’s become so ingrained that it’s hard to imagine Pokemon from before the S/P split.
Aside from those, gameplay mechanics in Sinnoh were underwhelming at best, and outright bad at worst. As far as side missions go, Sinnoh kept the same old Pokemon Contests from Hoenn. Ho-hum. And some of the new weather mechanics (annoying fog! mudholes you can get stuck in!) were a ****ing nuisance. So, in summation, Physical/Special split? Great, necessary change! Everything else? Mmmmmeh.
STARTERS: You may have been wondering since I alluded to this way back in Part 1, but here it is… Sinnoh is the sole region that did such a good job on its starter Pokemon that, for my money, they surpassed the classicness of the original Charmander/Bulbasaur/Squirtle trio. The starters here do everything Pokemon starters are supposed to do—the beginning forms (Piplup, Chimchar, and Turtwig) are all adorable; the final forms (Emploeon, Infernape, and Torterra), beastly and intimidating. And they all end up matching well against each other. Sinnoh was the first region (of only two total) where the starters would all end up getting a secondary typing, and they played it in such a genius way that it led to them all being effective and balanced against each other (Torterra’s ground typing allows it to be able to pummel Infernape’s fire side, but Infernape’s fire typing can devastate Torterra’s grassy self; Infernape’s fighting-type can wreck Empoleon’s steel type, but Empoleon still has the basic water-over-fire advantage on Infernape; Empoleon’s steel typing neutralized the damage Torterra’s grass moves can do to it, but gives it a weakness to Torterra’s Ground moves. And while Torterra doesn’t sweat either of Empoleon’s steel or water moves that much, it takes 4x damage from any ice-type moves Empoleon learns). Whew, that was a long parenthetical. Basic premise? This is the best gen for starter Pokemon.
OTHER POKEMON: Sinnoh introduced a middle-of-the-road 107 new Pokemon to the series, and many—MANY—of those were pre-evolutions or new evolutions of existing Pokemon. It seemed like Sinnoh was the region where they wanted to balance out old Pokemon or just introduce cute new evos for others. Hell, it took a single, no evolution Pokemon from Hoenn, Roselia, and gave it BOTH an evolved form AND a pre-evolution (Roserade and Budew, respectively)! There are two areas where I can’t deny them, though: they didn’t introduce any flat-out worthless slugs like Unown, Delibird, Luvdisc, and Castform in the previous generations (unless you count male Combees, but female Combees are quite useful); and a few Sinnoh Pokemon would be nifty enough to rank among my favorites ever (The Shinx line, Spiritomb, Gastrodon [which, oddly enough, is an actual slug]). Also, there’s Bidoof, Sinnoh’s early-route-useless-rodent type, who ended up getting a lot more attention (I can’t really say “love”) than Rattata, Sentret, or Zigzagoon before it ever got because, well, he’s just so derpy.
LEGENDARY POKEMON: Oh ho ho. Remember what I said about Hoenn? Where GameFreak just went berserk on the legends? Someone decided science hadn’t gone too far in Hoenn when they were designing Sinnoh. Let me put it this way: Sinnoh introduced 107 new Pokemon. Of those, FOURT-****ING-TEEN were legends. FOURTEEN! Out of 107! That’s thirteen percent of the Pokemon in Sinnoh are legendary Pokemon! That’d be like if you went outside, and 13% of all living creatures you saw were dinosaurs that controlled time and space. There’s a part of me that wants to hold that against the games because it’s just an absurd ratio, but there’s a bigger part of me that doesn’t care because the Sinnoh legends are fantastic. Sure, there are so many that some feel pointless (did we really need Manaphy or Phionne?), but the Diamond/Pearl/Platinum games do an excellent job incorporating the legends into the storyline. Mesprit, Azelf, Uxie, and [depending on the verision] Palkia, Dialga, and Giratina are all relevant to the plot of the games. Aside from those, we get Regigigas (is that… are there too many gi’s there? Rej-Ee-Gig-As… No, that seems right) as the leader of the Regi’s introduced in Hoenn, Cresselia and Heatran as hidden away, powerful creatures, among others. Oh, and God. That’s right, in Generation 4, GameFreak just decided to come out and say that a Pokemon (namely, Arceus) is God. Which leads to some interesting (no, not interesting, sorry. Nerdy. I meant to say “nerdy”) chicken/egg discussions regarding Arceus and Mew.
Also, the Sinnoh legends had a lot better stories than previous generations. There is a whole mythology about Arceus creating the world, Palkia and Dialga balancing space and time, the lake legends being responsible for humankind’s ability to feel emotions, have willpower, and gain knowledge. It was the first region since the notes about Mewtwo in Kanto where the legends felt like a real fable instead of just being really powerful creatures hidden away somewhere.
OVERALL: 6/6 (you clearly don’t lowball God’s score)
VILLAINS: The nemeses of Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum are a group called Team Galactic, a crazy throwback to old-school comic book supervillains, so of course I loved them. How could I not? Pokemon villainy started off as small potatoes (Team Rocket wanted to be a mafia organization), then got boring (Team Rocket wanted their boss back), then got silly (Team Aqua wanted to flood the world; Team Magma wanted to dry out the seas), but Team Galactic just went grandiose—they wanted to eradicate all life on the planet and redesign mankind in their own image as a world without emotion or spirit (because Cyrus, Team Galactic’s boss, had mean parents. TELL ME that doesn’t sound like an old-school super villain origin story!). Team Galactic also has props for having several sub-bosses with names and distinguishable appearances. Not super creative names (Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Charon), but names nonetheless! They actually even have a measure of success in-game as the player is incapable of stopping them from abducting the legendary lake guardians, Mesprit, Uxie, and Azelf. The best any previous villain team managed was causing a legend to go on an angry rampage.
RIVAL: Barry is not the best rival in Pokemon. Objectively, I know that. He’s not as accomplished or difficult as Blue. He doesn’t have the character arc and backstory of Silver. But it doesn’t really matter, because I always dug Barry. He is the kid who’s on a constant sugar-rush. He charges headlong into everything without regard for anything. He’s not particularly threatening to you as the player, as he’s really just your friend, nothing more. But I get a kick out of how he is handled in-game, in Platinum particularly. There, when you meet Professor Rowan and get a chance to be given your first Pokemon, Barry’s recklessness makes the prof think twice about giving you one, at which point Barry begs the prof to give your character one and not hold his impetuousness against you. It’s a nice touch to show who Barry really is. Oh, and later, he takes up hero-worshipping a pro wrestler-turned-Pokemon trainer named Crasher Wake and forces himself on Wake as a protege of sorts; it’s just humorous to see. And even later, he’s come to realize he will never be as strong as the player character, but he still does everything he can to be helpful. So, no, objectively he isn’t the best. But he held my attention and made me want to see him succeed more than any of the other games’ rivals.
CHAMPION: The series took a slight step back in one regard of the champion, Cynthia: she wasn’t as prevalent in the arc of the story as Blue, Lance, and Steven had been. When you get to her in the championship, it’s more of an “Oh, you?” feeling than anything else. But that’s where the disappointments end. Cynthia is possibly the most challenging of all the champions in the games; her Pokemon all boast flawless stats, and she has some seriously big hitters (Her Spiritomb which has no weaknesses, a Garchomp, and a Milotic, for starters). I distinctly recall her team giving me no end of fits if I wasn’t leveled up enough to take her down. Also, visually, she has a a unique, sexy design (Can I say that? I mean, it’s a game aimed at kids, yeah, but Cynthia is clearly supposed to be relatively hot. I’m just sayin’). So yeah. I should just stop there. That’s good championin’.
TOTAL: So do the scores seem a little weighted across the board there? They should; Sinnoh was and still is my favorite region in the series. And Generation Four as a whole was a superb one because after the main series of games, it rebooted Gold and Silver as the modern remakes, HeartGold and SoulSilver (which, if I had focused on them more, could have bumped Sinnoh up in Gameplay due to the PokeWalker and being able to travel with your Pokemon outside of its ball). Sinnoh wasn’t perfect (I can’t stress enough just how terrible the fog and mud aspects were), but it was the region that felt the most vibrant and alive to me, and the new Pokemon there are first-rate. Viva Sinnoh!
TOTAL SCORE: 33/42
16th February 2014, 1:02 PM
5. Unova, Generation Five - Black, White, Black 2, White 2.
GAMEPLAY: What you might notice right away is that Generation 5 is the first generation that had direct sequels (which is not ENTIRELY true… Gold/Silver were direct sequels to Red/Blue, but they aren’t considered to be the same generation, and most of G/S takes place in a different region). Instead of there being Black/White and then Grey, a presumed remake of B/W with updated additions, GameFreak just made a sequel game with an entirely new plot and some new areas, side attractions, and cities. Bonus points for creativity, certainly, but I will admit that I found B2/W2 to be entirely tedious, and it’s the only main series Pokemon games I actually never finished.
In previous generations, I mentioned how Hoenn and Sinnoh gave you a little sidequest option with Pokemon Contests. Well Black and White continued that with the absolutely dreadful and pointless Pokemon Musicals. Black 2 and White 2, upped the ante by introducing SEVERAL new options: You could run your own shopping mall (Join Avenue), become a star of the silver screen (PokeStar Studios), or become a champion of a tournament of legendary trainers (Pokemon World Tournament). Whereas the options here alone are amazing, they are actually one of the reasons I despised the Unova sequels. For the first time, instead of merely making you aware of the alternate missions and letting you go on your way, the sequel series FORCED you to participate in all of them, even if at least just once. And I found that to be an annoying waste of time when I just wanted to complete the story.
What I will give Unova all the credit in the world for is introducing the single best aspect of Pokemon battling yet (for my money): Triple Battles! Remember how much I liked Double Battles from Hoenn? Well now you can use THREE POKEMON. Jesus Christ, that’s awesome! The mechanics of Triple Battles, at which I like to think I’ve become somewhat proficient, are so different and so much more fun that Singles and even Doubles. Without Triple Battles AND improved connectivity to Wi-Fi, I wouldn’t have put nearly the (Jesus, is this number right? God, now I feel terrible about my life) SIX-HUNDRED AND FIFTY HOURS that I have on my Pokemon Black save file. So yeah… I spent a lot of time Triple Battling online, mostly while on my elliptical machine. How am I not in better shape yet?
STARTERS: So each region has their own Water, Fire, or Grass type that you can choose to start off with, we all know that; how does Unova compare? Not very well, I’m afraid. The worst part is not only do we get a Fire-type starter whose fully evolved form is a dual Fire/Fighting type (for the third generation in a row!), but Tepig is just so blah compared the Chimchar and Torchic lines. Emboar is nowhere near as good competitively as Infernape or Blaziken, and he’s almost as silly looking as Blaziken (Blaziken is still the worst-designed of all fully-evolved starters, though). And the other two are just negligible—Nothing about the Snivy or Oshawott lines stand out; they both evolve into pure Grass and Water types, and they are inferior in all ways (aesthetically and competitively) to other mono-type starters like Blastoise, Feraligator, Meganium, and Sceptile. Unova was far-and-away the worst region for starter Pokemon, if you ask me. And you did! That’s the contract we agreed to when you started reading this.
OTHER POKEMON: Unova brings it hard on the Pokemon-that-aren’t-starters front, though, and they do it by introducing a whopping 157 new Pokemon—more than any single other generation introduces in one shot. And, like Sinnoh before it, there isn’t a completely worthless Pokemon in the bunch (I’m really happy those days seem to be over). I will say, before getting into the Pokemon that I really dug, there is one downside to Unova, and that is the complete fascination with the damn elemental monkeys. They are EVERYWHERE throughout the game! It seems like every third NPC trainer in the game has at least one, and you get really damn tired of them after a while. Past that, though, there are a lot of gems. For instance, I friggin’ love me some Galvantula. An electric/bug type with Compound Eyes that makes Thunder something like 91% accurate? Yes, please. Mienshao? A… mouse/monk kind of thing? I have no idea what it’s really supposed to be, but I know it’s a staple on my Triple Battle teams. New powerhouses in Hydreigon and Volcarona? Great! There is a lot of Pokemon to enjoy this gen, giving it some of the highest replay value (teambuilding-wise) in the whole series. If I had my rankings to do over again, I might actually put Unova at #1 for this category, but I guess I already blew my load there on Kanto. Ah well. I will weigh this carefully and see if that’s why God made the Edit button.
LEGENDARY POKEMON: I’m torn on Unova’s legendary Pokemon, but I’ll get into that momentarily. They still have a fairly large amount of legends, bringing us 13 new ones. Not quite the 13% of the roster that Sinnoh boasted, but that’s still a large amount. Now, where I’m a little down on the legends is that the storyline revolving around them is a bit of a drag after Sinnoh. The only ones that really get a story are the featured cover beasts, Zekrom and Reshiram. And even then, it’s a weird story about how they split from being one Pokemon into two that represent, alternatively, Ideals and Truth. And they have something to do with Kyruem? I am not sure. Then there are the Musketeer quartet, Terrakion, Cobalion, Virizion, and Keldeo; there’s some story about their judging your worth as you progress through the game, but it’s poorly told and irrelevant. Conversely, boring though the stories of Unova’s legends may be, they are absolutely a blast to use, and they’re great competitively. Tornadus, Thundurus, Landorus, and Terrakion have all seen important spots on many Triple Battle teams I’ve created. Hell, Tornadus is a borderline staple for me. So a good middle-of-the-road score for an imbalanced region of legends.
VILLAINS: Team Plasma, the villains of Unova. They actually have a high-quality, interesting storyline with some twists, which is more than really any other region’s foes can say. When you first meet Team Plasma, it seems their role is that of the PETA of the Pokemon Universe: they view Pokemon battles as a cruel and Pokemon trainers as oppressive, so they want to free all Pokemon. They are led by a weird young man named N who is able to communicate with Pokemon. As you get into the game, you see that Plasma is being manipulated by a man named Ghetsis who is secretly after world domination—his plan is to convince everyone to release their Pokemon, thereby making Team Plasma the only people in the region with them. N, it turns out, is unaware of this and ends up finding Ghetsis’ plan abhorrent after it is revealed. He leaves at the end of B/W to think about all the lies he’s been fed (he is essentially Ghetsis’ adopted son) and decide what kind of person he wants to be.
After defeating Ghetsis, life goes on… into the sequel series of games where Ghetsis is back with half of the old Team Plasma operatives. The other half, the ones who weren’t there to prop up Ghetsis’ plan and actually believed in Team Plasma’s original ideals, are now working to repair their image and help abandoned and abused Pokemon. N comes back at one point to help you fight Ghetsis near the end of the game (So I did ALMOST complete the sequels… I got bored right before Victory Road) to complete his arc, oh, and there’s a scientist named Colress around for some reason. *shrug* It’s not the deepest story on the planet, but for Pokemon game villainy, it’s quite interesting!
RIVALS: Oh, that’s right. Rivals, plural! In B/W alone, you get two rivals—Bianca and Cheren—and in B2/W2, you get another—Hugh—so that’s three rivals in total. Unfortunately, they aren’t that amazing, however. Hugh, most notably, is the first in-game rival I just wanted to throttle because he’s so damn annoying. All he does is whine and complain and threaten everyone. I distinctly remember as I was playing B2, every time Hugh showed up, I couldn’t help but think “God, THIS loser again”. Cheren and Bianca were a touch better; Cheren was the overly-analytical nerd friend of the protagonist, while Bianca was the clueless girl with a big heart. For some reason I can’t even recall, I remember being convinced—CONVINCED!—while first playing Black that Bianca was going to swerve and join Team Plasma, but the story never goes anywhere near there. Ah well.. it would have been a neat idea. Cheren is the bigger threat than Bianca (at the beginning, he even takes the starter yours is weak against, while Bianca takes the one yours should more easily defeat). So while Cheren and Bianca are both fine rivals without any flaws or high points, I feel that the obnoxiousness that is Hugh just drags Unova down a bit.
CHAMPION: Oh, Alder. The best thing I can say about you is that you aren’t the worst champion of any region. But really, this guy was as boring and worthless as it gets. Not only that, he’s the first champion that you outright see get beaten, but is still treated as the champ (Lance falls to Blue in the original games, but that makes Blue the true Champion). Alder tries to oppose Team Plasma’s plans in B/W, but is soundly defeated by N, so then you go off and beat N and Ghetsis to finish the story before… going back to beat Alder to become the champion? What sense does that make? Why aren’t you the champion after thwarting N? Why do I have to go fight this loser again? He’s a loser; I saw him lose. Eh, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Oh yeah, and if you play B2/W2, I guess the reigning champ is a little girl (who was one of the two gym leaders of the 8th gym in B/W). At least she isn’t a big loser. Considering I never beat B2/W2, it’s hard to judge her. Alder’s team isn’t even that great; I’ve swept his entire team with my Butterfree before. But Butterfree destroys everything, so…
TOTAL: So I had always considered Unova to be my least favorite of all Pokemon generation, but its score wishes to discredit that. Actually, if I’d have gone ahead and swapped out a few scores I was close on (giving it #1 in Other Pokemon, or swapping its spot with Generation 6’s in Rivals by not holding so much against Hugh), it would be ranked higher than Johto or Hoenn. The nice thing about Unova/Gen 5 is that what it did well, it really excelled at (new Pokemon aside from its starters; Triple Battles; improved Wi-Fi connectivity; villain storylines). I just hold a lot of the things it did poorly too hard against it (awful starters; really irritating and tedious sequel games that forced you to do boring things I’d rather have skipped; Hugh). Actually, if they just would have done a Grey remake instead of the B2/W2 sequels, I’d have never had anything against Unova.
TOTAL SCORE: 22/42 (what is this? The official score of every region that isn’t Kanto or Sinnoh? 22/42 is the Fire/Fighting of my scoring system).
16th February 2014, 1:04 PM
6. Kalos, Generation 6 - X, Y
GAMEPLAY: There were a LOT of easy scores as I originally decided on these rankings. Kanto was the worst gameplay, Sinnoh was the best starters, Hoenn was the worst rival; there was never any discussion on any of those areas. But maybe the single easiest score to give was this one: Generation 6 blows the other games out of the water in terms of Gameplay, and it’s not even close. There’s so much to discuss about the innovations that GameFreak added to Kalos that I fear I will never remember to mention or fully review them all.
What jumps out at me the most is easily the Pokemon-Amie feature. It’s something that as soon as I heard of it, seemed so obvious that the series has needed it for years. At any point in the game, you can just switch your screen over to a display of your Pokemon and interact with them. You can make faces at them via the 3DS camera, feed them and pet them, talk to them via the built-in microphone, and play mini-games with them to build up their affection. Aside from just being a genuinely brilliant addition to the series, this has an effect in-game, as well, when your pokey’s newfound affection for you can give them bonuses in battle (more frequent critical hits, surviving a hit that should faint them, etc). Even if it DIDN’T, though… who hasn’t just wanted to be able to feed and pet their Pokemon? Come on! That’s a good, Butterfree! Good girl! Who’s a good Bree-Bree? Eat your poffin, Bree! Good Butterfree! Er… where-what am I doing again? Oh yeah.
Geez, I mean… what else? On the same screen options as Pokemon-Amie is Super Training, which now makes EV training visible to the player and turns it into a mini-game (previously, it was a hidden stat you had to pay attention to and involved a lot of grinding). There’s the Player Search System, which allows you to interact with other players the world over at ANY time, not just when you are at a PokeCenter (and much more easily than was ever previously capable). Oh! WonderTrade, where you can trade anything and [almost] everything instantly. The brand-new Fairy type! Horde Battles! Mega-evolutions! 3D without stupid glasses! Roller-blading! Sitting on benches!
GameFreak threw so much stuff at the wall—with almost all of it sticking—that they basically made an entirely different game series with Kalos. Luckily, all the staple aspects are still there, and all they managed to do was make Pokemon more invigorated and better than ever.
RECAP BY REGION: Kalos topped out here, followed, in order, by Johto, Hoenn, Unova, and Sinnoh. Kanto still hasn’t been released from Wrap and came in last.
STARTERS: Kalos really head-faked everyone in the Pokemon fandom with its starters, and I actually must applaud GameFreak for its trolling here. You see, for several generations, fans have been clamoring for a region whose starters fully evolve with secondary typings of Dark, Psychic, and Fighting. That way, the starters would all become effective against each each other (despite the fact that Sinnoh already did this, as I covered earlier). Well, Kalos did it! They gave each of the starters’ fully evolved forms one of those typings; except they didn’t make it so that a weak Pokemon would grow to have an advantage (giving Grass-type Chespin a Psychic sub-type to be weak against Water-type Froakie’s secondary Dark typing and I JUST realized in my random example here Fennekin would have grown to be Fire/Fighting NOOOOOO). They just made each starter DOUBLY strong against the one it was already initially superior to (So Chespin will eventually gain a Fighting secondary type, allowing it to even further bludgeon Froakie’s eventual Dark typing). I can’t help but think this was purely intentional fanbase trolling, and kind of humorously done at that.
That’s all apropos of nothing; what about the starters themselves? Well their secondary typings are relatively unique (before Kalos, no starters ever grew into Dark or Psychic secondaries), so that’s a plus. The original forms? All very cute and infectious. The fully evolved forms? Aside from Chesnaught, which is a monster, they perhaps aren’t the MOST ferocious-looking, but Greninja is slick and Delphox has a neat “mystic” vibe about it. And Greninja is primed to be a competitive threat with Protean as its hidden ability. So it’s a very good region for starters, but not quite a threat to top-out.
RECAP BY REGION: Sinnoh has the best starting Pokemon. Kanto, Kalos, Johto, and Hoenn were behind it. Unova’s third-straight Fire-Fighting starter was KO’ed into last place.
OTHER POKEMON: Prior to Kalos, the region that brought us the fewest new Pokemon in one shot was Johto, with but 100 newbies. GameFreak clearly blew the imaginative load on gameplay functions, because the Kalos region only houses 69 previously unheard of Pokemon. That’s not only last place in quantity… it’s last place a by LOT. But I endeavor to not judge purely by numbers, but to look at the quality of what we got. Well, there’s Hawlucha, who has such potential to be one of my all-time favorites. I mean, a Flying/Fighting wrestling-based bird Pokemon wearing a luchador mask? There’s not even words! But beyond that, there’s little that really WOW’ed me here. I’m not going to knock the Sword pokemon or the Set-Of-Keys pokemon or the Cotton Candy pokemon, because EVERY region has their “WTF is this crap?” pokeys, but they’re usually more balanced by things that are awe-inspiring. The powerhouse here is… a slime dragon (who is admittedly pretty awesome and adorable like Dragonite, but is still… a dragon made out of slime).
RECAP BY REGION: Classic Kanto retained it’s almost 20-year crown. From second-to-fifth were Unova, Hoenn, Johto, Sinnoh. Kalos lost its keys, and was locked in last place.
LEGENDARY POKEMON: As it stands, there are only 3 legendary Kalos Pokemon properly introduced, and they are the cover beasts, Xerneas, Yveltal, and Zygarde (presumably the cover pokey of a possible Pokemon Z which OH MY GOD should totally be about zombie Pokemon). There are three unreleased Kalos event legends, known as Diancie, Volcanion, and Hoopa. Not much is known about those yet, so they’re hard to judge (Diancie is coming out first shortly, and it’s a Fairy/Rock type, but… that’s all I know). Xerneas makes headlines as the first-ever Fairy-type legendary Pokemon (to be fair, Yveltal is the first ever Dark/Flying type legendary and Zygarde is the first legendary with a Dragon/Ground typing, but those seem less relevant because we’ve had those typings for years). The backstories aren’t quite clear enough yet, either; something with Xerneas being the Pokemon of eternal life and Yveltal being the Destruction and Death Pokemon. Which makes Zygarde… the worm-lookin’ ground dragon of purgatory? Errmmm…
REGION RECAP: Sinnoh and its fantastic mythology ascends to the #1 spot. Hoenn, Kanto, Unova, and Johto followed. Kalos gets an incomplete at best, good for last place.
VILLAINS: Team Flare. I think the easiest way to describe Team Flare is that they are a chic rip-off of Team Galactic (their goals are essentially the exact same: steal legendary Pokemon to enable them to wipe out humanity and restart it in their own image). Their discerning gimmick is that they are obsessed with fashion and couture (which makes sense, since Kalos is ridiculously obviously supposed to be the Pokemon world equivalent of France). Honestly, the worst part of Team Flare is that they follow up such a STRONG villain storyline from the Unova region with Team Plasma. Other than that, Flare is unoriginal, but not weak or unimportant.
RECAP BY REGION: Unova was best to the Nth degree. Trailing were Sinnoh, Kanto, Hoenn, and Kalos. Johto came in last.
RIVALS: You have less of a RIVAL in Kalos, and more of a clique of friends that occasionally combat you. The most relevant one is Serena/Calem (instead of having a set rival, the main rival here is the opposite gendered character of which one you choose as your avatar), who chooses the starter that should have an advantage over yours. The second most important is Shauna, who seems to be a younger character who is almost enamored of your character. She takes the last starter left—the one weak against yours. There’s also Tierno and Trevor, who… start off with a Corphish each for some reason (Corphish isn’t even a Kalos original Pokemon…). Shauna is entertaining because everything she does is so exaggerated (“POKEMON GO INSIDE THEIR BALL?!” “I’M GOING TO REMEMBER THESE FIREWORKS FOREVER!”). Tierno and Trevor have goofy gimmicks (dancer and nerd, respectively). It’s not a bad generation for rivals, and it’s certainly better than Hugh from Unova or Hoenn’s lack of a real rival, but the group here just isn’t quite comparable to the Barrys, Blues, and Silvers of other regions.
RECAP BY REGION: Sinnoh’s going to fine you a million bucks if you don’t agree Barry is best. Johto, Kanto, Kalos, and Unova are next in line. Hoenn is negligible and last.
CHAMPION: There’s nothing quite like a Pokemon champion who seems like she’d rather be doing anything else than being the champion of Pokemon. Diantha, the champion of the Kalos region, is just… entirely disinteresting. She shows up a few times in the game and is mentioned to be a famous movie star of the region, but she never really mentions battling at all. And then… she’s just the champ at the end? It doesn’t come as out-of-nowhere as Cynthia did in Sinnoh, but at least Cynthia was well-designed and challenging. Diantha is not only boring, but she’s a walk-over, too. I’m spending more time on Diantha than the games themselves do.
RECAP BY REGION: I came when I heard Kanto had the best champion. Sinnoh, Johto, Hoenn, and Unova had the next best champs. Kalos’ champ doesn’t take home any awards in last place.
TOTAL: This is probably the most misleading score of the whole analysis. Kalos came at or near the bottom in a LOT of categories up there and will probably (I haven’t math’ed yet) be the lowest-scoring region. And story-wise, that’s true; there’s not much gripping about the storytelling in Gen 6. But you can’t be unhappy about all the gameplay mechanics that Generation 6 introduced. And while there are so few new Pokemon, there are tons of existing Pokemon in the region, many of whom get a new typing added to them in Fairy, so there’s at least as much replayability as any other region. The problem with Kalos is the scoring system only allows for a maximum of 6 in the Gameplay category, and this region deserves more than that. I’m just saying… don’t let this score mislead you. The story may be a bit weak and underwhelming, but there’s so much to do, you’ll barely mind. (Wait, I think I’m telling you—on the last paragraph of the last region—that this whole analysis system was pointless. Curses!)
TOTAL SCORE: 18/42
(Erm, I just realized as I was pasting Kalos that the moderators might not LOVE the fact that I did each region in its own post. In all honesty, I hadn't even considered that until JUST NOW. So... oops, and I'm sorry if it is not ideal. I hope it's okay, though; this seemed like a LOT of blabbery, indistinguishable text for one post, and this makes it easier to read and figure out where one region ends and another starts)
Last edited by Sid87; 16th February 2014 at 1:07 PM.
16th February 2014, 3:25 PM
So yeah I read through this all and I found it enjoyable to read.
Also, this would've gone far beyond the character limit, so it wouldn't fit in one post anyway.
And, lil nit-pick, but Barry probably did better than any other Rival as he actually beat a Frontier Brain, which is a feat no other Rival accomplished (even if it was his dad).
So, um, yeah, not sure how to reply to this, really xD
16th February 2014, 3:27 PM
I found this interesting to read, and it had only minor biases.
But don't hate on Samurott
17th February 2014, 1:56 AM
17th February 2014, 10:43 AM
Most of what you say is agreeable (especially the ones who score 1/6). I think I would perhaps put the same rankings (a few ties) when marked according to those categories. Except for the "Other Pokemon" category - I find it impossible to rank it! For me they all seem tied. Whenever I try thinking of something bad to push it down, I come with something good to bring it back up.
I think it's a bit early to rank Kalos. Better to wait for this generation to complete it's set of games & then re-rank. Nevertheless, interesting POV indeed.
17th February 2014, 4:40 PM
I disagree with your gen 5. I think it has the best starters and the best Pokemon. I mean there is a good reason why Emboar is another fire and fighting type. His origin. I think Emboar is superior to all of the other starters.
18th February 2014, 1:24 AM
Well, I'm certainly not trying to insult anyone's facvorite Pokemon; I guess the Unova starters are just generally not my flavor. They all seem like weaker/sillier versions of starters we already have in other gens to me.
Originally Posted by Tepig Pignite Emboar 969
18th February 2014, 7:16 PM
I think the starters are original, in my opinion. My favorite starter of all generations is Tepig, and his evolutions of course. In my opinion, Tepig is the best starter of all. I mean, you can make Tepig and his evolutions stronger and faster by using certain items and moves, right?
Originally Posted by Sid87
18th February 2014, 7:58 PM
Technically Red could be considered the champion in gen II as well. I usually think of both him and Lance as champions of the Johto/Kanto regions, with Red being the "actual" champion who gave up the position and Lance being the runner up replacement. They do share the same theme song after all.
Still, good read. These viewpoints are subjective, I certainly don't agree with all of them (I personally think Barry is really annoying, but that's just me). But you still formatted it nicely and made some good points.
18th February 2014, 8:36 PM
Mienshao is a weasel. Just wanted to drop in to say that.
And wow, I never thought I'd see someone who thinks Blaziken is the worst looking of all the fully-evolved starters. That thing is almost as popular as Lucario.
Last edited by SKyLineR32; 18th February 2014 at 8:54 PM.
19th February 2014, 11:52 AM
Hmm, very detailed breakdown that highlighted some aspects that I often missed out.
While I don't have any issues with how anyone ranks each aspect, I think the summation of all the scores together to give an overall rating may not be the most ideal way to reflect one's opinion of each generation, since this method assumes that all aspects are equally important when in reality a certain aspect may carry more weightage than the other, and the weightage may also shift with every generation. For example, starter Pokemon and new Pokemon were a big part of my earlier years with Gen I and II, since I like to restart the game a couple of times with different combinations. During Gen III and IV I was looking at overall gameplay. While in later years I focused more on new mechanics that Game Freak has improved on, and designs of individual Pokemon. I think the section on gameplay could be split into game features that was added (or removed) and changes/improvement in mechanics in each generation.
It's interesting that you mentioned about being disenchanted by the franchise. Personally, mine started in RSE since it was a step back from GSC in terms of gameplay, and continued throughout DPP which I never complete. In hindsight both established important changes like abilities and physical/special split, but those were rather insignificant back then for me since I wasn't into competitive battling.
For starter Pokemon and Legendary Pokemon, I definitely won't rate Sinnoh's as high as a 6 though.
Unique type combinations isn't that important to me, and I don't think starter Pokemon should be hoarding all the unique combinations anyway. But looking at design, I honestly felt that this gen started the trend of starter Pokemon's final stage having vastly different color scheme from their pre-evos, which was taken to the next level in Gen V and VI with vastly different body structure and little notion of biological growth. Fire Pokemon were especially boring since every single one of them ends up being bipedal regardless of their pre-evolutions.
As for Legendary, I'm not a fan of those that are overly apocalyptic, complex in design, or oddly shaped. And Sinnoh's seem to have one or two that fit each category perfectly.
Last edited by Hidden Power; 19th February 2014 at 4:22 PM.
25th February 2014, 10:50 AM
it was a very nice read!!
of course i don't agree with u on everything, but i liked how u expressed your opinion... u might were biased in some things but u weren't hiding, not u were arrogant about it.... unlike some youtubers who start saying "is my opinion" and they usually end their videos with phrases like "hands down its the best/coolest" etc -_-
I like when people reviewing things, they give their opinion but they try to make people understand their point.... and u did that. for example u made me like Barry more now XD and he definitely moved up in my ranking
Also, i would gave u a thumps up just for the comment on blaziken alone.... :P JK but seriously that things is ugly as hell :P
Last edited by sunny phoenix; 25th February 2014 at 10:58 AM.
25th February 2014, 3:01 PM
A great read!
Team Plasma was definitely the best villainous team they've come up with. I was pretty disappointed by Team Flare after Gen V, when they had set the standard high for what antagonists could be like in Pokemon.
The legendaries in Hoenn and Sinnoh were pretty damn awesome too, being crazy mythical creatures that you could think of more as the demigods of the Pokemon world rather than mere legends. Game Freak probably ran out of ideas after that too, which was why the legendaries in Gen V and VI were a little more lacklustre. I mean, after you've introduced the creator of the universe and the guardians of time and space... what else can top that?
IMO the Johto legends aren't as bad as you make them sound, though. Ho-Oh and the three legendary beasts had quite a good back-story which really fit in well with the theme of Ecruteak City. Definitely better than the three Kanto birds.
3DS Friend Code: 2337-4080-6077 | Friend Safari (Poison): Cascoon, Venomoth, Muk
Always looking for 6v6 Single Battles.
Kalos Pokedex completed on 1 January 2014
25th February 2014, 3:06 PM
Fixed that for you.
Originally Posted by Sid87
Cradily wants YOUR SOUL.
6th March 2014, 3:14 PM
I'm glad to see so many people enjoyed reading this and shared their own thoughts. It was a blast to write, I know that. Hopefully I will have more time this evening to reply a bit more in-depth to some of your thoughts.