For the last month, pretty much everyone and their Nan have been playing Pokémon Go. It’s like we’ve gone back in time to the late 90s. The news is filled once again with tales about Pokémon, and the elderly are once again forced to question what a Mewtwo is and why they should be interested. So, with people who haven’t picked up a Pokéball since it all started in generation one, maybe they should take the steps to the new world of Pokémon.
Now, what I’m about to say comes with many health warnings, but it has to be said. Pokémon Red/Blue/Yellow are not perfect. Now, before those who left Pokémon many moons ago rush to get their pitchforks, I must add that I love the original Pokémon games. They were my childhood and got me into the world of Pokémon, like many others. Though as I’ve gotten older, I have taken off the nostalgia glasses, which are still glued to many people of my generation, and seen it has its problems too. This isn’t to say the later games are flawless, but some, especially generation three, are better games.
The main thing stopping many ‘fans’ leaving home on a quest to be the Pokémon champion in other regions is the designs of new Pokémon. I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve seen a ‘there are only 151 Pokémon’ meme. No matter how many times I show off great Pokémon like Lucario or Zorua, I get a Vanillite thrown back at me. Sure, it’s not the greatest design, but it’s not upsetting to look at. All of the games have great designs and equally awful ones. Look at Grimer, Muk, and Ditto, three Pokémon that are just puddles of goo. Exeggcute is just a collection of half a dozen eggs. Voltorb is just a Pokeball with eyes, Electrode just inverts colours. They’re all just standard Pokémon. Some may have even been ridiculed had they been introduced in a later generation.
If the designs bother you that much, just don’t catch them. Now I know, you’ve gotta catch ’em all, but are you really going to get all 720 or 800 odd after Sun/Moon? I only just decided to do that this year, and I’ve played all of the games. When you remove the prejudice, you’ll no doubt find many cool Pokémon you will fall in love with.
If you want to ease your way back in, you could even play some of the freemium games like Pokémon Shuffle first. This game is on the 3DS, Android, and IOS. This is a puzzle game similar to Candy Crush, but instead of sweets they’re Pokémon. Hugely addictive and great to learn the new faces. Another is Pokémon Picross, which is an art puzzler where you have to work out where to put coloured squares to make a picture. Though this gets harder to play for free as you progress
So, now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can talk about why it’s time to get back into the franchise. A lot has changed in recent years, and Sun/Moon look to continue this trend. There was an emphasis to add in an enthralling story in generation five, and we’re set to have another memorable adventure. Generation seven looks as if it’ll pay heavy focus towards the story, with the four islands seeming to have major significance. Now, not many people played the original for the story, instead they watched the anime. Now you can go to one place to get it all.
The story looks set to change one of the benchmark aspects of the series: the gyms. Now, little is known about the ‘Trials of Passage’ the character has to do on each island. So, they could either be side-quests which are undertaken in-between gyms, or they could be a new style of gym. The characters have to go through a series of challenges such as collecting items. After they challenge the trial captains, they then have to battle the island’s Totem Pokémon who is more powerful than a wild version. Now, this itself may put a few off, but if you haven’t played Pokémon for twenty years, maybe the old gameplay was not really catching your interest anyway. Besides, you could just play any of the other generations you have yet to.
If you haven’t played Pokémon since the first generation, then you are in for a huge shock with battling. No longer is an Ekans with wrap the greatest Pokémon in the game. Critical hits are no longer down to speed, there is a special defense alongside defense. The game has improved dramatically, making battles balanced and more tactical. Sure, trainers aren’t going to give most people too much hassle. Though fighting against real people, which is a lot easier nowadays with Wi-Fi, is much tenser and more exciting. There are a lot more Pokémon types and moves which make battles much more varied. Passive abilities are also present which give Pokémon certain advantages. Some allow Pokémon to absorb water attacks to give health or double attack damage.
The next major change are the graphics. The games are now 3D and closer to the characters. The people are even scaled property. The battles get players in the middle of the action and are a little more aesthetically pleasing than a white background. The new camera angles let the games show off their lovely scenery and open new gameplay gimmicks which make gyms stand out.
There are also new forms of Pokémon. Mega-evolutions are the big ones, which give certain final formed Pokémon an extra stage during battles. This makes them stronger and offers some changes in types. Sun/Moon is adding in a ‘Z-move’ which is usable once a battle. The cinematic is nice enough, but looks like it’ll help weaker Pokémon pack more of a punch, and well stronger ones even more so. Lastly is another new Pokémon form, and it’s for a few of the original 150 Pokémon. Vulpix and Sandshrew evolution lines now have an ice form, which look super cool, and we’ll just ignore Exeggutor’s.
There is a whole new world of Pokémon for you to return to and fall back in love with. Take another chance on the series you valued so much as a child.