Nintendo have finally confirmed that a full-blown Pokémon RPG will be heading to the Nintendo Switch in Fall of this year and, in all honesty, I can’t wait. Don’t get me wrong, Pokémon Let’s Go was much better than I anticipated it was going to be. It was a beautiful and rewarding trip down memory lane and although I was initially concerned about how they would utilise the Pokémon Go mechanics, it worked well.
But as many fans of the franchise will agree, it just doesn’t feel the same as other entries in the series such as Pokémon Sun and Moon. The idea of catching new Pokémon, battling trainers and collecting badges or Z Crystals has always been part of the charm of the series, something I fell in love with all over again after playing Omega Ruby on the Nintendo 3DS.
Here are five things that I would like to see in the latest additions to the Pokémon franchise.
1. Improved Storyline
One of the issues I have with all the Pokémon games is the fact that it likes to hold your hand a little with a linear story path that always seems to follow the same sort of line. You’re a promising young trainer who goes out and collect gym badges or Z-Crystals while fighting off some organisation that wants to use Pokémon for ill gains, all before taking on the Elite Four and becoming the champion.
I understand that the Good vs. Evil thing is a universally adored story but as games have developed over the years, why not include a branching storyline where you can side with the villains? Not only will this provide replay value, but it will also open the story a little bit and force the game to be less linear than other entries in the series.
Game Freak should also consider dumbing down on the number of tutorials in Pokémon games to make them feel more user friendly. Sun and Moon took about two hours to really get going, which sometimes put me off starting a new game.
2. An actual Pokémon League
The standard format that the games follow is: collect enough gym badges or Z-Crystals and go off and defeat the Elite Four before beating the snot out of your rival and becoming the new champion. Although this was changed slightly in Sun and Moon, instead defeating the Elite Four to become the first ever champion of Alola, it is starting to feel slightly boring now.
In the anime series, there is an actual Pokémon League that the protagonist must take part in before they can become the champ. This would be a phenomenal change to the franchise’s format as it would require you to take more time building up your time instead of finding the weaknesses of the Elite Four and exploiting them. It would provide a real sense of accomplishment and add in hours of post-game content when you must defend your title against new challengers.
I know deep down that this would be a big ask and is something we will probably never see, but I live in hope.
3. More post-game content
Every Pokémon game ends when you have defeated the Elite Four, games adding in maybe an hour of story but after all that has wrapped up. Afterwards the only thing that you can do is either finish the Pokedex or spam the Elite Four.
Ultra-Sun and Moon offered slightly more in the way of post-game content ,but after that was done and dusted, I didn’t feel the need to pick it back up. By adding a nice chunk of content after you have defeated the Elite Four, Game Freak can ensure players stick around for longer and invest more time into the game. Adding additional areas, new Pokémon to catch or more trainers to take on would be a welcome and needed addition to the franchise.
4. Access to other regions
Pokémon Gold and Silver, released way back when on the Gameboy Advance, remain my favourite editions in the franchise. For the first time ever, we were able to catch a deeper variety of Pokémon and experience one of the best storylines that the series has to offer. But the one feature that makes Pokémon Gold and Silver stand out is the ability to travel between Kanto and Johto. Although this has been done with other games such as Crystal, HeartGold and SoulSilver, it is a feature that for some reason has not been repeated.
At the time it was fantastic because Game Freak implemented enough changes to make Kanto feel a lot different to Pokémon Red and Blue and the ability to visit two regions in one game was adored by fans.
It could be argued that Sun and Moon allowed you to travel to different islands, with each one having different Pokémon to catch and a different feel about them, but they were still in the Alola region of the Pokémon universe, and so I feel it does not count.
Adding a new region as post-game content would be the perfect way to show the world that the franchise still packs a punch and show how the Nintendo Switch can carry the series forward.
5. New evolutions and region exclusive Pokémon
Pokémon Sun and Moon not only added three new starters to the mix, but also a host of new Pokémon and region exclusives, such as the superb looking Raichu whose Alola form turned him into a surfer dude and added the Psychic type to his Electric type.
Sword and Shield looks to be set in a world heavily influenced by the UK so including some British style Pokémon could be an option (although due to stereotyping this could go very wrong) or bring back some fan favourites from previous games to throw them into the mix.
The other addition that fans of the series are crying out for are new evolutions, especially for the Eevee chain. Eevee is a Generation 1 Pokémon that has gained a huge amount of popularity in recent months due to the release of Pokémon Let’s Go and even though we already have eight different evolutions, it can never hurt to have more (I am personally hoping for either a bug type or a fighting type).
There are also several options for other Pokémon evolutions that have missed out in previous games. Expanding the Pokedex seems to be a recurring feature in the series and because the Switch is more technologically advanced, Game Freak can really go to town on this one.
What kind of new features are you hoping for in Pokémon Sword and Shield?
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