6 Things I Really Want in Modern Pokemon Games
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are upon us and we’re truly living in an open Pokemon world now, baby! Pokemon Legends: Arceus was the baby steps, and now our youthful protagonist is out and about traveling a fully open, fully explorable world filled with wild pokemon roaming free. No more walking through tall grass. No more routes. Not as much handholding. We’re free.
A lot of hay has been made about the poor graphical stability of the game, with poor frame rates, stuttering, glitches and everything else under the same. And the games definitely have all of that. But honestly, it doesn’t really bother me or hinder my gameplay. Those graphical issues are not going to take away from me running wild and free in this glorious open world Pokemon game. But that’s not say to Scarlet and Violet are perfect. Or that Sword and Shield were perfect. Or that whatever the next games will be will be perfect. Because I do have some complaints.
Join me after the jump for six improvements I want to see in all future, mainline Pokemon games, things that aren’t too much to ask for in a modern game made by the most profitable franchise in history.
6. Better animation
The in-game cut scenes in Scarlet and Violet are insane. Honestly, that’s going to be a major gripe in this whole list. But when a whole lot of your game involves two or three characters standing around talking to one another, you have to do better. Characters turn to face each other by spinning their entire body in place. If they need to interact with another character, they just stick around their arms in the general direction of the other character. More often than not, the screen flashes to white to cover up any actual need for animation. It’s ridiculous and silly. Get better at telling your story through animation!
5. Better stories
While you’re at it, tell better stories. I get that we’re stuck with a young protagonist traveling the world, doing battle against a vaguely bad Team. But surely that can be mixed up more than it is, right? Surely there are more ideas that can be used? Make the Team menacing again, instead of just a bunch of annoying dorks. Give us a real rivalry instead of just being best pals with our ‘rival’. Make the main villains less obvious. Pokemon Sun and Moon took the concept and changed it up in fun ways, giving the Alolan Islands their own traditions, and then telling the story of how they join the Pokemon League for the first time while your character travels the lands. I thought that was neat! And on top of that, there was a whole separate storyline about an evil corporation opening a portal to another universe, which had its own monster pokemon! What happened to the creativity and originality of Sun and Moon?
4. Reasonable haircut pricing
This has been an ongoing problem is all Pokemon games that allow haircuts: why do we pay up front? We’re allowed to browse through clothing and then pay for what we want. Why isn’t it the same with haircuts? Why do I need to pay $3,000 just to see what haircuts are available? And then lose that $3,000 when I decide I want to keep my current cut. It’s madness!
3. Inter-game continuity
Adding more than one region to a game has been requested for a long time. We got to revisit the world of Red/Blue in GoldSilver. So why not do that again? Why not have more inter-game continuity? Why is there always some grand new person inventing the Pokedex? Why not bring back the previous inventors and make them a re-occurring character? Why not have the various professors actually interact with one another? Why not have the Switch read our save files from previous Pokemon games and include some elements. Legacy characters? Legacy character cameos? Mass Effect and other games did that stuff years ago!
2. Inter-game interaction
Way back in the days of the Nintendo 64, you could take your Pokemon Game Boy game cartridges, complete with saved games, and then use them in Pokemon Stadium. And we’ve always been able to trade Pokemon between games, including different generations of game systems. I demand more. Why did I have to create a brand new character in Pokemon Snap and Pokemon Legends: Arceus? Why can’t I have my Scarlet and Violet protagonist be the main character in those spin-off games? How about my Scarlet and Violet protagonist being a playable character in a new version of Pokemon Stadium? Surely this level of synergy isn’t too much to ask for in the year of our lord 2022?
1. Voice acting
The lack of voice acting is the biggest disappointment and disgrace in Scarlet and Violet. There are a ton of conversations that feel so weird because these characters pantomime the whole thing. I’m not saying give every single NPC a voice, but maybe little grunts and greetings? I know Pokemon Snap did something similar. But even still, why not have the main characters and major scenes voice acted? Pokemon isn’t Red Dead Redemption. There aren’t hours of cut scenes and dialogue moments. How much better would that opening prologue be with voice acting? It would be a much better game!