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What do you value in a Pokemon Game?

techitisJ

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So a few weeks back I had a conversation with my coworker about the more recent Pokemon games, and he was talking about how he wasn't the biggest fan of the more recent games because they were just too easy. I completely understand this reasoning, because I know a lot of people like some challenge when it comes to their games, but I personally don't relate to it. This got me thinking, what are aspects of Pokemon games that other people value?

So, I would love to hear some of the parts that make up new Pokemon games that you think are the most important, and maybe some that you don't find as important. (I do apologize if there has been a thread like this before, I checked a few pages back and didn't see anything similar)

Personally, when I go into a new Pokemon game, specifically into a new generation, I look for a few things.
  • A wide variety of environments in the region. I love me a big Pokemon region that has a lot of space to explore, and I like seeing some good variety of what I am exploring. A good example of this would be Kalos. The region has a massive city in the middle, with smaller towns in a variety of climates. It has a desert-like area, some beaches, some mountain like areas and some snow too. It hits all the marks really well.
  • New Pokemon. I love seeing new Pokemon when the new gens come out. It's definitely one of my favorite parks along with understanding the region itself. I don't mind if new gen doesn't add that many either, if I really like the designs, or if they do something that makes up for the lack of new Pokemon. But discovering the new species and catching them is something I love.
  • The Lore. I am not just talking story lore, I am talking lore about the world of Pokemon itself, especially lore that talks about Pokemon's earlier days. While a lot of fossil Pokemon don't hit the mark for me, I really like the idea of them, and how they lived many years ago. Recently, Pokemon introduced regional variants which really fueled my interest for more lore on Pokemon. It adds this whole new idea that some Pokemon actually have to adapt in order to survive. It almost makes them feel real.
  • A decent plot/story and characters. I understand these are Pokemon games, and pokemon games usually don't offer the most story-wise (at least the main ones), but I really appreciate it even when it's just a little. I think it may be because I am a writer and I often take the little hints that the game gives and create my own story to fill the holes. But I also appreciate a little direction to think in. This is one of the reasons I am not all that fond of the Gen 1 games and their remakes because there is not much to go off of.
Something that I don't put as much value into (and that I mentioned earlier) is difficulty in Pokemon games. To be honest, while I do think I enjoy battling, I don't enjoy it as much as everyone else. So when there is a really hard fight in a game, I often find myself avoiding it because I know it's just going to stress me out. I don't mind that the games are super easy to beat because when I find they are too difficult, I just don't have as much fun. I don't mind a hard fight here and there, but if I have to spend hours and hours grinding just to be able to keep up with gym leaders and trainers, I am not going to be enjoying myself. I know a lot of people do really like the challenge though, so if they added a difficulty option in-game, I would be happy to see that for them.

Thanks for taking the time to read, and I would love to hear what you all value in your Pokemon games.
 

Leaf_Ranger

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I like a great amount and diverse typing Pokémon, so that we can have lots of options when training and also for trainers that specialise in certain types. I think this is what the franchise is about. Also, I prefer to have definitive evolutions than temporary ones, which I hate.

I also enjoy having a region that is detailed and makes sense. The best one for me were Hoenn in Gen. III and HG's Johto and Kanto, namely for the greenery in Hoenn and traditional and modern Japanese vibe in Johto/Kanto. At this moment it seems that certain areas are shoved into the game just so that we can find certain PKMN and classify the region as diverse, a trend that I honestly think that started with Hoenn.

Tied to this two previous points, I also think that the option to rebattle NPC all across the region, when done correctly with leveling their Pkmn, is a nice touch that boost replayability, which I find of the utmost need in games. I only buy games that offer a great replay value with new modes, characters amd story...Unfortunately, the Pkmn games only tend to offer this in terms of continuing to train one's Pkmn, not that much in new stories.

With each game, I tend to care less about the "evil team"...they're always after some legendary and we have the game centered about it. I think the story is important but has not been developed properly and in new ways. Also, the games don't allow us to make our own story, namely with the player character...the more I age, the less I want to play as a teen character that is a Pkmn trainer. The lore also goes into this "story"point, because with the story and lore being centered around the main legendaries, all other get little to no spotlight and we always have the same staples, namely the pixie and cute legendary. I still like Sinnoh, because it had so much potencial with Arceus, but at least had the Canavale library which, in my opinion, also touched on certain Pkmn/human relations that are not just about Sinnoh and that was develop in BW with Team Plasma.

PS: about the characters, I like when they have a background story and I loved the Fame Checker in LG.
 

Parissong

the bells of joy are ringing
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What an excellent thread to open, especially in a time where people are questioning if Galar is going to be living up to the hype of it being the debut of Generation VIII.

Personally, I care a lot about the "mundaneness." Now this does not mean that I like Pokémon games to be boring, but rather the boring facts of life in the Pokéverse. Pokémon-human relations come to mind immediately. Machoke are used by construction workers alongside Timburrs. Shinx are best known to be helpers in generating back up electricity. Oricorios are popular Pokémon in dance performances all over the world. These sort of "boring" facts are what I think aggregately breathes life into the games. Maybe they're just wishful headcannons from another perspective, but it makes Pokémon go beyond its sort of one-dimensional role of being a mere design and amalgamation of stats and moves.
 

colours

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Give me something to do after the Elite Four. That's my #1 thing that I've always wanted and most Pokemon games don't really deliver on this aspect.

I'm not even just talking about the Battle Frontier (although the Battle Frontier is a good example of how to get the most out of your post-game experience, but I digress). It could be literally anything -- I feel like most other JRPGs have tons of stuff to do after you beat the main story and Pokemon has like... maybe an unlockable explorable area or something, a Battle Tower equivalent, and maybe like one or two sidequests and that's it.

My big problem is that Pokemon games have long had issues where I feel like Game Freak hasn't put a whole lot of effort into the longevity of the games themselves, so it becomes very easy to get bored shortly after beating the Elite Four and even doing tiny amount of optional "quests" that exist. ORAS went in a good direction with the Delta Episode, but I feel like there's kind of a "now what?" factor as soon as you beat it. Zinnia's gone, you cant re-match her (sadly) so things are... back to normal?

It just seems disappointing that Pokemon could be so much more than what it is. I'd like my adventure to actually start when I beat the Elite Four, not for it to be over. I'd like to have more of the world open up to me and have more things to do, more people to meet, strong trainers to battle, things like that! I want new challenges to face as the Champion, and this is where I feel SM/USUM were on the right track, here. I want to be able to defend my title, I want random NPCs to acknowledge the fact that I'm a Champion instead of somehow developing amnesia and forgetting it ever happened like every Pokemon game prior.

It really does feel like Game Freak only cares about putting emphasis on the plot, and while that in itself is fine, the plot you can only experience once unless you start a new game repeatedly, and not everyone wants to do that.
 

noworry

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i agree with the elite four thing. one of the things i disliked a lot with X and Y is that i ran out of things to do after the elite four too soon. even re-battling the elite four had no value as they didn't level up their team at all.

i gotta say though, after X and Y i have really appreciated trainer customization. to me it makes the game feel more unique and personal. i can make the character feel like it really is mine and that makes it feel more like i'm the one going on the journey (i know that sounds cheesy but it's true). it's also fun seeing how others dress their characters.

other than that i really mostly care about the basics. interesting pokémon, pretty towns or landscapes. X and Y, despite all the faults i believe they have, did really great with that. the towns and routes were all very pretty, and i felt that the towns all had their own aesthetic.

what i do miss sorely in the latest games though is a meaner or even just more thought out rival. someone who makes me want to really beat them. somebody who doesn't go "oh you're so strong i'm gonna continue training to beat you" everytime. i adore silver from the johto games because he really made me want to beat him, but at the same time i enjoyed seeing his character develop from someone who didn't understand the importance of treating your pokémon right to someone who really cares for his team. it's not even that the new rivals are too nice in that sense, it's just that i don't even feel like they have much of a personality at all aside "i want to beat you" :T i like the characters in SM but even then i did miss a tougher rival.
 

colours

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I've pretty much accepted that the mean rival archetype is probably never going to return. I'm not sure why this is the case⁠—maybe Game Freak thinks today's kids are too sensitive or something⁠—but it seems like as soon as Gen 2 was over, every generation after that had nicer and nicer rivals. Even Blue/Green was nice in Gen 7 (he's not the rival anymore but it was still really off-putting nonetheless).

I'm hoping the jerk rival would make some sort of return in a future game but I'm not really getting my hopes up all that much.
 

Nicolas721

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-Difficulty: While the main campaign is only a small part of the 3+ years I'll use the game, I want it to be a memorable one where I was forced to think new ways of using my team.
-Region design: I want every route to feel special, and not an ensemble of the same grass patches and trees I've seen since Route 1.
-Pokedex design and distribution: Every route and place should strive to use Pokémon not found elsewhere, that makes the game funnier to play.
-Postgame story: Preferrably one that feels like an extension of the main story, and one that takes you to new places.
-Grinding places and battles: I'll be using them a lot for Pokedex completition so they'd better have a decent amount of battles. fun gimmicks and be nice places to be in.
-Side activities: Easy to access minigames that involve some skill, and battle facilities with reasonable difficulty (looking at you Battle Royal :mad:).
-Legendary quests that aren't determined by randomness (looking at you, Ultra Warp Ride :mad:).
 

Bolt the Cat

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I like a game that has a ton of areas to explore, Pokemon to catch, sidequests and mini games to engage in. Pretty much just as much content as possible.
 

Esserise

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For some reason I really get into the storylines; aside from that I'm mainly engaged by the Pokémon themselves, the region design/culture, searching out nooks and crannies for items, and fun little things to do on the side. UI improvements also make me happy. I avoid pretty much anything competitive or involving stat management (such as Contests).

maybe Game Freak thinks today's kids are too sensitive or something⁠
According to Masuda, that is somewhat part of it, although the primary reason he cited was simply that the limited graphics of the earlier games constrained what they could do in terms of expressing a character's personality. "Blue" materially consisted of, what, fifty black and white dots? He needed something to make him feel like a person, and giving him a more distinctive edge in the way he talks helped accomplish that. But these days we have the villains who can easily fill the role of Designated Assholes while the rivals take on a more metric role of someone to gauge your progress against.
 

Sakuraa

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An interesting story with enjoyable characters. Also, cute Pokemon.
 

lonerlotad

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A very compelling and engaging story/lore in a region that has so many places to explore. I want it to be so difficult. I also want 100+ new pokemon and form to catch and train. Has post-game and event storyline plus at least Battle Frontier Stadiums to conquer.
 

Silktree

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  1. At least 10 good Pokemon designs for final evolutions so that I don't feel limited.
  2. A reason to reuse old Pokemon. This doesn't have to involve forms or evolutions.
  3. A creative lore that emphasizes mystery rather than flashiness.
  4. A decent story and characters that aren't derivative but still make sense.
  5. A post-game story with exploration.
  6. To be frank, I am not looking for western culture in Pokemon. Make it authentic (Japan) or exotic.
 

Nil

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I think the world exploration and variety of things to capture are the main things for me. I personally didn't enjoy Black & White as much as I know a ton of people did, and I think a lot of that was the much more linear world layout. Really wasn't feeling those bridge routes. (I definitely don't hate BW, and I did think the story content was much stronger, they're just lower on my favourites list than I think they are on most peoples')

On the other hand, I think I enjoy X & Y a lot more than most, just for the sheer size of that region and the ridiculous variety of creatures to catch - that region had 3 Local Pokédexes! I know they were very lacking in other regards, but there was about 10 different species in the very first grassy patch you encounter and that made me happy :lapras:

I also love the almost Metroid-y backtracking structure some of the games manage to capture, when you get a new HM and can suddenly think of a dozen prior areas you can now access that you couldn't before - getting Surf in particular tends to be a highlight in nearly every game.
 

Pikadex

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I think for me it would be the ease of understanding how the game works, because if it has too much complexity behind playing it properly, then I am most likely going to be less interested.

I only have a couple games so far, and I liked one quite a bit, and am liking the second one as well.
 

SpinyShell

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  1. A large regional Pokédex, around 300 or more Pokémon. Games with smaller ‘dexs like Diamond, Black, or Let’s Go Eevee felt stale to me after a short while since I kept seeing the same Pokémon over and over. Gyms in those games that based on rare types like the Dragon or Ghost types generally only have three or so Pokémon used throughout the entire gym, meaning they aren’t that fun to face. Larger regional ‘dexes avoid this issue and provide the player with tons of options.
  2. Open, expansive areas as well as lots of ground to cover without being blocked off. Regions like Unova and Sinnoh have certain large sections that you can’t see all of in one screen such as the area before Pinwheel Forest in Black. I’ve found these areas very fun to explore and run around in. In DPPt, I believe, if I remember correctly, there’s a point in the game where it opens up and allows you to explore several routes and one or two cities without having to progress the story.
  3. A decent amount of post game content. I like it when there’s a few extra areas to explore once I beat the champion.
  4. A good story.
 

Poke Dragon

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I like the solving of mysteries in the video-games that I play, they are fun to do and tells the player what really happened or how it went down. So, the things I care about the most are the mysteries and incompleted storylines that need to be solved and are solved. Why leave the relationship between Xerneas and Yveltal ambiguous in their own generation? That's the kind of thing I really don't like. I love it when mysteries and stories have closure so that the rest of the lore can be treated like they matter. Leaving things unresolved bother me, some say leaving things about Pokemon unresolved is part of the fun, but personally, I don't see how it's fun at all.

An example of a Zelda game in which it had the series's biggest mystery solved: Skyward Sword. I enjoyed that game because of it, seeing how the Master Sword was actually created and how Hyrule was founded.
 

ItalianBaptist

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The thing I value most in my Pokemon game is a good battle system. To me, the battles are my favorite part because of how strategic they are - it’s why I lovingly refer to the series as “chess with fuzzy animals”.

So far, none of the main series games have done this “wrong”, though Gen 1’s wrap mechanics can be hard to go back to on VC. The generations that I consider my favorites though are ones that tweak the battle system for the better. Gen 3 in particular upped the ante a ton, but I also liked Gen 6 for adding the Fairy type to help with balance and Gen 7 because it’s when I finally got into EV training.
 
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I really value having a healthy bit of silence in Pokemon games...I enjoy it the most when I can see the world, talk to people, and get a feel for the culture or themes without a-lot of intrusion.

Another thing I love to have is outlets for battle. Specifically, in-game areas where you can go to have Battles with the CPU (I'm not too big on competitive Pokemon). Rematches, the Battle Frontier, the Battle Institute, or even places like the Lumiose Restaurants and Sports Domes, where you can just walk in and play against NPCs for more Exp. and money. All of those places have a nice pastime for me at one point or another.
 
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