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I have had a lot of my real life friends (all 3 of them) asking me how I feel about Pokémon recently, as I have kept quiet on the subject, because I felt like it didn't really need mentioning. But Pokémon has always been really close to my heart ever since it first came out over here and so today, I have decided to finally get things off my chest. I won't bore you with how Pokémon basically saved me from comitting suicide as a child or how I would always feel better when I played the games and watched the original series. This is purely my thoughts and feelings on the progression of the series as a whole, concentrated on the games, because I haven't been following the Anime since Diamond and Pearl The Animation came out (and sucked some major league balls). Because I have to be honest here: I really do not like the direction the franchise is taking anymore and I can't see myself supporting it any longer. In fact, I have pretty much quit playing Pokémon some 2-3 years ago. I still play the games sometimes, but not as regularly as I used to. And here are my reasons why. You can feel free to disagree with me, of course, because that's what opinions are here for after all, but hear me out first. Why I quit playing Pokémon It's difficult to pin it down to one reason, because there are several reasons. I think the biggest one is that Pokémon can be really frustrating at times and as much as I loved it, it is THE major party responsible for lowering my frustration tolerance to dangerously low levels. Natures play a big part in this. They have been introduced in Gen 3 because the developers thought to add some more variety and personality to the creatures, which is nice… on paper. In practice, it's just one of many examples of „innovation where it wasn't needed“ to me. Imagine this, you roam around a cave for hours, trying to find a Bagon – a very rare Dragon type Pokémon that evolves into Salamence, one of my all time favourites – and you finally find one. You're ecstatic! After hours upon hours of nothing but Lunatones and Golbats, you finally see the Pokémon you were looking for. You weaken it, you catch it, maybe it breaks out of the Poké Balls a few times (which is in itself INCREDIBLY frustrating) then you check it's stat screen and see a Nature that lowers it's Speed, one of Salamence's most important stats. Worse still, it's male so in a Ditto-less environment (which Ruby and Sapphire was until FireRed and LeafGreen came along) you can't even breed the thing to get a different nature. That's awful, isn't it? You have this super cool Pokémon, but you can't really do anything with it because it has a terrible Nature. There are more examples of this: Adamant Abras, Modest Machops, you name it. No one in their right mind would train a Swellow with an Attack-impeding Nature and yet the game just LOVES to throw these wrong Natures at you, especially when rare Pokémon are concerned. Next is the stupid EV (Effort Value) system Ruby and Sapphire introduced. In case you are not aware, Effort Values are hidden values that determine a Pokémon's stats. You can have up to 255 EVs in any given stat, but you can only have a maximum of 510 EVs in total. And to get EVs, you need to kill a certain Pokémon that gives the EVs you want. For example, if you want to train Speed, you have to kill a whole bunch of Zubat. So what does that mean, exactly? You can only max out two stats at any given time, leaving your other stats in the dust and if you want to stand even a tiny chance in the Battle Frontier / Maison / whatever the hell or god forbid, competitive battling, you will NEED EV-trained Pokémon. What this does, aside from adding much unneded frustration because you trained a stat you didn't want (say, Special Attack on a Haxorus), is break the balance of the games even more, because it favours Pokémon with specialized bases over the ones with balanced bases. So this cool Blastoise you have with the same Attack and Special Attack stats? Yeah, that thing isn't worth anything anymore. What I think the most offensive about this is that the games didn't even tell you this until X & Y with Super Training. To know this, you had to buy a guide (and even these things only got into small detail of what EVs are) or look it up on the internet to get an explanation from people who found out via reverse engineering, which is illegal, by the way. So this valuable information that you absolutely NEED to complete the game is just hidden from you. That's terrible game design, nothing more. By the by, EV-trained Pokémon don't guarantee that you win in any Battle Frontier-like institution, oh no! The sad fact is that your skill at the game doesn't matter in the slightest! All you need is a crap-ton of luck the A.I. doesn't counter your Pokémon exactly, which it is liable to do, because the A.I. knows exactly what Pokémon you bring, what Moves and Items they have and what kind of strategy you employ and WILL react accordingly to that. Have a Dragon-type that is central to your strategy? Suddenly, a crap-ton of Fairies or Ice-types will show up. Have a Steel-type to counter them? The A.I. will do it's damndest to make sure to get rid of it before sending in its Fairies / Icies. And then there's the usual spiel of your attacks constantly missing, the A.I. hitting every single attack, no matter how inaccurate, getting crits on you in just the right moments and surviving blows that for all intends and purposes should have been lethal. This is the game actively screwing with you. It has nothing to do with fair difficulty, winning in the Battle Maison and any similar thing isn't something you can brag about, because in the end, it had nothing to do with how strong your Pokémon were. You won, because the game let you win. And the worst part: This unfair bullsh** started all the way back in Gen 2 with Stadium 2 on the N64. Then Pokémon Crystal introduced the first Battle Tower and it all went downhill from there. It's not like the Battle Institutions are the only sources of fake difficulty or unfairness, by the way. From Pokémon in evolutionary stages their level would normally not allow to Pokémon knowing Moves they shouldn't to Pokémon just refusing to stay inside Poké Balls, the main games themselves have a lot of examples. Let's start with the first point. Underlevelled Pokémon: This is one is easy. Do you know Dragonite? The Dragon Pokémon that only evolves into Dragonite at level 55? Do you know Lance and have you played Gold, Silver and Crystal or HeartGold and SoulSilver? Then you probably know where I am going with this. Lance, the Champion of the Pokémon League, has 3 Dragonites. Two at level 47, one at level 50. All three of them should be Dragonairs, but they're not. Why? Well, because the developers thought it would be a good idea to make it almost impossible to level up your Pokémon in Johto, so they had to make the Elite 4 and Champion weaker to compensate. It would have been reasonable were the Dragonites at level 57 and 60 respectively, but then no single player would have stood a chance because for whatever reason the second Generation still throws level 10 Pokémon at you when you are past the point of getting your fifth Gym Badge. Grinding and enemy progression frankly sucked in Gen 2 sucked and it sucked even more in the remakes, because Gen 4 is slow as as hell, because GameFreak apparently sucked at optimizing and basic programming to make the game run at a decent speed during that time. Pokémon knowing Moves they shouldn't: For this one, we're going into Gen 6 this time, more specifically, to X and Y. Team Flare Boss Lysandre's signature Pokémon is a Gyarados and that thing knows Iron Head and Outrage, two Moves that it could only learn via Move Tutor in Black 2 / White 2 at the time of X and Y's release, meaning a player could never have access to these Moves on their own Gyarados if they caught it in the Kalos region. Newer players wouldn't even know that these Moves could be taught to Gyarados in older games, meaning they are forever stuck wondering how and where Lysandre's Gyarados got these two attacks. Gen 6 players finally got access to them when ORAS got released, but until then, Lysandre's Gyarados was the only one in the entirety of Kalos that knew Iron Head and Outrage. And before anyone mentions it: there is no evidence to suggest Lysandre visited Unova even once in his life, so his Gyarados knowing Iron Head and Outrage when it really shouldn't is nothing but player screwage over on the developers part. The same goes for any enemy Pokémon that knows Event only attacks or TMs it could only learn in past / future generations. An example: There is a guy in Pokémon Battle Revolution, a Gen 4 game on the Wii who uses a Zapdos that knows Extrasensory, a Move it can only have if you catch and purify the Shadow Zapdos in Pokémon XD Gale of Darkness, a Gen 3 game. So players who haven't played Gen 3 and started with Gen 4 would never know where that Zapdos got access to Extrasensory, similar to Lysandre's Gyarados example above. If these examples are too „flimsy“ for you: In Gen 2, Lance's Aerodactyl (yes, it's the same Lance. That guy is player-screwage incarnate) knows Rock Slide, a Move it couldn't learn until Gen 3, where it was Move Tutor exclusive. Pokémon refusing to stay inside the Poké Ball: This one is incredibly easy, let me just ask you one single question: Where is the fun in needing to throw 50 Hyper Balls at a legendary Pokémon to catch it? It's not difficult, it's not satisfying. You don't raise your arms in happiness when it finally lands, you just go „Ugh, finally.“ It just takes time. It's not hard, it's just a major waste of time, that's all there is to it. Even worse when, after all that effort, the Pokémon you painstakingly caught (and wasted a lot of money on, because those Hyper Balls ain't cheap, yo) has a crappy Nature and IV spread. Yes, game, I am so very happy with my Calm Zekrom with zero IV in Attack and Speed. Thank you so much! /s Pokémon (Ultra)Sun and Pokémon (Ultra)Moon After the series peaked in Gen 5 and then went straight off a cliff in ORAS, I had little hope Sun and Moon would be able to reel me back in. Needless to say, what little hope there was was squashed the moment Sun and Moon announced more details about itself. Let's start with the biggest one: the new Pokémon. To be frank, I don't like a single one of them. Even now as I look at them, I can't find a single one that makes me say: “Yes, this is really cool!“ And the Pokémon designs – like it or not – have always been a big part of Pokémon's appeal as a franchise. Granted, there are some okay designs in there, but nothing groundbreaking, nothing that would get me hyped to use them in battle, see them attacking and moving. My reactions to the newer Pokémon range from an irresistible urge to vomit to cold indiffernce. For a franchise as big as Pokémon with as many characters as Pokémon, mediocre just doesn't cut it anymore. Call me entitled if you want, but if I have to spend €45 on a game, I want the game to be better than just “okay”. And if a big part of its appeal sucks, then why should I bother with it? “But you can catch older Pokémon. Just use those!” Yeah, like I can do in X and Y? Like I can do in FireRed and LeafGreen? Games I already have? Games I don't need to spend money on because I already bought them? You mean like that? This is in fact one of the major fallacies of the Pokémon franchise. With including older Pokémon in the newer games, you also have to include all of that old baggage as well. Ways to evolve Pokémon, shiny forms, gender differences, models, signature moves… all of that stuff that just continually fills up space and leaves less room for new things, for true innovation. While I really truly love many of the older Pokémon, I was so happy to not see a single older Pokémon in Pokémon Black when I first played it (even if some of the newer Pokémon in that Gen are rather blatant rip-offs of older Pokémon) and I can to this day remember my disappointment at seeing an Absol after I beat the Pokémon League, one of my favourite Dark-type Pokémon, mind you. It's just GameFreak that doesn't have the balls to say “Screw it! There is only the new Pokémon now!” Either that, or they don't want to create new Pokémon anymore and just throw the old stuff at us. “But there are Alola Forms of older Pokémon! Those are new!” Yes, and aside from Vulpix, Ninetales and Marowak, all of them are ugly as sin and / or what I can only assume are sad, unsuccessful attempts at making a joke. And Zygarde's new forms are literally Cell from Dragon Ball Z, all the way down to how he achieves these forms. “But Solgaleo is cool!” Oh, you mean that Steel / Psychic-type legendary Pokémon? Remember Metagross, Jirachi and Bronzong? Yeah, I'll always prefer these three. And as far as lion-like Pokémon go, I'll take my Entei and Pyroar, thanks. As for Pokémon that look like Chinese guardian lions / dogs, there is Arcanine and Entei both. “But Lunala is so awesome!” Yeah, a Psychic / Ghost-type. That thing that has a double weakness to both Dark and Ghost-type Moves… Moves that are conveniently common among legendary Pokémon and normal Pokémon alike Have you seen how many Pokémon learn Shadow Claw, Shadow Ball, Dark Pulse, Crunch and Night Slash? This thing wouldn't stand for two seconds against any Pokémon with these kinds of attacks. That's not even mentioning Yveltal and Darkrai, who will utterly destroy Lunala the second it shows its derpy face. It's also based on a bat, as if Crobat, Swoobat and Noivern weren't enough bats already. And a legendary Pokémon that has something to do with the crescent moon also already exists. It's name is Cresselia from the oh so precious fourth Generation. “Bu---!” I liked Necrozma more when its name was Kyurem. His ultimate form also looks like a seven year old child's rendition of the final boss of 7th Dragon III Code:VFD, so it's not like that's anything original or particularly special, either. The next point on my list is the character design of the humans. It's bad, close to unbearable even. They all look like the elevator doesn't go to the higher floors anymore, if you catch my drift, and in addition, most of them just look so very punchable. If I have the urge to punch my own character in the face, then you know something is wrong. The one character design I would consider halfway decent is Lillie's. And from what I've seen and read, she's waifu / loli-bait, so that's a thing. And now we get into the Z-Moves. Aside from the name sounding like a bad Dragon Ball Z motion control game, I liked these things better when they were called Mystic Artes and Limit Breaks. Because Pokémon didn't invent that shit. The Tales of series and Final Fantasy franchise have been doing that for years now and I am sure finishing moves of this kind appeared in other JRPGs as well, so what makes them so special here? Besides the lethal amount of cringing that little dance the trainer does before activating one of those Moves induces into me, I mean. The last thing I want to mention for now is the music. Boy, is it ever awful. ORAS was saved by its stellar soundtrack, even if the regression in graphics and tacked on Mega Evolution bogged it down and nose-dived it straight off a cliff. The music, at the very least, was amazing, both old and new tracks. Special shoutouts to this masterpiece. Sun and Moon doesn't even have that. I listened to the entirety of the soundtrack and there wasn't a single track that stood out in a good way. It stood out, sure, but only by almost forcing me to visit a doctor because of how much figurative blood streamed out of my ears afterwards. I thought Gen 4's battle music was awful and annoying, but Sun and Moon blows it out of the water, spin kicks it and suplexes it right back in, especially with this. The one thing Gen 7 did right is getting rid of those stupidly useless HM Moves that should be natural abilities for Pokémon. I promise you, HM Moves will be back come Gen 8. Now, I'm sure some of you will call me out on my points, and rightfully so, since I haven't played Sun, Moon or their sequels, but I did play the demo and I was never in my life more bored out of my skull during gameplay before. I also watched some gameplay videos and they all brought me to the same conclusion: The Alola region is so blandand forgettable it's not even funny. Worst thing about this is that there is a Pokémon game out there that gets the whole tropical island thing miles better than Sun and Moon could ever hope and that's Pokémon Ranger Guardian Signs. To add insult to injury, there is an entire tropical area in Tales of Berseria that feels like a giant middle finger to Alola, since the two games came out at similar times. So yeah, I don't have any intention of ever buying or playing Sun and Moon or their cash-grab sequels. Sorry if this is a bit lengthy (it's 5 pages of script, gosh darn it!) and sorry if it is a bit harsh, but I felt like getting my opinion out there. As I said in the beginning, feel free to agree or disagree with me. I would nevertheless love to hear your thoughts on this subject. With love, DragonFlames I also have no idea where something like this goes. I first assumed into the Pokémon section, but I am not so sure. Mods, feel free to move or delete it, if I put it into the wrong subforum. P.S. Digimon is better. Both anime and game-wise. Peace!