Before the Christmas break, I ordered Football Manager 2018 to be delivered via a non-league football club (whom shall not be named) to play over the Christmas break in the rare moments when I’m not working or hanging out with friends and family. Unfortunately, the game didn’t come in time and is now sitting at my flat in the Midlands while I’m back down South. Now, I’ve had an excellent break, but I felt I needed a game for it. So I borrowed/stole the 3DS from my partner and started playing Pokémon Red. A classic, one of my all-time favourites.
To be honest most main series Pokemon games are pretty good, even a few of the spin off titles are highly regarded. Putting the games in order from least best to best could be completely pointless, but then everyone loves a good list nowadays, so lets get on with it.
Sun & Moon
The most recent games in the series for me are least interesting, despite the changes to the formula. No longer are there gyms and badges, now you need to complete trials and defeat totem Pokemon and earn Z items. Grand trials are the closest thing to gym battles of which there are 4. Personally the trials and totems just aren’t fun, the SOS mechanic is annoying. For those who haven’t played the SOS mechanic is where a wild Pokemon calls for another Pokemon to help them in battle which automatically turns into a 2v1 battle. Every totem Pokemon does it and so can randoms in the wild, which makes trying to catch wild Pokemon somewhat tedious when they constantly call for help, meaning you have knock one thing out before you catch another.
Not helping is how easy it all is, when combined with how much the game holds your hand. I didn’t actually play Sun or Moon I was dragged through it while the game pretty much played its self. When you hit a Pokemon with a super effective move for the first time it will register that, so when you face that Pokemon again with a move of the same type it will so up that its super effective.
This is so stupid, why is this a thing, now instead of learning and remembering or you know being aware of what Pokemon’s weaknesses are the game will give you that after you battle something once. So instead of thinking when battle you just spam the move thats marked super effective. To be fair I haven’t finished it maybe it gets better but all of this combined makes for ultimately a boring game and for me thats exactly what it is.
Diamond, Pearl & Platinum
I don’t have a lot to say about this one…
Im serious, I only played it through once and my main memory is how fucking annoying the defog HM was. I wouldn’t say it was boring though there are cool Pokemon to use as well as cool trainers, Cynthia am I right? That whole champion battle was awesome but overall the game didn’t hold my attention. The distortion world was cool though, shame about the legendary Poke’s in this game though and how they were lame, Giratina was alright.
Thats it…sorry to fans of this game but it was nowhere near the best but not bad overall.
Black & White
This game is… well, standard. A lot interesting ideas were in this game but for some reason it all feels so generic. That could be in part down to the story, which just doesn’t go far enough. It asks an interesting question about its own world, Are Pokemon just slaves? Unfortunately not only doesn’t it really answer the question it goes in the complete opposite direction. The question being just a front for the generic evil doer to use Pokemon in his own interests of power. Maybe if the demographic was a bit older we would have got a story that made you think and answer that question. The story is still decent enough but perhaps it could have been more morally grey.
It terms of cool features it adds triple battles which were kind of neat, seasonal changes which meant that you could catch different Pokemon in summer, spring, winter and autumn. Again its kind of neat, critical capture meaning by catching Poke’s it would become easier to catch more Poke’s which is pretty cool. Some “ok” additions but nothing ultimately to write home about. Speaking of Pokemon the new ones for this generation weren’t too interesting, many pointing the finger at the ice cream and pile of garbage Pokemon, Vanillite and Garboder respectively. I personally like these Poke’s but overall for the generation again its a bit standard. Just look at Reshiram and Zekrom if you don’t get what I mean.
Ruby, Sapphire & Emerald (Plus remakes)
Ive completed the original Ruby quite a few times, which is weird considering how much I don’t like it. Obviously I like it on some level because I’ve finished it a number times and also its not bottom on this list, so what do I like about this generation. The new bike was cool, you know the one you could do tricks on for some reason. The music for the elite 4 battles and the champion battle is great. New Poke-balls that make it easier to catch Pokemon in certain conditions is a welcome feature. A weather system that added different conditions in battles was also cool adding a bit more strategy to battles. Abilities where introduced in these games giving another layer to battles. Double battles debuted and there pretty cool, I like a bit more about the games than I thought I did but when I talk about these games I still have a negative view on them.
Hoenn is my least favourite region, its so annoying to navigate making you back track through areas you’ve been through to get to gyms. To using the 2nd worst HM ever to progress forward, fucking rock smash. Adding more HM’s which are water based meaning a HM slave is necessary, fucking waterfall and dive. Poor Zigzagoon only exists to be your HM slave if only Black and White made that point, it’d be above this on the list. Theres too many forgettable Pokemon, cooler ones like Flygon, Breloom, Metagross and personal favourite Shedinja are few and far between. The remakes had a chance to change some of the annoyances from the originals, like getting rid of rock smash and flash but didn’t. The remakes also imply that games without mega evolution take place a different universe and to that I say “Fuck you”!
Bases were neat and Pokemon contests where actually surprising enjoyable, I give this game so much shit, some of it is harsh, however it is another solid entry into the franchise.
X & Y
The first Pokemon game on the 3DS I would say was a success, apart from the bug that could corrupt your save file all was well. This article however is written by me, Shaun not the other guy so naturally there will be some amount of complaining.
The games are too easy, getting the EXP share early on meant for the most part some Pokemon in your team do not need to battle to level up. Your team can stay somewhat close in levels and only battle when they need to. All I’ve done there is confirm that you don’t need to grind, grinding in reality isn’t hard it just takes time which provides the illusion of difficulty. Still you can just blitz through the game theres not too much challenge. The game even gives you strong Poke’s for no reason, after your starter Pokemon you are given an OG starter, Lucario and Lapras. You also have the opportunity of catching a Snorlax who can be pretty tough. Also at release you could download a Torchic with the unique ability speed boost. You are given an incredible strong team by the game, like me most of you probably ignored the gifts and continued on but still the options are there.
Other then those nearly implausible and ramble-ly complaints theres are pros otherwise it wouldn’t be this high on the list. Mega evolution is great, cool designs, some Pokemon become even more powerful and finding the mega stones was always nice. All of this was true for this game but then the ruby and sapphire remakes pulled that different universe bullshit. EV training is very easy in this game making the late game Battle Maison thing quite enjoyable. Horde battles where you battle 5 Poke’s at once is fun as well as good source for EV training. Rideable Poke’s was ok, a bit slow but neat while it lasted.
Black & White 2
3rd place, the bronze medal, its quite surprising even to me that these games sit here on the list. The version I had was white 2 and I played it a lot going as far as to earn the shiny Dratini after beating the end game white forest. As well as catching the shiny Haxorus after seeing all the Pokemon in the Unova dex. This game really did just feel like an adventure. New features like an achievement type thing where you earn medals for doing certain things was cool. The Pokemon world tournament was also a really cool concept and adding more content to game that was already filled with things to do. Theres a tonne of legendaries in this game to catch, something that I enjoyed more in this game than any other. It felt like your own quest instead of a quest or a journey being laid out for you.
I like the fact that you can catch some really cool Poke’s quite early, like Magnezone, Magmar, Electabuzz and Volcarona just to name a few, by that I mean catch the first evolutions and train them up. I really like this game but of course there is a problem with it. It can be too easy, the gym aides give advice and a healing item in every gym which is for me being a series veteran at this point was a bit insulting. I know how to do Pokemons gym aide man.
That is actually the only problem I have with these games, I’m sure there are many out there that wouldn’t have this in their top 3 but I digress. Congratulations Black and White 2 you’ve earn the bronze medal.
Red, Blue and Yellow (Plus Remakes)
These games are classics, the ones that started it all, some of you thought or think this was going to or should be first. Especially some of the older folks, I’m sure a few of you young-ins haven’t even played these old school games. If you haven’t you need to play them, nostalgia may be part of this but all can agree that these games are truly incredible, some of the best games ever made.
I don’t want to go over the same things that have been said about these games over the years, so I’m just going to mention a couple of things that I personally want to talk about. A lot the coolest Poke’s come from this generation but then I’m sure a lot us know that but still It needed to be said. The player and rival theme that is in all the games is the closest to perfection in this game. The one thing I would have liked to see is actually being allowed to lose, only to your rival of course. It would make it more of a rivalry, and also give sense to all the trash he talks despite being beaten several times.
The games is also sufficiently difficult its not too hard and its not too easy, theres not much grinding that needs to be done but of course you still need to do some. There are a few interesting gym battles, looking at Sabrina and to a lesser extent Koga. Unfortunately the last gym battle against Giovanna was a bit of let down but hey, the rest of game is awesome. For a game I regard highly I don’t have a lot to say about it that hasn’t already been said, it comes first on many a Pokemon game list so I think I’ll leave it here. 2nd place and the silver medal goes to Pokemon Red/Blue.
Gold, Silver & Crystal (Plus Remakes)
The perfect sequel, or sequels I guess, is how I would describe this generation. Good new features, right amount of new Pokemon added and the best end game ever. Out of all the games in the franchise I consider these to be the closest to masterpiece status. Do I think they should be regarded as a masterpiece, well that could be an entire article on its own and honestly I’m not sure.
The introduction of 2 new Pokemon types (Dark and Steel) are integrated seamlessly, and the internal clock is such an underrated feature. I haven’t ever described a Pokemon as beautiful but when its night time in OG Gold & Silver its so damn nice to look at. Pokemon evolving into different Poke’s depending on the time of day was neat but could be frustrating as my buddy Dave would know. Some of the not so cool Poke’s from gen 1 get a new, cooler evolution (Crobat). Baby Pokemon and breeding are added, its slightly interesting and nowadays incredibly key for some.
Experience points now show at the bottom of a Pokemons HP in battle showing you how close they are to levelling up. Pokemon can now hold items giving them stat boosts or other effects like healing themselves or certain move types doing more damage, giving more strategic options. All trainers are named and some are available for rematches making grinding a little more interesting. On specific in game days events take place like the Bug Catching Contest, where you can win unique prizes. Pokemon like Lapras can only be seen in Union Cave on a Friday, of course back then it wasn’t common knowledge so running into it by accident made your play through even more unique. We all encountered our first shiny Pokemon in the Lake Of Rage, Red Gyarados is cool as hell. Even the fucking bag was awesome, items were grouped together separately making it easier to find things and navigate the bag. Some of most interesting gym battles are in this game. Whitney and her Miltank, Claire and her Kingdra are both very memorable battles. Once the Gyms and Pokemon league are defeated you can then go back to the original region and get another 8 badges and battle a stronger Pokemon league. Why hasn’t this feature of going back to an old region never been used again, it was so amazing.
I haven’t really talked about the remakes of games to much as theres not to much different than the new generation they come with but one thing I would to mention regarding the Gold & Silver remakes is being able to get the gym leader numbers and being able to have rematches with them. Of course they’d have different and higher level Poke’s, getting all 16 gym leaders in the fighting dojo in Saffron was great.
These games truly are the perfect sequels theres hardily anything bad to say about them. The one thing I can say is the rival thing isn’t as good as the original games, Blue or Gary or whatever you know him as is a far better rival than Silver. I nearly put Red and Blue first on this list because of that and how important the rival was in these games. However partly due to the games being an improvement in almost every way there is one thing that seals the deal. That is Mt Silver and the battle with PKMN Trainer Red, or yourself from the previous game.
Throughout the game there are small mentions of a boy who defeated Team Rocket 3 years ago and your (I’m) like “That was me, that was me”. This happens about 3 times, then you get to Kanto and Oak mentions that Red is on Mt Silver training but you can only go up there after beating the Pokemon League for a second time after getting the 8 Kanto badges, at least thats how I remember it. It is said that only the most skilled of trainers are allowed onto Mt Silver. This is fantastic because once you get to the top you realise that they are no other trainers on the mountain, only you and Red. The 2 best trainers in the world at this point and in reality there both you, Red of course doesn’t use the Pokemon you might have used in Red or Blue. Unless you just happened to use the exact ones he does, boy that would have been a mind fuck. This for me is the most memorable moment in the entire franchise, the battle with him is intense. I don’t really have any memories of the original battle with him, plenty in the remakes, I had many a battle with him then. The battle is so incredibly tough I remember a different buddy by the name of Antonio cheated and took 6 level 100 Arceus’s with him and still lost (hahahahahahaha).
The one thing I would have liked, again is being allowed to lose but only to Red in this final battle. Having only one shot against the best trainer in the game would have made the final battle so much more awesome, for me anyways…
Well I’ve gushed about Pokemon Gold & Silver enough now I think, I probably have more I can say about it but I think that’ll do, the Gold medal belongs to them.
Now I’m sure there are many people who disagree with my list so if you do feel free to pop yours in the comments, it would interesting to read them, thanks.