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Pokémon is a franchise that continues to add to the ever increasing roster of "Pocket Monsters" for players to catch, train and battle in the games. With over 20 years of history, the primary games have been released on pretty much every handheld console created by Nintendo. Starting with the original Game Boy in 1996 and through to the Nintendo 3DS over seven generations of the game have been released. But, Nintendo announced that the eighth generation of the games will be released on their latest console, the Nintendo Switch.
Starting with remakes of the original games Pokémon Red & Blue, Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu & Eevee were released at the end of 2018. These remakes had plenty of nostalgia, mixed with new elements to bring a new style of play to the classic title. With this game and previous games from Pokémon in mind, here is a list of what Nintendo need to add to their eighth generation of games, to ensure they are better received than Pokémon Sun and Moon.
BRING BACK: The Gym Leaders
The seventh generation of Pokémon did take a brave move, to not have Pokémon Gym Leaders and Gym Badges for the player to earn. Instead, they implemented a new 'Pokémon Trial' system, were the trainer would have to complete a task to face a powerful "Totum Pokémon." This new system was explained through the game, as in the region of Alola they are still setting up their Pokémon League.
Many players did hope Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon would be like Pokémon Black & White, as these games were sequels set five years after the event of Pokémon Black & White. If this had been the case, Alola would have hopefully reached the point where the Gyms and Leaders were now open ready for the player to battle against, bringing the seventh generation of games in line with the past generations. Unfortunately, this was not the case and the games were set in a parallel world instead.
The eighth generation of games need to return to the tried and proven game formula players have enjoyed for two decades. You have to give the developers props for trying something new, but I think Pokémon fans globally would agree it was a failed attempt of a new type of Pokémon game. Players want the Gyms to return in the next generation and have their love for the Pokémon League reignited.
KEEP: Let's Go Catching Mechanics
Pokémon Let's go ditched the classic style of battling wild Pokémon to weaken them before capture. Instead, they implemented a new style which is very similar to Pokémon GO! Now players must use berries and precision to land nice, great and excellent throws to increase the chances of obtaining that Pokémon. They can also use different balls with varying rates of capture success behind them.
While some players have not embraced this new style, it held many more bonuses to the old school way. First off was how the Pokémon physically appears in the wild, with some holding blue and red auras. These auras indicated a Pokémon's size, blue for small and red for large. This allowed players to get more data on the Pokémon, to include maximum size and weight. The second is the 'catch combo' technique. If a player continues to catch the same type of Pokémon the catch combo increases, along with the experience earn and the candy rewards from the capture. By collecting these candies, players can amp up the power of the Pokémon extremely quickly and easily.
But, the best feature was the shiny Pokémon. Being rare colour variants of the Pokémon, they are highly coveted by players. Being able to physically see the Pokémon allows players to spot these rare Pokémon and go in for the capture. However, with a shiny charm and through catch combos, a player could greatly increase the chances of a shiny appearing. These new capturing techniques are an example of something new working, and needs to be brought over from Pokémon Let's Go.
BRING BACK: Pokémon Contests
Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire introduced Pokémon Contests and gave trainers a new use for their Pokémon team. The Pokémon attacks would expose one of five areas of expertise to an audience, either cool, smart, beautiful, tough and cute. These would give the player points based on what the attack's effects were and sometimes by using moves in succession to be more appealing.
While some fans liked and other did not like Pokémon Contests, it did give you something else to achieve once the main gameplay had been completed. Earning Ribbons for the Pokémon, it would be a symbol that a Pokémon was not just strong, but also an appealing Pokémon. The Contests have only appeared in a handful of generations and it feels like they are due to return to the games.
What would be good is for the games to emulate the anime, with a Grand festival for players to enter once a Pokémon has earned so many Ribbons. They could simply hold it in the same location for the Pokémon League, making it a destination with double purpose. If they put some effort into adding this they could revive the Pokémon Contests in generation eight and give players more to do in the game.
KEEP: Any Pokémon Can Become Your Buddy Pokémon
Another classic, which was only seen in one past game of Pokémon, that returned in Let's Go Pikachu & Eevee was the "Buddy Pokémon." But, Let's Go took it to a new level. The original game, Pokémon Yellow, followed the narrative of the anime, where the player had awoken late and missed the chance to choose between Bulbasuar, Charmander and Squirtle. This resulted in the player being given a Pikachu, and like in the anime, it would not remain in its Pokéball and travel alongside the player.
Let's Go allowed players to select which Pokémon would be their buddy Pokémon. This meant you could have one of 154 Pokémon following you in the game and switch which Pokémon was your buddy at any point in the game. While it is such a small mechanic, it is one players enjoy. It also makes sense as the games often involve the player meeting NPC characters who often have their Pokémon out of the Pokéball. Hopefully generation eight will keep this feature so you could literally be followed by any Pokémon.
BRING BACK: New Mega Evolutions!
Mega Evolutions were introduced in the sixth generation of games. Using Mega Stones and a Key Stone, a Pokémon could tap into the pure potential behind their evolution and unlock a mighty new form. The Pokémon with Mega Evolutions is a small percentages, considering their is nearly 900 Pokémon at present. Many fans hoped to see them return with more in Pokémon Sun & Moon, but they again opted for something new.
Introducing Z-Moves in Sun & Moon brought new powerhouse attacks for trainers to use in battle. Much like Mega Evolutions, only a single Z-Move could be activated per battle. While this was a really cool addition, they became boring fast. While all Pokémon could access Z-Moves, only a few had their own unique moves. So, you pretty much got a long animated attack in the game that you could not skip and would see dozens if not hundreds of times over.
Mega Evolutions were far more exciting and gave Pokémon that often felt forgotten a new breath of life. Fans have been creating fan art for more Mega Evolutions ever since they first appeared back in 2013, so Nintendo should be aware fans want more of them. Hopefully generation eight can bring in some new Key Stones and Mega Evolving fun for trainers to enjoy in the next set of games.
KEEP: Poképark And Pokémon Go Connectivity
Let's Go brought more purpose to the players of Pokémon Go, by allowing players to transfer Pokémon from their mobile game to the Switch. This saw the classic Safari Zone changed in Let's Go into the Poképark, where you could catch any of the Pokémon sent to the game from Pokémon Go. What was nice about this, was it wasn't just replacing the Safari Zone with a new park, it was more upgrading the Safari Zone into a modern version.
With generation eight set to feature over 900 Pokémon, you have to wonder how they would even attempt to have all of them in a single game. Well the simple answer is, they will not. No Pokémon has ever been released with all the Pokémon available to catch, and in later generations the games may only hold between 200-300 Pokémon to catch. How players had to get the others were through rereleased games to trade Pokémon from and special events. It seems the Poképark returning would be the easiest way to help avoid having to quickly produce more games on the Switch to allow players to complete their Pokédex.
What would you like to see kept or return to the 8th generation of games? Is there something you always wanted them to do in a Pokémon game that has never been done before?