I’ve been slowly playing through the new Pokémon Moon recently. I really do enjoy it. The Alola region is beautiful, the Gen 7 Pokémon are fun, and the new Island Challenge system is a nice change. But I often find myself sighing at drawn out dialogue, monotonous battles, and overall way-too-easy gameplay.
A lot of older players feel the same. Playing the newest Pokémon game is always fun, but I think part of that fun is based on nostalgia. I want a Pokémon game that is fun 100% because it’s a great game–not just because it’s familiar.
My dream is an open world, nonlinear Pokémon game. You could actually see Pokémon roaming freely, loot items around the map, complete challenging side quests, and play through the main storyline at your own pace. Of course, this would require the entire idea of main-series Pokémon games to be completely renovated, so something like this is probably a little far off.
However, something Pokémon could and should do in the next game is simpler: add more of a challenge. It’s too easy to beat a Pokémon game, and we all know it. Let me list features I think have to get a facelift from developers ASAP. (At least I’m bitching in an organized format.)
Battles become tedious for two reasons: 1. You keep running into the same Pokémon every other battle. (Damn you, Pikipek!) and 2.
Opposing Pokémon won’t quit using illogical moves. Both of these issues have easy fixes.
Why not scatter most of the Pokédex throughout the entire region? Rarer Pokés would have lower spawn rates than others, but at least you wouldn’t have to wait until after Route 14 to have even a chance of seeing a Vulpix… And sure, legendaries and a handful of rare Pokémon should have special locations, but having more of the Dex available the entire game would save us from a lot of eye-rolls.
What’s more, those Pokémon should have a better idea of what moves to use against you. It makes sense for wild Pokémon to use a dud move from time to time, but it shouldn’t use Detect four times in a row. And it definitely shouldn’t use a move that doesn’t affect your Pokémon’s type more than once. Learn from your mistakes, Cutiefly!!!
Money is important in Pokémon games. You need it to buy potions to heal your team, Pokéballs to catch new monsters, beneficial battle items, and, of course, freaky fresh clothes. Money is also incredibly easy to come by. It’s literally handed to you. You get hundreds of Pokédollars for winning one easy trainer battle, and by the time you beat your first gym (or trial), you have way more money than you need.
It’d be nice if making money was more of a challenge. Lower prize money by like 80% and add other profitable tasks to the game. Maybe you could work part time at a local store making deliveries or cooking food. (This would work better in my nonlinear Pokémon fantasy game.) Or maybe you could complete fun side quests. Which leads me to my next complaint…
Boring Side Quests
In Sun and Moon, someone in a Pokémon Center might ask you to show them a Pokédex entry for a Pikachu or catch a few new Pokémon for them. In exchange, they’ll give you some cash. But as we’ve been over, you already have a shit ton of cash, so side quests don’t have much of an appeal. They also don’t ask you to accomplish anything you wouldn’t do in your normal gameplay, which makes them even more bleh.
Vamp up side quests with some mystery and adventure. I want to help a little girl track down her lost Eevee that was last seen running up a nearby mountain. I could use Stoutland to sniff out bits of fur the Eevee left behind on her journey until battling a grumpy Alolan Muk to get to her! I’d feel so accomplished, especially with the new rare items I got along the way.
Side quests could make you play an area a different way and even send you to locations you might not have found otherwise. You could beat the main storyline without them, but side quests can give a game so many more dimensions.
Don’t get me wrong, Nintendo and Game Freak did great things with Sun and Moon. Alolan forms of older Pokémon, side quests, Z-Moves, Ride Pokémon, Battle Royal, and the QR scanner are all really cool additions. And replacing gyms with a unique system specific to the region was a big step in the right direction. But I think we’re all ready for Pokémon to take an even bigger step and throw more of a challenge at us.
Do you think Pokémon needs more of a built-in challenge? Or do you prefer simply disabling XP share while still enjoying a classic Pokémon game? Let me know in the comments!