It’s been more than 27 years since the first set of Pokemon games launched.
Pokemon Red and Blue shook the turn-based, monster-collect-a-thon game genre and catapulted the Pokemon franchise into a household name worldwide.
What seems to be the winning formula for Pokemon games from years ago can seem rehashed to some fans now. After all, tech, gameplay, and graphics keep advancing and changing over time.
So as much as I love Pokemon, childhood nostalgia included, I also echo the thoughts that it’s time for the Pokemon games to shake things up a bit more.
Here are my thoughts on why Pokemon games need to evolve!
Read More: Every Pokemon Game in Order of Release Date
Its Art and Graphics Need an Overhaul
Based on recent game releases, many Pokemon fans are touchy when it comes to the topic of art and graphics in the games.
It might sound tree-diculous, but there is a bit of merit to the complaints. Ultimately, it’s not about the trees but about the art direction and overall visual style of the newer games. The textures and washed-out look are not doing it for a lot of fans.
And it’s not like the Pokemon games are incapable of adding colors in their 3D games, as shown by the Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee games.
While a game’s art and graphics are not the most crucial parts of a game, it’s still a notable and noticeable part. You can think of it as the face of the game and the aspect that people see first.
Add in the unavoidable comparison to other Nintendo Switch games, such as Breath of the Wild, and you got people wondering if the visuals in Pokemon games can be better.
Recent Games Have Been Buggy
It’s not just trees and washed-out textures that got some Pokemon fans in a huff. The most recent game, Scarlet and Violet, is notorious for being riddled with bugs and glitches.
These bugs and glitches range from funny ones, like character models randomly “dancing” through the floor, floating in midair, or walking into battles, to glitches that seriously affect your game (memory leak making the game slow, spawning out-of-bounds, and losing controller inputs, among others).
I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a game that’s not as buggy as the recent Pokemon games, especially if it’s coming from a company of such magnitude as the Pokemon Company.
Whatever the reason for the glitchy mishap of Scarlet and Violet—whether it’s lack of time or the developers adjusting to the new scope and gameplay—I hope they’ll give the next games more time to cook in the oven to avoid another buggy mess.
Ratings Have Taken a Nosedive
If Game Freak and the Pokemon Company care about critic review ratings, then the ratings of the recent Pokemon games should alarm them. There is a noticeable decline in these numbers.
Based on Metacritic alone, the current lowest-rated core games are Scarlet and Violet, garnering only a 72% rating. Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl got 73%, while Sword and Shield got 80%.
Legends: Arceus got a nice bump among these latest games at 83%, but it’s a far cry from the 87s and 88s of yesteryears, like in Sun and Moon, X and Y, Black and White, and HeartGold and SoulSilver.
However, it’s worth pointing out that many players seem forgiving of Scarlet and Violet’s overall performance. It currently holds the record for the highest number of pre-orders and most sold copies in its launch quarter.
While earnings indicate that the company can continue to chug along with whatever they are doing for the next games, I think it’s also a good idea to take a peek at the critic reviews and see what they can improve on.
Many players enjoyed Scarlet and Violet’s story and characters (myself included), but no one can deny that its performance could be better.
It Has So Much Potential
Despite its graphics problems, glitchy messes, and nosediving ratings, It’s undeniable that Game Freak and the Pokemon Company have created such a rich, lore-filled, and detailed world with Pokemon.
And it’s not just the monsters themselves that are detailed, the overall world-building is insanely fun too. You’ve got different regions to travel to, each having its unique creatures, history, food, and culture.
Forming battle tactics, discovering relics, meeting trainers, cooking food, and even doing chores and jobs? Everything is densely covered with Pokemon-centric details and you can easily immerse yourself in lots of ways.
And yet, the current games feel like something is lacking or that things are limited. Sword and Shield’s Wild Area, Legends: Arceus’ catching mechanic, and Scarlet and Violet’s open-world-but-actually-linear journey feel like a step forward but with a few steps backward as its caveats.
As a Pokemon fan, it hurts to see the franchise not use its full potential and I can’t blame people for turning to Pokemon fangames for their fix instead.
The Pokemon series has the resources and support to push itself to the next level, but whether or not the series takes that leap to evolve, we can only wait with bated breath.