April 15, 2010

Fix It! Things I'd like to see from Pokemon Black and White that aren't likely to happen

Okay, so this post is not quit life-altering, but it is game-changing. Pun intended. Enjoy.

Judging from the recent images of the two games, I'd wager they very only slightly from every other Pokemon game. I could be wrong, but judging by the history of Pokemon games it'll probably be more of less the same damn thing with new, even lamer, monsters. So strap in and get ready for a long ass article with all sorts of stuff I'd like to see in the next Pokemon games. As a side note, I'd been wanting to do articles like this for a while. I was thinking of a feature where I discuss how to fix old, tired franchises. The new Pokemon games gave me a good excuse.
Alright, here we go. In no particular order.

Less Monsters- chance of happening: 0%
Yes, less Pokemon would be a good thing in my book. First, they're just getting dumb now. Second, less creatures means more unique creatures. Sometimes I feel like there are a few original Pokemon and a lot of clone Pokemon. It's kind of the same problem Smash Bros. faces, but on a massive scale. Of course, they can't unmake all of the Pokemon they've already made, but they can (and should) stop. If you're going to make new Pokemon, at least make some new types. Gold and Silver added two and that was ten years ago! You'll see why my idea of less Pokemon will work out later on when I explain some other changes I'd like to see. I will say that they especially need to stop making unnecessary evolutionary forms of old Pokemon and an ass ton of "legendary" ones just because they think they need to boost the number of creatures into the 500s. Let me tell you, NOBODY catches 'em all. Not only does Nintendo make it extraordinarily difficult because they keep adding more, but you only have a team of six at any given time. You'll never, ever, ever use all 493 Pokemon. Ever. There's no incentive to do so. Maybe if you got some sort of ultimate awesome reward of epicness (or, like, 10,000 achievement points) perhaps people would try. And I realize they're not going to stop the multiple version crap, because they want to maximize monies, but they really should. It's the third one that's really the problem because it's always the definitive one. It should be the only one.

 Remember how awesome Blastoise was?

If they absolutely must make new Pokemon, they might as well all be new types. I mean exclusively. There's enough Pokemon of the types that already exist. Give us some new types dammit! 

Revamped Gameplay- chance of happening: 15%
I mean everything besides the battle system. That's a different matter altogether. There's a bunch of annoying, repetitive, and stupid gimmicks that all of the various games have. They keep adding these new random gameplay mechanics that don't add anything, or aren't fun, on top of it. How many people enjoyed the underground segments of Diamond and Pearl? How about the beauty contestes? The Pokeathlon? How about those casinos? No? That's why they should get rid of all that useless crap. It's just taking up space. Berries are stupid. They serve no purpose that items don't already cover. The apricorns were cool, but they disappeared for some reason.

I think the biggest culprit is the pacing. It's always the damn same! The HM's need to go. Now. As do the badge effects that activate them. That's the worst part of every game by far. Using Pokemon moves out of battle is a stupid idea, let along forcing you to use them in order to progress. This means you need a slave Pokemon that learns the HM's, witch is usually a level 5 useless thing that you carry around just for that purpose. It just sits there, taking up space in your party. And if you don't keep it with you at all times just in case, you're constantly switching it to and from boxes when you need it... It's a mess. Just make transportation around the world easier, and get rid of HM's. All of them. And the TM's that you use like HM's.

The whole idea of the game is really worn out by now as well. It's always the same: New trainer from small town. Get starter from professor named after a tree. Meet rival with opposite type Pokemon. Fight gym leaders. Collect badges. Get fishing rod. Get bike. Meet Team Something or Other. Stop their evil plans. Encounter Pokemon from the box cover. Collect all badges. Victory road. Elite Four. Champion. Bunch of cool stuff unlocks that is now useless because you've beaten the game. Don't deny it, that's totally how every one of them goes. And aren't you bored with it by now? But to change the pacing of the game, one of the main things you'd have to have is:

A Plot Change- chance of happening: 1%
Every Pokemon game is the same: become the Pokemon master by beating all the gym leaders and the Elite Four. Stop evil along the way. I realize that they're not going to move to a more mature story or anything, but I think that's really what the franchise needs. I know Nintendo is catering to the same audience they were catering to when the first Pokemon games were released way back, but I'm not sure they realize that the original audience, who is grown now, still plays Pokemon. In fact, I'd wager that they're quite a large chunk of the Pokemon demographic. What I'd like to see is a deeper, more mature experience. Make Pokemon a real RPG. What if people and Pokemon didn't get along? What if Pokemon battling was an underground thing, and your character sets out to brave the wilds in search of Pokemon in which to own the underground circuit. By wilds I mean the wilderness, where normal people wouldn't set foot because they'd risk getting attacked by Pokemon. They actually touch upon this in every game when they tell you it's dangerous to go without a starter. But let's say your starter is purchased at the beginning of the game from the black market. And while we're at it, let's make Team Rocket the mob or something. They're out to get the best Pokemon for themselves so they can rig the battles and rake in the money. So on your way to the top, you have to take out the mob. You'd still have "gym leaders" but they'd be more like the top trainer in the bracket or something. Like as you travel to each settlement (braving the wilds along the way) you compete in their own local tournament, taking on progressively tougher trainers until you make your way to the local champion, the "gym leader." You wouldn't get a badge, but maybe their title or something. You gain respect along the way, especially after sabotaging Team Rocket's plans, and end up getting an invitation to compete in basically the best of the best type deal, Balls of Fury style. In the end you fight the four most elite trainers, after which the very leader of the whole ordeal challenges you for his position because he is impressed with your skill. Beat him and become the most respected Pokemon trainer around. You might be wondering who else you would be fighting against in this ultimate tournament while working your way up to the Elite Four. Simple. You'd be battling the champs from the other regions of the world, say Kanto, Johto, Hohenn, and Shinoh, with the winner advancing to the challenge the Elite Four. I mean, sure there's details to work out, but I think a refreshing change of pace something along these lines would really make the game more enjoyable.
 This picture doesn't really have to do with anything. I just wanted to use it.

Revamped Battle Mechanics- chance of happening 30%
This is the big one. If nothing else, they need to change the battle mechanics. Here's my proposal:
  • First, get rid of PP. It's stupid and it makes no sense in the context of the game. Replace it with a stamina bar. Each attack would use a different amount of stamina and the stamina bar does not discriminate. That is to say, it doesn't matter what attack you use or how many times you use it as long as you have sufficient stamina. Stamina would increase as your monster's level increases, but would have different overall values depending on which Pokemon it is. Various moves would use different amounts of stamina, but some moves and items will increase stamina. For example, if you use rest, your Pokemon would rest for a turn and regain stamina.
  • Don't limit your Pokemon to four attacks. Pokemon would be able to learn every attack they would naturally learn from leveling, as well as three additional taught attacks. If your Pokemon reaches level 100 and you have taught it three extra moves but want to teach it a fourth, only them must you erase an old move to make room for a new one. 
  • Each species of Pokemon would have abilities completely unique to that species. This is a given. I think it's stupid that you and I can have two different Pokemon that are nearly fundamentally the same. Sometimes you'll find Pokemon whose stats are almost identical and they vary only visually. Each species should have at least one attack that no other can do in addition to one unique ability. You could even layer abilities for greater depth. Say that there are a given amount of abilities that can be randomly chosen for each Pokemon type in addition to the unique ability each Pokemon has. Here's an example: The ability "static" is one that electric type Pokemon may have, which provides a 30% chance for paralysis when your monster is hit with a physical attack. But say, on top of that randomly chosen ability, a Pikachu also always has an ability called "overcharge" (which I just made up). It is known that Pikachu store electricity in their cheek sacks, and this ability would store electricity every time you use an electric attack. Therefore, the more electric attacks you use consecutively, the greater the change that Pikachu will unleash a blast of electricity to discharge the built up energy. This would give you an extra attack without ending your turn. Each Pokemon would have one of these species-unique abilities in addition to a type-specific ability that is randomly chosen from a "hat." Also, Pokemon of a different species with the same moves could have different stamina requirements for those moves.
  • At the beginning of your turn, you would be given the opportunity to attack, or defend/evade. If you choose attack, this will split the menu on the bottom screen into two sections: physical attack (and by 'physical' I mean deals damage) or status affect. Physical attacks are things like ember and slam. They may also have status effects. Status affect attacks do just what they say. These attacks will only affect a Pokemon's status, whether it be yours or your opponents. Moves like hypnosis, poison powder, or confusion go here. But this is also where moves like tailwhip, growth, rest, and leechlife go. Anything that boosts your stats or lowers your opponents. If you choose defend/evade, you have the opportunity to simply choose a generic defensive or evasive move. These use less stamina than a standard move, but they depend heavily on your Pokemon's defensive/evasive stats. In this menu you'll also have the opportunity to use any other defensive or evasive moves your Pokemon have. Moves like harden and double team can be found here, as well as evasive attacks like dig and fly. Yes, moves that replenish health and/or stamina are unlimited. However, using them leaves your Pokemon vulnerable to extra damage the following turn, the more and more you use them. Use these moves sparingly and you'll be fine, but spam them and your opponent's chance of landing a critical hit increases dramatically.
  • Your party would not increase to more than six. In fact, because of the added depth and uniqueness of Pokemon, it might be decreased to four, perhaps. 
  • Obviously, you would be given the option to use items or pokeballs if you're fighting wild Pokemon. The unique pokeballs should stay, but I say the more types the better. Perhaps provide rare pokeballs based on type, like an ice ball for capturing fire pokemon. 
  • Evolution probably wouldn't change much. I can't really think of a way for it to do so. It would still up your stats, but perhaps it would add an extra layer to your Pokemon's special ability. Like for Raichu, it would take less consecutive electric attacks to build up energy for a discharge. I think evolving Pokemon through trade is stupid because it really wastes time. Why should I have to give you my Pokemon so it can evolve? What if you're an asshole and don't want to give it back? For Pokemon like this, just attach the item and when they reach a certain level, they'll evolve. Other evolution mechanisms are fine. Apparently, there's supposed to be some kind of 3rd tier evolution or something in Black and White. This hasn't been explained yet, so nobody knows what it means. However, I think that you should be given the option to beef up your Pokemon without evolving them as well. I feel sometimes like Pokemon that evolve are useless because people just use them as stepping stones to get to the final goal of the ultimate form. If I want to keep my Geodude without evolving him to a Golem, I shouldn't be penalized by not getting all my stats boosted. I propose that if you stick with a Pokemon after it would normally have evolved it should get special bonuses or something at least, or the stats should increase more when leveling. However, though your Vulpix, say, may be faster because it is smaller, it may not gain an ability bonus. Or some sort of tradeoff like that that would make people think twice before just letting their Pokemon evolve.
  • Animate the battles more, please! Keep the text and menus off of the top screen completely. 
 Like this, or something.
  • To further distinguish between Pokemon species, they could even alter attack stats slightly depending on the species base stats. In addition, any given Pokemon you encounter of the same species should have slight differences, meaning if you and your opponent both have a Krabby, they won't fundamentally be clones of each other.
  • Alternately, they could utilize an Oblivion-like skill system where the stats of any given Pokemon attack increase accordingly to which moves you use most. Have a Pikachu and like to use physical attacks? Then you get an extra stat boost to those types of attacks when you level up. Don't use double team much? Then your evasiveness  double team stays exactly in line with your base stats when you level. Actually, now that I think about it, I rather like this system better than the one mentioned above, though I think they can work together in some fashion. I mean, I'm trying to think of a way, also, that those really useless Pokemon could be less useless. 
    • Let me just clarify about the Oblivion leveling thing: I meant the attacks you use more of become stronger whereas the attacks you don't use much increase in power at a normal rate. I did not mean using attacks increases your Pokemon's base stats. There seemed to be some confusing with this point and EV training. I didn't address that, or I didn't intend to.
      In addition, stamina would recover over time. Although, you'd have to be using very little of it or not attacking. There would probably be defensive moves that would also recover stamina.
  • Exp bonuses. What if you're Pokemon gained more experience simply because you used them a lot? That would make sense. And I'm not just talking throw it out in battle and call it back. I mean you actually use it in battle a lot. And for that matter, when you do throw out a Pokemon and call it back, it makes no sense that both it and the Pokemon you primarily used get the same exp. It should be divided by how much you used any given monster and how effective they were in battle. Also, maybe there could be bonuses for strategy and attack combos or something.
Well, I think that about covers it for updating the battle mechanics. At least, there's nothing more I can think of at the moment. So, let's move on.

New Starter Types- chance of happening: 20%
I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of the same old fire/water/grass starters. Why not choose another three types that work together? Why not start you out with those previously mentioned new types I'd like to see? The problem I can see arising with the starters (of any type) is that they'd be the same for everyone. That's why I suggest the game randomizes the stats a bit at the start. So every time you start another game, they're all slightly different from the last time and whenever you battle your friend, his Squirtle is a bit different than yours. Of course, the stats will remain in line for that Pokemon, but some may start out slightly higher than others to keep things fresh. Then again, there's also the active (Oblivion-style) skill leveling thing to think about. But anyway, I'd really like to see something fresh when it comes to the starters.

A New Professor Named After a Tree: chance of happening: 99.9%
Keep the tradition alive! What will it be next time? Palm? Willow? Cedar? Pine? Maple? Surprise me!

That's about all I got at the moment. My brain is tired from thinking of all that. I'm sure I'll think of some more stuff at some point that I'll find the need to share, but in the mean time I want to hear from you. What would you like to see from the next Pokemon? What direction would you like to see the series take?


  1. I love this post! As a pokemon fan of the games since they came out back in 2nd grade, I completely agree with most of what you say. The game needs development, when need more types, the pokebitch (ie your HM lv5 user) has to go, etc, etc. Here's what a disagree with though:
    1) stats you develop by using them like Oblivion. I actually hated this about Oblivion. To me, xp is xp. End of story
    2) Stamina instead of PP??? That's the same thing and if anything moves the game away from Pokemon

    We do need to see new starters. Either new types, bundles (such as water bundles of 3 pokemon), or more selection than 3 types. I also think move-set should be expanded past 4 and the number of pokemon increased to around 8 or 10.

    I thing I've always wanted to see was a tournament. Not the crap like in Emerald and Platinum, but a full out tournament where you would face past gym-leaders, the past champions, and maybe Prof. Oak or the original pokemaster that we get hints of in the games/series. I'd also like the ability to go to some areas from the past games and to get rid of trade-to-evolve pokemon.

  2. Let me just clarify about the Oblivion leveling thing: I meant the attacks you use more of become stronger whereas the attacks you don't use much increase in power at a normal rate. I did not mean using attacks increases your Pokemon's base stats. There seemed to be some confusing with this point and EV training. I didn't address that, or I didn't intend to.

    Would people rather have skill points to invest?

    In addition, stamina would recover over time. Although, you'd have to be using very little of it or not attacking. There would probably be defensive moves that would also recover stamina.

    @Kromebear I disagree that stamina and PP are the same because PP limits the number of times you can use an attack and once it's used up, it's gone for the remainder of the battle unless you have a restorative item. With stamina, you would have to be able to use Hyper Beam as many times as you wanted, but you'd have to watch it because if you're reckless you could be left temporarily defenseless. I mean, think about the show. That's exactly how it worked.

  3. And, actually, I like my battle system so much that I think I'll make my own creature battling game and kick Pokemon's ass!

  4. I aggree with everything in the article and I don't have enought time to make a lengthy comment, but I will tomarrow. I just was wondering if everybody realized that that is kim jong il as ash, firing pikachu based nuclear missles at some nameless place (probs the USA).

  5. if you are serious I've got over 10 years worth of my personal creature drawings, documents detailing xp and leveling, item/weapon drawings, a world map, and a story. We'll talk tomorrow


  7. Pokemon black and white videos are all over youtube