In my high school, pokemon is usually the only reason anyone has a 3ds. In fact, pretty much everyone in my neighborhood said something along the lines of "I love my 3DS, but I only bought it for pokemon" or "I'd get a 3ds, but I don't know if I'd use it for anything other then pokemon". It seems like it is one of Nintendo's biggest cash cows (and thinking about it now, I'd say that statement is pretty acurate). I don't care too much for rpgs in general, and I've come to realize that pokemon is everything I hate and love about rpgs.
Let's start with the positives. Rpgs tend to have immersive worlds, and that's one aspect that I'd say Pokemon does extremely well. Once im hooked on a game, it's the world, and how vibrantly alive it seems, that keeps me coming back. And then there's the pokemon themselves. I love the idea of having my own pets grow stronger with me as we journey together and overcome many obsticales. Finally, like any good rpg, there's always plenty of side quests and fun little diversions to keep your attention, and tons of post game content.
But then there's the issues. And bare in mind, to me, these issues are like the cardinal sins of gaming. They are an immediate turn off to any game I play (with some exceptions, but I'll get to that). The first issue is the music. The pokemon games, like most rpgs, tend to focus more on remixes of classic tunes than try something new. I've noticed there have been quite a few rpgs that don't mix up the music selection, or only mix it up slightly, just enough so someone can say "they do add music, stop complaining!". You noticed in the positives I didn't give any mention of the story, an aspect of rpgs that's usually their best trait? That's because pokemon has basically been rehashing the same story for years. Sure, there have been little changes, and I do like how game freak has been recently trying to change it up some. But there's always the same rival, the same professor, the same evil team, the same magically legendary pokemon no one has seen before and is pratically like a god (who funnily enough, can be easily beaten despite all the hype the people in the story give them. Some of them are so easy to beat that it's usually more of a challenge to NOT accidentally kill them while catching them), so on and so forth. The reason I keep picking on story is that Ive been noticing an alarming trend in rpgs. Either the story is bad (looking at you final fantasy), nonexistent, or just a rehash of the same old tropes. And while some may argue that mario also does this and gets away with it, platformers and other types of games aren't known for story like the rpg genre. It's what BUILT the genre. But even that isn't the worst thing. No, the thing I hate the most, is the grinding. I hate grinding. And pokemon is a game where if you don't grind, and actively seek out every trainer, you will have pokemon who are worthless. Grinding isn't a way to test your skill. Having all your pokemon be lvl 100 isn't a show of skill, just a show of how bored someone must have been to do that in the first place. If a game is artificaly extending its play time by an unfun means, when I've got a huge backlog of other games wanting my attention, then I stop playing. Immediately. I'd probably be more lenient to grinding if it at least tried to hide how mundane the task is and make it seem fun. Shin Megami Tensei IV is a great example. I very rarely run away from battles because they're fun. You know how in pokemon, when you return to your starting area, all the pokemon are lvl 5 and are a chore to deal with because even though you're rocking those lvl 99 pokemon, you STILL have to deal with these tiny threats? Well try visiting smt IV's starting dungeon after beating the game, and you'll notice that enemies are still a threat. Even though they're only like lvl 5, they still can ko you if you have the wrong setup. That's because it doesn't rely on seeing who has a higher level to win, it relies on knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your party and dealing with them accordingly.
I guess I'll end this here. I could go on for a long time about my likes and dislikes of pokemon, and how many other rpgs are following similar trends, but I think at this point it'd just be going in circles. One thing I do want to point out is that I do like pokemon, and im ranting about it BECAUSE I like it, much in the same way a love one will go to an intervention for a drug user. But I hope that Game Freak will adress these issues, even if they never read this, because I do feel like these are issues worth addressing. A game may never be perfect, but addressing small issues is the first step to trying to reach perfection
Pokemon is everything I love about rpgs, and everything I hate
A rant about pokemon