Lemme Say This: Improving Pokemon Part 1
There's a lot to discuss, and I have neither the time nor energy to cover it all in one go, so instead, I'll split my topics in two; Single Player and Meta Game.
First, the Single Player.
A) More Focus on Main Campaign
This is probably less of an issue than I make it out to be, but I've always felt that the pace of the game slows to a crawl once you've gotten to/beaten the Elite Four.
With so many Pokemon to choose from and the pace of grinding so tedious, there must be a better way to progress through the story.
One could choose to focus on only a select team and expand it only when needed, but there are several combinations that could be equally effective or more suited to your play style.
Multiplayer is nice and all, but those who simply want to focus on the single player game should have some accomedations made for them too.
B) Alternate Starter combos (examples below)
The starters are always Grass, Fire, or Water type as a base, and I don't seek to change that. They cover a wide variety of other types, and choosing one will give you a very different play style compared to others.
What I propose is some more...conventional secondary types for them. Basically, I'd like the final forms of the next starter Pokemon to resemble this:
That's a Grass/Fighting, Fire/Dark, and Water/Psychic, in case you didn't know. Each has an advantage over the others, meaning no one starter is entirely superior.
The reason I consider DPP one of the best installments was due to its starters all being balanced in a way that none held a clear advantage, meaning you always had something to use and something to watch out for with each.
I think this would shake things up a bit, don't you?
C) Apricorns Return (or something like that)
If you played Heartgold/Soulsilver you know that apricorns were a fruit-like item you could find in various parts of the world. These could be fed to Pokemon to increase certain stats for mini-games (which controlled like balls I may add), but more importantly, could be made into specialized Pokeballs.
This meant that you had a set of balls (stop laughing!) crafted to capture specific kinds of Pokemon, and best of all, it was totally free! The only thing you paid was the time it took to find them and have them made.
An element like this would make stocking up on store-bought balls mostly unnecessary, or at the very least, would provide a very cheap alternative and extra balls for catching.
D) Mo' Money, Less Problems
Speaking of cheap, money can be rather hard to come by in Pokemon games. Most of it comes from Trainer battles, supplemented with valuable items you find along the way (nuggests, pearls, etc.) As such, some players are apprehensive about using any items, for fear that they may not have the money they need later on for better things. In later titles, it's possible to find valuable items by using Rock Smash on breakable stones, but the chances of thes vary and are hardly reliable when you're hurting for cash.
Even if it was simply chores or other lesser tasks, a means of supplementing your character's income would be a major plus.
This is only a minor point, but there was something charming in HG/SS about being able to have your lead Pokemon follow behind you while walking most parts of the game. Being able to turn and talk to them, increasing their friendship level, and maybe even getting an item they found from them was also nice.
It could also be irritating when you wanted to check a space they were standing on and had to manuver them out of the way, or when they'd step up to use a field move like Surf or Rock Smash.
An option to turn this on and off would be a good idea if nothing else.
How many generations are we up to now? Five? Six? Does it even matter at this point?
I loves me some sprite graphics, but sooner or later this will happen. Pokemon is a perfect game for cel-shading, and there's little reason not to do it at this point.
The next title will likely be on the 3DS, so by then it should have the graphical power to make all +600 Pokemon look damn good.
Hell, there's already a 3D pokedex app, so what's the hold up?
Edit: Nevermind, I think they heard me.
G) No More Random Battles!!
The most annoying part of the Pokemon series has always been the random battles.
While most JRPGs have moved beyond this archaic concept, Pokemon can't seem to do so.
One of my favorite JRPGs is the Tales of series, where monsters/enemies are represented onscreen, and you only engage them if they make contact with you.
Now, I understand that the random factor allows for suspense in what Pokemon you'll encounter, but you could easily do that by having them be represented by some vague shape on the map. It's always frustrating to be trying to cut through some grass with little or no trouble, running into a wild Pokemon, ending that fight, and then running into another one literally at the next step.
Give players a chance to control whether or not they will encounter something, and a means to increase or decrease those odds without the need for items or special abilities.
H) New Naming Scheme
Red/Greed/Blue. Gold/Silver/Crystal. Ruby/Saphire/Emerald. Firered/Leafgreen. Diamond/Pearl/Platinum. Heartgold/Soulsilver. Black/White. Now Black and White 2? Really Nintendo? Is this what it's come to?
If nothing else, the creators of Pokeomn are clearly running out of ideas for title names.
They've all been color or jewel based up to now, but I don't think that need be the case. New themes are in order, and they don't always have to be in opposition.
I doubt this will go anywhere, but I propose something along the lines of "Pokemon Brave" and "Pokemon Courage" versions.
Yes, they both mean essentially the same thing, but it's different and catchy ain't it?
Edit: Once again, Game Freak is one step ahead of me.
Okay, that covers Single Player, more or less.
Next time, we tackle the most daunting part of Pokemon; the Meta Game. Sort of. You'll see.