You know, if I am being honest I find this generation to be the hardest to write about for this month. It is not due to lack of experience or anything. In fact I can say I really enjoy this generation and it was the generation I spent the most time on in my Pokémon phase when I was in high school. However, I felt when I was going to write about this generation that there wasn’t really anything introduced in this generation that hadn’t made an appearance in previous ones. It isn’t a bad generation, it is just one of those generations that doesn’t have anything about it that is particularly special. All that was done was smoothing out the edges of some things from Gen III to make things more streamlined. At least this was still before they smooth things out so much the cartridges may as well have been circles for how challenging the games ended up being in later generations. And that is considering that these games are already pretty easy to begin with too. So I figured that I should talk about an issue that has plagued Pokémon games for the most part and I feel that this generation is the perfect time to elaborate on this idea. I have mainly been talking about gameplay and game mechanics for the majority of my posts which is a bit unlike me. I usually like to talk about the story or at the very least poke fun at it somewhat and I have mainly strayed away from that this month. The main reason is the story campaigns in the main series Pokémon games are so basic that there is not much really to talk about in that department. However, I will not let it get a free pass any longer. This cliché needs to be addressed once and for all. First, let’s talk about how we got here.
Now the first two generations had villains who were essentially just a group of thugs in the Pokémon universe who tried many different schemes to profit off of Pokémon. That was a pretty standard storyline and while it is unrealistic that a ten-year-old child could easily defeat the leader of a criminal organization like that, at the very least he isn’t dealing with Pokémon that are legendary in order to foil some grand scheme. Then Gen III follows the example of Pokémon Crystal from Gen II and now all of the games after that have the bad guys’ evil plans revolve around trying to control a legendary Pokémon for their schemes. Now I can sort of give the third generation a pass because at least the whole land vs. water thing was something that was reflected in the actual game to a certain extent and the legendary Pokémon weren’t so overpowered in the lore that is didn’t make sense for you to stand up to them. Gen IV has no excuse. Not only did they add in a cult to mess with the Pokémon of time and space, but you even have the Pokémon devil and even the creator itself. Like just think about the fact that you can essentially catch God. Before it was kind of like the legendary Pokémon were gods in their own right but this generation really took it to a whole new level. It sounds so ridiculous that they can even think of trying to stop beings at this level in the Pokémon universe. However, by virtue of being the main character in this story, you can accomplish anything no matter how unlikely it might seem. You know, this particular cliché is one that I come to expect from a Pokémon game and doesn’t really bother me, but it just feels so lazily done in this generation.
The problem here is that the only explanation for why you encounter these troubles or even why you are able to take on these deities is solely because you are the main character in a Pokémon game. The game itself doesn’t give anything to suggest why you, some little nobody from a town so insignificant even I can’t remember it, can manage to talk on legendary Pokémon so easily. In other generations they would either have them not be part of the story or make it so you at least had some connection to the Pokémon beforehand. In Gen III and Gen V they gave you items that allowed you to connect with the Pokémon is battle at least and later games at least tried to give you at least some sort of contact with the legendary Pokémon beforehand. The story is not well told even told it could be done so much better. Now you may be thinking that I am crazy for nitpicking how the story is told in a Pokémon game. While it is true that I am crazy, I think I can expect more from stories in Pokémon games because later generations gave at least an attempt to try and have stories be more engaging. Well, most of them. And not just that, but I really want to point out that the spinoff Mystery Dungeon game for this generation has some of the best story I have seen in a Pokémon storyline to date. If the main games had even half of the creativity of some of the spin-offs, man wouldn’t that just be fantastic. Look, everything I say here is out of love, because I know they can do so much better and with those Gen IV remakes on the horizon now is the perfect time to do just that. I know there has been a lot of criticism for the style of these new remakes, I personally don’t mind it, but this could be a great opportunity to make the Sinnoh region more fleshed out. They sort of did this in Pokémon Platinum but since those aren’t the games we are getting a remake of then I can only hope for the best. Look all I ask is that the remake has a bit more effort put into it. You can have your gods all you like, but at least let them be in an interesting story. Please. I am growing tired of this cliché and I can’t have more basic stories like this whether it be in the remake or future installments. Nintendo only has themselves to blame for giving us such good stories in the spin-off games. This is just reaping what they sow.