The Pokémon series has been around for quite a lot time now. About as long as I have been alive to be honest. So naturally, there have been quite a few changes as the years have gone by. The most recent changes to the formula are the changes that take place in the latest spinoff game Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Now I said that this series was overdue for an open world game way back when I first started this blog. Was I right? Yes, but that’s not what I want to focus on right now. We’ll save some of that for another time. Right now I want to talk about how catching them all has been adapted over the years. I won’t go too in depth on everything though. It isn’t like I want to take searches away from Bulbapedia or anything. I just want people to understand how much things have changed and how much I struggled to catch Pokémon when I was younger. Now the basic things you should know is that there was a lot of luck factored into catching Pokémon back in the day. you would always have to pass three random checks each time you tried to catch a Pokémon. The best way to catch a Pokémon was, and still is to an extent, to make sure you had the advantage by doing three different things. The first and more important was weakening the Pokémon as much as you can without causing it to faint. That should be obvious. The second thing is using a high level Pokéball or one suited for that particular type of Pokémon . The last is status effects and this is the part that drives me up the wall the most. There are five status effect that contribute to catching Pokémon which are poison, paralysis, burn, freeze, and sleep. Poison and burn are effectively useless since they can cause the Pokémon to faint. Freeze and sleep are better, but Pokémon have a chance to recover from those status effects in battle and it can happen at random. The only consistent one is paralysis but sometimes it doesn’t even matter if you don’t have the luck. It was especially rough with roaming legendaries if you didn’t use a move to trap them. Don’t think about how they could run away while fully asleep. Forget about the RNG. Deep breaths. Clam down. Okay. moving on.
This started to get easier around the time the critical catch was introduced which I believe was introduced in the sixth generation. This allowed for the game to only run one check to see if a Pokémon was caught. The chance of it appearing was random, but it was made more likely if you had captured more Pokémon. This was also around the time the number of Pokémon was getting to a point where Nintendo and GameFreak were probably starting to take pity on us. Finding rare Pokémon was also becoming a lot easier as well. The thing that really changed how Pokémon were caught was the appearance of the mobile game Pokémon Go. Now the game was solely about trying to catch them in the wild by trying to time your throws. Weakening them was less about battling and more about feeding them to try and keep them from running away from you. It was the start of a shift in how we thought about catching Pokémon. Catching them all was the main selling point and yet throughout the years there were less and less people who were really willing to do it. That isn’t to say that there was no one who did, but that is was less rewarding after a while since there was so much effort involved in it. Now you could leisurely run up to some random Pokémon you spotted and try and catch them so long as you had enough patience and Pokéballs at the ready. Although this trend didn’t stay this way forever because battles were still a part of the game and so as a compromise, battling became even easier with the game making sure you grew stronger the more you caught Pokémon in addition to battling them. Which brings us to today.
Now, I will be honest. I haven’t really played a lot of Pokémon Legends: Arceus yet. I have been on a bit of a reading binge lately so I can only experience the game in small bursts at the moment. However, catching Pokémon is one of the most fulfilling things in the game. Why? Because for the first time in a game in the series it feels as though your ability to catch Pokémon can in some way be attributed to skill. In earlier games you could stealth into Pokémon to catch them before they tried to run away, but in the end you still had to test your luck in battle. In this game, they reward you for your resourcefulness by allowing you to catch the Pokémon immediately. There is no battling Pokémon should you choose not to do so in wild encounters save for certain fights and even those fights are vastly different than what you would expect from a Pokémon battle. This is most likely since the game has gone full open world, but now that there is no need to transition to combat for every encounter, the game allows you to skip it entirely. That is amazing. You can even distract Pokémon to catch them off guard. You see what I did there? Puns are great everybody. Anyway, catching Pokémon feels more fluid than ever and since this is a spinoff disconnected from the main series, it is actually reasonable that we might enjoy finishing a Pokédex for once. Especially with the new forms of Pokémon introduce in the game. That about sums up my current feelings on the game at least. I can’t really say much more right now. However, can we just take a moment and realize that we might actually be starting to move forward here. Nintendo, please keep moving forward. Here’s to hoping for more good things.