With the announcement of the eighth generation of Pokemon this past month, Pokemon Sword and Shield, the fandom is brimming with hype and wonder. What new monsters will we see? What will the concept of the new region be based on? Who is the villain this time? So many questions! But now that Generation Seven is officially coming to a close, let’s take a moment to discuss some of the new mechanics Gen Seven gave us, which we want back in Gen 8, and which can stay in the Alola Region.
1. Regional Variants of Old Monsters
The Alola Region gave us the idea of some monsters adapting to new environments in new ways, completely changing their type and play styles. Ninetails became an Ice/Fairy type, for example. Sandslash became the worst possible version of itself. The list goes on. This idea of making old Pokemon new again was very original, and extremely enticing. It completely changed how many of these monsters could be played, and in some cases, made them hugely improved over the original. Raticate now had the extremely powerful STAB Crunch! Marowak became Ghost/Fire, giving it full use of its Ghost moves! I would love to see this same concept applied to Galar regional variants. Perhaps a Galaran Noctowl that’s Dark/Flying, or a Galaran Roserade that’s Grass/Steel.
2. The Ride Pokemon/ Secret Techniques
Gen Seven did something amazing when they removed the concept of HM field skills and replaced them with Ride Pokemon in Alola and Secret Techniques in Kanto. No longer did we have to build teams with empty slots for the throw-away “HM Slave” . We could now just build up a full team of six and play the game as we wanted. This must remain in the series in some way to keep going forward. There is absolutely no question about this.
3. Partner Pokemon
Okay, I’ll admit it. In my review of Let’s Go!, I did criticize the Partner Pokemon concept, just a little bit. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t like the idea behind it! I still loved the fact we had a partner written into the story, voice acting included. The partner would display real emotions through the story, and that part of it was extremely well done. If this idea does come back, we need to be permitted to evolve the Partner. That’s all!
4. Mantine Surfing Mini-Game
The Mantine Surfing mini-game introduced in Ultra Sun/ Ultra Moon was honestly really freaking fun. While I’m perfectly aware that version will never leave Alola, that doesn’t mean we can’t get a remix of it using different monsters. Perhaps an ice sledding version going down Galar’s mountains?
5. Freely Riding Pokemon
This is another concept that was given in Let’s Go!, where players could physically ride on the backs of specific monsters when they were let out of the Poke Balls. This replaced the bike, allowing for quicker movement speeds, and other advantages in some cases, such as Charizard allowing the player to fly in the sky for special encounters. The core series has a bad habit of giving us the ability to let monsters follow us and then immediately taking it away in the next game. It’s such a beloved feature, at this point, Game Freak should just make it permanent. Especially when now we know we can live out our childhood dreams of riding on the back of Charizard.
6. SOS Encounters
In theory, this was a cool idea. It allowed us to really experience the biology of the world’s monsters. For example, Mareanie prey on Corsola, so to encounter them, you first find a Corsola… and then wait an unreasonable amount of time for a Mareanie to take the bait. Yeah, it really wasn’t so fun in practice. In fact, after about the first two, it got pretty damn old, really fast. It wasn’t a terrible idea, it just could have perhaps used a little more polish, or just been reserved for the Totem Battles. Either way, I don’t know many people who genuinely enjoyed the feature.
7. Motion Controls
Nintendo. This isn’t the Wii Era anymore. Nobody’s liked gimmicky motion controls for the last ten plus years. And the terrible controls used for Let’s Go! were so amazingly bad, I ended up playing almost the entirety of the game in portable mode. Which is really a shame, because the graphics are incredible in TV mode. Please, for the love of Arceus, let us at least play with Dual Joy-Cons in TV Mode. I’d prefer the Pro Controller, but I’ll take the Dual Joy-Cons too. And get rid of the Poke Ball throwing mechanic. You tried. You failed miserably. Move on, and give us back button controls.
8. Island Kahunas Replacing Gyms
I’ll admit, for the Polynesian-inspired culture and story of Alola, the Island Kahuna system made a lot of sense and worked really well. That’s not my issue. My only issue is that it made the games feel shorter than they actually were. The Pokemon Direct and official site have both confirmed Gyms are coming back in Galara, so, I suppose this is nothing to be concerned about.
9. The Removal of the National PokeDex
Pokedex entries have become sort of a cultural phenomena in the community at large. Every version we eagerly await to see what new little tidbits of information the ‘Dex will have on new and old monsters. Traditionally, there was always the “Regional Dex” which included info on all monsters found natively in that generations’ region, and the “National Dex” which contained info on every single monster currently in existence. Generation seven removed the National Dex, giving us only the Regional Dex. A lot of people believed this may have been due to sheer amount of monsters, there just wasn’t space in the cartridge to allow them to have entries for all 850+ monsters. That’s kind of fair, but still a little disappointing. Given the larger space in Switch games, hopefully the National Dex comes back.
10. Altering the Berry Mechanic
Let’s Go! altered how berries were used, to fall in line with Pokemon Go. This made sense, from a consistency stand point but, honestly, I’d rather just have the old berries back. I believe this was only done for Let’s Go!, so if we do see them back in Galar, I’m sure they’ll go back to their old status healing selves.
Well, those are some of the Gen seven mechanics that I loved and hated. There were so many more that couldn’t make the list. Which ones did you like the most? Being able to face one of several random challengers after becoming Champion? The graphics? The characters? And what did you dislike most about this past generation? Some of the Pokemon? The length? The removal of some past mechanics? Let us know in the comments! Thanks for reading, and please stay tuned to Mammoth Gamers for all the latest in game culture news!