I love Pokémon, it was one of the first games I played on my Nintendo DS, and one of the only franchises I keep up with. In fact I only got a Nintendo Switch so I could keep up with Pokémon. I recently reviewed Isle of Armor and with the next expansion pack –The Crown Tundra – for Pokémon Sword and Shield coming this Autumn, I thought I’d take my love of Pokémon a bit further. So here is my ranking of all the Pokémon generations.
*Disclaimer the Pokémon Let’s Go series will not be included in this list.
8. Generation 7: Pokémon Sun and Moon, Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon
I was so excited for these games and so disappointed when I played them. One thing I did enjoy was the Alola region. It was very pretty and I loved the island vibes. For me, both sets of games were lacking. The Island challenges were a poor replacement for gyms and honestly weren’t that challenging. I would’ve loved to see them made a bit harder and as a post game adventure. The antagonists Team Skull also felt very weak – they didn’t really add anything to the game.
I did like the Aether Foundation and would have loved to see more of them. Overall, this generation of Pokémon games just didn’t live up to previous ones.
7. Generation 8: Pokémon Sword and Shield
As I spend more time playing with Sword and Shield they will move up this list because I thoroughly enjoyed them. I may be slightly biased due to the Galar region being based on the UK but it might be one of my favourite regions yet! This generation introduced Wild areas, where you can have more varied camera angles, camp with your Pokémon and hunt for treasure. The wild areas work so well and camping adds another element of gameplay which is super cute! The darkest day plot is intriguing and I love the twist at the end of the game.
Controversially, this game did not include all pre-existing Pokémon, although that did not spoil the game for me. The introduction of Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing worked really well and added depth to the game. I can’t wait to play The Crown Tundra to see what else is in store for this generation.
6. Generation 1: Pokémon Red, Blue, Green and Yellow
Where it all began, Pokémon Red, Blue, Green and Yellow. These games are classic. Bulbasour, Charmander, Squirtle, Team Rocket, and Kanto, what’s not to love? And I do love them. They were a perfect building block for the rest of the series. However, they are not ranked very high on my list as so much of my love for generation one comes from nostalgia not actual gameplay.
5. Generation 2: Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal
This generation did add so much to Pokémon from generation one (Pokémon can hold items, use berries and Shiny Pokemon are now a thing). Johto is an iconic region and the ability to travel back to Kanto is great (I’d love to see more travel between regions). These games being so low in my list is more of a personal thing. Other Pokémon games are simply more nostalgic for me
4. Generation 6: Pokémon X and Y
Generation 6 brought Pokémon to the 3DS in style with the Kalos region (based on France!). This was also the first generation that you could customise your character’s hair, eye colour and my favourite part clothes. This generation also introduced Fairy- type pokemon which are now one of my most used types. Whilst Team Flare are definitely not the best antagonists (they’re end goal was money orientated and it just didn’t make sense). I found the rest of the storyline compelling. I loved the arc with AZ and the ultimate weapon, it was incredibly moving.
I can’t talk about Pokémon X and Y without mentioning Mega Evolution – I do prefer this to Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing. It was an addition to the game that worked incredibly well and fit perfectly with the narrative.
X and Y also had great post game quests. The Looker Mission is a favourite of mine!
Also you could rollerskate which was a huge win.
3. Generation 3: Pokémon Sapphire, Ruby and Emerald
*Disclaimer I am choosing to include Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby in this generation as they are remakes.
Generation 3 will always hold a special place in my heart. I love the region of Hoenn, and I especially love the storyline of this game. Instead of just one antagonist in this generation there are two, Team Magma and Team Aqua, both want to alter the climate of Hoenn. Team Aqua wants to flood the world and Team Magma wants to dry up all the oceans. This will be done by using the two legendary Pokémon. As a side note, I also really enjoy being able to switch between two bikes in this game.
The remakes of Ruby and Sapphire are incredible. They capture the essence of the original game whilst also adding something new (like the Delta Episode). I had a lot of fun playing these games so I thought they deserved a special mention.
2. Generation 5: Pokemon Black and White, White 2 and Black 2
Coming in a very close second place is Generation 5. I vividly remember playing Pokémon White and just been blown away by it. The Unova region is one filled with secrets and some crazy weather controlled by three legendary Pokémon.
I strongly believe that Team Plasma is the best antagonist in any Pokémon game. They have brainwashed a trainer named N and many of its followers to believe that keeping Pokémon as pets and pitting them against each other is wrong and cruel (to be fair they do raise an interesting point). The plot of these games is the best one yet. The sequels to Black and White allow you to link the two games so you can access memories to encounters with N and Team Plasma from the previous game. This is just ingenious, and should have been used more in future games.
This generation is also revolutionary in terms of its connection to previous games and ability to use the internet thanks to the C-Gear. I would strongly recommend this generation to anyone looking to start playing Pokémon for the first time.
1. Generation 4: Pokémon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum
In my eyes this generation is perfect. My journey through Sinnoh was my first ever Pokémon adventure and it really did spark my love for the series. There are so many great additions, the Pokémon Contest, being able to walk around a little park with your Pokémon and my absolute favourite – the underground! You can play with your friends in the underground network, and can make a secret base – amazing! The Pokétech is a great addition to gameplay and I love that it has been built on over the new games. Team Galactic and the legendaries Dialga and Palkia are iconic.
Pokémon Platinum follows a very similar story to Diamond and Pearl, however, the legendary Looker also first appeared in this game as well!
Pokémon means something different for everyone. Most people have a different game that brings back nostalgia and happy memories. What I love about Pokémon is that it has lasted 24 years now and I still get that same excitement playing a new game as I did when I first played Pokémon Diamond. For a franchise to do that is incredibly special.
Pokémon Sword and Shield: The Crown Tundra will be released 22/10/2020
Words by Orla McAndrew
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