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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Pokemon and the modern level of challenge.

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Do you think Pokemon games should be more challenging?

Yes, they are becoming too easy as of late. 11 68.75%
No, keep the difficult parts in the postgame. 4 25.00%
I don't care about Pokemon. 1 6.25%

This is something I've wanted to talk about for a while, but considering today is Pokemon Day, it seems more fitting to say it now.

I'm a huge fan of Pokemon ever since the series came out. Even if played most of the old ones way after they came out (my first Pokemon game was LeafGreen, and I played RBY and GSC on emulators) all of them have been important titles to me, despite some highs and lows. However, I've been noticing a trend that started with Gen 6, and that has affected all of the games since. It was something I didn't really pay much attention to, because there were other things that made up for it, but after Pokemon ORAS and especially SunMoon, I think it's imperative to discuss it.

So, yesterday I beat a Nuzlocke run of Omega Ruby. I'm a huge fan of Nuzlocke runs, because they add a big layer of challenge and personality to the games, completely changing your approach to them. Beating them can be a gruelling experience, though, specially if you're not prepared for it. It's always hard to see one of your mons taken down after a critical hit, or a mistake you made or simply to save another more important team member. Even on my better runs, I've always had a couple of casualties, either at the very beginning of the game or at the very end. However, my run of Omega Ruby was my first perfect run. I did not lose a single pokemon throughout the game. I should be happy about it, and if it were any of my previous beaten games, I'd be. But I feel the game served itself on a silver platter, rather than me beating a challenge. Exp Share aside (if anything the exp share is an invaluable help to save time with the grinding process), the game does everything in its power to hold your hand and keep you from losing: every gym leader has now weaker pokemons compared to the ones they had in the originals, the AI will go for less lethal strategies and will often ignore obvious oportunities to beat the player, the game gives you a Latios/Latias for free, which is kind of broken if played right, there are many more healing spots outside of the Pokemon Center to heal your team, the player gets to use mega evolutions whereas barely any NPC uses them (not even the Elite 4, only the Champion, the enemy team leader and the rival use them)... It gets to a point where sweeping the League with just one pokemon is a legitimate possibility, and that should never be the case in a Nuzlocke.

This all reminded me of Sun/Moon. I'll probably try a Sun/Moon Nuzlocke sometime in the future (I have to do X/Y first), but I fear it's going to be even worse. ORAS has the distinction of being a remake of a fairly old game, and thus the game does not need to guide you that much throughout the story, the average pokemon fan has played RSE many times before and know where to go every time. With Sun/Moon, my major gripe was the excessive handholding throughout the game, to the point that you really can't even fish outside of specific areas. Combine the linearity of the game with the easy difficulty of Sun/Moon compared to other games, and the game quickly becomes boring. X/Y get away with this by being the first 3D Pokemon game outside of the GameCube, the size of the region and the fact that, in my opinion, the postgame allows the best competitive training to date. But Sun/Moon don't really have that. Hell, ORAS should have had a Battle Frontier, its absence is inexcusable on a remake. There's also the problem of keeping all of the difficult parts of the game on the post-game. That is not a solution in the least, but even then, the more difficult Pokemon games are usually the ones with a better and more rich postgame, whereas the easier ones just get the bare bones "Pokemon Tower" or equivalent.

I understand the need to keep the games accesible to a wider audience, and it's obvious the Pokemon series will always be one of the easiest JRPGs out there, but the lack of challenge on modern titles is something that greatly bothers me. I'm not asking for the Dark Souls of Pokemon games, but even so many pokemon players are seasoned veterans at this point, and it's not like the mechanics are difficult to understand. DPPl, for all of its faults, is one of the most challenging Pokemon games, without really being impossible to novices or younger players. BW also were pretty decent in that department, and HGSS didn't water down the difficulty of the original.

With the the possibility of a Pokemon announcement glooming in the distance, I'd like to ask GameFreak to respect the player's abilities to play their games. Allowing more freedom of action should be essential for any game that tries to be alive, specially because the Pokemon formula is becoming more and more stale (though it's still successful). Difficulty options for the main campaign, a longer story with more degrees of difficulty, challenging gyms and Leagues, a postgame with actual content... Something to make the games more interesting.

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They have gotten much easier with Gens VI and VII. The solution is simple, and was already included in B2W2, a difficulty option. However, for some unknown bloody reason, they refuse to include it as standard. If they did then it would greatly improve the games.

Haven't actually played any of the gen 7 games yet (although I do own both Sun and OmegaRuby), but this is still something I've noticed. To be honest I just don't have much faith in GameFreak to make a good game anymore. They created a great game in the 1st gen, expanded on it in pretty much the perfect way in the 2nd gen. Refined it in the 3rd and 4th gens, and since then it seems like it's been more about simplification than either revolution or refinement. I guess that's not a bad thing. I don't really want a revolutionary Pokemon game, I want them to stick to what made the games great in the first place. But I also want them to add things on top to make each gen actually better than the previous one, not just prettier. I think gens 2-4 did that really well. They could quite easily have added an easy mode too which could have been the simplified version to attract more people, while retaining the current difficulty for a normal mode or even have added a hard mode too.

Oh and I've always wanted them to make the leagues better. They kind of... totally suck at the moment. You just walk up, battle the elite 4 + champion and are declared the new champion. I'd love it if they took a page from the anime there and actually had a proper tournament using your rival/s a bunch of randomly generated trainers, maybe some trainers that you'd faced in a one off battle before and maybe even the odd gym leader (randomly drawn too, to give it some replayability). And then only when you win that tournament can you move on to face the elite 4.

I honestly think that the gen 7 games are the most difficult main series Pokemon games to date, even with the EXP All. I enjoyed the 3ds pokemon games and am not bothered with things like a harder challenge. More freedom would be nice, but I still wasn't bothered with it. I liked the story of the gen 7 games and if GF decides to change the way the games operate, I wouldn't mind. All pokemon games they have ever made have been good. 

just my general take on all of the generations in terms of difficulty

RBY - Balanced
GSC - Hard
RSE - Balanced
FRLG - Balanced ~ Hard
DP - Balanced
Pt - Balanced ~ Hard
HGSS - Balanced ~ Hard
BW - Hard
B2W2 - Balanced ~ Hard
XY - Easy
ORAS - Very Easy
SM - Easy ~ Balanced
USUM - Very Hard

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Gen VI and VII with the Exp All made things much simpler. Takes away a lot of grinding so I really like it, but it does make the game easier as well.

I only had issues at the beginning of Pokemon Moon when I had no Pokemon to combat the Magnemite at the School. (Only had Popplio, Pichu and Pikipek at the time)

The difficulty in ORAS seemed to be lowered, but I think Pokemon SM/USUM was able to get the difficult right, by taking into consideration the EXP all.

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I think my issue with the pokemon games hasn't been so much the difficulty of the games, but they're been getting a little stale for me, likely because I've been playing the series since the beginning. I ended up doing what you did, the Nuzlocke challenge. That made recent plays so much more exciting, but even then, I'm probably suffering from a bit of burnout. I think it'd be nice if they did some big changes in the game to make it fresh again for a long time player like me.



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My hopes for Pokémon Switch is that it has well implemented difficulty, like Zelda. I mean, main story should offer some tough moments from the middle through the end and you should be able to have much more challenge on sidequests and stuff if you wish so.

That way it's possible to please fans and newcomers. And don't say you can do that now, because you can't on a satisfactory (or well implemented) level. Btw, I played most Pokémon games until XY, I stopped after that because it started to feel very repetitive, but I'm totally willing to come back and they don't even need to do much to win me back again.

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They have somewhat increased the difficulty in gen 7, actually. I tried a no random encounter (aside from capturing my team), no EXP share run of Ultra Moon, and I got destroyed. I've managed to do this in other games like Red (pretty easy), Crystal (Red is balls-hard, but everything else isn't too bad), Sapphire (Average difficulty), and White (Pretty damn hard, even with Excadrill). In UM, I ended up brickwalled by Kiawe. Not sure if gen 6 dumbed things down, but for the rest, it seems like the AI has found new ways to screw you over. Though once I gave up on the challenge and turned the EXP Share back on, the game almost went down to its usual 3ds easy mode, so the main culprit seems to be the EXP Share. Though I still wasn't steamrolling everything quite as easily as I was in Y, so someone who hasn't been playing since gen 1 like me might consider the game hard.

Pokemon is hardly a competitive game so for what reason does it have to become a harder game ?

Last edited by fatslob-:O - on 28 February 2018