Pokemon's single-player battles are aging poorly

November 24, 2018 1 min read

I’ve grown increasingly exhausted of Pokémon with each generation, despite feeling the games are improving overall. From Gold through Pearl, I had unyielding optimism to "catch ‘em all" and excessively grind my team up for however many or few trainers awaited me in the postgame. Yet, even though I consider Sun and Moon among the best Pokémon games to date, I've been too hesitant to actually complete my own playthrough.

I had a hard time pinpointing why I felt this way other than age until Pokémon Let’s Go addressed a part of the problem. It replaced battles against wild Pokémon with Go-styled capture encounters. Strangely, I felt a bit relieved that one of this long-running franchise’s main gameplay styles was being downplayed in favor of what many consider a minigame. Even Chris Carter’s review agrees the removal of random battles feels relieving, cutting down on the feeling of grindiness in a beneficial way. It’s a sign that something about Pokémon’s battle system has aged poorly, which is odd given that it remains an enjoyable centerpiece of the franchise.

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