We have had five generations of Pokemon games, each generation bringing us a new region based on real world places. Every region probably has its share of detractors. The latest one, Unova, which I read somewhere is based on NYC, has been met with criticism for being too much of a circle line. Others have been shat upon for having too much water, etc. The region map is probably one of the most important aspects in making the in-game experience enjoyable. Which region do you think has the best map? You can set any criteria you want, if you think they contribute to the experience of your journey. IMO, the best in-game map so far is probably Hoenn. Admittedly, the 3rd gen is not my favorite generation (I am liking 5 best, so far), but Hoenn, particularly in Emerald, is arguably the one which makes you feel like you have an epic journey that is not restricted by some uninspired roadblocks. What makes Hoenn great, IMO, is a combination of explorability and mystery. To elaborate on explorability, Hoenn is full of intuitive routes and dungeons that are at first inaccessible in a natural way (patch of water, huge rocks, vicious sandstorms), but becomes a shortcut to places you have visited before when you eventually gain the experience and the means to overcome said obstacles. Wherever you are, you are always so close to home that in fact, getting HM02 so late in the game doesn't affect you. For example, after Flannery, you have three ways, IIRC, to go back to Petalburg. You go through Meteor Falls, Rusturf Tunnel, or take the old ship back to Dewford. Then once you defeat Norman, you just Surf through the patch of water from Oldale to get east. It is perfectly executed so that you always feel you find something new even as you return to old places. Compare that to Unova or even Sinnoh, where most cities have no revisiting value. Let's not forget that once you get past Lilycove, you can explore all the way to Pacifidlog, only to be thrown back to good ol' Slateport thanks to the currents. Hoenn also uses the trick first introduced in Kanto: the first Gym cannot be challenged. This makes you feel that the world does not revolve around trainers who embark from Littleroot and have their routes tailored for them. Always feels good to return to a previously unbeatable challenge, take a deep breath, and say: "I am ready now". The second part, the mystery, is an even bigger reason. Discounting Kanto, which does not have a region-centric myth, every other region so far rubs a legend in your face. Rainbows and birds and running dogs as early as Ecruteak, statues of the deity of time/space in Eterna, a tower with a legendary Pokemon that sits staring at a town nearby as its populace stare back at it. Hoenn has none of those. In fact, while any sufficiently good trainer with enough HMs can probably explore those directly accessible places with legendary Pokemon in other regions (Cerulean Cave, Whirl Islands/Bell Tower, Mt. Coronet - Spear Pillar, Dragonspiral Tower), Hoenn keeps its secret (Seafloor Cavern, Sealed Chamber) hidden among the vast ocean. I really think that too much Surf actually helps Hoenn here. Because the region rewards the best explorer, not the best trainer. Steven did not almost unveil the secret behind Kyogre or Groudon. Captain Stern did. And not a lot of people sing about the titans ad nauseam, unlike in other regions. Once you see the stolen submarine in one of the caverns in the seafloor, you feel the excitement. You know that you have stumbled upon an unknown dungeon ready to be explored. There are other small bits such as sidequests (New Mauville, Abandoned Ship, the Regis) that are again in places you have visited before. Or water, rock, and invisible Kecleons instead of "there is something up ahead, get stronger first" NPCs, or even the humorous but out-of-place thirsty sentries as obstacles. Or the thematic feel of the Gyms (Fire Gym near a volcano, Flying Gym in a town of tall trees, Water Gym in a crater town filled with water). Overall the region feels really solid. And let's not forget the awesome that is Emerald Battle Frontier. And Pokemon availability and diversity, perhaps, although my memory is kinda foggy right now? The second best is probably Johto followed by Kanto, but that's me. Which are your favorite regions, and why?