Unpopular opinions

It also doesn't help much that SM and USUM start with about an hour of the player mashing the A button before being allowed to go somewhere on their own. But they're not allowed to go far before they're either forced to turn around, or led into more A button mashing. The game only gets a semblance of opening up once you're done with Hau'oli City, but you're not going to get far before it's more A button mashing time. Gen V does have its long conversations too, but nowhere near the endless cutscenes of the start of the Gen VII games.

The second problem I have with Gen VII's linearity over Gen V's is that while Gen V has its roadblocks, they're usually resolved a little further back than the roadblock itself. It is usually possible to have the roadblock solved before you encounter it. But Gen VII's linearity is always of the type "GO TO THE FLAG!" and if you try something else: "OH NO YOU DIDN'T GO TO THE FLAG, WE FADE TO BLACK, YOU ARE NOW TELEPORTED TO FACE THE FLAG AGAIN!" The game is extremely blatant about where it wants you to go at all times, leaving very little freedom to explore.

These two things combined are some of the main reasons why I think Gen VII is the worst generation in Pokémon by a long shot. They make the games extremely tedious to play. There is never anywhere to go but straight forward, and the (only) way forward is full of unskippable cutscenes explaining the basic ideas of Pokémon in minute detail. Pokémon games have sky-high replay value in principle, since there are so many different 'mons and different ways to use them. But Gen VII goes out of its way to guide you, as if you've never touched a Pokémon game before and constantly keep forgetting what is going on. Combined with the bit about telling you which of your moves is super effective, I can see why some people say the Pokémon games literally play themselves these days.

I just bought Ultra Moon since I wanted to try the story again with different Pokémon, but getting started is a massive pain in the rear. It takes ages to get to the point where it feels like you're on the road with your team. And you still don't get away from that endless "go to the flag" feeling. The game feels restrictive and sluggish in its linearity, to a degree the other games don't.
Just you wait until Sword and Shield. We'll probably come running back to S/M apologizing for ever calling it "tedious" or "hand-holdy" as the new games take these to the proverbial "11"... Game Freak seems to believe anyone picking up their games A) has never even touched a video game in their life much less Pokemon, and B) has next to no attention span and thus needs to be constantly guided what to do next...
 
Heh. I always hate linearity (unless it's done in one of the best ways possible). Thing is, thanks to the infamous genwunners, I would say "Gen 1 is the worst gen ever!" But, a major thing that saves me from saying such is the fact it's super non-linear. Seriously! You can beat Sabrina before Koga, Giovanni before Blaine, all the previously mentioned gym leaders can be fought before Erika and Surge. Basically, once you get your tail end off of the St.Anne, you are more free than nearly anything (up until victory road anyways). Because of the diversity, It's hard not to be amazed. Now don't get me wrong, it's not the only reason why I'm not like "Gen 1 stinks, blah blah fucking blah!", but it's one of the biggest reasons of all. However! There is one acception (although this isn't Pokemon I'm about to talk about, it's still a great example). So in Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga, you can just go to the area to the right of the entrance to Hoohoo university, but there is something plain outrageous. You see, you would be level 13 - 15 your first time in the area of the HooHoo university entrance area, but you can go to that area instead of Hoohoo University. But! There is something that totally ruins that non linearity. You see, the enemies are level 23, 24, and 26 respectively. Because of that, it takes 10 turns to win a battle, and two hits, and you are dead meat. That is almost the only way to make me hate it, by making that non linear option plain frustrating.
 
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The trope you're talking about is called a "beef gate" (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BeefGate), a developer enforced quasi-linearity where you have the freedom to go down multiple paths but without the experience or skills certain paths are blocked by monsters too strong to overcome. And since tropes are tools and not inherently bad or good, some people prefer beef gates because getting slaughtered in a fight feels like I'm the one at fault here for attacking something too strong to face rather than the developer putting, oh a troupe of dancing men to block my path even though I've got a level 100 Mewtwo in my party.

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Who are you to tell me I can't go here, YOU'RE NOT MY DAD!

Some beef gates I like are essentially "challenge roads" or alternative experiences for players with a better grasp of the game concepts than a new player, giving the game some replayability for those that like a challenge. An example is Fallout New Vegas, where there's two paths to the titular city: a big long U-turn through several towns to teach you the ropes and skills, or a short path infested by giant killer tarantula hawk wasps.

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While the bee path is murder for a new player, people familiar with the games survival, radar, and stealth systems can use skill and luck to dodge all the bees and get to New Vegas (with maybe some save scumming). So the Beef Gate can be overcome at level 1, it just takes a lot of skill.

Granted, I always take the long U-turn since the best characters are there.
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But like your Mario & Luigi experience, sometimes Beef Gates are just unfair and frustrating. I find Final Fantasy II unplayable without a guide because there is only one correct path but no navigation help in-game, so one step out of line and the enemies use your bones as a toothpick.

We talk a lot about is linear better than non-linear but really it's just two different avenues to create an experience and neither one is actually better than the other. Linear games can be more directed and crafted at the expense of freedom, while non-linear games provide freedom and choice but take a lot of work and time to make all those choices meaningful. I guess I'd compare Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (non-linear) to Okami (linear), both being dungeon crawling action-adventure games but dungeons in that Zelda have puzzles centered around just one item while Okami starts with simple puzzles that grow in complexity as you gain tools for your toolkit They're both good, but they deliver different experiences.

But as Kanto demonstrated, you can compromise between the two, giving points of linearity and non-linearity. I like to call this objective based gameplay, where you're given a list of tasks but not an order to complete them in and when you finish them all the game progress further a bit.

Others will still cry foul though, as while Kanto's non-linearity is celebrated a lot of people hate it in the Johto games, due to how it messes up the experience curve. After Goldenrod you've got two paths but the trainer levels sit around 24-ish before jumping up to 35 right before the Radio Tower mission, while my poor pokemon can fight every trainer and still be at level 30. And that's hardly the only instance of this, as when you return to Kanto you've got complete freedom but also a huge level spike and few trainers to grind with.

Personally HG/SS is still my favorite in the series, but I acknowledge it's got level-up issues.
 
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The trope you're talking about is called a "beef gate" (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BeefGate), a developer enforced quasi-linearity where you have the freedom to go down multiple paths but without the experience or skills certain paths are blocked by monsters too strong to overcome. And since tropes are tools and not inherently bad or good, some people prefer beef gates because getting slaughtered in a fight feels like I'm the one at fault here for attacking something too strong to face rather than the developer putting, oh a troupe of dancing men to block my path even though I've got a level 100 Mewtwo in my party.

View attachment 173979
Who are you to tell me I can't go here, YOU'RE NOT MY DAD!

Some beef gates I like are essentially "challenge roads" or alternative experiences for players with a better grasp of the game concepts than a new player, giving the game some replayability for those that like a challenge. An example is Fallout New Vegas, where there's two paths to the titular city: a big long U-turn through several towns to teach you the ropes and skills, or a short path infested by giant killer tarantula hawk wasps.



While the bee path is murder for a new player, people familiar with the games survival, radar, and stealth systems can use skill and luck to dodge all the bees and get to New Vegas (with maybe some save scumming). So the Beef Gate can be overcome at level 1, it just takes a lot of skill.

Granted, I always take the long U-turn since the best characters are there.


But like your Mario & Luigi experience, sometimes Beef Gates are just unfair and frustrating. I find Final Fantasy II unplayable without a guide because there is only one correct path but no navigation help in-game, so one step out of line and the enemies use your bones as a toothpick.

We talk a lot about is linear better than non-linear but really it's just two different avenues to create an experience and neither one is actually better than the other. Linear games can be more directed and crafted at the expense of freedom, while non-linear games provide freedom and choice but take a lot of work and time to make all those choices meaningful. I guess I'd compare Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (non-linear) to Okami (linear), both being dungeon crawling action-adventure games but dungeons in that Zelda have puzzles centered around just one item while Okami starts with simple puzzles that grow in complexity as you gain tools for your toolkit They're both good, but they deliver different experiences.

But as Kanto demonstrated, you can compromise between the two, giving points of linearity and non-linearity. I like to call this objective based gameplay, where you're given a list of tasks but not an order to complete them in and when you finish them all the game progress further a bit.

Others will still cry foul though, as while Kanto's non-linearity is celebrated a lot of people hate it in the Johto games, due to how it messes up the experience curve. After Goldenrod you've got two paths but the trainer levels sit around 24-ish before jumping up to 35 right before the Radio Tower mission, while my poor pokemon can fight every trainer and still be at level 30. And that's hardly the only instance of this, as when you return to Kanto you've got complete freedom but also a huge level spike and few trainers to grind with.

Personally HG/SS is still my favorite in the series, but I acknowledge it's got level-up issues.
Alrighty, time to do some explaining. You see, the title of this thread is called "unpopular opinions" as such, a ton of people are bound to disagree with me. As such, it's normal for me to admit that I love how non linear gen 1 is (from after the S.S Anne to Victory Road) and more. As for the stupidly over leveled enemies, I think that if that's how the developers want to play it, I think that was totally uncool, because there is a harder to break rock before the desert, and a big koopa blocking Yoshi theater, and which by the way, getting past those doesn't happen until victory against Mom Piranha and Gwarhar Lagoon respectively, both of which are after Hoohoo University. I think Beef walls are best for when there is no obstacle to block you from the next area, and so a boss too strong to beat until later on prevents you from going further (heck, even have a time limit like with X bosses in dream team to really ensure it) and stuff. And you aren't dragged into the boss battle so you don't just get a game over just like that.
 

Pikachu315111

JAPE Judge!
is a Community Contributoris a Smogon Media Contributor
This gotten a bit long so hiding each page in a spoiler tag:

Anyway the anime's purpose is not to tell a good story, but to sell the Pokemon Franchise- which is why it has become quite stale.
No, the problem is the writers don't want to make a Pokemon anime. Starting with Unova I feel the anime began to really decline in the writing department.

With Unova the writers probably were feeling burnt out as they now have a ton of baggage with Ash and just wanted to reset things... but still use Ash & Pikachu because when people think of the anime they think of those two (Unova would have actually been a good chance to introduce a new protagonist as it takes place in a non-Japanese region but they made their bed a while ago). So Ash's development was regressed, Pikachu weakened, couldn't call upon his reserves so had to build up another, got whole new travelling companions, and plot was kept simple. However, not only did this just make Ash look even more incompetent which equally had battles be of lesser quality, but that also meant gutting the story BW had. Best Wishes didn't revitalize the anime nor the writers, and they knew it because around the time of the League they started pandering with bringing back Dawn, Cynthia, and Charizard as well as shoving in a Team Plasma plot just to get them done. Something to hook back viewers.

Moving to Kalos, realizing going back to basics didn't work they decided to just go full anime. Ash felt more like a shonen hero, the plot with Flare felt more complex with having special side episodes which were important, and the animation style and action was given a boost. And that was great, this is what the fans wanted... until they then REALLY dived in to anime tropes. Poor Serena, who knew what her character would have been like, but since they were going deep into anime tropes they made her the "love interest" with her interest either being either around supporting/impressing Ash or competing in an idol competition which was more about showing off the trainer rather then the Pokemon (because Love Live was popular). Then came the whole situation with Ash-Greninja. This generation introduce Mega Evolutions, Charizard got two, they introduced a dark & edgy "rival" who worked with the villain and used the darker Charizard, and they brought back Ash's Charizard. So it looked like Ash's Charizard was going to get the other Mega and be Ash's powerhouse, right? NOPE! Ash's Greninja gets a super special transformation only it has.

And now we have Alola which, seeing the trend following has mostly worked and Yokai Watch was super popular, completely took the plot of SM and threw it out the window to make the show a slice of life anime. Plot progression is thrown to the wind and happens randomly and usually after streaks of filler. I also feel it's less focused on the Pokemon themselves and more on the shenanigans Ash and his classmates get into. But the thing is when the plot does happen or we get actually character building it's pretty good, so it's a toss up. One complaint is that it has taken a LONG time to introduce a lot of important or notable characters from the games which bugs me as the latter introduced didn't get a lot of screentime of development (Hau in particular) but at this point we've seen most of them and with the Alolan Pokemon League being made hopefully that'll push things along. There's also the Super Sentai stuff which actually is a bit of fun as it's essentially the anime's version of the Ultra Beast hunt (though sadly it excludes Looker and Anabel and the Faller concept).

Honestly, I think the anime needs to given to another animation company. The ones currently in charge just don't feel like they're as invested into as they once were and now doing it out of obligation or to experiment with their own ideas rather then what would be the best way to show the Pokemon world and features in the game.

I love Fearow and I find it cute and it is better than Pigeot. :3

I also like Unown because it's useless.

I also like the idea of objects being Pokemon because why not? It's not them running out of ideas, it's them exploring outside the box from animals to other real-life objects. Also, we need a car Pokemon, like the roids from YuGiOh (think Rescueroid or Expressroid).

Klingklang looks awesome and I like the concept of taking existing Pokemon and adding to them as evolutions.

Vanilluxe is also awesome. I just love the idea of ice cream becoming scoop and then a sundae.

I don't know what people think about Palossand and Sandygast, but I like them for the same idea of being "objects". That rotting seaweed anchor Dhelmise mon is great too. Same with Aegislash and Chandelure. Funny, seems like we got quite a bit of ghost Pokemon being objects. Heck we got Rotom formes, and I think that lawn mower Rotom is the closest thing to a proper car Pokemon.
While I don't think it's cuter, I do like Fearow and see it as a the "darker" counterpart to Pidgeot. I like it gets Drill Run which gives it a surprising amount of utility as Drill Run is super effective against two of its major weaknesses, Rock and Electric.

Unown I feel they could do more with, if not improve themselves but can be used to improve other Pokemon. Like each letter is associated with a word, may associate an Ability with that word and maybe have it able to give other Pokemon that Ability. Or it has a held Item that make its stronger the more Unown you have in your party.

I also like the object Pokemon as it shows Pokemon can be more than just animals or mythical creatures (though you can argue the object Pokemon are based on the Tsukumogami). And while some are certainly a bit bland and would maybe work better if the idea was combined with an animal, at the same time it is interesting to see how they turn just a plain object into a "living" creature. People say Pokemon is running out of ideas/unimaginative turning ice cream, gears, garbage, candle, keyring, sword, lei, sand castle, and anchor into a Pokemon... but wouldn't it be more them running out of ideas/unimaginative if they turned all the well known animals into Pokemon?

On the topic of Pokemon based on inanimate objects, as much as I hate the Rotomdex, I do like its features.
Problem with Rotom Dex isn't the features it offers, it's that it DOESN'T SHUT UP! Rotom Dex is a neat idea in theory but in execution didn't land. It feels like it needs to comment on everything, when talking it blocks out the map and have to wait till its done to read the map again, Roto Loto takes a bit longer than it should to give a reward (if you can't influence what you get why bother with the slot machine spinner?), and it has limited amount of dialogue for certain things. The last point in particular is a major problem as post game you'll quickly begin seeing the same comments and asked the same questions over and over again as it no longer has any story-based dialogue to give and by then maxed out on its friendship. Small things could be done to make it better: (1.) Instead of talking whenever it wants there's a corner button that'll glow for a short while you can press to let it talk, (2.) can cancel out of it's talking, (3.) make Roto Loto more instant if you can't control what you get, and (4.) give it more idle dialogue and questions (like Rotom Dex should have nearly a hundred questions it can ask and there's plenty of characters and locations it can make comments on (revealing trivia and what that character is up to the process)).


I know it makes more sense that Pigeot gets one rather than Fearow as Pigeot is simply more immediately recognizable by appearing as one of the first Pokemon you can get. I'm just wishing Fearow got something, and I do hope Dodrio gets something because Dodrio got hit by the power creep pretty hard. And also... same with Tauros.
I also feel they should also make the base Pokemon better. They've been steadily increasing stats of older gen Pokemon but it's only by a handful of points and they wait until the next generation until they do more. Not to mention I feel some Pokemon just need a complete stat redo (ones that come to mind are Flareon and Ledyba family (just make them a physical version of the Cutiefly family, Ledian being Bug/Fighting)). I feel they should have a team, even if its only temporary, that solely focuses on bringing older gen Pokemon's stats, stat spread, and movepools up to current way they design new Pokemon.

I'm not saying there should be no story, but I think story should just be a vehicle to move gameplay along, so something very easily understood and you don't have to think much about the plot details and all.
That sounds really boring if the story is something you don't have to think about. There might as well not be a story or at least very little of it.

Sadly Pokemon is sort of stuck in the middle on the two camps: those who want an involved story and another who just want to blast through the main game to get to the post game & competitive stuff. And sadly I don't know if there's a way to appease both sides unless they REALLY focus on version differences and make one version story heavy and the other the story is there but essentially summarized (but that would be a nightmare to market I imagine).

I'm personally on the side for more story. The Pokemon world has plenty of potential for deep stories both personal and expansive (regional, global, universal, multi dimensional). If they're going to introduce a new generation it only makes sense for the story to be something impactful instead of just a now $60 expansion pack of new Pokemon and mechanics.

Heck, maybe if anything that would be a good reason for a difficulty modes. "Hard" for players who really want to get into the story and "Easy" for players who just want to get to the post game & competitive stuff.


And now onto current Page 234:

Just you wait until Sword and Shield. We'll probably come running back to S/M apologizing for ever calling it "tedious" or "hand-holdy" as the new games take these to the proverbial "11"... Game Freak seems to believe anyone picking up their games A) has never even touched a video game in their life much less Pokemon, and B) has next to no attention span and thus needs to be constantly guided what to do next...
Actually I and many others are kind of hoping that GF got all that out of their system with Let's Go. New to Pokemon and don't want to fell overwhelmed? Play Let's Go. Got your feet wet and ready to go for a swim? Play Sword & Shield. If that ends of happening I may be willing to forgive Let's Go and welcome it to continue on with the other generations.

But as Kanto demonstrated, you can compromise between the two, giving points of linearity and non-linearity. I like to call this objective based gameplay, where you're given a list of tasks but not an order to complete them in and when you finish them all the game progress further a bit.
I wouldn't mind seeing GF experiment with an open region where the opponent's scale up in difficulty as you progress. Badges are a good way to activate event flags from introducing stronger NPCs in locations, how strong the Gym Leaders team will be, and story events. Of course they may need to really enforce their Badge level caps (even preventing a Pokemon leveling up over a certain level (but keep the experience they earned so once the next badge is gotten they could start levelong up again like with Shadow Pokemon in the Colloseum games)), but even that idea provides certain possibilities like being able to accurately make bosses harder or easier now that a max level can be planned for.

Alrighty, time to do some explaining. You see, the title of this thread is called "unpopular opinions" as such, a ton of people are bound to disagree with me.
This thread is not only to mention unpopular opinions but also to discuss them. No one is trying to change opinion but at the same time others have the right to discuss how they feel about what you mentioned, whether they liked it, agree with you, or just have differing opinions. In a way it helps us as a community of Pokemon fans get along and understand each other, providing different insights.
 
It also doesn't help much that SM and USUM start with about an hour of the player mashing the A button before being allowed to go somewhere on their own. But they're not allowed to go far before they're either forced to turn around, or led into more A button mashing. The game only gets a semblance of opening up once you're done with Hau'oli City, but you're not going to get far before it's more A button mashing time. Gen V does have its long conversations too, but nowhere near the endless cutscenes of the start of the Gen VII games.

The second problem I have with Gen VII's linearity over Gen V's is that while Gen V has its roadblocks, they're usually resolved a little further back than the roadblock itself. It is usually possible to have the roadblock solved before you encounter it. But Gen VII's linearity is always of the type "GO TO THE FLAG!" and if you try something else: "OH NO YOU DIDN'T GO TO THE FLAG, WE FADE TO BLACK, YOU ARE NOW TELEPORTED TO FACE THE FLAG AGAIN!" The game is extremely blatant about where it wants you to go at all times, leaving very little freedom to explore.

These two things combined are some of the main reasons why I think Gen VII is the worst generation in Pokémon by a long shot. They make the games extremely tedious to play. There is never anywhere to go but straight forward, and the (only) way forward is full of unskippable cutscenes explaining the basic ideas of Pokémon in minute detail. Pokémon games have sky-high replay value in principle, since there are so many different 'mons and different ways to use them. But Gen VII goes out of its way to guide you, as if you've never touched a Pokémon game before and constantly keep forgetting what is going on. Combined with the bit about telling you which of your moves is super effective, I can see why some people say the Pokémon games literally play themselves these days.

I just bought Ultra Moon since I wanted to try the story again with different Pokémon, but getting started is a massive pain in the rear. It takes ages to get to the point where it feels like you're on the road with your team. And you still don't get away from that endless "go to the flag" feeling. The game feels restrictive and sluggish in its linearity, to a degree the other games don't.
What makes it more annoying to me is the sting of wasted potential. The island concept is the perfect opportunity to let the player explore on their own terms, because the sea is a very natural roadblock. Because of the island structure, each part of the game is already sectioned off. This is the perfect setup to allow the player to explore the islands while still gating further progress.

What S/M should have done is just plop you on an island, and let you complete the trials on that island in any order you like. Levels of all enemies would scale with how many trials you have completed on that island. This really shouldn't be hard to balance, because it only has to be balanced around every individual island and not the whole region at once, plus there's only like three trials per island anyway. After completing the trials, you would have to trigger some story bit somewhere to get to the next island. Easy. Any additional story bits, like encounters with Lillie, Hau or Gladion could just happen naturally at points of interest in the game. They don't really have to be in order anyway.

It all seems so obvious, really. If any game in the franchise should have been non-linear, it's Sun and Moon, yet it's arguably the most linear game in the series. I can really get frustrated by this tbh. The more I think about Sun and Moon, the more missed opportunities I notice. It's just like Fire Emblem Fates. Most, if not all of the necessary assets are there, but the end result is still dissapointing due to stupid design choices and oversights. A lot of it can be fixed very easily as well, which makes it even more frustrating, especially because US/UM is a thing that exist, and still didn't fix anything. I can only dream about what could have been now. Ugh. Frustrating
 
As Magnus0 suggested, a string of mini sandboxes would be an interesting compromise between linear and non-linear gameplay. Like, an island with three gyms that you can beat in any order but have to beat all three to progress to island 2. That's what I meant by objective based gameplay.

Drawbacks to this format are that while it's easy to balance the challenge for three options, without any difficulty scaling effects (like, gym leaders "level up" if you have more badges) the last gym you face on the island probably won't be as challenging as the first (since they have to prepare you to face any of them regardless of in-game progress). Not that this is always a problem (I personally like fighting Lt. Surge second to last with overleveled pokemon as a cathartic cakewalk), and even if it is a problem the challenge will increase again when you move on to island 2.

But I'm getting wish-listy, so it's stuff to think about but I don't know what else I can say on the matter.

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MuwaHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
 
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Pikachu315111

JAPE Judge!
is a Community Contributoris a Smogon Media Contributor
Drawbacks to this format are that while it's easy to balance the challenge for three options, without any difficulty scaling effects (like, gym leaders "level up" if you have more badges) the last gym you face on the island probably won't be as challenging as the first (since they have to prepare you to face any of them regardless of in-game progress). Not that this is always a problem (I personally like fighting Lt. Surge second to last with overleveled pokemon as a cathartic cakewalk), and even if it is a problem the challenge will increase again when you move on to island 2.
Well, they could just have the levels raise as you complete each challenge.

First Trial: Totem Pokemon Level is 20, Ally Pokemon are 18
Second Trial: Totem Pokemon Level is 22, Ally Pokemon are 20
Third Trial: Totem Pokemon Level is 24, Ally Pokemon are 22
 
What makes it more annoying to me is the sting of wasted potential. The island concept is the perfect opportunity to let the player explore on their own terms, because the sea is a very natural roadblock. Because of the island structure, each part of the game is already sectioned off. This is the perfect setup to allow the player to explore the islands while still gating further progress.

What S/M should have done is just plop you on an island, and let you complete the trials on that island in any order you like. Levels of all enemies would scale with how many trials you have completed on that island. This really shouldn't be hard to balance, because it only has to be balanced around every individual island and not the whole region at once, plus there's only like three trials per island anyway. After completing the trials, you would have to trigger some story bit somewhere to get to the next island. Easy. Any additional story bits, like encounters with Lillie, Hau or Gladion could just happen naturally at points of interest in the game. They don't really have to be in order anyway.

It all seems so obvious, really. If any game in the franchise should have been non-linear, it's Sun and Moon, yet it's arguably the most linear game in the series. I can really get frustrated by this tbh. The more I think about Sun and Moon, the more missed opportunities I notice. It's just like Fire Emblem Fates. Most, if not all of the necessary assets are there, but the end result is still dissapointing due to stupid design choices and oversights. A lot of it can be fixed very easily as well, which makes it even more frustrating, especially because US/UM is a thing that exist, and still didn't fix anything. I can only dream about what could have been now. Ugh. Frustrating
Watching Chuggaconroy's Let's Play of Phantom Hourglass, I think its a missed opportunity that you can't ride the boat across the islands. There's plenty of opportunities to play minigames, such as searching for sunken treasure as well as meeting new people and locations on islands. It would have made the region feel so much bigger. On a related note, I'm a little surprised that there's no diving spots in Alola. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving are very Popular in Hawaii, so I see no reason to include them.


As for Fire Emblem Fates ( I might be biased since Fates is my favorite ), the only thing that I have qualms with are the story and the fact the female Corrin has more advantages in general gameplay. Not gonna go into the depth of those because its a Pokemon forum, but I did like the fact that they tried to answer both sides of the fanbase by using different versions, making Conquest a genuine challenge in that you have to optimize because the enemies are optimized, but there's not enough sources to grind in order to optimize, while Birthright is pretty much the opposite. Much more casual, and lot of opportunites to grind. I feel like most of the hate for Fates comes from the older fans dislliking how Fates and Awakening gets the most attention compared to the older games. Kind of the opposite of Pokemon.

Actually, Pokemon Let's Go does have an open world! If your willing to give up the chance to learn Light Up, you can navigate the whole other Kanto Region after obtainig Cut Up. I wonder if this was intentional or not. Based on the level curve and the fact that light is heavily encouraged, I'm guessing no.

Interesting I found on glassdoor. Its about working at GameFreak. The person who works as a contractor there does not recommend it and gives it 1 star. Here's what he says:

Pros
Millions of users love our products. Work is interesting. Plenty of challenges build character. Company makes a profit. Job seems secure.
Cons
Executives and directors are too eager to take credit and design direction. No room for younger employees to grow, set direction. Too much overtime. Bad workplace culture and environment. Lots of jerks. Not all projects are engaging. Bad direction. Too many contract workers. Salary is very poor.
Advice to Management
Invest in developing young talent for game design.

Of course, take it with a grain salt since there's only 1 review. But I would not be surprised if young workers are not given much direction to grow at the very least. They promised Sword and Shield would be given to the young staff at GF to development, but no Ohmori is directing these games.

EDIT: Overtime also makes sense, since Pokemon games are released annually.
 
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Honestly the video game industry has a pretty terrible reputation for mistreating their employees, and that's a universal issue so I wouldn't be surprised to hear Gamefreak is culpable too.

Be aware that this is aimed more at the western video game developers and was originally aired in 2011, but the info is still largely relevant. Just look at Telltale Games.


I'd still take a single Glassdoor review with a grain of salt and fact checking, but it's not out of character.
 
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Honestly the video game industry has a pretty terrible reputation for mistreating their employees, and that's a universal issue so I wouldn't be surprised to hear Gamefreak is culpable too.

Be aware that this is aimed more at the western video game developers and was originally aired in 2011, but the info is still largely relevant. Just look at Telltale Games.


I'd still take a single Glassdoor review with a grain of salt and fact checking, but it's not out of character.
Well that happened to be the only review I can find of GF unfortunately
 
As Magnus0 suggested, a string of mini sandboxes would be an interesting compromise between linear and non-linear gameplay. Like, an island with three gyms that you can beat in any order but have to beat all three to progress to island 2. That's what I meant by objective based gameplay.

Drawbacks to this format are that while it's easy to balance the challenge for three options, without any difficulty scaling effects (like, gym leaders "level up" if you have more badges) the last gym you face on the island probably won't be as challenging as the first (since they have to prepare you to face any of them regardless of in-game progress). Not that this is always a problem (I personally like fighting Lt. Surge second to last with overleveled pokemon as a cathartic cakewalk), and even if it is a problem the challenge will increase again when you move on to island 2.

But I'm getting wish-listy, so it's stuff to think about but I don't know what else I can say on the matter.

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Though Octopath Traveler, and quite possibly other games I'm not aware of, have shown it's quite possible to have difficulty scale with your progress. For Octopath Traveler, the chapter 1 bosses and starting areas scale up (to an extent) based on how many party members you've gathered so far. If it's your first, the area and boss are of a certain strength. From there, more enemies appear at once and the boss gets stronger until you've gotten enough for a full party.

Pokemon could easily do something similar, if perhaps in a much more limited sense. Kind of like Johto but if Johto actually scaled depending on whether you went west or east from Ecruteak. (gym leaders could be programmed to change their teams based the player's number of badges. "I see you have _ badges. Very well! Allow me to provide you with a suitable challenge, TRAINER!")
 
(gym leaders could be programmed to change their teams based the player's number of badges. "I see you have _ badges. Very well! Allow me to provide you with a suitable challenge, TRAINER!")
Technically, that's how Gym battles work in the anime as well.
Gym leaders (I believe it's even shown in some episodes) have several teams of Pokemon available, and pick the ones appropriate to the challenger.

Brock and Misty themselves as well do show in ALOLA series that they have actually access to much stronger Pokemon than the random Psyduck or Geodude.
 
Technically, that's how Gym battles work in the anime as well.
Gym leaders (I believe it's even shown in some episodes) have several teams of Pokemon available, and pick the ones appropriate to the challenger.

Brock and Misty themselves as well do show in ALOLA series that they have actually access to much stronger Pokemon than the random Psyduck or Geodude.
Not to mention that gym leaders in HGSS have much, much stronger Pokemon (except for the Kanto Gym leaders, they are only moderately stronger). Seriously. Falkner's strongest Pokemon was level 13 back in Jotho. But in the fighting Dojo, his whole team is in the level 60s! That was an example, but that was really to prove my point.
 
I would love a Pokemon game where you're free to explore, challenge the gyms any order you want and as many times as you want, and the levels scale to your team. Maybe even switch their teams up, like a more casual battle facility. Would give it a bit of a replay value beyond grinding the elite four (who could also do the same).
 
Personally I don't mind if Sword and Shield are linear, if it still has good level design, an interesting array of new Pokemon and some buffs for univable older ones (why didn't we get Alolan Lapras?). Linear =/= bad by any means - the Mario Galaxy games are linear, and they are some of the best 3D platformers ever. I've got Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyseey if I want non linear.
 
I also don't mind if Sword and Shield take a linear path, as long as there's the possibility to explore a little. If these games have some routes and other locations that aren’t really necessary to complete to beat the game, (the best example I can think of being the path down Mt. Hokulani in Sun and Moon,) then they will create a feel of exploring “off the beaten path”. Some of the best moments I've had with the Pokemon series as a whole came from talking to my friends when I was young about all of the unnecessary areas and the secrets that we discovered about them. For example, the little lab owned by Team Plasma off of Route One in BW was a must-see spot after one of us discovered it on the Town Map one day by accident. Because of these experiences, I believe that even if the game is linear, having some areas to explore that aren't necessary to the plot or beating the game will help deal with the sense of “hand-holdiness” that some of the newer games have.
 

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Watching Chuggaconroy's Let's Play of Phantom Hourglass, I think its a missed opportunity that you can't ride the boat across the islands. There's plenty of opportunities to play minigames, such as searching for sunken treasure as well as meeting new people and locations on islands. It would have made the region feel so much bigger. On a related note, I'm a little surprised that there's no diving spots in Alola. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving are very Popular in Hawaii, so I see no reason to include them.
Not to mention if we could surf around the islands they could have included new locations like hidden beaches, caves, and diving locations as you mentioned. Of course there's even significant locations on the islands which they didn't make accessible even in the Ultra versions: the golf course, the entire castle complex surrounding the Lake of the Sunne/Moone, the other Ultra Space worlds especially Ultra Megalopolis, etc..

GameFreak's Glassdoor Review:
While indeed there's only this one Glassdoor Review thus possibly can't be relied on too heavily... at the same time from what I've understand of GF's hiring practices (don't remember who but a while ago it was pointed out that one of the requirements to work at GF was to speak Japanese even for a supportive role) and Japanese business culture in general that review doesn't seem too far off. GF has always felt it was a "boy's club", where all the decisions were being made by the core members and those close to them while everyone else was there to just do their job, not brought in for decision making or if they make a suggestion it's put in a box and questionably ever looked at (and though I heard they allow any staff member to make their own game, that's a personal project of a staff member who wants and has the know how to do that; if you joined as a programmer thinking of making an impression for a Pokemon game I imagine you'll hit a brick wall fast). I'll admit I don't really have much to go on for why I think that and am possibly very wrong, but what I do know is that I have played all the core series games and see them all the time replacing mechanics. It gives off the feeling that, even though Pokemon is a multi-million franchise, the core GF members still think of Pokemon as their personal pet project where what they do is on their own preference. Liked a certain unique mechanic like Pokemon Contests/Musicals, Battle Frontier, Triple/Roation Battles, or Inverse Battles? Well too bad, because the boy's club consider them little ideas to be one and done with. Unless it directly effects the meta like new Types, Abilities, Physical/Special split, Mega Evolutions, or Z-Moves (and even then Mega Evolutions and probably Z-Moves are going to be shoved out of the spotlight) they're staying status is probably only for one or two generations.

I'll admit this thought has kind of gone a bit offtrack, but I think I got my point across.

Technically, that's how Gym battles work in the anime as well.
Gym leaders (I believe it's even shown in some episodes) have several teams of Pokemon available, and pick the ones appropriate to the challenger.
Not sure about the main series anime (it does seem like the Gym Leader is making an active decision on what Pokemon to send out against a challenger sometimes, but other times it seems like they have a set team, I don't recall any who asked the trainer how many Badges they have), however in Origins they do show that is the case when Red faced Brock. Brock asks Red if he has any Badges, Red said this is his first, and we see Brock choose from a tray of Pokemon which he uses for beginner trainers.

Personally I don't mind if Sword and Shield are linear, if it still has good level design, an interesting array of new Pokemon and some buffs for univable older ones (why didn't we get Alolan Lapras?). Linear =/= bad by any means - the Mario Galaxy games are linear, and they are some of the best 3D platformers ever. I've got Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyseey if I want non linear.
Well, judging from the map, while it does certainly seem it's a linear path upwards, there does looks like there could be chances to have "split path" decisions. Do you want to take the right path first or the left, and then when you go back to do the other path it would scale to match (or at least the Gyms will, the route Trainers will probably be kept around the same Levels as, unless you block the other path, you could clear both paths before facing the Gyms so you have an advantage against at least the first one you face).

As you said, linearity isn't bad. You don't even need to go to other games for that, Gen V was VERY linear yet they used the linearity to tell a story while also providing interesting areas to explore along the linear path so it still feels like you're on a journey. On the flip side, Gen VI & VII has shown how linearity can be used as a crutch to just take the player "scene to scene" and not really have the illusion of freedom.
 
Not sure about the main series anime (it does seem like the Gym Leader is making an active decision on what Pokemon to send out against a challenger sometimes, but other times it seems like they have a set team, I don't recall any who asked the trainer how many Badges they have), however in Origins they do show that is the case when Red faced Brock. Brock asks Red if he has any Badges, Red said this is his first, and we see Brock choose from a tray of Pokemon which he uses for beginner trainers.
You could make a case for this in XY too actually, in how Korinna doesn't use her two Lucario in the Gym battle.
 
As you said, linearity isn't bad. You don't even need to go to other games for that, Gen V was VERY linear yet they used the linearity to tell a story while also providing interesting areas to explore along the linear path so it still feels like you're on a journey.
I believe all the "linearity" hate usually comes when a game forces the linearity via somewhat illogical blocks, like arbitrarily putting a guard telling you that you can't go somewhere just for it to disappear for no reason at all later on.
When the linearity makes sense (You can't go in a certain area because it's flooded, so you first remove the flood for example), people rarely complain. Story driven linearity is cool. Arbitrarily forced linearity isn't.
 
I agree with Worldie. I like it more when the Roadblock is like, a bunch of Crustle in the way like in B2W2, instead of, oh a boy trying to send you to Brock's gym who you could easily just not listen to him, and shove him down if he grabs you. If you tried shoving down a Crustle, let's just say you would get beaten down, and your Pokemon at that point of time (even though you can't fight the Crustles) would never outright beat them. And then the Crustles still there tear you down.
 
The Battle Frontier should only come back in a future installment/remake if they change the mechanics on progression. I’ve been doing the gen 4 facilities at the moment and it’s too frustrating to be actually fun (beat the Castle and the Hall with Gold Prints), not to mention how tedious breeding is unless you RNG manipulate or something. In regard to Alola, the Battle Tree is admittedly less annoying because there are only three lines (I’ve gotten 50 wins in each category) and it is LOADS easier to breed good stuff, but it can still be irritating.

Instead of the “one loss and start all over” stipulation they have now, why not have both a checkpoint mode and a traditional mode? Having a checkpoint every 10 or so battles would make it a lot more accessible to newbies who don’t know the ins and outs of competitive battling yet. That way those people who just want to get whatever minor reward or BP can get it without investing a massive amount of time while losing would only set you back maybe 10 rounds. The traditional mode could be the standard “one loss and you are done” to please longtime fans. The Stadium games had continues for winning a round without faints so there is no reason this artificial difficulty/longevity should exist in 2019 save for the players who willingly chose it.

“But it’s a postgame facility! You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to!”

That doesn’t mean they can’t make little “quality of life” benefits to make the experience smoother and more enjoyable. Look at the more recent Fire Emblem games with the mode letting units revive after a level (can’t think of the name right now) for an example.
 
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