As super popular as the Pokmon franchise is, it absolutely isnt immune to criticism (as we all saw quite plainly in the run-up to the launch of Pokmon Sword and Shield). One of the most common points that detractors like to raise is that the series just never changes. That may be true on the surface, but those who have been around since the days of Gen I will appreciate just how far the games have come in terms of mechanics.
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From totally unfair critical hit calculations to the physical/special split and HMs, here are some original Pokmon mechanics that players are lucky enough not to have to contend with any longer.
Game Freak have taken gradual steps towards making breeding and training competitive Pokmon easier and less time-consuming. One important move was making TMs unlimited use (though that benefited all players, of course). The most common and valuable moves, such as Ice Beam, Earthquake and Thunderbolt, had to be taught many times over and it was a pain to keep restocking those TMs.
In introducing TRs (Technical Records), Sword and Shield have returned to this single-use policy, but TMs as we now know them remain unlimited in the new games.
HMs were one of those early Pokmon mechanics that we just accepted and put up with, until we got to experience life without them and suddenly wondered how wed ever survived that long.
The fact is, the players party has such limited moveslots as it is that we just dont want to throw on something like Cut or Strength. Instead, wed tend to carry around a poor Pokmon overloaded with these moves, which was also totally inefficient.
Another valuable quality of life change Game Freak implemented in later generations was the overhaul to the Bag system. Aspiring Pokmon Trainers have always hauled around a bag containing their adventure essentials, key items, Pok Balls and such, but the inventory was just such a pain to navigate back in the day.
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Old-school Resident Evil players will remember the pain of managing super limited inventory slots. Are you going to need that odd-shaped crank? That obscure mask? Can you drop that book, or will you need whatever the heck that jewel is? Thanks, Game Freak, for giving us huge item storage and neatly-arranged pockets for various kinds of items. Opening that bag is like hopping into Narnia now, and we appreciate it.
Its lesson number one of Pokmon battling: do not use recharge moves. Yes, that huge base power is tempting and your Hyper Beam Snorlax crushed every CPU opponents souls into sad hunks of spam when you were eleven, but they just dont cut the mustard today.
In Generation I, for whatever reason, scoring a K.O. with one of those moves meant that the user could forego the turn usually required to recharge afterwards. This was entirely uncool, and we were super glad when it was fixed.
If youre a competitive battler, youve probably suffered the wrath of Dark Void Smeargle several times. Being able to put both opponents to sleep at once in a doubles battle is just wrong, and sleep in general has never been a fun status to be on the receiving end of.
Back in Pokmon Red and Blue, though, Pokmon could sometimes sleep longer than Rip Van Winkle after a nice cup of cocoa and a couple of soothing bedtime stories. To add to the fun, there was a waking turn which also prevented the Pokemon from moving! Fortunately, theres a (reasonable) set maximum number of turns Pokmon will sleep for these days, so theres far less RNG involved. Dont get us started on freeze, though, which is still as random as ever.
Over the course of the series, critical hits have been revised several times. Originally, they dealt double the damage, toned down more recently to 1.5 times. Along with that, they were originally determined by Speed.
What did this mean? Essentially, that super speedy Jolteon would be scoring critical hits all over the darn place, while a Snorlax would be lucky to hit one more than once in its thicc life. Chances are now even (though Abilities, certain moves and items can increase the odds).
With regards to physical and special attacks, two fundamental changes have been made since the beginning of the series. The first is that certain types were all either physical or special originally (all Ice attacks were special and all Flying attacks were physical, for instance).
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Yes, some types remain predominantly based around one or the other (there arent many special Rock-type attacks or physical Psychic-type attacks, for instance), but this was a huge change for the better. Physical powerhouses like Gyarados having to use special Water moves just didnt make sense.
Thats right, friends. There was a time when moves like Wrap and Bind were completely overpowered. The 90s, huh? What a wacky time to be alive.
In case you need a refresher, heres how these moves used to work: the target couldnt take any action at all while under their effects, which could last for up to five turns! It was just a sad time for all concerned.
As weve seen, typings being locked to physical or special presented a real problem; one that wasnt rectified until Gen IV. A similar issue that took some time to be addressed was the Special Stat.
Special has since been divided into Special Attack and Special Defense, another change that was sorely needed (why could specially-oriented glass cannons like Alakazam also shrug off special hits like The Terminator?).
If you return to the earlier games in the franchise today, youre sure to feel the clunky nature of the Bag system. As discussed, youll constantly be running out of space and desperately using up healing items or the like to make some space. It was an inefficient system and the same applies to the Pokmon Centers boxes.
In any given game, the players going to be spending a lot of time sorting through boxes, trying to determine which is that Pokmon with the perfect IVs and which is holding that item you cant find. With the limited space and fiddling nature of the early games system, navigating around them was a nightmare.
NEXT: 10 Gen I Pokmon Cut From Sword & Shield That Well Miss The Most
NextPokmon Sword & Shield: 5 Things That Make The Game Too Easy (& 5 That Keep It Challenging)
Chris is a freelance video game journalist and entertainment writer from a small town in England. While he's an ardent fan of video games, regardless of platform, he specializes in retro games. His heart will always belong to the Sega Genesis. When he isn't gaming, Chris will usually be found catching up on the latest and greatest movies, whether at the theater or at home. He has sat through the Harry Potter movies more times than you have, and he doesnt care if you disagree.
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