Pokémon should reinvent its battle to stay fresh



Pokémon’s battle system could use a change. In 2016, Final Fantasy XV was released, and with it came a massive change that had fans in awe. Gone were the turn-based combat mechanics the franchise was known for, and it was real-time combat. Although this move upset some fans, I felt the change was necessary, I will say that I enjoyed Final Fantasy VII Remake more than the original. You can still trade between players, swap items with each other, and perform special moves, while fighting enemies.

Real-time combat is more engaging to me than turn-based, and even though I’ve played many Pokémon games, it wasn’t until I played Pokkén Tournament DX that I felt that a change to the main game’s combat system should be on the table. The element of strategy will still be there, but instead of wasting a battle turn to heal, you can fully control your Pokemon’s movements outside of its attacks. In order to get a feature, you have to give something, and I don’t think losing that part of the strategy is really an issue.


If you become paralyzed by one of Pikachu’s attacks a timer starts (say 30 seconds), if you have something that stops or counters the paralysis it stops or is cancelled, but if you don’t, you have to endure full time allocation. Depending on your stats, the time spent paralyzed differs. If you are poisoned, you will remain poisoned for the entire battle until you heal your Pokemon either with an elixir or by visiting a Pokemon Center. We’ve already seen Pokémon Legends: Arceus change the way Pokémon interact with you outside of battle and I love it because it makes the world feel more realistic. If you are or were an anime fan, adding something like this adds strategy when it comes to engaging with and capturing Pokemon, and adds a level of excitement and/or peril .


There are three important factors when it comes to designing games, they should be fun, provide a level of accessibility features, and provide memorable moments for gamers. By changing the combat system in the game, the developer Game Freak gives us unique new types of combat for us and the friends we carry in our pockets. Imagine having an aerial battle with Dragonite as a Charizard, or being at your last Pokemon which is Gyrados, and having to battle another Gyrados underwater. The possibilities are almost endless depending on the type of pokemon you are using. Let’s say you’re playing as Leafeon and going up against a Golem, how cool would it be to use your speed advantage to manually dodge its attack and finish it off with Razor Leaf? That would be pretty cool.

Using a real-time combat system would also allow us to share more strategies and stories with our friends and communities. Strategy always comes into play in battles, it is just modified to fit new battle features. Now battles wouldn’t have unlimited space to fight as trainers and their pokemon would be confined to a certain size area, but being able to move freely and use the area as you wish would be a unique way to defend yourself and to attack. your opponent. Game Freak should focus on how they can make battles unique and not make two battles look alike, that’s not how I feel when playing current games.

I pick a Pokemon based on its type advantage and win quickly because I’ve spent hours feeding it rare candies and improving its stats by battling wild Pokemon and repeating over and over. Honestly, it gets boring after a while, and while you’re probably thinking “Nick, you’re still going to have the same problem and feel the same problem with real-time combat”, the truth is, it’s always going to be a problem unless that Game Freak doesn’t add some mechanism. This mechanic has a living AI that trains its Pokemon as you play. Imagine walking through a wild area and seeing two other trainers (human or computer) battling and increasing their Pokemon’s stats. It would be the Pokémon equivalent of a roulette wheel where you never know what level of Pokémon or trainer you’re up against and they too can reach level 100.


Having a real-time battle system also makes online battles against other players more interesting. Imagine you are playing, the game collects data about your playstyle. For example, I love close combat, so if someone were to fight me, they could check TrainerDex information and see how I fight, and if there is any advantage he would have over me. Now let’s say you are someone who is known to run away before every battle is over, what can be added to the game is a reputation system. If your reputation is too low, only low level AI trainers and wild Pokemon will face you, this of course means that your Pokemon will level up much slower and the rewards for beating them won’t be as high as if you beat a higher-level trainer.

How you fight matters, and so does your reputation as a competitor. Losing a battle isn’t the end of the world, and if necessary, you can spend time training against wild Pokémon or trainers, both human and computer. Practice different attack combos, maybe future games could include a practice mode as seen in various fighting games. There are so many different features that can be added to make the experience of being a Pokémon trainer more rewarding, both in terms of experience and memories.

From an accessibility perspective, there are several things that can make this type of game accessible to people with disabilities or certain preferences. If you prefer or need turn-based combat, you can toggle it on and off, you can have full button remapping and customization, colorblind mode, as well as color indicators (similar to The Last of Us: Part 2 and Marvel’s Spider-Man) that let you see who’s a friend and who isn’t, as well as the different items you can pick up on your travels.


My hope as a long time gamer and fan of the franchise is that these ideas get implemented, they don’t have to stay forever, but it’s worth trying them out, especially this new combat system. While longtime fans might not be as open to the change, after some time with the new combat system, they might change their minds. Again, giving people the option to go back to a turn-based game like in Final Fantasy VII Remake will still make the game attractive to buy, but after 25+ years of games, a change wouldn’t be so bad. If gaming data and polls show that more people are sticking with the classic combat system, then Game Freak can and should simply reverse course.

But as with food and other forms of entertainment, you don’t know if you like something or not unless you try it.

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