With two big titles released this year 2022, it's time to rank the Pokémon license games. We will only talk here about the main games of the franchise and not spin offs like Pokémon Quest, New Pokémon Snap or Mystery Dungeon for example.
This ranking is obviously subjective and I invite you to submit your own in the comments. The criteria chosen are: the graphics, the originality, the scenario, the gameplay, the monsters available but above all the fun which, personally, made me put Let's GO Pikachu / Eevee, XY and Legends Pokémon Arceus at the top of the ranking . These titles may have a much less convincing scenario than Black and White (for example), but they were real revolutions when they were released.
The last places in the ranking
As indicated in the Tier List, I preferred to put in last position the failed remakes in my opinion and other slightly redundant sequels which, although they bring an interesting end to the scenario, do not go beyond the first opuses. So, I listed here:
- Pokémon Leaf Green and Fire Red : these remakes do not really enrich the original scenario (except for the post-game a little more copious) and had the misfortune to come out after the third generation and therefore the very good Ruby / Sapphire.
- Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon: when it was announced in February 2017, the sequel to Sun and Moon seemed to be a simple DLC filling in the scenario of the first opus in Alola and, it was the case. Even if these versions are better (scenario, new creatures etc.), they remain improved copies of Sun and Moon and do not deserve, in my opinion, a high place in the ranking even if I enjoyed playing them.
- Pokémon Sparkling Diamond and Sparkling Pearl: after remakes surpassing fan expectations like Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, HeartGold/Soulsilver or even Let's GO Pikachu/Eevee, it's hard to see how badly this DEPS seems to fail. Of course, not everything is to be thrown away and the adventure is pleasant, especially since it allowed us to (re)discover Sinnoh just before the release of Legends Arceus.
Whether we like the new “chibi” artistic direction of the remakes of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl or not, we must admit that it made a large number of fans happy to find 4G on Nintendo Switch. Despite a lack of real novelties and some defects in the graphics, it is still a pleasure to be able to redo this emblematic game with a good technique on the Switch.
When nostalgia speaks
In this category, I wanted to position the raw titles, those that are difficult to criticize since they served as the basis for the future of the license. However, I preferred to put them quite low in this ranking because I must admit that playing them again today would not make me any more happy than that, unlike their very good remakes, for some. (Being able to redo the Cristal version on the 3DS was still nice).
- Pokémon Red and Blue : the genesis of the entire license of course, but full of small flaws which will very quickly be corrected in the second generation, fortunately (the balance of types and statistics was sometimes far-fetched). A thought to Pokémon Yellow which, less known, will have filled my heart with the Pikachu which could follow us during the adventure and the famous passage in color of the graphics,
- Pokémon Gold and Silver : these are probably the versions that I preferred the most in my youth and even more with the HGSS remake. They would probably deserve the number 1 spot in the rankings, but as explained above, I prefer to congratulate the fun of recent years. With 100 new Pokémon, new types, the correction of the many defects of 1G, the day/night system and more, Gold/Silver (and Crystal too) ended up convincing me, at the time, that the license Pokémon was going to be more and more exciting.
- Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald : here again, 3G has been able to bring great new features to the license (secret base, duo combat, contests and other types) in addition to new monsters.
- Pokémon Pearl, Diamond, Platinum : it is with 4G that this "nostalgia" category of the ranking ends.
When the remake or sequel surpasses the original
The top 10 can really start here.
- 10 - Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire : very beautiful for the time on 3DS, these remakes do not modify the basic games so much but add some interesting innovations such as the possibility of flying over the map on the back of Latios/Latias, the primo- resurgences or the dozens of Legendaries to capture at the end of the game.
- 9 - Pokémon Gold Heartgold and Silver Soulsilver : as indicated above for Gold/Silver, 2G is probably the one that marked me the most and this DS remake was one more gem in my eyes. I obviously kept the iconic Pokéwalker that I took everywhere with me (RIP the monster still inside that I have never taken out since). On the other hand, I cannot place HGSS higher in this ranking because it must be recognized that it is a simple "update" of the basic game with the Pokémon that follows us or the return of the Battle Frontier.
- 8 - Pokémon Black and White 2 : even if the originals, Black and White, will be higher in the rankings, the sequel is "better" in general terms since they offer a larger Pokédex (with Pokémon from other regions), new arena champions or even the Pokémon World Tournament. In short, a more complete gameplay but which will keep one of the best scenarios of the basic opus.
Gameplay and Storyline Stars
- 7 - Pokémon Sword and Shield: first new generation to settle on the Nintendo Switch, it is sincerely not by its scenario that EB was able to convince me but rather by the wonder of seeing such a colorful and vast Pokémon game . Of course, already in 2019 it was hard to forgive the dated graphics compared to other Switch titles but overall 8G was a perfect transition from 3DS to Switch.
- 6 - Pokémon Sun and Moon: for these games, it's double or nothing. Either we love the radical change in the system of arenas that have become tests on the different islands of Alola, or we hate it. Sun and Moon, in addition to being the precursors of an increasingly easier gameplay to reach a younger audience, nevertheless remained very linear with very little freedom for the player. However, the scenario was rather interesting and it was the first time that regional forms were integrated into the Pokédex, restoring success to probably forgotten creatures.
- 5 - Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: although I greatly appreciated the discovery of Paldea and its colossal open world, I must admit that it is difficult to place these versions higher in the ranking. Firstly because graphically it is clearly not up to what the Nintendo Switch can offer, and then because my fun has been hampered by many other faults (frequent technical bugs, empty cities etc.). We feel that some sacrifices had to be made in order to let the players explore the immense region of Paldea. Out of breath, it's not on Nintendo Switch that the pocket monsters will shine, but this 9th generation will at least have the merit of offering us something new in the license.
- 4 - Pokémon Black and White : here they are at last. If this generation has long been hated by many players, it is above all because of its somewhat original graphics and its Pokédex which is not unanimous. However, it is one of the best scenarios ever offered in a license game. We find Team Plasma there, which is campaigning for the release of Pokémon it claims to be "enslaved", but which in fact hides darker ambitions. "N", their leader, can talk to Pokémon (one theory suggests that he is actually a Zoroark) and the player will have to help him get out of the clutches of the Team.
The top 3 best Pokemon games
I know that no one will agree with me and I therefore remind you that this is a purely subjective ranking with my own memories and my selection criteria. Here are the three games with which I had the most fun, in particular because they are real revolutions in the license in my opinion.
- 3 - Pokémon Let's GO Pikachu and Évoli: this opus, in 2018, simply amazed me. From start to finish, you could then fully rediscover a game that fans knew by heart. Between nods to previous versions and humor, stunning graphics and intoxicating music, these versions were surprising and I really want to play them again. However, I fully understand why many players did not appreciate the Pokémon GO-style capture mechanic.
- 2 - Pokémon XY : if these versions are not perfect (personally I never managed to see the 3D effect on the upper screen), it was a real revolution on the Nintendo 3DS. Of course, the fact that the story takes place in France is one of the reasons for its position in the rankings, but I really enjoyed the scenario and the trip to Kalos. I sincerely hope that a DLC in the south will be available soon on Scarlet and Violet.
- 1 - Pokémon Legends Arceus: I'm the first to see that LPA has many flaws (starting with the graphics, again) but it is, for me, the best Pokémon game ever made. So much so that it is frustrating to think that it could have been much better with a little more development time. I would have preferred that Scarlet/Violet never come out for example so that an additional team and time would be granted to LPA. However, I leave it in the first position because it is this gameplay that I would like to see in the future in the games of the license, hoping that the 10G is a nice mix of all the qualities of the previous opuses.
The tier list of strong champions in solo ranked mode tends to evolve a lot in League of Legends, depending on the different patches. However, in 2022, a champion has dominated the entire season without making too many waves. With more than 54% overall winrate, it's a real monster.