Fight to the Faint This is a personal victory. I have finished something I started, and didn’t abort it halfway through gestation. First finishing a three part blog post, and eventually, maybe I’ll be able to finish something that matters. But you don’t care about my inability to focus in life; you want to read about Pokémon! Welcome to Part 3 of my series Pokémon: The 3D Jump. Last time I discussed revamping the presence of the titular creatures in the games from sprites and stats to unique AI entities with personalities and appearances all their own. Now, I’ll put forth thoughts on how to bring the other side of the coin into the new era: the battles. Pokémon certainly commends some respect for keeping such an old school system vibrant and lively in this age of real time battles and action-hybrid gameplay in the RPG genre. Anyone who tries to tell me otherwise should spend a few hours on Shoddy Battle and let them prove my point for me. I think there is much potential with a few cues from its brethren in the genre to make something mind-blowing and unforgettable for the franchise.
Cue Rocky Music There are currently two ways to train your Pokémon in level: battle experience and rare candies. To hone a specific stat, there is EV training and vitamins. Boring. As much as I dislike the anime at times, this is one area where I feel it gets something right: training can be done outside of battles, and in a variety of ways.
Not a total fail.
In the anime, Ash and his Pokémon often can be found practicing and perfecting moves and building speed and strength. This could be reflected in a 3D revamp of the franchise. The environments in the game could abound with training spots. For example, on a tromp through Rock Tunnel; boulders on the ground could be training fodder for your Pokémon. Send out your Machop, and build its Attack stat by destroying and lifting the boulders. Water Pokémon could increase their Speed stats with swims in rivers and lakes. Psychic Pokémon could increase their Special attack stats by practicing telekinesis on random objects in your environment. If implemented correctly, and with a creative eye on the part of the developers, the entire in-game world could be one large gym for your Pokémon. Discovery and examination would be rewarded with new, and sometimes more efficient, ways to train. Once a Tackle, Now a Take Down One look at the list of Pokémon moves and similarities to other moves are noticed. Take Down is a more powerful (and dangerous) version of Tackle. Slash is a deadlier Scratch, and Psycho Cut charges it with psychic power. This brings me to my next idea: move trees instead of level up sets. A Pokémon would have a basic set of moves and techniques to battle with. Let’s say the Totodile you receive from Professor Elm would have basic scratch, bite, and water gun attacks. When moves are used, they are individually leveled up, and over time, they evolve into more powerful moves. Soon the scratch becomes a more powerful Slash, his biting prowess propels his Bite to a Crunch, and his water mastery takes him from Water Guns to swamping battlefields with Surf. Items or special methods of training would exist to elementally charge these attacks, such as transforming a Headbutt into a Zen Headbutt, or if your Pokémon was capable of using the Fire Element, even a flaming Headbutt attack!
Captain Falcon shows us how it’s done.
Move practice would be extended to non-damaging moves as well. When moves are practiced to perfection, Stat Boosters would provide better powering up, and status moves could become more potent. Sleep Powder could cover a wider range, and imagine sharper, more dangerous stones coming from a perfected Stealth Rock. Do Something Other than Attack I’ve already elaborated in my first post that real time battles would be an excellent addition to the franchise. With that comes the realization that there is something other to do in a fight than spout of techniques. Give your trainer a set of secondary commands to issue to their Pokémon, different from techniques. Things like dodging, parrying, bracing for hits, etc could fill these commands. It could add new layers of strategy to battling, a split second decision on how your Pokémon should react to an attack could mean the difference between victory and defeat. An incoming Hyper Beam could be dodged, for example, but perhaps you know this Flamethrower aimed at your Aipom can’t be dodged, and all it can do is brace itself and minimize the damage taken.
Pikachu! The horn!
These decisions would affect how battles flowed. Trainers would have to choose to command their Pokémon to react to the foe’s moves, and at the same time, you must be prepared for how your foe will react to your own moves. You could anticipate your foe’s reaction to your attack, and plan accordingly. Punish a foe who dodges with attacks too wide to avoid, or parry a Mach Punch for a quick opportunity at a point blank strike. Disclaimer Time I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: I am not claiming the current system of the games is broken and needs replacing. What I’ve proposed here could exist on the consoles while the handheld games solider on as they always have. Pokémon is such a vast franchise it has room for both approaches. Maybe a 3D redo of Mystery Dungeon too, but that’s a post for another day.