Top 5 Pokemon Games (Main Series and Spin-off)

The top five Pokémon games including both the main series and spin-offs.

The Pokémon franchise has been up and running for the past 17 years, adding more and more to the series as the time has rolled on. First starting out with just two games, Pokémon now has twelve main series games, six remake games, and a number of spin-off games - as well as a manga, anime, and movie series. Nintendo and Game Freak have obviously made some great games - everyone can agree on that - but in the scope of everything, there are some stand outs as the best games in the whole franchise.

Generation VI titles are a lot of people's favorite games in the series, even though they were released barely two years ago. X & Y introduced a lot things that were missing in the series while improving on the standard formula.

The game's 3D graphics were a big jump from the previous pixelation, but it was definitely a good thing. Full 3D characters, Pokémon, and cities showed more change and advancement for the series.

The long-awaited character customization was a definite plus, as well. Finally, after 15 years, players could make their character in the game look like them! (Though, if someone was Black, they'd just have to settle with a light tan as their skin color.) They could finally change their hair color and style, their skin and eye color, and even their outfits on a day-to-day basis. The fashion of the French-inspired Kalos made it all the more difficult to save money for actual Pokémon adventuring and not for the high-priced clothes in Lumiose City's Boutique Couture.

Pokémon-Amie was also one of the most fun and cutest additions to the series as a whole. Who doesn't want to play games and feed macaroons to their Pokémon? Especially if that Pokémon is Mewtwo, or Lugia, or Giratina, or some other Legendary no one would even think to play with.

All the other additions to the series and game (Mega-Evolution, character videos, the different types of trading, super-training, Fairy Type, and finally an attractive Professor) increased the fun and enjoyment of the series. It's not that hard to see why a lot of people like this game the most out of the whole series.

The second generation of Pokémon is (in my opinion) the most fun and the longest generation of the series. The journey in this generation is also much longer and more fun than in any of the other games. The player has to beat the eight Johto Gyms and bring down the newly resurrected Team Rocket.

Once they've beaten the Elite Four and become the Pokémon League Champion, they can now go back to Kanto to fight the original eight Gym Leaders! And if the player was strong enough, they got to battle Red at the summit of Mt. Silver. No other game in the series has allowed the player to do that, and that makes every other games' post-game seem kind of lackluster.

Not only that, but Game Freak made some significant improvements to these games after Red & Blue. They added a night/day, day/week system (perfect for getting Espeon and Umbreon), an improved Happiness and Friendship system, dual types, brand new types (Steel and Dark), and the option of playing another gender (though this only came in Crystal). Finally, the girls had some representation in a Pokémon game - and every one since then.

3. Pokémon Colosseum

Colosseum wasn't the first spin-off Pokémon game, but it's definitely the first one to do something different compared to the main series. Colosseum was vastly different to what the games were in 2003 when it was released. It didn't follow the standard formula of the main series titles. 

For one thing, players weren't able to normally catch Pokémon. In the game's story, Team Snagem wishes to rule the world with Shadow Pokémon, Pokémon that have turned into soulless fighting machines. You play as Wes, a former member of Team Snagem who tries to reverse their plans. Instead of normally catching these Shadow Pokémon, the players have to battle trainers and essentially steal them from their trainers in battle!

The fact that the game and its story is fully fleshed out on the Nintendo GameCube, and not a handheld, is also what makes this game so different. There are other Pokémon spin-offs that aren't on handhelds (like Stadium and Snap), but their stories couldn't compare to Colosseum or its sequel XD: Gale of Darkness. It showed players what the series could look like on a completely different system, as well as a different way of going about the series' main point: catching Pokémon. 

Generation V was the generation that brought some shock to the Pokémon community, as well as the video game community in general, with its surprising story.

The story of Black & White was a shocker because of how different it was, as compared to the other games'. Before, there was simply a crime syndicate that wanted to take over their region or the world (or universe, as in Team Galatic's plans).

Team Plasma was focused on liberating Pokémon from trainers and the so-called cruel fighting they were forced into. It's a very PETA-like stance and mission, but it brought up a real ethical issue for the series. Was it moral/ethical to participate in Pokémon battling? That in itself is an issue in real life as much as it is in the games.

The game's story was the basis for the introduction of the new 151 Pokémon, as well as more improvements and new mechanics. The other, original Pokémon are kept tucked away until the player beats the main game. As said by othersBlack & White treats the player like Ash. It places them in a brand new region without the chance or the familiarity of the original 500-some Pokémon and lets them go free. 

5. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness 

The Mystery Dungeon series got a boost in recognition when it worked together with Pokémon to create one of the more interesting spin-offs in the franchise.

The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series is different from the other spin-offs in how it completely focuses on Pokémon and only Pokémon. There are no trainers, no filling out the PokéDex, no battling the Elite Four. (At least in Colosseum and XD: Gale of Darkness they still retained some of the main points of the series.) These games follow the journeys of the Pokémon themselves, their individual characteristics and quirks, and whatever they do as they explore the randomized dungeons and world. 

The series' stories are also very interesting and entertaining. The fully fleshed-out journey is a joy to be immersed in and to follow. A story that seems to be typical of a Pokémon game gets darker and darker the further the player gets. The darker and more entertaining sides of the game emerge at the same time as a difficulty spike challenges the players more than before.

And that's the completed ranking of the top five Pokémon games. 

Featured Contributor

Published Sep. 29th 2017

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