Though many spectacular-looking first-party Nintendo titles have already been announced or are on everybody’s mind, there’s no doubt that Pokemon is among those left to speculate over.
Following the track record of previous home consoles, Pokemon games that aren’t on a handheld have been vastly hit or miss. And, unlike their portable counterparts (Ranger and Mystery Dungeon included), some of them don’t follow a formula at all.
So what does this mean for the upcoming Wii U and it’s relationship with Pokemon?
Let’s start off with the elephant in the room and, coincidentally, what I don’t want to see on the WiiU: a main series Pokemon title following the recently-released Black Version 2 and White Version 2. While it may be a nice notion to see a Pokemon World in crystal-clear high definition, it would kill the notion and the point most people miss when it comes to the canon titles: connectivity at any time.
The reason the main series hasn’t – and shouldn’t – leave handheld systems is because a player can’t tote a home console around everywhere they go, generating missed opportunities to connect games and memories with others. The main Pokemon RPG series was designed from the ground up for portable consoles, and that is where it should remain.
Instead, what I do want to see is a combination of two spin-off series: the Stadium series (Stadium, Stadium 2, Battle Revolution) and the Colosseum series (Colosseum and XD: Gale of Darkness).
A new Pokemon for Wii U could also focus on what both Colosseum and XD: Gale of Darkness set out to do by creating new and interesting takes on the average Pokemon mechanics and story.
People constantly complain that the player can’t choose to play as a villain or be a part of the current generation’s villainous team. Wes, the main character from Colosseum, was a member of Team Snagem before the events of Colosseum took place, which was one of the two villainous teams in the game. The player takes on the role of a justice-propelled vigilante, stealing other Trainer’s Pokemon to liberate them from evil.
An improvement that could be made for a third Colosseum-esque story would be to have a majority of the game in Single Battles, some in Double battles, few in Triple battles and a couple in Rotation battles to showcase diversity and not too much repetition. The former games relied solely on Double battles, making the matches feel extremely stale by the game’s end.
On the other side of the coin, I would very much like to see a practically perfected Stadium mode where you can battle people locally and wirelessly through Nintendo’s online service.
The one thing that kept Pokemon Battle Revolution from being as good as it should have been was a lack of rental Pokemon and the fact that not all of the Pokemon were coded into the game, rendering some Pokemon unusable (Giratina-O, Rotom-A, Shaymin-S). It was a giant mistake in hindsight to not include something for those who didn’t own Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, or SoulSilver, as well as not having a full roster.
Battle Revolution did, however, allow for customization of the player’s avatar which could be vastly improved upon for Wii U, making the player feel more immersed in the world by creating a personalized character and separating them from a generic sprite or character model.
And, similarly to how they are treating Mario Kart 7, Nintendo could hold official tournaments with set rules hosted over Wi-Fi – much like the ones held on the handheld systems periodically – with the prize being some sort of exclusive or special DLC to motivate players to compete with one another on a global scale.
In order to concoct the perfect Pokemon title for the Wii U, Nintendo would need to combine the unique storytelling and world-building elements introduced in the Colosseum series and add a local and online-heavy battle simulator that doesn’t require a player to buy a Generation V cartridge and comes complete or is patched periodically.
But, if done right, the Wii U could house one of the best Pokemon titles yet.
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