Pokemon Generation 8: ‘And the Journey Continues!’

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With so many fandoms bidding farewells to their beloved niches, it is incredibly reassuring to know that there is one franchise that will not be bowing out anytime soon. The Pokemon Company themselves graced us with the exciting news that a new game and generation of spellbinding Pokemon critters was being let out into the world once via Pokemon Sword and Shield.

The new information has only been released for about a week and already there is an entourage of exciting fan-made material to stimulate the hype as well as evocative fan theories about how the addition of Scorbunny adds to the theory of the fire starters being based on the animals from the Chinese Zodiac.

There is plenty to be getting hyped about already and for getting the imaginative juices spiraling. This is saying a lot considering how, we haven’t been indulged with too much information about the new game. One of the particularly exciting elements for UK fans, is the fact that the new region, Galar, is actually based on England. So far, the regions have been based on Kansai, Hokkaido, Metropolitan France and Hawaii, and so on, so it is definitely a plus for us to see our own home country have the honour of joining such a prestigious line up.

The most anticipated and unexpected pleasure from hearing about the new game is that of three adorable starters: the Grass-type monkeyish Grooky, the fiery Scorbunny and the tearful tadpole Sobble. They are a rather solid looking trio, harkening back to the similarities of some of their predecessors but actually arousing some curiosity as well. It is fair to say that not all may be as it seems with these scrumptious looking starters: the Pokemon co. are perhaps deciding to try and pull a fast one with these three as they did with the Sun and Moon starters.

From the looks of things thus far then, there is plenty of reason to hope that the new generation will be able to live up to the formidable precipice set by the past generations of Pokemon games, especially as Sun and Moon was an ambitious improvement from the arguable let-downs that were the range we had to play with from Generations 5 and 6 – otherwise known as Black and White, X and Y. The latter duo of the two games was a particular let-down as not even the three starters were remotely developed. What made the game worth playing was the fact that we could get the Kanto starters a few gyms in as well. However there were some gems amongst the rough, as per the noble Gogoat for example, so even if this generation was not a complete loss, it wouldn’t be remiss to say that we very much hope that this isn’t the generation that proves the inspiration for the brand-spanking new game.

Black and White again was full of a bunch of randomers that nobody really wanted to entertain in their party. Despite this there was more to get excited about, especially with the bulked-up Zekrom and the ravishing Reshiram being some of the most distinguished legendary Pokemon we have seen for years. The starter trio additionally had quite cool designs although not entirely remarkable or unfamiliar.

We can only pray that the new game is able to recapture the magic from the earliest games. The franchise appeared to be especially on top of its game in generations 3 and 4. The starters for both the Ruby/ Sapphire/ Emerald and Diamond/ Pearl/ Platinum sagas were all incredibly strong and well-balanced triads that made it near heart-breaking to have to be settle with only choosing one. The same can be said for Diamond and Pearl as they seem to build upon the ingenuity of generation 3, engrossing some of the pre-existing evolutionary lines with new additions at the rear. There are no words for how brilliant all of the Legendaries are in both sets; the designs and concepts for all the big beasts in this game left enough after-game play for these generations to really feel as if they were worth your time and money. 

True, Fire Red and Leaf Green’s Kanto was the one that started it all: it’s power not only being based on nostalgia but also because the original Pokemon of this generation still allow for so much to be enhanced and played with, such as the persevering popularity of our iconic Pikachu. Some of the strongest in the whole pokedex still stem from the very first. The Pokemon I often find myself having to keep trading and hunting around for over what is provided in later games being from the gen. Johto’s Heart Gold and Soul Silver proves particularly evocative in its legendary department with the breath-taking mythos surrounding Ho-Oh, Lugia and the trio in Entei, Raikou and Suicune. What one cannot deny is that we have a lot to offer in terms of landscape, culture and history from which to be inspired.

What’s certain is that Pokemon Sword and Shield already hold a lot of promise to be a reinvigorating new chapter in the franchise, and many will probably be forking out to buy a Nintendo Switch just for this expensive new game.

Tanika Lane

Image: Nintendo