Looking Back: Generation Eight


When I first saw the new Pokemon for Sword and Shield, it was the very first generation in the history of the franchise to just not really wow me, with no new "must-have" favorites for the very first time ever, and an unusual number of designs that felt, to me, still somewhat unfinished.

I'm sorry to say that, over a year and several months later, that opinion hasn't budged. Even this wrap-up comes months late, because I think the Galar region actually cut down my overall enthusiasm for the series. The designs feel hasty, their diversity isn't as striking as past generations, too many lose their most unique characteristics when they evolve and not a single one of my most hoped-for plants or animals became a reality, where every previous wave ticked off at least half a dozen of them. I never had any idea what it felt like to be ambivalent on a new Pokemon generation until now, and that's all completely beside the fact that a significant number of Pokemon remain permanently unusable in this region - a decision I'm afraid still breaks the game's entire core appeal to me.

But, relatively speaking, some Pokemon present are better than others, and many are still quite good by overall Pokemon standards, with virtually all of them at least being "passable."

MY TOP SIX GEN VIII FAVORITES:

For the first time, it was difficult to find enough Pokemon I liked enough to fill a list of only six. These are all good, but only Applin and Dracovish come closest to team-worthy new favorites.

MY ALL-TIME TOP SIX BY GEN VIII:

...And for the first time ever, not a single new Pokemon displaces a single one of my six all-time favorites. Instead, my top six has only shuffled around again as I regained more appreciation for some older favorites.

THE SIX MOST "BADASS:"

You do have to hand it to Galar that if you're big into tough, menacing and beastly creatures, it offers some decent additions.

THE CUTEST:

Alright, I know Meltan is considered a seventh-gen Pokemon, but it still wasn't revealed in time for the seventh-gen wrap-up, so there.

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL:

I guess I also have to give this generation some credit for the fact that its most elegant and ornate designs also cross over with some of its most threatening.

THE MOST CREATIVE:

Yeah, I put Galarian Stunfisk here. Try and stop me, PIGS. I mean...a flounder that bites you with its entire body isn't something I've ever seen before, you know? Dracovish is also here to represent all four of the new fossils. All six of these critters are pretty novel concepts for Pokemon or otherwise, honestly.

THE SPOOKLIEST:

THE GOOFIEST CHARM:

Some funny pals around, sure. Silly.

BEST DISPLAY OF ZOOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE:

Maaan...that's IT? These are some good mons, but this is the first time I had to really stretch to think of new Pokemon that do anything interesting with the biological science of their inspirations or draw from little-known animals.

MOST ABSURDLY OVERDUE CONCEPTS:

Worse yet, this is not a mistake: a diplocaulus, sea urchin, and the base animals of the fossils are absolutely the only creatures introduced by Galar that made me think "wow, it's about time we saw one of these!"

MY LEAST FAVORITES:

Wow, another first: the first time my "least favorite" category was ever hard to narrow down, instead of hard to fill. No offense to fans of these six, but they all squander their concept, undo what I liked about their unevolved form, or are too redundant with past Pokemon while failing to elaborate in any new, surprising way.

MOST SUPERIOR TO THEIR OWN EVOLUTIONS:



...So, there you have it I guess. In my sincere, honest opinion the most forgettable selection of Pokemon from the emptiest and most rushed Pokemon games. There are some gems, obviously, like the fossils and Dragapult, but please...I'm begging you guys...you've got to either hire way, way more people or take more time between generations again. Everything I said last gen when I compared it to the first three Yo-kai Watch titles not only still stands, but your crunch time has done and made it all even more dire.

Now, if you would like to see a mons brand INVIGORATE my enthusiasm more than it has in over 20 years, I suggest you keep an eye on my Digimon review feature, because...












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