Created by Satoshi Tajiri and The Pokemon Company and developed by GameFreak, the Pokemon video game franchise started on the 27th of February 1996 with Pokemon Red and Blue (Green in some territories), the franchise has been going strong for the past 23 years. With the latest release of Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee for the Nintendo Switch late last year, we finally got a Pokemon RPG on the switch, and the massive community of Pokemon fans (including me) are waiting for the proper entry on the Switch coming out in late 2019, which we have no information about.
All the mainline Pokemon games are excellent and +have been consistently highly ranked and generate a lot of revenue for Nintendo, Game Freak and The Pokemon Company, so here’s every mainline Pokemon RPG ranked from slightly worse to the best.
I will only write reasons for a few of the entries as I believe those require the most explanation.
17. Pokemon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon
Probably the last mainline Pokemon RPG to be released for the Nintendo 3DS, Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon is at the bottom of this list for some quite obvious reasons.
Over its predecessors, Sun & Moon, Ultra Sun & Moon did not do much else, touted as a sort of sequel set in an alternate dimension of the same universe, USUM took us back to Alola with the same trial and captain system and relatively few changes. The story and progression were the same for the majority of the game and this made it rather boring up until it changed for the final portion. USUM did introduce a few new features such as the collection of Totem Pokemon through Professor Samson Oak and Totem Stickers, dimension jumping, the Rainbow Rocket portion (which was probably my favourite part of the game), and Necrozma and the Ultra storyline (which had one of the hardest Legendary Pokemon fights I’ve played); however, this was not enough to make this game much better than S&M. That’s why it ends up at the bottom of the list.
Another shame was the excitement that was generated in the community when we got hints of being able to travel to Kanto in the game and maybe continue the story from S&M as Lily took her mother to Kanto to meet Bill. I think that game would’ve been a lot better with a story like you start off by travelling to Kanto from Alola (carrying on from the last game as Alola’s champion) to help Lily and journey around Kanto from scratch (and maybe Johto) then return to Alola with Lily, because of the Ultra disturbances, and due to some circumstances or maybe a takeover because of Rainbow Rocket you have to go through the Alola progression and League with your Kanto Pokemon, like they did with Johto in HeartGold and SoulSilver. That would’ve made for a fantastic game and story instead of what we actually got. And the Kanto hints? It ended up being a f*cking practice gym that was a copy of the Kanto system in Alola, just a single one. Needless to say, everyone was outraged. To this day I still hope we get a SEQUEL to S&M and not a rehash.
16. Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire
Released on the Game Boy Advanced in 2002, R&S are one of the most ROM hacked Pokemon games and have been used for games like Pokemon Light Platinum. Although this was an incredible entry to the franchise and introduced my second favourite Generation (Generation III), R&S ends up pretty low on this list for one reason, it just wasn’t as good as the others that were ranked above it. R&S also introduced double battles, allowing each trainer in a battle to fight with two Pokémon, and multi battles, which saw two teams of two trainers battle each other.
The Pokémon themselves were also changed up a little bit, with each species now having innate abilities like being immune to certain moves and also now had
15. Pokemon Diamond & Pearl
The first Pokemon entry on the Nintendo DS, D&P were excellent games that introduced my favourite generation (Generations IV) and my favourite region (Sinnoh); however, the reason it sits low is because the game itself contained a few bugs and glitches, and the gameplay itself didn’t change much from the previous entries. There was also a revamp of the move system which was great and with that came some dodgy audio and visuals too. However, the third Gen IV game, Platinum, ranks much higher on this list for a number of reasons, read on to see where and why.
14. Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee
You can read my full review here. But it’s mostly the visuals that brought it here.
13. Pokemon Red & Blue
This was the first entry into the Pokemon RPG franchise and was a revolutionary game system when it released. However nostalgic and amazing this game was, the improvements and features we got over the coming years of the Pokemon RPG franchise were enough to rank them higher.
12. Pokémon Yellow Version: Special Pikachu Edition
I mean. Do I need to explain?
11. Pokemon Sun & Moon
It was a refresher from the regular Pokemon formula and introduced a plethora of new features.
10. Pokemon Black & White
This was a legendary DS game which introduced a plethora of incredible new features. Its successor was even more so. It had an enthralling story and some excellent new Pokemon and mechanics.
9. Pokemon X & Y
I am one of those few who loves the XY games and I can confidently say that they are one of the best. Finally seeing the franchise in a pure 3D world was incredible and it introduced an amazing generation of new Pokemon. The story was one of the best that we’ve ever had for the RPG’s and all around the XY games were great.
8. Pokemon FireRed & Leaf Green
A remake of the beloved originals. And they were awesome. Need I say more?
7. Pokemon Black 2 & White 2
Pokemon B2W2 are regarded as great games for one major reason. The fact that they effectively carried on a story from the original BW games and continued building on the Unova region. That sense of nostalgia that was created in seeing your old companions from the first games and how they talk about the player was absolutely incredible, as well as seeing other old faces which have reached new places and become different people like Alder and Iris.
6. Pokemon Gold & Silver
Probably the best Pokemon game of the Game Boy Era as it introduced us to Johto, a new region and generation of Pokemon which became as much as a staple as Kanto and Hoenn.
5. Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire
ORAS were amazing games, and probably the one Pokemon game that I come back to the most. The ability to fly around Hoenn on Latios or Latias was probably one of my favourite things to do as well as the traditional amazing story from the original R&S games. Old characters and old faces refreshed with new beautiful 3D and amazing gameplay make this game one of the best Pokemon games out there. The inclusion of the
4. Pokemon Crystal
The ultimate form (or final form) of Gold and Silver, once more, need I say more? A beloved and incredible game.
3. Pokemon Emerald
My personal favourite Pokemon game of the Game Boy era, but that may be because of my love of Hoenn, Gen III and more specifically Rayquaza, Deoxys, Stephen, Metagross and Latios/Latias.
2. Pokemon Platinum
My first Pokemon game and my personal favourite, although number one has too many good features to push it to number two. Platinum fixed everything wrong with Diamond & Pearl and had an incredible storyline. The ability to capture Giratina, Palkia, Dialga and also Arceus was insane and the difficulty curve was insanely high once you reached Hearthome city. As I previously mentioned Gen IV is my favourite Gen with the amazing starters and others like Spiritomb and Garchomp. It introduced a Monster Hunter-like Wi-Fi Plaza to the mix. This included a bunch of mini-games that up to 20 players could participate in – a first for the series. You could also record battles, trade anonymously over the internet, and many Pokémon received new forms.
The distortion world was an incredible experience and all in all this game probably had my second favourite storyline (after X&Y). I’m going to stop here because I can go on and on as to why this game is incredible but no one wants to read that. I mean just look at Giratina.
1. Pokemon HeartGold & SoulSilver
Undoubtedly the best of the Pokemon RPG franchise. A remake of Gold and Silver that improved on them in many ways. The only dual region game to date with Johto and Kanto and it was insane. I remember driving to Argos to buy the boxed edition of HeartGold with the Pokewalker accessory on the release date in the UK, and then again later when I wanted to play SoulSilver too. Pokemon game releases really mess up my sleep schedule. As with most of the games, I finished this game in a matter of days and then replayed it. HGSS are, as most of the RPG’s are, flawless games;