I know few people with the same opinion on this one.
The problem with Pokemon games is that you never forget your first.
Starting out on that adventure, knowing there are hundreds of these critters to catch and a massive world to catch them in is a pretty unique feeling; especially for a kid doing it for the first time.
After that, the games feel like good knock-offs of your prized memories, especially since they have such similar formulas.
So here, I have tried to remove the rose-tinted glasses and be as unbiased as possible.
It should also be noted, remakes are bundled with originals as to where they appear on this list.
I will reference them, but since they are essentially the same game, they can be associated with the placement I give their original counterparts.
8. Sun and Moon
Despite having the prettiest region, Sun and Moon ruins key components that make Pokemon fun.
It breaks the battling with ugly and time-wasting Z-moves.
Mechanically these things just give a free one-hit KO taking out the strategy.
Then it sucks all the fun out of exploring with incessant cutscenes and patronising hand-holding.
It is the only entry in the series I actively dislike.
I can understand why some people may enjoy it. Like an ironically bad film.
Yet next to its predecessors it just can’t compete.
I would say more, but I’ve already written about the game’s flaws, go read my review for the full break down.
7. Black and White
Black and White must be commended for what it tried to do with the DS hardware.
Unfortunately, those animated pixel sprites were never going to look good.
I think the multi-player elements were well implemented and a vast improvement on the raw basics of Diamond/Pearl.
Yet they still did not feel completely realised, as they would on the 3DS.
As a relatively recent generation, Black and White just didn’t quite innovate enough for a series that was definitely showing its age.
Giving a pokédex of completely original Pokémon was a bold move. Unfortunately I found it very hard to like the ‘mon designs, which is a big shout for me because I like Magnemite; essentially a floating eyeball with a screw in it.
6. Black 2 and White 2
I was surprised by this one, everyone was. Nobody saw another DS entry coming, let alone a sequel.
While it tried to speed up the story and be a genuinely ‘modern’ Pokemon game, it just fell short.
It is by no means a bad game and definitely worth a try.
I just don’t think Black and White justified a sequel. At that point I was impatiently waiting for the announced X &Y, not another Unova game.
5. Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald
Many people love this entry, hailing it as the best.
For me, it just wasn’t exciting enough.
The “too much water” complaint seems cliched, but it is valid and sums up the main flaw with the region.
This generation has some of the best legendary Pokemon, but I wasn’t a fan of many new garden variety beasties wandering around.
I couldn’t pick a starter that I actually liked and this seemed to set the tone for the rest of my playthrough.
I also found the colour palette muted and muddy, a bit harsh for the first properly coloured entry, I know; but it was never pretty and later games showed the GBA was capable of much better.
The Alpha and Omega remakes did a good job of migrating X & Y’s mechanics, but it also highlighted my issues with the region and its monster inhabitants.
4. Red, Blue and Yellow
The classic originals. Replaying them feels very old fashioned now, but the twenty-year-old gameplay still stands up. That is impressive.
The remakes of this game were also fantastic, I don’t think I ever removed the Leafgreeen cartridge from my GBA; Emerald was gone.
The release of the originals on the Nintendo store for 2/3DS was a top move. Going back to these gems is fascinating for the minute changes and weird looking sprites.
Also, bring back chubby Pikachu!
3. Diamond, Pearl and Platinum
I don’t think generation four did a single thing wrong. Sinnoh is possibly my favourite region and has a great mix of geography and weather.
That snow storm route to Snowpoint city was an experience.
The postgame is also up there as one of the best. A short boat ride opens up an entire new peninsula to explore with diverse weather and a legendary beast.
I thought this was the first game in the series that impressed visually, fully utilising colour to look spectacular. It made the most of the new DS’ technology to make every beast look better than ever.
I also think the regional Pokédex struck a great balance between classic and new ‘mon. Besides a slightly too common Bidoof, Diamond and Pearl gave some great new beasts to catch along with Pikachu turning up only a couple of hours in to play.
For those who missed their creatures on older systems, there was a much appreciated method to migrate ‘mon from the GBA; a pleasant surprise for many.
2. X and Y
I initially put this in the top spot. As it goes, I think X & Y perfected Pokemon.
It stepped into the third dimension with grace, giving the 3DS its best RPG.
A regional Pokedex with its own welcome entries, plenty of well chosen classics, the much needed introduction of Fairy types and of course Mega-evolutions; cumulatively made this the most enjoyable generation.
None of the stories are brilliant, but X & Y’s is the closest to ‘good’ and has some dark apocalyptic lore behind it if you look hard enough.
Competitive battling and multiplayer was also streamlined perfectly.
Now, anyone can EV train and trading/battling online is never more than a tap away.
What holds it back from the top spot is Kalos’ overall size.
I love the region’s look and European feel, but it is a tad small.
1. Silver, Gold and Crystal
You know why this is here. What other entry offers two spectacular regions?
I don’t generally favour quantity over quality, but much like Diamond and Pearl; Silver and Gold don’t make any mistakes.
The remade Soul Silver and Heart Gold did for the DS what the original remakes did for the GBA.
They gave two classics the lushous colour of Diamond and Pearl and introduced them to the online age.
This is the first game where it properly felt like a strong online community was powering it.
The post-game is also by far the strongest, opening up a whole region, making this a behemoth of an RPG that culminates in a great cameo boss fight with Red on a mountain top.
If anything, it is a shame this isn’t due another remake, can you imagine this on the 3DS, or dare I say it, the Switch?