Alex Phillimore: (alex.phillimore-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2014-08-17 07:31:22
Pokemon Mega Evolutions
(Image credited to original artist)
As the release of Pokemon Alpha Ruby and Omega Sapphire draws closer, more Mega Evolutions are being announced, either through leaks, in Japanese magazines or by Youtube trailer. We're supposed to be impressed with these 'new' Pokemon, as they're meant to freshen up a cast of creatures that may have grown stale over time.
I dislike Mega Evolutions. There are far too many Pokemon already in existence, many of which are barely ever used. Whether you're competitive battling with professionals or playing against your friends, there is a hit-list of Pokemon that everyone seems to gravitate towards. Are you likely to come up against someone using a Ledian, for example? Nah. Are you likely to battle someone using a Salamence? Quite possibly. Why? Because over time Pokemon has become increasingly less balanced, and the simple fact remains that some Pokemon are better than others. This leads to sensible people using the better Pokemon within their teams, with the unfortunate result being that while there are over 700 Pokemon at the time of writing, a relatively small proportion of them are actually worth using.
So why do Mega Evolutions exist? At first I thought it was a question of balancing the game by acknowleding Pokemon that were underpowered and giving them an additional form. This made sense when Mega Evolutions were Pokemon such as Pinsir or Medicham - Pokemon that players might not gravitate towards in the modern games but might consider revisiting with beefed up stats. But now Pokemon such as Altaria and Metagross have started to receive Mega Evolutions, I fear that balancing has been thrown out the window - these were already over-used Pokemon with great statistics. Now they're even better than they were before.
I fear that because of this, the game will actually reach a stage where just about every Pokemon has a Mega Evolution, which will lead to the same problems reoccuring - some will be better than others, and thus everyone will continue to gravitate towards the same familiar batch of Pokemon. I support Mega Evolutions when they're being given to Pokemon that have fallen out of use (for example Kangaskhan from Generation 1) as they encourage people to go back and use those old rusty rosters. But when every Pokemon seems to be receiving a Mega Evolution on an almost random basis, I ask the inevitable question: what is the point? If they're being made to re-balance the game, why enter a scenario where there are still clearly better Pokemon available to the player? Why overlook obvious contenders for Mega Evolutions and instead give them to already powerful Pokemon such as Gardevoir?
I don't understand the strategy behind it, and nor do I understand how an almost Digimon-esque mechanic fits in with the lore of the Pokemon universe. In the coming games I'm going to use Mega Evolutions - of course I am - but I'll be using them for the wrong reasons: not because I genuinely like the new designs, or because they give a strategic edge to old Pokemon and vary up battles, but merely because if you don't use them you'll be at a tactical disadvantage. In broadening the number of Pokemon in the games and adding this new evolutionary layer, I fear that the game will continue to be an unbalanced playground of over-used Pokemon - nothing will change, you'll just have to sit through a five second transformation sequence every battle as you activate your Mega Evolution...oh joy.