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All Main Pokemon Games Ranked From Worst to Best

Pokemon is the biggest gaming franchise in the world, with a revenue of $90 billion. That also makes it the largest media franchise in history. With over dozens of games, remakes, spin-offs and sequels, the games have went on to outsell almost every other franchise in the industry. With Pokemon Legends Z-A announced and Nintendo preparing a new console, we’re looking back at the legacy of Pokemon. Here’s all the main Pokemon games ranked from worst to best.

A few disclaimers before we continue, this list consists of the mainline Pokemon games only. That means the original releases for each generation excluding remakes or “complete” versions. Pokemon Legends: Arceus is technically not a mainline entry so that will be excluded too. In total, that leaves us with ten Pokemon games in the main series. Make sure to keep an eye out on a separate list featuring the remakes and spin-offs coming in the near future.

10. Pokemon Scarlet/Violet

All Main Pokemon Games Ranked Worst to Best

Nintendo’s ambitions for Pokemon Scarlet/Violet were a bit too large for the Nintendo Switch. While it’s the first game in the series to feature a seamless open-world, the technical problems this presented on the aging Switch hardware led to several bugs and glitches that persist even today. It’s not a bad game, though it seriously lacks the polish and refinement of its older counterparts. It’s a rough experience that stubbornly fails to push any of its gameplay forward.

9. Pokemon Sun/Moon

All Main Pokemon Games Ranked Worst to Best

Pokemon Sun/Moon makes the bottom of the list but it’s still held in high regard by many as an exceptionally good Pokemon game. However, the fanbase has a bit of a mixed opinion about Sun/Moon and we agree with some points. It does little to really drive the series forward beyond the introduction of some new features like the Z-moves and the ability to customise your character. The Hawaii-inspired Alola region is great but it doesn’t stand out in any good or bad way in the franchise.

8. Pokemon Black 2/White 2

All Main Pokemon Games Ranked Worst to Best

The first (and only) true sequel in the Pokemon franchise, Pokemon Black 2/White 2 continue the story and timeline of the first Black/White games to mostly positive outcomes. With a robust roster of 300 Pokemon available from the get-go, including a mix of many previous gen staples, it at least attempts to right the very few wrongs of its predecessor. It doesn’t equate a better sequel, though, rather an unsurprising continuation of what already made Black/White so good in the first place.

7. Pokemon Sword/Shield

All Main Pokemon Games Ranked Worst to Best

The best Pokemon available on the Nintendo Switch is also lacking compared to the next six spots. Pokemon Sword/Shield revamps the visuals and style of the series with the new hardware available, though keeps its familiar tried-and-tested gameplay in tact. The result is a game that, while still really good in many regards, struggles to leave any lasting imprint on the franchise. That said, it’s arguably the best Pokemon has ever looked and you’ll end up sinking hundreds of hours into it.

6. Pokemon X/Y

All Main Pokemon Games Ranked Worst to Best

Game Freak decided to dial down the difficulty significantly for Pokemon X/Y while ramping up its easy accessibility in the process. As a starting point, you can’t go wrong with X/Y. It marked the franchise’s first successful transition to using full 3D models that still look excellent today. It’s not the most challenging game but it rewards you with an incredible lineup of Pokemon to catch and train. Easy to pick up, not easy to put down, Pokemon X/Y nailed that addictive loop.

5. Pokemon Black/White

All Main Pokemon Games Ranked Worst to Best

Pokemon Black/White is an excellent yet controversial Pokemon game. For the first time, developer Game Freak decided to ditch the over-reliance on previous gen Pokemon, wiping the slate clean with all-new monsters. What makes it succeed is the sharp, darker storytelling. Yes, the Pokemon games have never been known for their stories but Black/White at least attempts to tell one – a really good one too. If you were one to complain that Pokemon never told good stories, this was franchise’s one and only attempt at telling a compelling narrative.

4. Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire

All Main Pokemon Games Ranked Worst to Best

Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire really tried to refine the franchise’s formula. Doubles battles were a thing now and they were just as stressful back then, though you can still find the familiar gameplay loop of catching and training Pokemon as you travelled from town to town fighting off gym leaders to earn badges. There’s nothing particularly mind-blowing about Ruby/Sapphire, all things considered. It’s safe and by the numbers but it has also aged like the finest wine you’ll ever taste.

3. Pokemon Diamond/Pearl

All Main Pokemon Games Ranked Worst to Best

After Ruby/Sapphire, fans wondered where the series go next. The answer was… doing Pokemon again. However, Pokemon Diamond/Pearl is a big exception. It’s arguably the most love and care Game Freak had put into a game yet. Sinnoh region was brimming with life, new monsters to discover and varied locales to visit. If anything, Diamond/Pearl proved that the core gameplay, while not innovative, was incredibly engaging and I think Diamond/Pearl best exemplified just how true that was.

2. Pokemon Red/Blue

All Main Pokemon Games Ranked Worst to Best

Pokemon Red/Blue launched the Pokemon series into a global sensation. The first generation remains the most iconic out of all and the gameplay introduced here put a surprising focus on the social aspects of trading with friends and learning secrets (this was pre-internet boom days). Thanks to the superb FireRed/LeafGreen remakes, Red/Blue are still phenomenal games and very easy to pick up and play today – though also not the most inviting for those seeking a breezy playthrough. It can be pretty tough.

1. Pokemon Gold/Silver

All Main Pokemon Games Ranked Worst to Best

Revisiting games out of nostalgia can only go one of two ways: it either holds up or it doesn’t. Pokemon Gold/Silver not only holds up, it actually peaks the franchise. Whether your journey focuses on Ho-Oh or Lugia – two truly iconic legendary Pokemon – you’re bound to experience something special. The games, along with its must-play HeartGold/SoulSilver remakes, represent the absolute best of the Pokemon games. They’re polished, stacked with content and endlessly enjoyable from beginning to end. And then there’s the Kanto region after the end. The gift that keeps on giving.

Editor-in-Chief of Nexus Hub, writer at GLITCHED. Former writer at The Gaming Report and All Otaku Online. RPG addict that has wonderful nightmares of Bloodborne 2.

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