Ranking Every Generation of Pokemon
Updated: Dec 30, 2022
Welcome to the world of Pokémon. It's been 26 years since Professor Oak spoke these words when the first Pokémon RPG was released, beginning one of the most beloved franchises ever. 8 Generations, 900 Pokémon and multiple games later, Pokémon has gathered a large and passionate fanbase, so naturally we're going to be critical of everything released with the Pokémon name in front of it. In this article we're going to rank every generation of Pokémon from worst to best. Enjoy.
8) Generation 8 - Galar
Pokémon Sword and Shield were the first new main Pokémon games for the Nintendo Switch. Obviously, expectations were sky high after seeing what Nintendo was able to do with The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild. Those expectations were quickly brought to the ground with the worst Pokémon games we've ever seen. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy them, but the handholding was the worst it's ever been and the linear paths and lackluster story is something that's getting very old. The controversy surrounding the limited National Dex at launch was a major disappointment, the first Pokémon game where not all Pokémon were able to be registered in the Pokédex, even after both DLC's. The big gimmick this generation was the Wild Area, their attempt at an open world Pokémon experience - it was fun for the first 5 minutes, but got old very quick and don't even get me started on the graphics. Overall, this I had fun with the both Sword and Shield, but the poor graphics, linear story, and lack of Pokémon available easily make this the worst generation of Pokémon.
Favourite Pokémon: Corviknight
7) Generation 6 - Kalos
The first Pokémon games to be made for the beloved Nintendo 3DS were Pokémon X and Y, and oh boy, what a disappointment they were to me. There is literally zero post-game and I'm a sucker for a lot of post-game content in Pokémon games, it's why Fire Red and Leaf Green are some of my favourite titles in the franchise. I was a big fan of the all of the starter typings, mainly Delphox (Fire-Psychic) and Greninja (Water-Dark). Chesnaught, lets just forget about him. The graphics seemed phenomenal at the time, being able to explore a Pokémon world in 3D was incredible, however, the graphics do not hold up today. One thing I do enjoy about Generation 6 are the Mega Evolutions. I think these should have been a mainstay in Pokemon games, but they've since been left in the dust. It was amazing seeing some of my favourite Pokémon receive Mega Evolutions. If every Pokémon had a Mega Evolution I would have been totally fine with it. However, Mega Evolutions weren't enough to rank Generation 6 higher on this list.
Favourite Pokémon: Aegislash
6) Generation 7 - Alola
Limited by the console specifications of the Nintendo 3DS, Pokémon Sun and Moon failed to deliver on what I was expecting from a 2016 title. However, they did take a big risk in changing the formula with it being the first main Pokémon game to ditch the eight gym system, instead using Island Trials and Totem Pokemon battles. It was a high risk and I think it was a very fitting for the location they were capturing. I like how they tried to make the story a cinematic experience, but due to the 3DS hardware specs, it was delivered a little flat. I liked the idea for the post-game and catching all of the Ultra Beasts, but once that was over there wasn't really anything to do other than take on the Battle Tree, which if you aren't into competitive battling, won't leave you much to do. Although not my favourite generation, I did appreciate the effort in changing the formula and overall had a good time within the Alola region.
Favourite Pokémon: Decidueye
5) Generation 5 - Unova
Pokemon Black and White served as a soft reboot to the series releasing 156 new Pokemon with no access to any of the Pokemon from previous generations until the main game was completed. It also introduced seasonal changes, which would alter every month and change the Pokemon that can be caught depending on which season it was; and triple battles, allowing each combatant to call three Pokemon onto the field at once. Generation 5 had the best story in a Pokemon game by far surrounding Team Plasma and the mysterious N and the six sages. This is the only generation that has released a direct sequel based on the events that happened in the first games and I thoroughly enjoyed them both. There was a lot to like about Generation 5 and the Unova region and I am genuinely looking forward to going back to give these another play through.
Favourite Pokemon: Haxorus
4) Generation 1 - Kanto
Pokemon Red and Blue and the Kanto region were introduced to North America in 1998 24 years ago. This is the generation that started it all and I am truly grateful that I was able to play these games shortly after release which launched my love for video games and Pokemon itself. Kanto has some of the best Pokemon designs and created a number of pocket monsters that remain fan favourites to this day, Charizard and Pikachu obviously being the two most recognizable. We were given the greatest rival ever in Gary and every time I saw that dude and his spiky hair swinging side-to-side I hated his guts, they really captured what having a rival would be like and that's something no Pokemon game since has been able to replicate. I recently replayed Pokemon Yellow and while these games remain fun, they lack the story and immersion of current titles. Nostalgia still hits me hard when I play these, but I couldn't rank them any higher strictly based on nostalgia.
Favourite Pokemon: Charizard
3) Generation 4 - Sinnoh
Known to a majority of the Pokemon community as the best generation, Pokemon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum were the first entries for the Nintendo DS and introduced some great features that we still know and love today. Sinnoh is one of my favourite regions to explore, no two areas feel the same to me and that's very important in an RPG. Generation 4 introduced the most important battle mechanic that is still used to this day, which is splitting Physical and Special attacks, not by type as done in the past, but by each individual attack. We get to see my favourite Champion in Cynthia, her battle is one of the most difficult in any Pokemon game and should be the standard for final battles going forward, that Garchomp has given me more nightmares than Whitney's Miltank. There aren't many negatives in Generation 4, but just doesn't quite do enough to capture a top 2 spot.
Favourite Pokemon: Lucario
2) Generation 2 - Johto
Johto and Pokemon Gold, Silver, Crystal have a very special place in my heart and were a very important piece of my childhood. I don't even want to know the hours I have logged in those games combined just trying to get my all of my Pokemon to level 100, these game taught me to embrace the grind before I even knew what a grind was. The actual Johto portion of the game is quite short, however, this generation had the greatest postgame in any Pokemon game to date. The ability to travel Kanto and get all 8 badges from Johto and Kanto was the greatest surprise ever. There aren't many new features to speak of here over than the day/night feature and some new evolution methods, but the fact that you can battle Red and all of the fan favourite Pokemon from Generation 1 on the top of Mount Silver is enough to rank Johto at number 2.
Favourite Pokemon: Ampharos
1) Generation 3 - Hoenn
Taking the number one spot is Generation 3 with Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire and my favourite Pokemon game ever, Pokemon Emerald. This generation introduced some of the most important aspects to Pokemon games that are still included in the games today: natures, external weather conditions, double battles, EV stat calculations, and in-depth plot lines. Pokemon Emerald had the best competitive battling area in the Battle Frontier, this is what got me into competitive battling with seven different battle arenas to choose from. It is a tragic loss that this feature has not returned in the later entries, the Battle Tower is fine, but the variety offered in the Battle Frontier had a little something for everyone. There was also a top tier trio of starters: Sceptile and Swampert are both incredible final evolutions, but I would always end up choosing Torchic and Blaziken. The last quarter of the game can be a bit of a grind filled with an abundance of Tentacool, but if you come prepared with repels it's so much better. The remakes cemented my love for this generation and being able to fly over the Hoenn region on a legendary Pokemon was amazing.
There we have it, those are all eight generations of Pokemon ranked from worst to best, and again, these are my personal opinions and if you have different opinion please let me know down in the comments along with our favourite Pokemon from your favourite generation. Pokemon has come so far since releasing in 1998 and we are truly witnessing how far we've come in Pokemon Legends Arceus. I look forward to the future of Pokemon. The nerd has spoken.