While neat-looking and a bit unexpected, the Pokémon Dynamax battles for Sword and Shield add in one too many major battle mechanics.
The Pokémon games have seen raid battles, Mega Evolutions, Z-power moves, and now, Dynamax battles. But what do Dynamax battles bring to the table that justifies their introduction to the turn-based battling series?
It’s one thing to want to add in a fun new battle mechanic for the latest set of Pokémon games.
Sure, it keeps players interested, and may draw back in gamers that have fallen out of catching them all.
But when does it become too much to keep track of for both those consistent and returning fans alike? Is the barrier of entry even too high for new trainers to consider jumping on the pocket monster catching hype train?
For some, these giant battles may be the point where they jump ship on the RPG games, and for others, this may prevent them from ever wanting to start up a Pokémon cartridge in the first place.
Dynamax battles look fun, but were introduced too late in the series, and are ultimately a very bad idea that will not be embraced by the Pokémon fanbase.
Pokémon Dynamax battles
Bringing something to the table
In many of the latest Generations of the Pokémon games, we’ve seen a new interesting means of battling introduced. Ever since the Third Generation’s double battle mechanic, the game series has done its best to bring in a new battle mechanic that would not only change the way players played the main story of the games, but also how competitive battles played out.
Things such as triple battles and rotation battles have fallen to the wayside, mostly because the game systems they were operating on didn’t have the processing power to maintain these battles without a good amount of chugging. Others, such as Mega Evolutions and Z-power moves, have become a staple of the meta, and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
So what then do Dynamax battles bring that were missing, or needed, amongst all of the other ways to battle in the Pokémon games? Are Pokémon Dynamax battles meant to only look cool, but not be used in the meta of the series? If so, why bother introducing them in the first place?
Fixing what’s not broken
When it comes to things like Pokémon types or even the series’ tried and true Elite Four formula, the Pokémon series steps lightly when making a move into fresh territory. That is, however, until Game Freak decides they want to shake everything up a bit with a new battle mechanic.
With double battles, for instance, we took a pretty big leap into a new form of Pokémon battling, but it was one that felt organic to how the series was progressing. After double battles, triple battles felt inevitable, although the three teamed Pokémon fights weren’t as fun as their predecessor.
The next major battle mechanic in Mega Evolutions breathed new life into many forgotten Pokés, and allowed for the game creators to reimagine not only the designs of fan-favorite creatures, but also their stats, typings, and overall party roles. Z-moves were a big change to battles, but not as much as the others before it.
Now that the games feel set in their mechanics, introducing Dynamax battles will bring the series to a tipping point. While the Pokémon games seem to know when to back off in terms of balance for the Pokémon typings, they are forgoing battle balance for yet another battle mechanic that has the potential (as all before it did, I suppose) to make Pokémon battles not as fun.
Lasting impact of Pokémon Dynamax battles
The big question here is whether or not the Pokémon meta fanbase will embrace Dynamax battling. It’s a mechanic that seems simple enough, but when every Pokémon can evidently do it, it may turn out to be too OP of a mechanic to justify allowing in the meta.
Mega Evolutions are restricted to only certain Pokémon, making them feel more balanced naturally. For if certain Pokémon are the only ones that could access an arguably OP mechanic, the mechanic becomes more manageable for those looking to strategize and counter strategize with Mega Evolutions on the mind.
Game Freak will likely include Pokémon Dynamax battles online, but that doesn’t mean that the core competitive fanbase will subscribe to it. But hey, on the off chance that Dynamax battles are only utilized in the game’s story, then this is a fun technique that will make for some bombastic and exciting battles. The max raids look fun (and very Pokémon GO-like), and the giant Poké Ball captures seem epic.
As far as I’m concerned, if Dynamax battles are allowed in competitive battles with other human trainers, it will only be a matter of time before the mechanic is banned altogether in more professional battling scenes. Cute and zany as it is, Dynamax battling has the potential to not only be too broken, but is also the straw that broke the Camerupt’s back.
Pokémon Sword and Shield release for the Nintendo Switch on November 15, 2019.