Gen IPandering. Starting with Gen VI's Pokémon X and Y, Game Freak began calling back to the original Kanto games more, with many of the Mega Evolutions introduced being for Gen 1 Mons and the game even giving you one of the Kanto starters early on. This was fine at the time, as Pokémon media had yet to make such heavy use of nostalgia and Pokémon from other generations were given their fair share of Mega Evolutions too. It also helps that it acted as an Author's Saving Throw to Pokémon Black and White limiting the amount of old Pokémon that appeared in the game. Then, Gen VII's gave us Pokémon Sun and Moon and the introduction of regional variants... and all of them were Generation I Pokémon.note Though in fairness, the games coincided with the 20th anniversary of the franchise, so every part of the franchise was heavily acknowledging the first games. Even the anime had Ash briefly return to Kanto and reconnect with Misty, Brock, and some of his old Pokémon such as Bulbasaur, Muk, and Tauros. After the release of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the next remakes weren't for the Gen IV games, which had been highly anticipated, but for Gen I's Pokémon Yellow. After this, not only did Gen VIII's Pokémon Sword and Shield introduce the new Gigantamax mechanic and have most of the forms be Gen I mons once again, and a few new regional variants were added, though mostly of different Kantonian species and actually allowing for those from other regions to have them too, but even the anime had Ash situated mainly in Kanto rather than the new region of Galar, and he caught several Kantonian Pokémon he never used before such as Dragonite and Gengar, in addition to a retcon that his mother's Mr. Mime was considered one of his Pokémon all along.note He still travels to other regions, Kanto is simply the base of operations for him. At this point, people felt that Game Freak was giving too much attention to Kanto at the expense of all the other generations.note One can argue that it goes back even further, with Pokémon Gold and Silver having Kanto be explorable and many major NPCs using older Kanto mons over the newer Johto creatures, in addition to Kanto receiving the remake treatment in Gen III with FireRed and LeafGreen. These were more justifiable and innocuous though - Kanto was in Gen II because those games were meant to be direct sequels, and remakes were needed because the newer games were now completely incompatible with the older ones. It only became more "obvious" as the series got older.
This is best seen in Charizard. The creature already boasted great popularity with the fanbase, both in the games and in the anime, as Ash's Charizard is seen as one of his most memorable and iconic best mons right after Pikachu. It started with Charizard returning to Ash's team in the Unova seasons of the anime, which was fine back then thanks to Ash's Charizard having been gone for years before making his reappearance, his last appearance prior to his return being Hoenn's Battle Frontier arc. People were just happy to see him again. Then the games got in on the fun, as Gen VI gave Charizard two Mega Evolutions, making it the only Pokémon in the series other than the Legendary Pokémon Mewtwo to gain such a status. People immediately stated claiming favoritism. Back in the anime, the X and Y series would give Ash's new rival Alain's a signature Pokémon in the form of a very powerful Mega Evolving Charizard whose victory over Ash-Greninja in the Kalos League likely contributed to the Charizard burnout. The Sun and Moon anime would then have another Charizard as Kiawe's air transport throughout those seasons of the series.note In fairness, one thing this Charizard has going for it is that it was also one of the last roles that Unshou Ishizuka voiced prior to his death. Charizard's role as a Ride Pokémon actually wasn't disliked in the games (everyone was too busy being happy that HMs were finally gone after twenty years), and Charizard wound up the sole Ride Pokémon not in the Alolan Pokédex, but Pokémon Sword and Shield was considered the breaking point by having a Charizard as Champion Leon's signature Pokémon, being among the Mons to get a Gigantamax form, and being the only returning starter line players could legitimatelynote The other 2 Kanto starter lines and the Alola starter lines all had code for them in the games, but were unobtainable until Pokémon HOME launched, allowing migration. obtain at launch, being in the Galarian Pokédex this time around, leading many to feel that Charizard was getting too much attention at the expense of both its fellow Kanto starters and starter Pokémon as a whole.
Many of the flaws older fans criticize newer seasons for having — a formulaic plot, filler being common to the point of Arc Fatigue, bland and forgettable one-shot characters etc. — all had their roots in the Kanto and Orange Islands series which preceded them. These flaws were more or less forgiven since it was the first season and the formula wasn't entirely set in stone yet, and the filler wasn't packed close together and didn't make up a large portion of the series as it would in Johto. It also more frequently had episodes that explored character motivations and backstory, like "Go West, Young Meowth", making fans more forgiving towards it.
The dub's replacement of Japanese music has been a long held complaint since the start of the anime, but really started ramping up from XY onward. Before then, there were more reasonable justifications for it: It was much less expensive to make music inhouse and the dub music was seen as having its own charm, making it acceptable enough throughout 4Kids run, which ended in the earlier portion of the Battle Frontier saga, and up to Best Wishes. 4Kids was also slowly going bankrupt in its final years, likely necessitating them trying to save as much money as possible through making dub music inhouse for their run.note But even this would not be enough, as 4Kids was forced to hand the license back to The Pokémon Company International during the Battle Frontier saga. To try to save money, they used the dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! as their main Cash Cow Franchise, but a lawsuit sank them for good. Fans also didn't have much accessibility to the original subs before The New '10s, leaving many ignorant of just how much was being changed. Adding to that was that 4Kids wasn't the only company that replaced music at the time (Bruce Falconeer's dub score for DBZ comes to mind).
However, with XY, John Loeffler and David Wolfert, the original dub composers, both departed and were replaced by Ed Goldfarb, whose soundtrack was seen as uninspired and jarring compared to the old dub music and especially the original Japanese. Coinciding with this was the music replacements becoming far more frequent◊ until it was worse than it ever was under 4Kids, even bleeding into the movies starting with Pokémon: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destructionnote Ironically, a remixed version of Gotta Catch Em All, the original 4Kids theme for the dub, was used as the first opening song under Goldfarb. The Japanese subs had also become far more accessible to the public, leaving fans much more aware of what was being replaced. The fact that other dubbing companies had dropped this practice years ago only made it more noticeable (Funimation keeps the Japanese OST for their laterproperties). It got worse when a tweet revealed that the recent anime seasons were perfectly capable of retaining the Japanese music, they simply chose to use Goldfarb's music out of choice (barring Pokémon: I Choose You!, a retelling of Ash's and Pikachu's origins which only kept Japanese music due to Goldfarb being on a vacation in Japan at the time of development). The sin would begin to be addressed in Sun and Moon, as the dub composers began to leave Japanese tracks in as long as they fit a scene better, and in other cases, tried to make dub music that was better than the original.
Unlike the games, the anime has always had a habit of depicting multiple legendary Pokémon existing (as opposed to being implied Single Specimen Species), as well as rarely, if ever, reusing old legendaries (the Celebi from Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions is not the same one as the one from Pokémon 4Ever, for instance). Though few complained about this, that changed with Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened and its controversial move to use a brand new Mewtwo over the well-known and popular one from The First Movie.note Takeshi Shudō, original showrunner to the anime and director of Mewtwo Strikes Back took the rights to the original Mewtwo to the grave, and the writing team couldn't recover them from his estate, forcing the conception of the new Mewtwo. Because Mewtwo was firmly established as a one-of-a-kind man-made Pokémonwho couldn't be replicated (and not naturally born like the aforementioned Celebi), many fans logically assumed it would be the same one from before, and thus were confused and upset when it turned out to be a completely different one from a separate, unseen experiment.note Hoopa and the Clash of Ages would attempt to address the sin, in spite of its weaknesses, by bringing many previous Legendaries back and stating outright they were the same ones from before, especially in the case of Mewtwo, whose original personality was also brought back to the Super Smash Bros. franchise and with the new Mewtwo's Mega Evolution as a Final Smash being the only trace of the new Mewtwo present in the game.
The movies tend to have "evil" legendaries as the supposed Big Bad, who are either really non-malicious monsters with the conflict coming from misunderstandings, or who pull a HeelFace Turn by the end. This all started back with Pokémon: The First Movie.* It can also be traced back to the episode "Island of the Giant Pokémon", which claimed that there was no such thing as a truly evil Pokémon. While some were disappointed, it being the first use of the trope (and Mewtwo being genuinely sympathetic, especially in the original Japanese version) let the film off. Some Pokemon in the main anime, a particular Togepi in Sinnoh and several Malamar in Kalos, proved to be truly evil, but these were just minor instances in the main episodes rather than the films, fast forward to around the sixteenth movie, and many fans are sick of the continued lack of a truly villainous Pokémon in the films when there are several cool and/or creepy candidates. It also doesn't help that by contrast, human villains are more plentiful, more evil, except in the event said human villain pulls a HeelFace Turn, and generally lacking in character.
The movies' tendency to explain any Pokémon that can talk via telepathy. This had its roots back in the very first movie, which had Mewtwo talking through telepathy. This made sense for that movie and the next few movies since that explanation held enough ground to make sense (Mewtwo and Lugia were Psychic-types and Entei was created by the Psychic-type, reality warping Unown), but future movies that used this excuse had a harder time hand-waving it since most of the Pokémon who got it weren't Psychic-typesThe full list Lucario, Darkrai, Shaymin, Arceus, Zorua, Zekrom, Reshiram, all 4 Swords of Justice, Kyurem, all 5 Genesect, Diancie & its Carbink, Xerneas, Volcanion.
The habit of the films to focus on advertising a new Mythical could be traced back to the first movie, which heavily featured Mew. It just wasn't as rigidly defined of a formula back then; the second, third, and fifth movies didn't involve Mythicals, for instance, and other movies to involve Mythicals at least clearly designed the plot around them. Later films tended to shove in Mythicals regardless of whether they added anything—the most obvious being Marshadow's appearance in Pokémon: I Choose You!, where it felt very out of place in what was otherwise a remake of the early anime. It didn't help that the games also stopped giving dedicated sidequests to Mythicals, meaning now the films were forced to fill in the blanks and often making the Mythicals in question feel forgettable. Compare the fairly extensive lore and significance given to Mew to, say, Volcanion, Marshadow, or Zeraora, where basically nothing about their Pokédex entries or film appearances seems to warrant them being Legendaries.
A common criticism for the series is Ash's inability to win a Pokémon League. While he's lost Leagues since the original series, at first the idea of the main character failingto achieve his goals by the end was relatively novel (and at least he constantly managed to obtain a moral victory out of making it so far, which softened the blow and made his determination more endearing). Then the series not only kept making him lose, but did so in increasingly contrived ways — While Kanto had Ash's Pokémon exhausted because of Team Rocket note Among other things, a rule for sleep status being considered viable for elimination was also implemented in the League at the same time and never used again since, and when Ash got down to the disobedient Charizard as his last, it refused to listen and Johto had him fight Hoenn Pokémon note Kecleon and Blaziken, the former actually wasn't too difficult as Pikachu easily defeated it early in the battle, but the latter was much tougher, following up a justified defeat of Bayleef by defeating Charizard, they at least made sense story wise. Sinnoh, on the other hand, had a one-off Trainer with Mythicals and Legendaries on his team note The full team was never shown, but Tobias was only shown to have Darkrai and Latios, this blow is softened in that Ash actually defeats Darkrai using Sceptile, being the only trainer to do so, and then Latios fights to a draw with Ash's last Pokémon, Pikachu, Unova made Ash lose to a ditz with a five-against-six handicap (who didn't even win the League himself)note As mentioned below, Cameron's lucky victory came from the evolution of his Riolu to Lucario in the fight. and Kalos had Alain enter by collecting all the badges in a ridiculously small timeframe solely to fight and beat Ash, despite showing no interest in the League beforehand. Alain was supposed to emulate what made Ash's loss in the Johto the best received by losing to a well-established Worthy Opponent. But so many factors were implying Ash would win note Having his most powerful team and being his most competent to date, it being the franchise's 20th anniversary, the next games were alleged to be doing away with conventional leagues, advertising and the episodes title heavily implying Ash would finally win... that the backlash was so intense it's likely what led to Ash finally winning the next series League in Alola, and then winning the exhibition match against Kukui which was rewarded for his victory, Tapu Koko even intervening on Kukui's side and yet Ash still won.
One of the biggest criticisms of the Ash vs. Cameron battle in the Unova league is that Cameron was lucky enough to have his Riolu evolve into Lucario during the match to provide him the power boost needed to defeat the rest of Ash's team. A brief look at older episodes will show that this is not the first time someone managed to pull off a win thanks to a mid-battle evolution. Ash in particular has benefited from mid-battle evolutions multiple times throughout the series. The only reason this became such a big deal this team around was because it happened against the main character during an already controversial Pokémon League. Made worse by the fact that Ash at least improved in his tournament standings over the series, while his loss to Cameron was the first time he actually ranked lower than his previous tournament standing.
Ash vs. Alain gains just as big of criticism as Tobias and Cameron, this time due to the outright rejection of the franchise's Elemental RockPaperScissors that's a huge staple of the games. The thing is, however, the anime always toyed with the idea of Scissors Cuts Rock as far back as even the first season, though the very first instance of this was when Ash supercharged his Pikachu to take out Brock's Onix, using its electricity to activate the sprinkler system to weaken it. Since then, however, the anime seldom ever followed the Rock-Paper-Scissors mechanic all that closely, merely considering the idea at best. Rather, they like to utilize quick thinking and legitimate strategies more often than they use type effectiveness. In addition, opposing Trainers have engaged in such mockery of the type mechanics before, such as when Cress's Panpour defeated Ash's Pikachu back in Unova. It's just that this is the first time it cost Ash a major league win, and it's made all the more jarring due to Ash's Greninja having taken down Sawyer's Sceptile, which was Mega Evolved so it had double resistance to waternote Mega Sceptile is part dragon, which also resists Greninja's typing, yet Alain's Charizard was barely able to take a much bigger Water Shuriken which should do normal damagenote Mega Charizard X is also part dragon, while Blast Burn managed to take out Greninja despite not being very effective. Not to mention, you know, the whole "making it look like Ash was going to win" thing.
Best Wishes was initially rather well-received by the Western fandom when it first aired, due to its brisk pacing and the B-Plot involving Team Rocket igniting people's interest, a fact which is largely forgotten since the Ending Fatigue at the end. Fact is that many of its problems were apparent from the start; Ash was rebooted to an Idiot Hero, Cilan and Iris were divisive supporting characters due to the narrative attempting to portray them as replacements for Brock and Misty, Team Rocket's narrative was a drastic change in characterizationnote Their transition to more serious characters was better received outside Japan (most infamously their voice actors, Megumi Hayashibara, Shin-ichiro Miki, and Inuko Inuyama, expressed Creator Backlash over the transition), due to their comedy in the Advanced Generation and Diamond and Pearl seasons being more tolerable and interesting in Japan than in America, though even in America where it was popular, fans of Dogasu's Backpack still use the terminology that the trio's seriousness made them "boring, emotionless drones"., the Team Plasma plotline wasn't immediately launched and finally the pacing was too fast (with Ash's badge quest skimming over the larger roles of the Gym Leaders in the games). The flaws simply became more apparent once the interesting things failed to pan out in the end. Ironically, overtime Best Wishes has become more respected as the opposite of this trope; though not considered good, it started many trends that were well received in the following seasons.
One of the main criticisms Black and White gets is that Ash caught too many Pokémon in too short a time for the writers to properly characterize.note The full list, all of whom had to share screentime with Pikachu, and later on Charizard, included Pidove/Tranquill/Unfezant, Oshawott, Tepig/Pignite, Snivy, Scraggy, Sewaddle/Swadloon/Leavanny, Palpitoad, Roggenrola/Boldore, and Krokorok/Krookodile But this practice had its beginnings in Kanto right from the moment Ash caught Krabby. This is more justified though, because back then the anime was fully adhering to the franchise's original English tagline of Gotta Catch Them All. It's clear that most later seasons realized that this wasn't a good storytelling tool, leaving many Pokémon on the list of perfectly good characters to waste, and everyone generally agrees that the approach of a smaller but more fleshed out team feels more natural in the long run. The closest thing to the concept of catching more Pokemon appears to be done now by Goh, a new character based on methods from Pokémon GO, though unlike with Ash, there are at least attempts to give his other Pokemon proper screen time even when they aren't being actively used.
The conclusion of the Team Plasma arc was criticized for being rushed, the Team going down like chumps and the Big Bad being The Unfought. However, this was also the case for all the prior villain Teams sans Team Rocket, who never even got a decisive confrontation. The difference was that the other Teams' lack of real significance wasn't dissimilar to how they were portrayed in the games, while the games' Team Plasma and Big Bad were extremely well received for their moral complexity and delectable evilness and the anime started with enough popular changes, including giving Team Plasma a proper buildup, that raised expectations and even attracted fans who've previously written off the anime. Besides falling short of those heightened expectations, their intended debut was canceled and the Team overhauled to match their portrayal in Black 2 and White 2 (the Grunts are depicted as their Black 2 and White 2 designs, and so is Ghetsis, with N as a former member like in that game, and Colress, who was absent in Black and White, as a major leader for the team) which stripped them of their interesting traits, and other anticipated plotlines went unfulfilled. Few doubt it was a coincidence that Team Flare was given a far better portrayal in the next series.
Another one for Best Wishes: its female lead, Iris, who is written to be an Expy of Misty most of the time, is easily one of the, if not the least popular of Ash's female companions. However, many of Iris' traits that made some fans dislike her were also present in Misty, who to this day still remains among one of Ash's most beloved female companions. However, there were some key differences between the two:
The main reason people dislike Iris is her antagonism and constant needling and mocking Ash. Misty used to do the same thing, but back in the day, Ash was much less nice and less afraid to bite back, and not only did Ash rarely leave any of Misty's jabs unanswered, but he was even able to take potshots at her completely unprovoked. However, in Johto, Ash started to become more "sanitized" into a straight Nice Guy, a process that continued through the following seasons, leaving an Ash far less likely to fight back against mocking comments from his companions. So while Original Series Ash and Misty were two hotheaded kids that frequently sniped at each other, Best Wishes Ash was Iris' hapless verbal punching bag, which caused viewers to see Iris as needlessly cruel and mean spirited.
While less obvious that the above, Iris' fear of Ice typesnote Since Ice type attacks are super effective against Dragon types, which Iris wanted to specialize in. was considered dumb by many fans. This was clearly meant to be a call back to Misty's fear of Bug types. However, Entomophobia is one of the most common phobias in real life, so Misty's fear of Bug types was not only believable, but in many cases relatable. Meanwhile, Iris' fear of Ice types was seen as silly, since Ice types aren't anymore dangerous or scary than any other type. This was even mocked in-universe in the first episode that showed this fear, Ash's rival Trip pointed out that by that logic, Iris should also be afraid of Dragon types, the type she specialized in, since they deal super effective damage to themselves.note This was before the Fairy type, a type that was immune to and super effective against Dragon types, was added in Gen 6.
Game Freak not being particularly good at Competitive Balance has been pretty obvious right from the beginning; the first Pokémon games are probably the least-balanced in the entire series (Mewtwo was literally uncounterable, Psychic and Normal were hilariously overpowered, and all but about fifteen of the original 151 were overshadowed or useless). This was seen as alright in the first few generations because competitive battling and balance were nowhere near important considerations - most of the fanbase was too young to care, and the hardware was running on a Game Boy, meaning corners had to get cut somewhere. Decades later, this was far less forgivable, as Game Freak made clear efforts with Competitive Balance in mind (nerfing some types or moves and buffing others, for instance) and hundreds of major tournaments have taken place - and yet Power Creep, Fake Balance, Purposefully Overpowered mons, and unrecognized Game Breakers continued running rampant, to the point of multiple major tournaments seeing their top rankings being stormed by near-identical teams.
Since around Gen V, Game Freak has been making efforts to simplify the games and make them more friendly to new players. Initially, this was firmly welcomed, as many of the things they altered or removed (gutting and eventually removing the HM system, making EV training and breeding easier, making TMs infinitely reusable) were Scrappy Mechanics being kicked out or just general quality-of-life improvements that didn't impact the overall experience. However, this also included many things that made already-easy games significantly easier, such as boosting the EXP Share into a Game-Breaker or providing severely overpowered Pokémon for free, making it hard to get any kind of challenge out of the game unless one swore off those features entirely. One of the most infamous cases was the complete removal of the Battle Frontier from ORAS, gutting what had been one of the main selling points of Emerald. Worsening the problem was that B2W2 had been the first games to allow selectable difficulty, which would have been a perfectly fine compromise, yet this feature wasn't added to any of the following games. Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! pushed this much further into the mainstream, when in the name of being a Gateway Series for Go fans, removed tons of features that'd been part of the series for decades and turned the difficulty down even further, creating a massive Old Guard Versus New Blood rivalry that left the old guard with a game that felt braindead and patronizing.
Pokémon fans have had to deal with the removing of old features ever since Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire didn't include the day-night cycle, ability to revisit older regions, or ability to transfer from older games which had been introduced in Pokémon Gold and Silver. But the latter was mainly due to hardware issues, and by the time Pokémon Diamond and Pearl were released, every feature except for revisiting regions had been reintroduced and all Pokémon were once again available, along with several new features. Beginning with Generation 5 and throughout the 3D era, however, Game Freak began to drop well-loved features from one game to the next, while introducing new gimmicks ostensibly to make the games more distinct. This left many new mechanics feeling poorly designed or unbalanced (like the Game-Breaker-laden Mega Evolutions), while old mechanics that felt generic enough that they could fit in any game (like follower Pokémon, difficulty selection, or the Battle Frontier) found themselves abandoned for no clear reason. Things finally hit critical mass with Pokémon Sword and Shield, when it came to light during E3 2019 that not only were Mega Evolutions and Z-Moves outright replaced with Dynamaxing (as opposed to merely succeeded by it), but that Game Freak was excluding Pokémon by prohibiting players from transferring any Pokémon not found in the Galar Pokédex. Cutting mechanics was annoying, but generally acceptable as long as the replacement was unique and strategic in its own right; not including a wide variety of mons, each with its own heavily devoted fanbase, was crossing a line for many.
Game Freak have never been especially good programmers (their entry on Idiot Programming is pretty lengthy for a reason), but for much of their history, this wasn't much of an issue due to sticking to portable platforms and fairly undemanding concepts. Simply put, nobody really expected their games to look much better than they did. Problems occasionally cropped up, like the conspicuous lag in the DS games when calculating damage, but it was the sort of thing you'd only really notice once you cracked the code open. By the 3DS days, though, the increasingly good hardware made their barebones animations, behind-the-times looks, spaghetti code, and chugging framerates increasingly difficult to excuse. With the release of the Let's Go games, Game Freak found itself sharing a platform with games like Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, yet seemingly couldn't even catch up to the now-ancient Stadium/Colosseum/Battle Revolution games in visual panache, despite working with far more advanced hardware. This only got worse with Sword and Shield, since one of the main reasons Game Freak gave for not including all of the available Pokémon in the Pokedex was to concentrate more on models and animations for the Pokémon that would be appearing. This was fair enough, but it turned out many of the new models were simply upscaled from previous games - albeit with a higher polygon count.
A common criticism of later installments is the lack of post-game content other than a side quest or two involving revisited areas, a handful of new areas, some more Pokémon, and a buffed Elite Four. This was present in Pokémon Red and Blue, where there wasn't a post-game at all other than Cerulean Cave, which only had Mewtwo, and Pokémon Gold and Silver, where despite being able to go to Kanto, a lot of it is cut down compared to Gen I. This was excused since it was the first in the series and, in Gen II's case, had to undergo a lot of compression in order to fit the cartridges.
Some Pokémon are required to be traded to other players in order to evolve. If you don't have any friends who play Pokémon, you'll need to get another console and another game just to get them. While this concept was around since Gen I, there were only four Pokémon who evolved this way (and most of them, particularly Alakazam and Gengar, were really good Pokémon). Later generations began adding not only more Pokémon who evolve this way, but more prerequisites for such evolutions, such as holding a specific item while being traded to evolve. While the GTS (first introduced in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl) makes getting an Alakazam a non-issue (if you're not concerned about obedience), there's no guarantee that a Porygon2 received on the GTS will hold a Dubious Disc, making these even more frustrating to obtain (especially the Porygon line, which evolves through this method twice).
The use of real-life events to distribute Mew was necessary because it wasn't originally intended to be in the game at all, and was only slipped into a vacant data slot at the last moment. As such, real life events and taking advantage of Good Bad Bugs were the only way to get it. Each new generation of games introduced at least one new Mythical Pokémon. All of them were hardcoded into their debut games from the outset, so unlike Mew, the difficulty in obtaining these Pokémon is purely arbitrary. In many ways, Mew and its successors were a frightening precursor to the dreaded practice of "on-disk DLC".
Because Wi-Fi obviously didn't exist yet, going to a physical location was the only legitimate way of getting Mew. Over twenty years later, one-time in-person events still persist, which are inaccessible to many fans, especially younger ones, due to location or lack of transport. Digital distribution is much more common these days, but these events are still typically open for a limited time only and never return. Also, where Mew could be encountered via Good Bad Bugs no matter the time period, no such bugs exist for the later Mythicals (ironic, since said bugs were precisely why discussion and rumours about Mew spread at all).
Mew was given to players directly, often wth a set OT and ID number; there was no (deliberate) in-game event that let you catch it since, well, you weren't meant to. Starting with Pokémon Black and White, however, most Mythicals are similarly directly distributed without any fanfare or in-game event. Not only is there no skill in getting them as with Legendary Pokémon, but players often can't use them in a main playthrough due to coming at a high level in addition to having a different OT. Owing to their banned status in postgame facilities, these Mythicals often just gather dust as glorified trophies.
One common visual gripe people have with Sword and Shield is the poor scaling of Pokémon when they are in battle. While this technically started in the 3DS games, since they were the ones to start using 3D models during battle, the Game Boy games also did not scale them correctly. It was much more understandable back then as the real estate on the screen was far less plentiful, and the camera didn't change wildly like it eventually would. But side games like Pokémon Stadium and Pokémon Battle Revolution showed that there would come a point at which the games would no longer need to keep this perspective, and yet the main series kept doing so. Though given a pass on the Gen 3 games, Diamond and Pearl drew some criticism for it, which was explicitly to emulate the look of the original games, despite the transition to and capability of 3D: this continued into Gen 5, which slightly panned the camera depending on what was happening on the screen to better simulate depth. X and Y is where it started becoming a problem: the games largely retained the original look despite Pokémon now using 3D models in battle, especially when the camera became much more dynamic (though far from the extent it was in Coloseum and Battle Revolution), and Sun and Moon only made it more noticeable by making the camera even more dynamic and having the trainers visible alongside their Pokémon. Sword and Shield was when fans decided it was completely ridiculous, not only because those games could be played on a much bigger screen, but also because overworld Pokémon are scaled properly, and these games had Pokémon growing big as their main gimmick. What's even more baffling is that the Let's Go! games did scale them properly during battle, showing it was possible even while largely retaining the camera perspective of the original games.
Gen II started the trend of other "gimmicky" evolution methods such as a Pokémon needing a High Enough happiness meter, Pokémon only evolving depending on the time of day, and even a Pokémon that required an additional Pokémon present in the party to evolve. While they are not too obtuse in Gold & Silver, these evolution methods would grow only more un-intuitive as the series continues.
A controversial introduction was Baby Pokémon. Cuteness aside, they are often viewed as utterly irrelevant because they ultimately evolve (usually via happiness) into an already existing Pokémon, likely one that you had to breed (often with certain incenses in later generations) to get the baby in the first place. Generally, the only incentive to hatching them outside of filling the Pokedex is that they learn good moves that their evolved forms would miss out on, like Pichu learning Nasty Plot. Breeding Pokémon with baby forms for competitive use also adds an extra step as the babies are unable to breed themselves and need to evolve into a form that can, unlike other Pokémon that can breed automatically.
Many of the new Pokémon added in Gold and Silver were easily missed due to their means of obtaining them, and a large amount of focus was put on the old ones from Generation 1. This wasn't a problem at the time because the new Pokémon only had one generation to compete with and still made up a reasonable percentage of the total available, so they still managed to be memorable. Pokémon X and Y introduced even fewer new Pokémon than Gold and Silver did and had a heavy focus on Pokémon from all of the previous games, but the sheer number of Pokémon made the new ones barely stand out. In fact, a significant portion of the retroactive Hype Backlash is due to Gen VI reminding fans that Gen II had this issue as well.
The ongoing trend of Pika-clonesnote Ridiculously Cuteelectric-type Pokémon with a rodent-like appearance, meant to be Expies of Series Mascot Pikachu has been something of a sore spot among fans for a while. It started back in Pokémon Gold and Silver with Pichu and Marill, neither of which stirred up much fuss; Marill was a Water-type that happened to bear a vague resemblance to Pikachu (hence the incredibly pervasive PikabluUrban Legend of Zelda), while Pichu was legitimately related to Pikachu, being its newly-introduced baby form. Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire brought in Plusle and Minun, a pair of Electric rabbits that borrowed a few elements from Pikachu's design, namely the cheek circles and unusual tail shape; despite not being all that useful in battle, they didn't ruffle too many feathers due to being designed around then-new Double Battles, as well as putting their own spin on Pkachu's design. Then Pokémon Diamond and Pearl's Pachirisu appeared with little reason to exist beyond marketability, and the similarities to Pikachu became much more blatant. Pokémon Black and White followed up with the equally-similar Emolga. Pokémon X and Y introduced yet another Pika-clone as part of the smallest batch of new Pokémon to date. Dedenne was perceived as wasting a valuable slot in the Pokédex that could have been occupied by a more interesting design, and the decision to make it part-Fairy was a less-than-stellar move for the reputation of the new type. Pokémon Sun and Moon did have a "true" Pika-clone, Togedemaru, but also introduced Mimikyu, whose entire premise was a parody of the Pika-clone, simultaneously mocking the phenomenon of making a shameless attempt to recapture Pikachu's popularity and making it an Ensemble Dark Horse. Pokémon Sword and Shield introduced Morpeko and made it the primary Pokémon of one of your rivals, but since the fanbase was largely focused on debating other topics it more or less flew under the radar.
Weather-based teams weren't very popular initially because altering weather would only last five turns, and the effects were rarely worth the time spent setting up. Then Gen III introduced Abilities like Drought and Drizzle that caused permanent weather effects, along with others like Swift Swim that doubled certain stats in certain weather conditions. However, Drought/Drizzle were exclusive to two Legendary Pokémon that were banned in most forms of competitive play, and sandstorms and hail were still hard to use. As time went on and more Pokémon, Abilities and items that took advantage of weather appeared, the Gen V metagame became dominated by weather teams and a few large Pokémon communities placed bans on certain Pokémon and combinations, if not banning weather/inducing abilities outright. Game Freaknerfed weather abilities themselves in Gen VI by limiting ability-caused weather to five turns, as a weather-altering move would do, and though Primal Kyogre/Groudon and Mega Rayquaza have permanent weather abilities, they only last as long as they're on the field. History may be repeating itself in regards to terrains (a field effect introduced in Gen VI), but thankfully none of them are permanent.
Super Rod only being available post-game. Not so bad in Gen II due to a large selection of Water Pokémon and you still can get Old/Good Rods. From Gen IV onwards this is justified that Super Rod is used to fish for Mons not native to the region, but at least lesser fishing rods can still be obtained beforehand. It wasn't until Gen V that fishing is off-limits period until you defeat the Elite Four which doesn't help that Water Pokémon is a minority in Unova. Those who wanted to use Water-types there but hate the Oshawott line will not be pleased.
Cross-generational interactions began with Gold and Silver in that every Generation I Pokémon could be used in every Generation II game, and anything left out in II could be traded over. It wasn't a big problem back then, as there weren't that many Pokémon yet. However, as the generations have gone on and more and more Pokémon get created, it has become an increasingly difficult task to carry everyone over. Pokémon Sword and Shield, in Generation VIII, was the breaking point, where they stopped making every Pokémon available because it was no longer considered feasible within the time given to them to make Pokémon games. In fact, this was very close to happening with Generation VII, in which the team expected they would have to exclude some Pokémon—but some people worked on off-hours to get all of the remaining Pokémon in, and in the nick of time.
Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are often criticized for not really changing anything from the basic story of the original Ruby and Sapphire, yet the same can be said for the previous two remakes FireRed/LeafGreen and HeartGold/SoulSilver; despite having numerous additions to and differences from the originals, their basic plots remained the same. What made ORAS different is that it promised that the story would be re-imagined, making this much harder to ignore.
Wally, while popular and loved by the fanbase, was perhaps the first major Friendly Rival in the franchise. This was shrugged off at the time, because it was a change of pace, but became a trend with future rivals in the franchise, something that those who miss how antagonistic Blue and Silver were have lamented.note This is also rooted in Japanese culture, those same arrogant traits that defined Blue and Silver are even more hated in Japan than in America, making the friendly rivals far more favorable over there. Gladion in Sun and Moon is an attempt to move back in the direction of jerk rivals, by virtue of being a member of Team Skull, but his antagonism is downplayed compared to Blue and Silver. Ultimately, Bede in Sword and Shield is the first true jerk rival in the series since Silver, showing that the series can still do jerk rivals.
Fire-types are scarce in Hoenn quantity and quality-wise, but due to an area dedicated almost entirely to Fire-types and a Fire-type specialist being placed relatively early in the game, this is often looked over. Sinnoh's Fire-type specialist, on the other hand is an Elite Four, who is expected to have strong various Pokémon of his type specialty, but doesn't do so since Diamond and Pearl have only two fully evolved Fire-types in the main story, and he doesnt use repeats of either of the two lines to soften the issue unlike other type experts facing shortages, making the problem more noticeable. Thankfully, Platinum fixed this problem by providing more Fire types in the game.
Jirachi is the first Mythical Pokémon that has neither an in-game place to capture it, nor anywhere that has lore connecting to it. Though it was an outlier in Mythical Pokémon significance back then, the Mythicals of Gens V, VI, and especially VII are similar direct downloads with no significance in the world of their debut games, only now the fandom criticizes them for it.
The beginning of FireRed and LeafGreen is far more tutorial heavy than prior games, with it assuming it's a player's first Pokémon game.note Considering the franchise's target audience of children, this is also believed to be an example of the Fleeting Demographic Rule. Thankfully, it eases up after leaving Viridian City, but it's here where peoples' complaints about later games being hand-holding to the point of annoyance all started.
The Fire/Fighting type combination is loathed by much of the fanbase due to it being applied to three consecutive Fire-type starters from Generations III-V. The first such Pokémon, Blaziken, was (and still is) well-liked and considered a good Pokémon, as was Infernape. The inclusion of this typing was also somewhat justified by the first Gym of both Generations III and IV, a Rock-type gym, having a distinct advantage against Fire-types, which the Fighting type corrected. Emboar, however, is when fans began to get sick of the repetitive typing of Fire starters compared to their more varied Grass and Water compatriots, not helped by Emboar being seen as mediocre by comparison and the Fighting-type not having an advantage against the first Gym this time (it being either Grass, Fire, or Water depending on your starter). While there was a good break with Delphox being a Fire/Psychic type, the fanbase had a collective meltdown when Litten's final evolution, Incineroar, was revealed to be bipedal, with a design based off of heel wrestlers instead of being more lion/cat-like like its prior evolution, Torracat. Cinderace didn't get off any better, as despite being based on a soccer/football player in a line that stays bipedal throughout, it's still the most humanoid of its line by far. This and the fact that Incineroar and Cinderace learn many Fighting-type moves despite being, respectively, a Fire/Dark type and a pure Fire-type, led to many calling them Fire/Fighting types in all but actual typing.
The overall bipedal nature fans associate with the Fire/Fighting combo in starters may come from the fact that Blaziken and Infernape were bipedal. However, Blaziken was a bird, and Infernape a primate, both of which have bipedalism that is easier to justify. Emboar, Delphox, Incineroar, and Cinderace, respectively a pig, a fox, a cat, and a rabbit, not so much.
One of the most infamous criticisms of Black and White is that it only provides access to Unova Pokémon until the post-game. This is much like how Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen only allowed access to Kanto Pokémon; however, those games went even further in their Dex restriction by not allowing new Pokémon to be traded or evolved into the game until a point very late into the post-game. While still regarded as a poor decision that was ditched in later remakes, it isn't criticized as heavily as the Unova Dex because of the prevalence of First Installment Wins sentiments in the Pokémon fandom and the iconic popularity of many of the Kanto Pokémon a concept that many Unova fans, coincidentally, get testy about. Because Gens III and V have both aged, Nintendo WFC has become defunct and it's become increasingly difficult to find people to trade with, it's essentially just as practically difficult to get old Pokémon into BW as it is to get new ones into FRLG, causing the Unova Dex restriction to become more infamous in the end.
The areas where you would travel with the Stat Trainers were the first instances where more than one wild Pokémon could show up in a fight. In such occasions, you were forbidden from using any Balls until only one wild Pokémon was left. Aside from the possibility of your partner knocking out the Pokémon you intended to spare for catching, it wasn't that big a deal... until the S.O.S. battles in Pokémon Sun and Moon, which can become downright infuriating when the Pokémon that you're trying to catch constantly calls in a new partner right after you knock out the previous one.
Later games are often criticized for treating the Villain Team plot as the main story at the expense of the protagonists journey, when Black and White did that first. In fact, it's even more obvious, as the Team Plasma plot overrides the journey, with the player initially fighting N and Ghetsis instead of Alder, while later games at least kept the two separate. The difference, apart from the general novelty of it all, was that the story was well received by many fans, while later plot lines were seen as intrusive distractions.
To the subset of players critical of Gen VI and VII. Taken on their own, many argue that Pokémon X and Pokémon Y are reasonably solid for the first new games of a console (let alone a generation), as Game Freak has a track record of introducing new generations with unpolished pairs of games and then gradually ironing out the flaws with third versions, sequels and remakes. Two of the biggest criticisms of X and Y were its lack of postgame features and its intrusive, plodding story, and while nothing new for the Pokémon franchise, they became more criticized over time as later games repeated those flaws.
The postgame of X and Y is small, but was not initially widely criticized for its lack of content; it played host to the well-liked Looker storyline, there were a few other things for players to do besides catch Legendaries and participate in the Battle Maison, and above all, with X and Y designed to streamline competitive battling, Kiloude City was seen as a highlight of the games that many players were eager to access. However, the following set of games, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, was criticized for having only a slightly bigger but still lacking postgame, and even directly copying and pasting the Battle Maison from X and Y. Expectations were very high due to the previous remakes, HeartGold and SoulSilver, setting precedents;note both by having a full Battle Frontier and by using content from Pokémon Crystal and the backlash against the unexpectedly sparse postgame of ORAS caused the postgame of XY to be looked upon less favorably in hindsight. Worse yet, XY never got the expected follow-up game so that SM would make it in time for the 20th anniversary of the franchise, leaving XYs own unresolved and incomplete plot threads hanging.
The storyline of X and Y was always divisive for its intrusiveness and strange pacing, yet attempting to emulate the well-liked story of Black and White by introducing tragic elements and characters, and many players were nonetheless happy to explore the beautiful Kalos region and seek out the huge selection of Pokémon in-between cutscenes. In comparison, Pokémon Sun and Moon story was even more intrusive than that of X and Y, by interrupting the player even more frequently, by restricting the player to a very linear progression path, and overall being an overbearing presence throughout the game. Story quality aside, whether or not Sun and Moon improved on X and Y in that respect is a matter of debate, but repeating many of the same flaws, like with the postgame, only amplified those of X and Y in hindsight.
In an attempt to spice up battles, Pokémon started introducing major battle gimmicks, and this was the first generation to introduce a major battle gimmick: Mega Evolution. While a few of the Megas ended up being Game Breakers, nearly all fans were happy with the concept since many Pokémon were Rescued from the Scrappy Heap because of them, most notably Charizard. Gen VII introduced the slightly more controversial Z-Moves, and while they had a little bit more detractors than Megas due to being able to easily break through walls, they were balanced by the fact that they could only be used once. However, Gen VIII's battle gimmick, Dynamaxing, got really out of hand. A Dynamaxed Pokémon stays Dynamaxed on the field for three turns, can do a lot of damage during those three turns, has increased HP during those turns, and every single Max movenote Except for Max Guard. comes with an additional mandatory affect, effectively allowing a status move and an offensive move to be used in one turn for three turns. Because of this, many fans feel Dynamaxing is overpowered, and while Mega Stones and Z-Crystals came at the cost of not being able to use other items, Dynamaxed Pokémon can use whatever items they wish, like Weakness Policy, Life Orb, and Choice items. To make matters worse, both Mega Stones and Z-Crystals are not in Gen VIII; even though Gen VII sidelined Mega Evolutions hard by restricting them to the postgame and only having about half of them available until the Updated Re-release, they were still in the game. Not helping matters is that Dynamax was one of the reasons for the Dex exclusions, which made some fans more hostile towards this gimmick than Megas and Z-Moves because they didn't consider the sacrifice to be worth it; in contrast, Mega Evolutions and Z-Move sacrificed nothing.