Rating All Pokemon Core Series Games So Far

Rating All Pokemon Core Series Games So Far


Pokemon is a legendary franchise and has been one of Nintendo’s finest creations to date. Dating back to 1996 when the first core series—Pokemon Red and Blue—were released, the games that follow were all met with commercial success.

That said, there are still differing opinions on which of the Pokemon games were better or not quite there in terms of quality. So today we’re here to share our take and will be rating each of the Pokemon core series games ourselves.

The ratings will be based on these criteria; story, gameplay and characters.

Disclaimer: Do note that the ratings are all opinion-based and we recommend readers to take the ratings with a grain of salt. Also, we’re excluding any remakes as well.

And with that out of the way, let’s get started!


Pokemon Red and Blue Rating


1. Pokemon Red and Blue (1996)

Overall Rating: 5/10


Story (6/10)

For its time, Pokemon Red and Blue were way ahead in terms of storytelling quality. There’s nothing overly complex with the plot and it is still captivating. The pacing was decent enough for us to keep wanting to play without letting go of our Game Boy.

A great framework of “the main protagonist against an evil organisation concept” would also set the theme of the game; for instance, Red and Blue were accepting the fact that Pokemons are more than just tools.


Gameplay (3/10)

Perhaps the weakest link to Pokemon Red and Blue. Even “genwunners” would have to admit that the game mechanics here were very unpolished.

There were some huge balancing issues like Psychic types being massively overpowered and the enemy AI having serious flaws like having comical movesets late into the game.


Characters (5/10)

The characters in Gen 1 were alright but nothing really to write home about. We have our generic villain Giovanni which was intimidating but motives might be a little cliche. The Rival was competent enough and can provide some form of challenge and his team is perhaps one of the most diverse in the series.


Pokemon Yellow Rating


2. Pokemon Yellow (1998)

Overall Rating: 5/10


Story (7/10)

A little different from Red and Blue as it tries to be more like its anime counterpart. Honestly, it was pretty unique and it also goes to show that despite being in the same region Kanto, Nintendo wasn’t afraid of going in a different direction.


Gameplay (4/10)

Pretty similar sentiments to the Red and Blue, the gameplay mechanics were still pretty weird so to say. However, it is the first Pokemon game that introduced walking Pokemon outside battle and we do have to give Nintendo props for that.


Characters (5/10)

Again, there are not many—if any—differences made to the existing characters of the Kanto region. If anything, it is that certain Gym Leaders’ Pokemons have been changed to fit their anime counterparts, but ultimately they are the same.


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Pokemon Gold and Silver Rating


3. Pokemon Gold and Silver (1999)

Overall Rating: 4/10


Story (8/10)

Despite reusing similar villains in Team Rocket, the story of Gold and Silver has much more depth compared to Red and Blue. The lore and myth behind Lugia and Ho-oh were fascinating and really had us intrigued by the mythical background of the Johto region.


Gameplay (3/10)

While we do enjoy Pokemon walking outside the Poke Ball, the overall gameplay of Gold and Silver left a lot to be desired.


One thing, in particular, is that the Johto region is filled with places that can only be accessed through Hidden Machines and its level scaling is horrendous; meaning you would have a really hard time training your Pokemon as the level spike is not properly adjusted.


Characters (2/10)

Unfortunately, Gold and Silver really fall short in terms of memorable characters. There weren’t any characters that stood out from the rest and your Rival can be a little insufferable at times.


Pokemon Crystal Rating


4. Pokemon Crystal (2000)

Overall Rating: 5/10


Story (8/10)

Pokemon Crystal made some notable changes to the Johto plot and has made Suicune a central figure in the story.

If we were to compare the story with the Gold and Silver one, we would give it a draw as we feel both are as immersive, it’s just that Crystal chose a different legendary to be the lead of the show.


Gameplay (3/10)

Almost identical to Gold and Silver with existing issues remaining. Well, at least they made some changes to certain Pokemon, giving them different levelling moves which were kinda nice.


Characters (5/10)

A significant improvement from Gold and Silver. The addition of a gender option in Kris and an extra core character in Eusine were just what the Johto region needs—not perfect but at least it is something.


Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire Rating


5. Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire (2002)

Overall Rating: 7/10


Story (7/10)

A story themed around the environment and climate change is pretty cool. The one gripe we have about the story is that its progression is way too linear and the story writing was just so-so.

However, take nothing away from the idea behind it though, as it does highlight a very important aspect of drastic environmental changes which is relevant to us—almost as if they are trying to break the fourth wall!


Gameplay (8/10)

Ruby and Sapphire were the games that saw major changes to the Pokemon games’ mechanics. The introduction of Pokemon abilities changed the gameplay completely, making the games more intricate and frankly much more fun!

Double battles were also introduced which allowed for more strategical plays with certain moves and abilities are heightened in potency when paired with others. This has created a whole new dynamic in Pokemon battles.


Characters (7/10)

The Hoenn region did bring in some interesting characters. The ones that stood out for us were Wally and Steven both of them ended up being super powerful characters and it was also a joy to see Wally grow throughout the game.


Pokemon Emerald Rating


6. Pokemon Emerald (2004)

Overall rating: 8/10


Story (7/10)

Yes, we know that the plot for Emerald is a little richer than Ruby and Sapphire but we felt it was overall pretty similar where they basically just added Rayquaza into the plot.


Gameplay (9/10)

One huge change that Emerald brought to the Hoenn games is the Battle Frontier. This post-game content is huge as you get to take on Frontier Brains that you cannot grind your way through. A perfect endgame content for enthusiasts to test their skills with a good replayability value.


Characters (8/10)

Again, we’re giving extra points for Emerald because of the Battle Frontier. The Frontier Brains all have their own personalities and have their arena themed around them! Plus, you’ll also adopt a disciple in the Battle Tower which we thought was pretty neat!


Pokemon Diamond and Pearl


7. Pokemon Diamond and Pearl (2006)

Overall rating: 7/10


Story (7/10)

Diamond and Pearl’s story is very identical to the Hoenn games where you have two legendary Pokemons that are masters of their domain conflicting with one another. Still, the story is pretty decent and the plot was motivating enough for us to want to play more to know more.


Gameplay (7/10)

If there’s one thing that highlighted the Sinnoh region was its Elite Four—specifically the overly overpowered Cynthia.

The Elite Four for the Sinnoh region is brutal but a whole lot of fun. However, it is pretty difficult to build a diverse Sinnoh team as there is a severe lack of Fire-types which is arguably one of the best offence-based typing there is.


Characters (8/10)

Nintendo really stepped up to the plate when they were designing the Sinnoh characters. Cynthia and Cyrus were extremely loveable and Team Galactic’s Saturn, Mars and Jupiter were all well-written to have their own traits and personalities.


Pokemon Platinum Rating


9. Pokemon Platinum (2008)

Overall rating: 8/10


Story (7/10)

Basically Diamond and Pearl but with the addition of Darkrai. The story hasn’t changed too much with this enhanced version.


Gameplay (8/10)

Platinum solved quite a number of issues that Diamond and Pearl have. For one, it balanced Cynthia’s ridiculously strong team and quality of life changes like speeding up battles and surfing which was found to be sluggish in Diamond and Pearl.


Characters (8/10)

Like the story, there aren’t many changes from Diamond and Pearl for the characters as they all remain as they are.


Pokemon Black and White


10. Pokemon Black and White (2010)

Overall rating: 9/10


Story (10/10)

Arguably the best story writing in the Pokemon franchise. The entire progression of the game is filled with intense moments with the villains invading cities and actually posing a threat. Neither was it rushed nor was it forced as every moment seem to flow seamlessly.


Gameplay (9/10)

The new idea for huge sprites is jaw-dropping. The Pokemons’ sprites were all beautifully drawn with amazing effects.


As for combat, the Unova region introduced even more modes like Rotation and Triple Battles which again puts a different dynamic to Pokemon battles which haven’t happened since the Hoenn region.


Characters (10/10)

Pokemon Black and White has perhaps one of the best villains Pokemon has to offer. N—serving as one of the main antagonists—is a very conflicted character as his ideals are wrongfully right. The story behind Team Plasma’s creation is a work of art and you would need to play it for yourself to truly enjoy it. 


Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 Rating


11. Pokemon Black and White 2 (2012)

Overall rating: 9/10


Story (10/10)

Remember how we say N is a conflicted character as a villain? Well, BW2 is his redemption arc and it was delivered flawlessly. The game is a sequel to the original BW games and serves as a closure for some main characters.


Gameplay (9/10)

The gameplay hasn’t changed too much aside from adding older regions Pokemon in the beginning, allowing you to build a different party from your BW games.


Characters (9/10)

Characters are still equally liked but lack the development level of N that was shown in the original BW games. New characters like Hugh were decent but is pretty one-dimensional.


Pokemon X and Y Rating


12. Pokemon X and Y (2013)

Overall rating: 4/10


Story (4/10)

Pokemon X and Y have a mediocre story at best as there weren’t any good climactic moments that helped spur the game forward. But most of the time, the game was rather stale and we were just admiring the scenery as we progress.


Gameplay (6/10)

X and Y were the first Pokemon games that introduced the Fairy type and it was a good answer to Steel and Dragon types. This was a good change as both of the said types were too powerful.


The change to the Exp Share is also great as it heavily reduces the need for grinding for a diverse and complete team.


Characters (3/10)

The characters however are on the weaker side as we felt that there was no proper development for any of the major characters. The main villain, Lysandre is a pretty cliche character in terms of ideal and his grunts are just pushovers compared to Team Plasma or Team Galactic.


Pokemon Sun and Moon Rating


13. Pokemon Sun and Moon (2016)


Story (6/10)

The premise for Sun and Moon is pretty convoluted, especially when compared to its predecessors. While it can be intriguing at times, sometimes it can be frustrating to track back on what has happened.


That said, the idea to open wormholes from space to bring the Ultra Beasts is pretty awesome.


Gameplay (8/10)

The Alola region has finally removed something that has been plaguing all Pokemon players—HMs! Yes, they are finally gone and replaced with Rides instead which doesn’t use up a move space from your Pokemon.

Other than that, Z-Moves are introduced which is basically a less powerful Mega Evolution that was deemed overpowered in the XY and ORAS games.

This was a good balance adjustment from Nintendo.


Characters (7/10)

The characters were all likeable, especially your rival Hau, where it is super-rare for a Pokemon rival to be not an annoyance. Other decent picks are definitely Kukui and Lusamine which are greatly designed but lacking in development.


Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon Rating


14. Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon (2017)

Overall rating: 7


Story (6/10)

There aren’t many changes to the story except for location switches, but overall the premise is still the same.


Gameplay (9/10)

There are quite a number of quality of life changes like evolutionary areas being more accessible and catching Necrozma is made way easier. Ultimately, the Ultra version in terms of gameplay was to patch up some holes which we thought is an underrated effort by Game Freak.


Characters (7/10)

Like the story, there are close to no changes for the characters.


Pokemon Sword and Shield Rating


15. Pokemon Sword and Shield (2019)

Overall rating: 3/10


Story (2/10)

The story for Sword and Shield was almost non-existent. The game progression is extremely linear where almost every location is located next to each other. It can get boring but the amazing visuals sort of made up for it.


Gameplay (7/10)

The biggest gameplay change for Sword and Shield will definitely be the addition of the Wild Area. This was a cool concept and you could enjoy different types of Pokemon in this area, with some of them being super high-levelled.


The only downside we can see is that it messes with the game’s pacing if you were to have such a powerful team at the start.


Characters (2/10)

After a good run of bearable Rivals, we are once again greeted with a couple of bratty rivals in Hop and honestly, Leon the Champion too. Plus, the characters were mostly come-and-go, forgettable in a harsher tone.


Whew, we finally made it ‘till the end! Remember, these ratings and opinions are all subjective and we highly recommend you try out any of these games yourselves before making your very own verdict.