Over the years, the Pokémon games have been bringing joy into our lives in various different ways. But what better way to find out which region is the best than a BATTLE TO THE DEATH?! Just kidding! We asked our Contributors group to vote for what their favourite region was, and here are the results, along with a piece for each game explaining the love for them!
1st Place: Diamond and Pearl – Catherine Lewis
You will literally never be able to convince me that the Sinnoh region games aren’t the best. Am I being blinded by nostalgia? Maybe. Do I care? Absolutely not.
I think it’s a fairly objective matter that Sinnoh has the best music to grace any Pokémon game to date (but that’s a matter for the previous issue), but that aside, they introduced some of the coolest Pokémon designs, including new evolutions for previously lackluster Pokémon (which I’m SO glad they’re reintroducing in Sword and Shield, more on that later).
The region is so charming. I’ll never tire of the trek through the flowery fields of Floaroma, reading the books in Canalave Library, and trudging through the snow to the peak of Mt. Coronet. I’ve replayed these games more times than I can count, and it’s always just as magical. It doesn’t get better than this folks.
2nd Place: Ruby and Sapphire – Ben Warner
Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald were pivotal games in the Pokémon series, but they also marked a special point in many of our generation’s gaming experiences as the first Pokémon games they played. Nothing beats the magic of your first adventure through an exciting, thriving world with your cute axolotl companion.
Hoenn’s aesthetic was fantastic; the whole region was vibrant and full of exciting areas, ranging from the vast expanse of sea, a city of treehouses, to a huge volcano.
They also introduced the weather system, and seeing the world around you rain, snow, and experience scorching sun made it all feel that bit more alive.
From growing your own berries, cooking up treats for your team, and entering Contests, these games let you connect with your Pokémon in a whole new way, and they’re brilliant.
3rd Place: Gold and Silver – Harry Cottle
The majestic Johto region is by far the greatest the franchise has ever visited. It strikes the perfect balance of mysticism, represented by the Ruins of Alph, and modern, industrial cities, the two biggest connected by the high-tech magnet train. This conflict between the traditional and modern elevates Johto and makes your journey through it memorable. The legendaries are by far the best the series has seen; Ho-oh and Lugia both get beautiful towers whilst Celebi gets an ancient shine, all of which tie into the history of the region. The new Pokémon were a fantastic addition to the original 151 and contain some absolute icons such as Quagsire, Heracross and objectively the best Pokémon of all time, Ampharos. Finally, on top of Mt. Silver, the greatest trainer of all time awaits…
4th Place: Black and White – Harry Harrison
Pokémon Black is the only Pokémon game I’ve ever played (aside from PokéPark 1 and 2 on the Wii). It was the first game I played essentially ‘online’ when you’d all connect in that weird area and trade Pokémon.
I don’t really remember too much about the story but I do remember the feeling of relief when I finished it and the satisfaction my primary school brain enjoyed every time I foiled Team Plasma’s maniacal plans to “liberate” all Pokémon.
I did grow very fond of the “run away” button every time a wild Pokémon tried to mug me though, mainly because I was rubbish at the game and didn’t really understand until later on that my Oshawott wasn’t effective against a tiny little Joltik.
5th Place: X and Y – Tom Buckland
I know that Pokémon X and Y marked the downfall of Pokémon’s sense of challenge. Avid Pokémon fans found Kalos’ gyms and its Elite Four mere playthings compared to the likes of Cynthia (Sinnoh’s Champion). However, Kalos is absolutely breathtaking in its design. It’s clear (at least to me) that the European aesthetic was not only what inspired Kalos, Kalos literally embodied the aesthetic. The world was, regardless of how easy I found my adventure, enough to keep me playing and enough to keep me engaged. From the fairytale-style Laverre City, to the glistening, wintery Snowbelle, X and Y had it all.
If we’re looking specifically at regions, then I stand by the fact that Kalos was the prettiest region of them all.
6th Place: Red and Blue – Danny Lardner
I might be relatively alone in this view, but for me, the original Kanto region is unmatched across the entire Pokémon series. This, of course, goes hand in hand with the Red/Blue/Yellow and the Fire Red/Leaf Green games being the best versions released by Game Freak.
Of course, I’d accept that my personal bias is intruding a fair bit – Leaf Green was the first Pokémon game I played, and I spent countless hours training my party to finally beat my older brother, although this would be a fruitless effort.
But there has to be room to appreciate the original games – the trendsetters that made the Pokémon franchise so gargantuan. The original 151 Pokémon are also the best set, I don’t want any of this “Garbodor” nonsense from any of the last few generations.
7th Place: Sun and Moon- Zac Hickton-Jarvis
It is a crime to dislike the Alola region. It’s easily one of the most lively and vibrant regions in any Pokémon game. The designs and lore of the Pokémon themselves fit into the region itself so perfectly, it adds so much more depth to the whole game; everything feels like it belongs. Have you seen Komala?! How could anyone not like this sweet baby boy?
The characters are also the most fleshed out and interesting people the games have seen to date; there’s actual character development to be seen!
The replacement of HM moves with Ride Pokémon also helps the game flow so much smoother; you can explore anywhere much easier and not be limited by the Pokémon on your team.
Overall, it’s a great game, and you should all be ashamed it’s at the bottom of this list.