Pokémon vs. Digimon: New Game Edition


With what I’ve been hearing about the new Pokémon game, I need to reflect on how comparisons have been coming up and what I’ve figured out. It’s really coming down to how these series tend to progress and the history of such.

With Pokémon, there’s actually been a consistent form of game that consists of battling and catching monsters with a turn-based system, but there’s also the occasional spin-off. Each game in the “main series” up until this one (or the last one if Let’s Go is counted) has just increased the number each time, but now it’s being significantly cut down for whatever reason they’re not being clear on. This wouldn’t be such a standout if not for all the previous games allowing all previous monsters to be present. As well, the Western marketing has the phrase “Gotta catch ‘em all” which just seems brutally ironic now. Before recently, the only games lacking Pokémon have been side games. There was an odd standout in the Mystery Dungeon series, though, where only a subset was available, but after that it was all out in including playable monsters.

Digimon is another story. It’s had many types of gameplay styles, starting out as a spin-off of Tamagotchi but going way past that. There’s been games with more or less virtual pet gameplay with all types of battle systems, so there’s not really one core style that’s done annually. The virtual pet aspects seem to be more of a throwback than the main idea of the series, as what Digimon and the Digital World even are from game to game keeps changing.

Then when it comes down to the anime, there’s also some difference. While I haven’t seen all of each one, I know that Digimon’s anime has been split up into several series with individual storylines, though some are connected, and recently there’s been revisits to the first series. Pokémon’s however has been a mostly single journey, though it seems to have been sorta rebooted a couple times now. Now for once the main anime won’t even be following the current game. There have also been side stories that have come up, but those are shorter lived. There have also been movies, and Pokémon has had a lot, and even that series has been rebooted.

Now with designs, Pokémon’s evolved over time, and that’s apparent with Pikachu, who’s changed a lot like Sonic has, getting less round and more “hip and cool” or something. However all the other monsters have moved toward a cuter type of design with each generation and more characterized per monster. There’s been some slight changes in overall Digimon design, but overall it’s less rough and cleaned up but they’re generally similar to what they were before. Of course, the designs have been more extreme and strange, such as a dog who’s a lizard and monsters made entirely of guns and so on, and they definitely have characterized traits. There’s also been redone designs, and there are a lot of versions of Agumon, who has been around from the start, but there’s not always some standout monster always present in everything being front and center, unlike some Pokémon such as Pikachu and Charizard and now Eevee.

Whenever something compares a Pokémon design to a Digimon, generally Pokémon don’t have all kinds of missiles and guns and weird hybrids, rather they’re more based on single animals or concepts. The weirdest the designs have gotten would be the Ultra Beasts, which come from somewhere else, and I actually think those are among some of the best recently. It’s come to where I prefer designs that are more unusual when they’re not just the right amount of cute. Or maybe cute because they’re so odd. Digimon has a lot of cute but also outlandish designs so I could find a lot of favorites or at least ones I like. I get increasingly unsure with Pokémon, where it took until Gen 3 to have one I didn’t like, Gen 5 was more of a divisive one that had a few more I didn’t like yet some I really liked, and Gen 7 just had an ugly fish mostly. I’ve seen leaks, if true, and there might be a larger number of dislikes for Gen 8, but Wooloo is a sheep and I like sheep.

I doubt I’ll buy the games this time around, even used, and even without this whole “cut Pokédex” thing I was cooling off on the series anyway and skipped both ULTRA and Let’s Go, though I did pick up the Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth game on Switch which contains both games, so it’s two games for one rather than one in two. Armadillomon made it into that game, among a bunch of others, so that’s a plus. While everyone has been concerned over the lack of Pokédex, I’ve just been looking forward to the next time I can play certain Digimon in those games, but I don’t think without some variety in the games I’d be doing the same with Pokémon.

Even when I do play Pokémon games, I try to use new monsters or at least ones I haven’t used yet, so while the cut thing wouldn’t directly affect me, there’s other issues at hand with the games. Still, I’d like to get Pokkén at some point, since that’s pretty different despite having two Pikachu and Charizard, they added in some odd fighters like Chandelure, who I’d probably pick as a main. I wonder how many of the Pokkén cast would have a visa for Galar?