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Opinion: Dexit Accidentally Restored My Love of Pokémon

by Andrew SearlesDecember 2, 2019

Bring back the National Dex. Dexit. GameFreak Lied. GameFreak is lazy and hates us all.

Ever since it was announced at E3 2019 that not every Pokémon would be making its way into Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield, a vocal portion of the Pokémon fan base hasn’t been shy about letting their feelings be known regarding the omission of hundreds of pocket monsters from the latest entry in the hit series.

In a way the disappointment is understandable. As a franchise which has been with most of us since we were children, it’s easy to form a bond with creatures you’ve cared for and nurtured for decades, and to be a little miffed when GameFreak felt they weren’t worth making the cut. Having said that, I’m one such individual that grew up with Pokémon, and I can honestly say this:

Dexit is probably my favourite thing to happen to the Pokémon franchise in well over a decade.

Alright, alright, calm down, just hear me out.

In the early days of Pokémon, I used to pride myself on completing my Pokédex. Obtaining all 151, then 251, and then 386… I used to savour every morsel of these games, striving for 100% and filling in every Pokédex entry. This wasn’t overly difficult in the early years. Trade a few version exclusives with a friend, maybe attend one special event to nab a mythical, that sort of thing.

As time went on, the task of reaching that 100% completion became increasingly complex. Particular hardware and special software became required for moving Pokémon between generations. The number of timed events, either through online events or in-store code distributions increased drastically. The number of Pokémon ballooned into a number approaching four digits. It started to become a daunting task to fill the Pokédex for each new iteration.

As I grew older and my free time began to dwindle, the prospect of reaching a 100% complete Pokédex started to feel like a burden, something with so many hoops to jump through and timed exclusives to keep track of that it became unwieldy. Once I had missed out on a couple of distributed event Pokémon, I basically threw in the towel and decided it just wasn’t worth my time anymore. I haven’t completed a Pokédex since Pokémon Diamond. My Pokémon playthroughs reverted to beating the Elite Four, seeing most of the endgame content and calling it a day.

Enter Dexit.

Initially, I was a little annoyed at the thought of a bunch of my favourite Pokémon not being an option for my quest across Galar, but I certainly wouldn’t place myself in the camp of those angry over the matter. A gripe to be sure, but not one that was going to seriously impact my experience of playing through the newest entry in one of my favourite series.

I’ve watched the discourse evolve since the release of Sword & Shield. I’ve seen the grievances of the dedicated Dexit-ers be drowned out by a flood of fans thoroughly enjoying everything the Galar region has to offer. More importantly, as a couple of weeks have passed and people conquer the main storyline, I’ve noticed a huge increase in people striving to complete their Pokédex both amongst my friend group and online in general. Whilst always a goal for some, it’s been a long time since I’ve so many people with this goal in mind, and I think we have Dexit to thank.

The Galar Pokédex contains 400 Pokémon. Still a sizeable roster, but collecting them all is most certainly achievable. Perhaps more importantly, every Pokémon is available just between the two versions of the game. No online platforms, no jumping hardware generations, no code distributions, just a massive world to explore and collect.

The Wild Area plays an enormous role in making that task so enjoyable. The breadth of Pokédex you’ll come across on your adventure is extensive, and you’ll encounter so many unique and powerful Pokémon even very early on in your journey. The appearance of Pokémon on the overworld makes hunting down and capturing each one all the more satisfying, and perfectly encapsulates the joy and wonder of exploring for them all that Pokémon Go encompasses so well.

For the first time in years, my passion for catching them all has returned. I’m well on my way to completing the Galar Pokédex, and with it, I’ve rediscovered a huge part of the core Pokémon experience that I’d all but given up on. I truly believe it’s been an element missing from recent entries for a lot of people, and whilst Dexit may have ruffled some feathers along the way, I’m incredibly thankful it has happened. I don’t begrudge anyone less willing to overlook the omissions, but for me it has inadvertently restored my love for this series, and if a few Pokémon had to sit this one out for that to happen, that’s a price I’ll happily pay.

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About The Author
Andrew Searles
I like to write. I do reviews and other bits for @vooksdotnet. Still playing Pokemon Go. Will probably buy Resident Evil 4 again when they release it on my fridge.
  • Oliver Phommavanh
    December 2, 2019 at 10:55 am

    Glad to hear Andrew. I’m not a catch em all kinda player in Pokemon (I play it for the “plot”) but still enjoying this latest adventure

  • Adam
    December 2, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Agreed.
    The game would be worse with 800 instead of 400.

  • Arte Vandelay
    December 3, 2019 at 4:35 am

    Interesting view point. It’s better because it’s more obtainable?

    I would add that previous games also had regional specific Pokedex as well (such as Sun and Moon having the Alolan Dex). Pokemon transfered that were not within this Pokedex simply did not count. It’s all perspective, but I’m not sure a point of praise should be the restricting of options / features like this. What if this was a new precedent for other games (not Pokemon games) going forward?

  • Arkhe
    December 3, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    I know where you’re coming from. I initially had some misgivings with Dexit, but on reflection, I realised my completed collection ended at Pokemon Crystal.
    Neither Black, nor Y had me get even reasonably close to a completed Dex, and my post-game adventure was attempting to breed a shiny.

    So yeah, my condolences do go out to everyone who wanted the full Dex, or for the ones who missed out on their favourite being included, but for me, my adventure will always be chasing that elusive Shiny Gardevoir.

  • Silly G
    December 4, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    I don’t think 400 was enough, and too many Pokémon in the Galar Dex are comprised of useless Dex-fillers from past gens, which makes it all the more baffling that they would be included here as well considering that the Dex is limited to about 320 (out of 809) Pokémon from past games. I’m also annoyed that two slots were wasted on Persian and Cofagrigus, who aren’t even native to Galar and shouldn’t be included in the Dex at all (particularly as their non-Galar forms aren’t native to the region and cannot be obtained via “normal means”, per se, though both regular Meowth and Yamask are obtainable via in-game trades, which is how their regular evolutions can be procured). Gen VII did away with the National Dex as well (to little criticism), so it wasn’t as if completing the Dex was some monolithic feat then either. Nobody needs to do it to “complete” the game per se, it’s just a neat way to extend its longevity.

    The key difference with Gen VII is that all past Pokémon were still transferable/obtainable; they simply didn’t have a Pokédex entry, and didn’t count towards completing the Dex when obtained. Many have already completed their Dex in Sh/Sw, and I already have 330 caught (helped by a handful of local trades with a friend), and I’m only on my sixth badge. “Catching them all” isn’t nearly as daunting as people make it out to be (particularly as dissenting opinion is usually coming from lapsed players who are ignorant of the QoL differences that have made capturing/obtaining so many Pokémon a much more enjoyable experience as the years have pressed on). I suspect that the main experience will be surprisingly brief by Pokémon standards, and that will be felt all the more by the fact that this is being spruiked as a home console experience. I’ve been taking my time with the game because if I had rushed through it, my Dex would be nearly complete by now (the main impediment being the fact that I can’t yet catch Pokémon over Level 50).

    The Wild Area is the best thing that has happened to the series in years, and I am so, so glad that overworld encounters have made a return from Let’s Go (though the mechanics are different, mostly for the better, particularly in regards to how shiny encounters work, so I don’t have to constantly spin the camera to keep an eye out for potential shinies). Sh/Sw has done more right than wrong, and is easily more fun than the Gen VII games had been. In fact, I don’t recall being terribly enthusiastic about the Gen VII games at all, and the excess of cutscenes didn’t help. The Pokémon games excel when the player is given the chance to tell their own story, rather than having the narrative dictated by an arbitrary storyline. Gen V had the best story in the series to date, but more often than not, I feel that the unnecessary and uninteresting exposition impedes on the overall experience.

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