Pokemon Legends Z-A could learn a lot from the Ranger series

Pokemon Legends Z-A could learn a lot from the Ranger series

Pokemon Ranger is an underappreciated aspect of the Pokemon world. Here’s what Legends Z-A could learn from the series when it comes out.

Have you ever played any of the Pokemon Ranger games? They were incredible spin-off games for the Nintendo DS that placed players in the shoes of Rangers instead of Trainers, defending the natural world by working alongside Pokemon.

The Pokemon Ranger games were immensely fun (if a little clunky) and there’s a surprising amount that modern Pokemon games could stand to learn from them. In particular, Pokemon Legends Z-A could benefit hugely from following the example of the Ranger games when it comes out.

Pokemon Legends Z-A could learn a lot from the Ranger series

Characters from Pokemon Ranger.

One of the most unique things about being a Ranger instead of a Trainer was that you worked alongside Pokemon, with more of a partner vibe, instead of just instructing them in battle. The Hidden Machine system was a perfect example of this in action.

Compared to standard Pokemon games where HMs take up an ability slot and can be used in battle, HMs are much more intuitive in the Ranger series and add to the level of immersion in the games, too.

Hidden Machines are called Field Moves in the Ranger world and come in three levels of power, corresponding to how strong a Pokemon is.

An evolved Fire Pokemon will usually have access to a stronger version of Burn, for example, letting you set objects on fire if they’re blocking your way. A more powerful Pokemon could access a higher level of Tackle, too, letting you push bigger objects out of the way.

The Field Move system made the process of exploring the world with your partner ‘mons feel much more realistic and immersive, and it would be great if we saw the same level of thought applied to HMs in the upcoming Legends title.

While the mechanics of using the Nintendo DS touch screen are outdated now, HMs that matched a Pokemon more closely would be fantastic. They could still be tied to Gyms or boss Pokemon like regular HMs, but they could be used outside of battle by interacting with objects or Pokemon instead.


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Beating higher-level Gyms could also be ideal for leveling up Field Move-styled HMs, too. Imagine getting Level 1 Cut at the first Gym and getting Level 3 Cut at the third, for example, allowing you to double back and cut down bigger trees that blocked off areas.

This idea actually popped up in a Reddit post recently, with fans discussing how new Pokemon games could implement the Ranger-style HMs and improve upon their worldbuilding, too. The general consensus was that latent abilities would add to immersion and allow for some creative overworld puzzles, too.

While it’s uncertain what Legends Z-A gameplay will look like, it’s fair to say that we can expect some new and creative mechanics. We know that Mega Evolutions are coming back, but hopefully, there will be other interesting mechanics and features to explore.

The idea of a game set exclusively in a city does leave space for creative ideas. Perhaps instead of Rock Climb, there could be a Field Move-styled ability that allowed acrobatic Pokemon to scale buildings? This is speculation on our part, of course, but it could be fun to see.

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