Friday, August 9, 2013

A Mega Mistake

Yesterday, a new type of "evolution" was revealed.
Is that Blaziken?
Now you might be thinking "is Blaziken evolving? It's already part of a three-stage evolution!" Indeed you're right, but this isn't an ordinary evolution. This is called a Mega Evolution, a transformation that happens only with a specific item. When I first heard about it, I was confused myself. I thought it was an entire new evolution.

To make things clear, here's how it works. During battle, when a Pokémon is holding a specific Mega Stone, the Pokémon will Mega Evolve. So when Blaziken holds a Blazikenite, it'll Mega Evolve into Mega Blaziken. The transformation ends when the battle's over. So it's not an evolution per say, it's more of a form change.

Before this, we were already introduced to a Mega Pokémon. The new form of Mewtwo is actually a Mega Evolution.
This is Mega Mewtwo. I still call it Majin Mewtwo.

From the title, you probably guessed that I have a problem with this new battle mechanic. You bet I do! First off, quit calling it an evolution! It's a form change! Even if a Pokémon's stats get better, it doesn't make it an evolution. Black and White Kyurem have a higher base stat total than Kyurem, but that doesn't make it an evolution. Evolutions are permanent, form changes are temporary and reversible.

Form changes in the middle of battle aren't "new and revolutionary", it's been done before. Remember Darmanitan's Zen Mode? Or Meloetta's Pirouette Form? Those are triggered through an ability and move respectively. Sure this is a first time a held item is the trigger, but that doesn't make this mechanic ground-breaking.

Changing forms in the middle of battle before it was cool.

Speaking of held items, that's another issue I have with Mega Evolution. I can see the game play balance of giving up your Leftovers or Choice Scarf to get a Mega Evolution, but thanks to the Mega Stones being species specific, Item Clause won't limit how many Pokémon on your team can turn Mega. It doesn't seem like Mega Pokémon are addressing a balance issue. At least Fairy-type was created to address how powerful Dragon-types have become. 

The initial release of Mega Pokémon obviously shows this mechanic isn't supposed to bring balance to the game play. Blaziken, Lucario and Mewtwo have all been dominating forces in Pokémon battles. In fact, Blaziken was banned from standard play thanks to his newly acquired Dream World ability, Speed Boost. Lucario remains a relevant threat in standard play and is quite the Pokémon to deal with. And you're an idiot if you think Mewtwo is "weak" and needs any buffs. Mewtwo single-handily won a good portion of my battles in Global Showdown. Sure, Ampharos and Mawile appreciate the boost to their strength, but they could have been buffed through new abilities and moves instead of a haphazard form change.

Instead of buffing old Pokémon through new abilities and moves, Game Freak has opted to throw in a frivolous game play mechanic. Form changing in the middle of battle, regardless of stat redistribution, has proved not very effective in the past. Mega Evolution is a poor solution to the evident power creep in past generations. I fear that Mega Evolution is just the beginning of potential gimmicky battle mechanics that will make the game needlessly complicated.  


  1. How many mega form Pokemon do you think they'll have? I think if they have Blaziken they'll also include Sceptile and Swampert. And if they do B&W's starters they should surely do X&Y's starters.

    1. At the moment, I'm not sure. So far, 6 have been announced including Blaziken, Lucario, Mewtwo, Absol, Mawile and Ampharos. Most likely the rest of the starters will get a Mega Evolution, but we'll have to wait until September for that info. It's already confirmed that not every Pokemon is getting a Mega Evolution.