Pokemon Really Should Bring Back Hard Mode - TWINFINITE

Should there be more difficulty options in Pokémon?

  • Yes

    Votes: 250 93.6%
  • No

    Votes: 17 6.4%

  • Total voters
    267

Angie22

Member
Nov 20, 2017
7,146
Kingdom of Corona

Have you ever played a Pokemon game and thought to yourself “wow, this might be a bit too easy”? Well, if so, you wouldn’t be alone. The lack of a difficulty setting makes steamrolling other trainers, or even gyms, a simple task. Pokemon had a hard mode once, and it needs to make its return.
Over the past few generations, Pokemon has been gradually getting more and more accessible to newcomers. The franchise has been around since 1996, so there’s a lot to ease first-timers in to.
With increased accessibility, though, comes a far easier experience on the whole. Features such as permanent team EXP sharing and scripted healing before and after battles are no doubt helpful, but they’ve also lowered the difficulty considerably.
More at Twinfinite
 

Felipe Lima

Editor-in-chief at Switch Brasil
Verified
Oct 30, 2017
124
Brasil
Yes, the whole DLC should be with competitive mons and above Lv. 90. — but actually, this is a far away dream.
 

Lua

Member
Aug 9, 2018
1,131
Well, it wouldn't hurt to have it as an option at the very least.
 

KillstealWolf

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
6,631
It's at the point now where wild pokemon just outside of the gym city are stronger than the Gym Leaders ace and can solo the gym for you on their own. And this is before you even consider 5 pokemon in reserve when a gym leader has 3 or 4 at max, plus held items and restoration items.

Sw/Sh I think is the fastest you can break the difficulty curve on any pokemon. Just go into any raid in the wild area, beat it with the AI (who are strong enough at this point to beat whatever the den throws at you most of the time) and you get like a level 19 pokemon when the rest of your team is around level 10, as well as a strong mid to late game move to use on them as well with the TR. That alone should give you no issues until the 4th gym at which point you probably have a full team of 2nd stage and some 3rd stage pokemon at that point.

People have to actively rotate their whole teams now if they even want to have a match where their whole team doesn't outlevel the opponent. The only time I ever felt threatened in Sw/Sh was
Gordie because I got caught offguard with his Shell Smash Barbaracle. After taking that down though, nothing in the game even came close to challenging me, not even the undefeatable champion. He got one KO on my Alcremie with his Haxorus using I believe it was Iron Tail and that was it. Chairman Rose didn't even require me to switch pokemon once, Centiskorch just swept it on it's own, and he's the villianous big bad of the game!

I'm hoping the DLC adds some challenge in it at least. They talk about a battle restrictions mode for some of the matches, but I need more details on what that does.
 
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MickZan

Member
Oct 28, 2017
946
Oh definitely. And straight from the start. It's the reason i've lost interest in the IP completely.
 

BigTime_2018

Member
Dec 31, 2018
462
I fully agree with this. As much as I like Sword/Shield, steamrolling Gym Leaders and other Trainers just isn't satisfying. Pokémon battles are at their best when you have to be strategic.

And if they do bring back a "Hard" mode, it should be available from the start.
 
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Jimnymebob

Member
Oct 26, 2017
7,294
I don't really know the best way to do this, in all honesty.
I think the general story should be a bit me different, rather than doing a separate hard mode, but I don't think it should be too challenging. Like, there are probably people out there who want the first gym to have a team of 6 level 30 choice scarfed Pokémon for example.

Increasing team size should be the big thing: there's no reason to not be fighting teams of 6 by gym 5 or so, even if it's just relegated to gym leaders and the final fights. I think the novelty of the wild area ruined the difficulty of Shield for me though. It comes super early in the game, and there's a load of Pokémon you can catch there, far more than you normally can by gym 1, and I ended up like 10 levels above everything else before I entered Motorstoke.

I only struggled two times on Shield (gym 8 and the champion), but they were by far the best two fights in the game. I ended at everyone around 62, other than Cinderace, who was level 71. I don't think every fight should be a case of only getting through by the skin of your teeth, but I'd like to have more fights like that.
 

Zutrax

Member
Oct 31, 2017
1,324
I've always been of the idea that Pokemon should have me losing battles more frequently than I do. There's almost zero threat the entire game, there should be less trainer encounters, but they should have full teams with actual diversity and levels comparable to yours. Gym leaders should have Pokemon that scale in level to be slightly above yours so you have to employ strategy against them.

I also always thought it'd be a neat idea to throw your rival against you at the end and have them be nigh unbeatable so you're almost forced to lose against them causing the story to swerve in another direction towards you training yourself up. This would make them a more tangible threat and give you more satisfaction as you strive toward the goal of becoming champion yourself.

But this is all just the dream, I know the games are made for children so this will almost likely never happen.
 

NaDannMaGoGo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,959
"bring back"?

More like properly introduce it for the first time.

Like, making it optional from the get-go.
 

Glio

Member
Oct 27, 2017
9,497
Spain
I hope to see the same arguments as when it is said that From Software should not have an easy mode. Creator's vision and all that.
 

Starlatine

Member
Oct 28, 2017
12,009
I've always been of the idea that Pokemon should have me losing battles more frequently than I do. There's almost zero threat the entire game, there should be less trainer encounters, but they should have full teams with actual diversity and levels comparable to yours. Gym leaders should have Pokemon that scale in level to be slightly above yours so you have to employ strategy against them.

I also always thought it'd be a neat idea to throw your rival against you at the end and have them be nigh unbeatable so you're almost forced to lose against them causing the story to swerve in another direction towards you training yourself up. This would make them a more tangible threat and give you more satisfaction as you strive toward the goal of becoming champion yourself.

But this is all just the dream, I know the games are made for children so this will almost likely never happen.
I think the main thing that could be done with rivals is not giving them a static team. Give them a pool of 15-20 pokemon they can have and change through the story according to the players party. It even used to be a thing in previous gen but they scrapped it like many other things for no reason while also making the rival pick the weakest starter to you to boot.
 

pld

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,781
100% agree. Challenge mode in B/W2 is one of the reasons why I love it so much.
 

Jimnymebob

Member
Oct 26, 2017
7,294
I think the main thing that could be done with rivals is not giving them a static team. Give them a pool of 15-20 pokemon they can have and change through the story according to the players party. It even used to be a thing in previous gen but they scrapped it like many other things for no reason while also making the rival pick the weakest starter to you to boot.
Hop sort of does that. There's no randomisation, but he does change most of his team later on.
 

FelipeMGM

#Skate4
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
2,453
I enjoyed Sword just fine in the 50h that I played, but yeah, I agree. Felt the lack of consequences and stakes through most of it
 

DNAbro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,955
I’m honestly surprised they haven’t tbh. I enjoyed Sword but yeah it was mostly easy. Leon was close to kicking my ass though which was surprising.
 

Parthenios

The Fallen
Oct 28, 2017
4,555
The only time I wiped was in the champion battle with Leon, when I realized that I didn't have anyone that could tank his Charizard. That's pretty par for the course to lose to the Champion. But what you'd normally do is go train all your team or work out a new balance to add in a counter (but subtracting another member); instead here I just fed everyone the bazillion candies I'd accumulated and rolled through it. If I remember correctly I didn't even have to re-battle the whole "elite four" either--just Leon.

But my issue with SwSh difficulty isn't in trainer strength mostly, it's in the lack of dungeons and puzzles and discoverable areas. A simple hard mode wouldn't fix any of that.
 

Starlatine

Member
Oct 28, 2017
12,009
Hop sort of does that. There's no randomisation, but he does change most of his team later on.
But his team is static. It will always be the same in every fight, every time you play, no matter your starter or team composition (save for his weak against you starter of course). I'm talking more about stuff like Blue cycling between arcanine - gyarados - exeggcutor and different eevelutions depending on your starter or if you win/lose battles against him, but even more indepth
 

Jimnymebob

Member
Oct 26, 2017
7,294
I’m honestly surprised they haven’t tbh. I enjoyed Sword but yeah it was mostly easy. Leon was close to kicking my ass though which was surprising.
The Haxorus did Outrage twice, which wiped 3 Pokémon, and took out a 4th twice lol. I just kept sending stuff out to die so I could revive another one.
 

Jimnymebob

Member
Oct 26, 2017
7,294
But his team is static. It will always be the same in every fight, every time you play, no matter your starter or team composition (save for his weak against you starter of course). I'm talking more about stuff like Blue cycling between arcanine - gyarados - exeggcutor and different eevelutions depending on your starter or if you win/lose battles against him, but even more indepth


It took me around an hour and a half to kill that piece of crap on Leaf Green. Just a loop of Venusaur and that asshole using moves that either weren't very effective, or had no effect, before the struggle started.
 

ffvorax

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,861
More than an easy mode, there should be just some major changes in damages... Its easy because if you know what you are doing, most moves can oneshot your opponents. Should be like this only during a critical or with perfect stats in my hopinion, and that would be enough to make everything more "difficult"
 

Becks'

Member
Dec 7, 2017
5,651
Canada
This just sounds crazy to me. Why even have combat in the game if it's that easy... And it's turn-based too, so combat in Pokemon just boils down to selecting stuff in a menu until you win?
If you build a team that covers almost all of Pokemon types early on, you can easily beat the game. If you have never played Pokemon, basically you have types that are supereffective against other types e.g. water beats rock, fire beats grass, grass beats water etc.

In Sword, it gets even more easier because of Dynamax.
 

Sandfox

Member
Oct 25, 2017
16,549
The only time I wiped was in the champion battle with Leon, when I realized that I didn't have anyone that could tank his Charizard. That's pretty par for the course to lose to the Champion. But what you'd normally do is go train all your team or work out a new balance to add in a counter (but subtracting another member); instead here I just fed everyone the bazillion candies I'd accumulated and rolled through it. If I remember correctly I didn't even have to re-battle the whole "elite four" either--just Leon.

But my issue with SwSh difficulty isn't in trainer strength mostly, it's in the lack of dungeons and puzzles and discoverable areas. A simple hard mode wouldn't fix any of that.
I would consider feeding all your Pokemon candies grinding just without having to do a ton of battles.
 

Dever

Banned
Dec 25, 2019
316
If you build a team that covers almost all of Pokemon types early on, you can easily beat the game. If you have never played Pokemon, basically you have types that are supereffective against other types e.g. water beats rock, fire beats grass, grass beats water etc.

In Sword, it gets even more easier because of Dynamax.
Yeah last Pokemon I played was Gold but I know the gist of it. And it's not like easy necessarily means bad, I'm sure the Lego games are easy but it's still fun to run around and smash stuff. Being too easy AND turn-based just sounds awful imo
 

doodlewhizz

Member
Jan 9, 2019
1,518
Hard mode would be a great addition, let opponents have proper strategies and stronger Pokémon. Another improvement I think would be to remove healing items from being allowed to be used in battle - I always get pulled out of things when I'm sending a Pokémon out to die just to use max revives and full restores. Feels like a cheap get out and could be nice to get rid of in a harder mode.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,444
The weird levelling gaps in Soul Silver/Heart Gold.

The interchangeable keys in White 2/Black 2.

Where are the other hard modes?
 

Serebii

Serebii.net Webmaster
Verified
Oct 24, 2017
7,176
Challenge Mode was barely even more of a challenge. It was at the start of the game, but once your Pokémon adapted, it was the same walk in the park as before.

It doesn't matter how good or difficult the AI is if you're going to steamroll them anyway due to being slightly overlevelled. The only way to get round it is to physically cap your Pokémon so they can't go above say Level 20 before Gym 1, but people would complain even more at that.
 

Bardoon

Member
May 27, 2018
965
England
I wonder if a more developed custom system would work in Pokemon. That way people can toggle all kinds of settings to fit their own difficulties, and some options could allow for challenge runs. They already have this a bit with the Set / Switch stuff, so expanding on that more could be interesting.

Edit, with some examples:

NPC stats: Super Trained (EVs and IVs) / Trained (EVs) / Base
NPC held items: On / Off / Major fights only
NPC uses items: On / Off / Major fights only
NPC team size: Regular / Expanded
Level scaling: On / Off / Major fights only
Gym party limit: On / Off
Gym strategy: One type / Variety
EXP Share: On / Off
No revives in battle: On / Off
 

matrix-cat

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,307
These games have always wasted their own battle systems by not having opponent AI actually take advantage of it. Playing through the story, there's absolutely no need to worry about predicting your opponents move or switching your own Pokemon for type advantages. You basically just choose the super-effective move and win; that's all you need to beat the whole game. You'll have an Electric type in against a Ground type and the Ground type is just as likely to use Focus Energy or something rather than a Ground move, right through to the final battles of the game. Implementing some enemy AI that actually battled like they were trying to win would be a huge difference.

And Game Freak can do that. The trainers in the Battle Frontier and other endgame challenges do have decent AI and they feel like they fell out of an entirely different game because of it.
 

lvl 99 Pixel

Member
Oct 25, 2017
18,268
The Hard mode that was only in one version of a sequel to a game and you had to unlock it by beating the league? I think they should do a lot better than that.
 
Oct 27, 2017
5,987
Challenge Mode was barely even more of a challenge. It was at the start of the game, but once your Pokémon adapted, it was the same walk in the park as before.

It doesn't matter how good or difficult the AI is if you're going to steamroll them anyway due to being slightly overlevelled. The only way to get round it is to physically cap your Pokémon so they can't go above say Level 20 before Gym 1, but people would complain even more at that.
So have (an option for) the exp curve to be harsher in that you get less exp on hard mode unless the opposing Pokémon is significantly above your owns level, say 5+ level difference or something. The exp chart has depended on level difference before, albeit the other way around, with earning more exp if you use a lower level mon.
 
Nov 14, 2017
1,096
I wonder if a more developed custom system would work in Pokemon. That way people can toggle all kinds of settings to fit their own difficulties, and some options could allow for challenge runs. They already have this a bit with the Set / Switch stuff, so expanding on that more could be interesting.

Edit, with some examples:

NPC stats: Super Trained (EVs and IVs) / Trained (EVs) / Base
NPC held items: On / Off / Major fights only
NPC uses items: On / Off / Major fights only
NPC team size: Regular / Expanded
Level scaling: On / Off / Major fights only
Gym party limit: On / Off
Gym strategy: One type / Variety
EXP Share: On / Off
No revives in battle: On / Off
All NPCs having max IVs and EVs would be a nice way to increase difficulty. Also no revives in battle is a nice way to artificially increase difficulty on top of the Set option, but I don't think it would ever be added as an official option.

Level scaling for gym leaders should absolutely be a thing though. I loved that Pokemon Origins canonized that gym leaders have lots of different Pokemon and pick their teams based on their challenger's skill level. In games with leader rematching, they don't really address why Brock suddenly has a team of level 50s.
 

Arithmetician

Member
Oct 9, 2019
142
Challenge Mode was barely even more of a challenge. It was at the start of the game, but once your Pokémon adapted, it was the same walk in the park as before.

It doesn't matter how good or difficult the AI is if you're going to steamroll them anyway due to being slightly overlevelled. The only way to get round it is to physically cap your Pokémon so they can't go above say Level 20 before Gym 1, but people would complain even more at that.
well, the games need to get rid of the insane level curve, where if you’re level 20 you’re curbstomping level 10 Pokémon. Build a game where the difficulty revolves around team building and enemy AI instead of leveling. Pokémon Stadium and the Battle Towers could get very difficult using just those elements, without using level as a crutch.

ideally a level 100 Pokémon should only have about twice the stats of a level 1 of the same species. Make stat growth contingent on evolution.