Okay, so a lot of people really aren't understanding why I'm really starting to dislike the route Pokemon is undertaking. But after I give them my thorough explanation and solution, then they understand why I feel the way I do. So let's break this into 2 sections: The what and why, and the solution.
The What and Why
Pokemon Black and White. Let's open this paragraph with a fragment sentence. Overall the games are DECENT, but why aren't they amazing? Here's the problem...historically, and innovatively speaking, Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal were the best games of the series. Why? They brought MANY staples to the series that still exist in almost all the games today. Breeding, day/night cycle, communication tools, two regions in one game with 16 badges to get total, improved engines, etc. It was mind-blowing when these games first came out, and sold a ton of copies, all for good reason. The design of the world was done in a way that made the games open for exploration and easy to branch off and make your own path after certain points of the games, therefore making the games non-linear after that point of the games was reached, which is after Goldenrod City, by the way.
Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald come out years later and introduce a few more elements to the series, while, for some reason no one knows, dropping the day/night cycle for these games. That was a dumb move. What could possibly have went wrong? Who knows. But ultimately, it wasn't there, so the Pokemon World on these games (as well as FireRed and LeafGreen) were trapped in a forever-daytime dimension. Easy to overcome, but why the heck was such a feature able to be put on a system that has LESS processing power and memory, and not the newer one? Sense, it makes none. Continuing on, these games also stripped a bit of the player's choices in which directions they could take when exploring. While they had a couple, it wasn't as open as it was during the Johto games. This marked the start of the Hand Holding Era, I like to call it. Sinnoh followed suit.
Pokemon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum were then released years after that, bringing back Day/Night that should've been there since the beginning, and introducing a small number of staples as well as the usual engine improvements. However, these games were the TRUE start of the Hand Holding Era. Not once in these games are you able to branch off and pick which route you want to take. You constantly have to follow the path they set out for you. HOWEVER, the map wasn't designed in such a way to make you feel like you are, because of all the twists and turns. This is a good mask, and better than Black and White for that, but still...doesn't change the fact that you still couldn't do anything off the beaten path.
So finally Black and White came out after those. These are the worst in the Hand Holding Era. Why is that? It's not because of the story, which these games are actually the most plot-driven of the series. It's because of it's extreme linearity. What compelled the games to take such a nosedive in this regard? So the Kanto games allowed you to branch off after going through the Rock Tunnel to get to Lavender Town...The Johto/Kanto games allowed you to pick after Goldenrod, and subsequently in Kanto, you could go pretty much anywhere you wanted right off the bat, Hoenn cut it down to a minimal choice, and then Sinnoh set the solid stone path of traversing while Black and White followed suit. Apparently, Black and White 2 do the same exact thing. What's with the downward spiral? Isn't Pokemon supposed to be about EXPLORING THE WORLD, while looking for partner creatures and collecting badges to become a Pokemon master? Pokemon Black and White feature a relatively small map compared to the rest, which gives you the illusion of a circle at first. But in actuality, you only get to travel around one side before you beat the game the first time, effectively making the path to the Pokemon League more or less a straight line. A STRAIGHT LINE. After the Johto games, the exploration factor deteriorated while the story factor exponentially increased. Why can't both go up? Why should you have to sacrifice one for the other? And this is where my proposal comes.
The Proposal (Solution)
So what could possibly add to fix the games now that they chose this route? Ultimately, if things continue the exact same way, nothing. There's nothing you can ADD to this to fix it. But there're somethings you can CHANGE. And here's what they are:
Gym Order: Why make it an order? This is the first problem of the games, in which it's tackled completely wrong. What they need to do here, is instead of making the region setup so you HAVE to do Gyms in a certain order, why not make it so you can get to every Gym of the game right from the start? But how would this work, some might ask? It's really not hard to grasp. Each Gym basically ranks up in levels of the Pokemon the higher you climb. So that should've put a spark in their minds that the Gym Leader's power should be determined by the number of badges you have. This way, people have freedom to take on any gym they want in any order they want. So for example, everyone knows that on Pokemon Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, FireRed and LeafGreen that you battle Brock, then Misty, then Lt. Surge. But why not let people choose to go after Misty first, who's team's levels would be tailored to the number of badges you have, then backtrack to Brock, who would at this point be stronger than Misty, and then Surge? Or even Surge, then an even stronger Brock? This would allow for many different combinations, which would effectively change how the entire game is played, and would also offer a ton of replay value.
Cutscene Driven Events: So nullifying the starting scenes, since you wouldn't have any badges at that point, all cutscenes should be based on how many badges you have. In just about every game, something will happen to the plot after you get to the next gym and clear it. So instead of locking the player in that area until they get their grubby mitts on that badge, why not make the same events trigger in a different location based on the number of badges? For example, on Black and White, Cheren wants to challenge you right after each gym to see how strong you are. That can be done at anytime, with him coming off screen from whatever location you're at to where you're standing, and then you'd do your little encounter there. Team Plasma is supposed to stir up drama near the Gym as soon as you leave? Why not make it happen right outside the Gym you decided to do next, instead of a specific location? See, there's no reason to barricade the players in like that. Everything would be based on the number of badges you have, and the difficulty would be scaled to that.
HM Badge Requirements: This should be gotten rid of entirely. If you find a Hidden Machine, you shouldn't have to have some badge to be able to use it, you should just be able to use it. How does the program know you have the badge or not anyway, and who keeps track of that? Why are you allowed to use it in battle, but not on the overworld? This concept never made sense, and it still doesn't. If you find or receive a Hidden Machine, you should be able to use it right away to explore more areas.
Random Trainers: Unlike the cutscenes, these guys should have their teams scaled base on the average level of your current party. This way, not only are you able to go to what would be considered the "end area" of the game and still be alright, but also would make it easier to find a trainer to train your full Level 1 Party without having to battle some random wild Pokemon first.
So does this all make sense? It should...it's not cryptic. Who else agrees with all of this?