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Why Pokémon’s Best Region Is Hoenn

Pokémon’s 3rd Generation added many of the mechanics still used in games today, making the Hoenn region the best in the Pokémon series.

The Pokémon main game series has undergone many changes in the past 25 years. From pixelated graphics to 3D, and from linear plotlines to open-world environments, each game has added new ways to experience the Pokémon series. While the addition of Wild Areas in Sword and Shield and the change in Gym Challenges during Sun and Moon have helped these newer areas stand out, the best Pokémon region is actually in one of the older generations.

Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire released on the Game Boy Advance in 2002. The 3rd Generation of the Pokémon series brought with it new starters, new Legendary Pokémon, and a map filled with exciting locations. The Hoenn region took the best parts of Kanto and Johto, including battle mechanics and plot requirements, and improved them, as well as including a deeper overarching narrative than was present in the previous two generations of the series.

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Related: Why Pokemon’s Bonnie Deserves Her Own Series

However, what made the Hoenn region special was additions like Pokémon’s Secret Bases and Contests. Contests, much like Gyms, are scattered across the region, and players must work their way through the levels, collecting Ribbons. The invention of Contests encouraged players to utilize berry growing mechanics to craft Pokéblocks, as well as adding Natures and a new level of importance to breeding for certain moves and stats. Secret Bases allowed players to craft special homes they could personally decorate, giving a level of customization previously unavailable in the Pokémon series.

Pokémon’s Hoenn Region Was An Experimental Playground For The Series

Pokemon Omega Ruby & Sapphire Secret Base Art

The Hoenn region was a testing ground for many mechanics that would go on to feature in later Pokémon generationsRuby and Sapphire introduced larger route maps and new ways for players to explore these areas. This included the longer grass on certain routes and the soot collection outside of Mt. Chimney. Players could also use the new HM Dive to explore the ocean floors. While many of these mechanics wouldn’t make it into later regions, or would only feature in a few generations after Hoenn, they encouraged the developers to try new concepts instead of sticking to the same mechanics for every title.

The Hoenn region is also home to many fan-favorite Pokémon species. These include Mudkip, Ralts, Zizagoon, Feebas, and Flygon. The Hoenn region has an unusually impressive list of region-specific Pokémon designs, unlike later areas like Black and White’s Unova, which saddled the series with widely disliked Pokémon like Trubbish. While each Pokémon region has added important aspects to the series, the Hoenn region opened the door for many of the mechanics players enjoy in the series today.

Next: Whatever Happened To Pokémon Delta Emerald?

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