Last week, during the Pokémon 23rd anniversary celebrations, a Nintendo Direct presentation revealed the series’ eighth generation of games. Scheduled to hit Switch late this year, Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield whisk players away to the new Galar region, where they’ll encounter countless new forms of pocket monster.
James | Scorbunny
While there's no question an element of a starter's appeal is its final evolution, which are under wraps for now, the base trio this time around are at least a more crowd-friendly bunch than those seen in Pokémon Sun and Moon (poor Popplio).
Nevertheless, as we're going to be pitting these pocket monsters in bloodthirsty battle, it's clear to me that Scorbunny is the only one of the three with any fight in it - perhaps literally. Sobble looks like a tadpole with all the charisma of Eeyore, and Grookey?! Did they just smash together the words "grass" and "monkey"? Oh Pokémon, I haven’t been more disappointed in you since Trubbish.
Plus we've already had Froakie and Aipom as starters; at least other rabbit-inspired ‘mon have been wild ones, so Scorbunny doesn't feel as derivative.
Finally, the fun inherent to a fire-type can't be ignored. Who doesn't love a bit of recurring burn damage? It's not like you get recurrent wet damage every turn!
Liam | Grookey
Choosing a starter Pokémon is all about forward thinking - they may be adorable little blighters now, but what sort of monstrosity are they going to turn into down the line?
You couldn’t really go wrong with the original trio of Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle – all of whom had badass evolutions – but my recent experience with Pokémon Moon’s Litten, namely the part where he morphed into some awful human-cat hybrid, has taught me to proceed with caution.
Out of the Sword and Shield starters I’m especially concerned about Scorbunny. It already looks weird as is, but I can see its final evolution being the stuff of nightmares, similar to the were-rabbit from Wallace and Gromit.
Grookey gets my vote, simply because he’s the cutest (for now) and I’m a big fan of grass-type Pokémon, particularly with starters. Sobble may have the (admittedly cool) ability to turn invisible, but would you really want a Pokémon that’s going to go missing?
Chris | Grookey
Having never played a Pokémon game and knowing very little about the franchise (you kidnap woodland creatures and force them to fight for sport?), I assumed that I didn't really have a dog in this fight. That was until Sam ranked my choice of starter as last.
We're all entitled to our opinions, but do you trust those held by a man who thinks that Knack wasn't actually that bad? A man who once made a woman cry because he was in a bit of a rush? That doesn't seem wise.
James would have you believe that Scorbunny is the obvious choice. He’d also have you believe that Rockstar's open-world epics are anything but, and that LEGO is terrible in all of its forms. Clearly, this is a man barely hanging on to the cliffs of reason, as each crashing wave loosens his grip and saps his sanity.
These are not the people you want making decisions for you. Now Liam - there’s a smart lad! Only a master tactician would understand the true value of good turret placement, and, as an RPG aficionado, Liam is not only my favourite member of Team PTC, but the only one worth listening to.
Other than me, of course. That’s why Grookey is the one.
Which new Pokémon is your choice of starter? Let us know in the comments below.