You denied Bisharp’s right to exist back when just Black and White were out. Now it’s a defining metagame pokemon, with exceptionally powerful options in Knock Off and Sucker Punch, as well as Dark/Steel being excellent offensive typing due to the changes to Dark and Steel in Gen VI. Are you satisfied with the pokemon, now?
Sure, I suppose. I mean, most of the stuff I said at the time about Bisharp’s design (on which I was fairly equivocal) still applies. Rereading the entry, I feel like I could very easily have gone the other way on him if I’d found a little more to like in his flavour text or something – after all, I described him as “at least vaguely competent” in battle, which I still think is a perfectly fair assessment of Bisharp’s capabilities at that time (generation VI has been very kind to him). So there are definitely things about Bisharp that I still feel decidedly ‘meh’ towards; it’s just that he’s now so obviously strong that I’m sort of forced to overlook them.
This is sort of why I stopped doing the whole “I hereby affirm/deny this Pokémon’s right to exist” thing after I finished the generation V reviews. At the time it made some degree of sense, partly because I’m a crotchety bastard, but partly because I honestly didn’t see Pokémaniacal as more than a 1-to-2-year commitment originally (and look how well that turned out). To an extent, I also wanted a very simple one-line conclusion because I actually envisioned myself as writing for people who hadn’t picked up a Pokémon game since Gold and Silver and wanted to know a bit about what Pokémon was doing in 2011, like many of my real-world friends (if you compare my generation V and VI reviews, you’ll see that in generation V I’m much more anxious to avoid jargon, and I try to explain all the simple game concepts as I go). But the main point is that I wasn’t really anticipating that people would, from time to time, ask me to revisit these decisions five years later; I was much more interested in asking “okay, this is what Game Freak has actually put in front of us right now; let’s not assume they’ll make it significantly more worthwhile in the next game because, face it, Flareon’s already been waiting eleven years for that $#!t.” I think it’s fair to say that Bisharp is a pretty major beneficiary of (necessary, important, good) changes to fundamental game mechanics that I couldn’t reasonably have been expected to predict at that point.
So what else do I do to “future-proof” the inevitable reviews of generation VII that I’m going to have to start contemplating in a couple of weeks when I first pick up Moon version? I mean, I could completely ignore the game mechanics and just talk about the design, because that doesn’t really change much from one generation to the next, but I sort of doubt that’s what people want. Maybe more speculation about what could be done in the future, what a Pokémon would be like if you gave it more moves to choose from, what I would do to make it more unique if I had the chance? I try to look at these things more as a creative process now, and less as solely critique… I suppose we’ll have to see how that develops as I bludgeon my way through the Alola Pokédex.