Pokemon Masters is a lot of things. It is nontraditional, in that it has players working with teams of Sync Pairs that give you one notable trainer and their Pokemon. There is no capturing of any kind. It involves quite a bit more grind, in that each Sync Pair has to be leveled up and certain battles can be quite difficult without the type combinations you need. But, one of the more beneficial things is the spotlight it provides. Pokemon Masters is a means of getting to know characters better.
In Pokemon, people generally don’t get a good feel for most of the people they will meet along the way. Certain trainers do have more of a backstory, but this is largely due to their presence in the anime adaptations and not their depictions in the games themselves. This means that, prior to Pokemon Masters, those who got invested might be largely basing their affection for certain characters on their physical appearances, rather than things they would actually learn while playing the game. This game gives people more of a reason to get invested.
Sync Pairs are the key to success in Pokemon Masters. Some, like Brock, Flannery, Misty and Rosa, are given to you for going through story missions. Most are acquired through participating in the gacha. All of them are critical mechanically, which could help boost people’s affection for them and help them get to better know these characters. I barely even remembered Crasher Wake from the DS Pokemon installments, but you better believe I had a greater appreciation for him and his Floatzel when I was going through the missions involving fire-types and needed someone to help Barry and Misty. As an Elite Four member in Pokemon Black, White, Black 2 and White 2, we don’t get to know much about her. Here, she is one of the better initial special strike Sync Pairs and one of the few ghost-types initially available. So, basically, people better get used to them.
But, there’s more to it than that. Every character has their own Sync Pair Stories. Everyone starts with one, which is a brief chat with dialogue options that don’t really change the course of the conversation any. Still, these can be rather insightful. For example, it can help explain why people are with the Pokemon they have while at Pasio. Shauntal has been with her Chandelure since it was a Litwick. She would write her first stories by its light. Whitney ended up finding her Miltank at a ranch, where it constantly and relentlessly attacked her. (She claims it was some sort of test.) The farmer gave the Miltank to her for free, and now they’re traveling the world together.
It also provides insight into why people may behave the way they do. For example, Barry is annoying. He’s always “fining” people over minor things. But, the reason for this is because he wants to build his own Battle Tower and have his father, the Battle Frontier Brain Palmer, acknowledge his abilities and strength. He also wants Crasher Wake, his mentor, to finally recognize his strengths. Flannery had self esteem issues, due to her grandfather once being a Hoenn Elite Four member. She became the Lavaridge Town Gym Leader, but along the way learned she needed to be more like her Sync Pair partner, Torkoal, and take her time coming into her own. Though each character only has one Sync Pair Story chapter for now, it feels like an area that could be expanded upon to provide some much needed backstories for different characters.
Thinking a trainer is great just because they look cool is absolutely fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, Pokemon Masters is giving people a chance at a little more substance. Though there are few trainers available right now and the Sync Pair Stories are limited, there’s opportunity to grow and what is there is promising. It might give people a better chance to recognize characters for who they are within a game, without having to turn to supplemental media.