I think that throughout the series the games have gotten better. however there is one qualm I have with the newer games: the sprites. the spritework in the old games are at least alot cooler than alot of the new ones. certainly there were alot of bad ones back then but I also happen to think that over time the sprites for each pokemon have become blander and blander (I am right now re-playing red) --- Warning! the preceding post may cause severe laughter. viewer discretion is advised
Does a game need to have extensive online features to be considered good? I've never done an online battle or trade (with the exception of 3 GTS trades where I moved my Pokemon from one game to another, I was basically just taking advantage of the evolution glitch), and I've still logged over a thousand hours into my Gen 4 and 5 games. The only online features I've used are the Dream World and various events.
I do kind of agree with the grid-based movement, but I don't think it necessarily hurts the gameplay. --- If you actively hate Justin Bieber... then you don't know what "intended audience" means. Hate Twilight instead, it's far worse.