The long wait is finally over! As per BGR, Pokemon GO has now officially released what is by far its biggest update since its release last Summer. The update includes the addition of almost all the generation two Pokemon to Pokemon Go. While that portion of the update might steal the show, however, one should not ignore the variety of other huge gameplay and aesthetic changes Niantic made to Pokemon Go.
There have been a lot of false alarms and inaccurate predictions about the release of the second generation Pokemon in Pokemon GO. This time, though, they are actually here, excluding the baby Pokemon that were already released via eggs and the gen two legendaries, which are being withheld like they were in Pokemon GO generation one. That means over 80 new Johto Pokemon first seen in 2002’s Pokemon Gold and Silver Gameboy Advance games are ready to be captured. You can check out a list of the new Pokemon at Ranked Boost, although, again, the legendaries are not available.
But although the addition of the gen two Pokemon may be the aspect of the update likely to excite Pokemon GO fans the most, the changes to the actual mechanics, including Pokemon variants and trainer customization, are pretty huge too. It’s a good thing, too, since Pokemon GO has been declining in popularity since a few weeks after its release due largely to a lack of variety in its aesthetics and gameplay. These new update features seem to go a long way in fixing that.
Among the exciting new features added to Pokemon GO, notes Forbes, is greatly enhanced trainer customization. You could always access the trainer customization menu by pressing your character’s icon in the bottom left of Pokemon GO‘s main exploration screen, then clicking the menu in the bottom right of that screen and selecting “style.” Before, the choices of different clothes and shoes you could choose for your character were very limited. Now, however, Niantic has updated the clothing and accessory catalog to be much more extensive, even including some premium items that cost Pokecoins (the game’s electronic currency that can be bought with real cash). This means you will be able to make your trainer avatar look almost however you want and switch up looks at any time you please. Since Pokemon GO’s trainer is at the center of the screen for most of the game, this is a gigantic aesthetic change.
— Jessica but Cooler (@tehjessicarae) February 17, 2017
Another big new feature has more to do with Pokemon GO‘s gameplay then its aesthetics. During Pokemon encounters, players have previously had to open the “items” menu and scroll through their inventory to select a certain kind of Pokeball or a berry. With the new Pokemon GO update, this clunky selection process has been eliminated by adding two selection wheels for different types of balls and different types of berries, and the hotkeys to use them, to the encounter screen.
That’s right, different kinds of berries. There was only one type of berry prior to this update, but now, according to Polygon, Pokemon GO adds two new types: the nanab berry, which will make a wild Pokemon less likely to run off if used, and the pinap berry, which will cause a wild Pokemon on which it is used to yield double the normal amount of candy if caught.
Another completely new item class was also added to Pokemon GO: evolutionary items. These items, which were already mechanics in the main series Pokemon games, include the Metal Coat and the King’s Rock, and they can be used to evolve Pokemon like Onyx, Scyther, and Slowbro.
— hyperpoke (@hyperpoke) January 19, 2017
Plenty of other big changes have been made to Pokemon GO, to a point where this article would go on forever if I wrote an entire paragraph about each one. They include:
- Each Pokemon now has a gender, shown to the right of the Pokemon’s name in its info screen. Some pokemon also have gender-specific variants.
- The reward of additional candies for catching evolved Pokemon (e.g. you would get more candies for catching a wild Pidgeotto than a wild Pidgey).
- There is new music during wild Pokemon encounters.
- There is a new night-mode map style.
- Some of the menus have been cleaned up to be more aesthetically pleasing.
Gamespot reports the update also includes several less specific changes, such as “new encounter mechanics,” minor text fixes, and various other bug fixes.
Niantic is doubtless hoping that this huge gen two update and all these new features will help bring alienated former Pokemon GO players back to the app, which was a mega-hit when it was released.
What do you think of Pokemon GO’s new face? Have you noticed anything in playing that you feel should be added to this article? Make yourself heard in the comments below.
[Featured Image by Arkeis-Pokemon/Deviantart]