Pokémon GO Gen 2 Review
March 31, 2017
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I’m certain we can all remember the craze over 151 little digital monsters that occurred last summer. We all complained about children, teenagers, even adults, who crossed the road without looking up. We may have been those jaywalkers ourselves. Those who didn’t understand the craze complained that people now spent more time looking at screens.
However, last summer something incredible happened: a video game got millions of people outdoors and walking around. For several weeks, “Pokémon GO” engrossed the world, and Naperville was no exception. People flocked to Downtown Naperville where they gathered with their portable battery chargers at locations like Rotary Hill.
After a couple weeks, though, the initial excitement wore off and only dedicated Trainers continued to try and catch ‘em all and maintain gyms. In the following months small bursts of returning players occurred during special events like the Halloween, Thanksgiving, Winter Holiday, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day events. But for the most part, we have not seen the large number of players that were present in the initial weeks of “Pokemon GO.”
Many suspected that the Second Generation of Pokemon, Gen2, from the Johto region, would lead to a spike of returning players. Surprisingly, this was not the case, and it leads many to wonder: Why? For the most part, there are several key reasons to what some are calling a failure on the part of Niantic, the company responsible for “Pokemon GO” for a quiet release, lack of actual gameplay improvements and overall decline of interest.
Most video games have set release dates, and dedicated fans will line up in front of Gamestop or sit anxiously in front of a screen to get their hands on the game. While “Gen2” has been expected for some time, especially with the mini-release of some “baby” Pokemon, Niantic did not give players a release date. They simply gave a week’s period in which the update may or may not occur. The first couple days players would check in, see no changes and lose interest. Others, like myself, were surprised when suddenly, and without any warning, a Sentret popped up. I repeat: no warning. Niantic did not sent out a notification on the day of the release. It wasn’t until about a week later that they notified players.
For this reason, many players who stopped playing after the initial release of the game were not made aware that new Pokemon were out and ready for capture. In fact, Niantic failed to see an immediate increase in profits until they sent out notifications of the update. Furthermore, the notification did not make players aware of small changes to the game like the ability to purchase clothing in the style option of one’s profile.
Now, returning players and dedicated players alike were surprised to find no actual improvement to the game itself. The same problems—lack of proper tracking, no real training options and no clear purpose to the game—have not been addressed. “Pokémon GO” remains the same, with the only goal of catching ‘em all. While this is appealing to some players who want to be the very best, the majority of players want the ability to do things found in the Nintendo games like battle other players, trade Pokemon, complete quests, earn gym badges, etc. No real updates have been made to the game, so while the addition of Gen2 caught dormant players’ interest, it failed to keep their interest.
The final problem arises with player interest in general. Gen1, aka the first 151 Pokemon is iconic. Most people know of the starter Pokemon, Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle, and practically anyone who knows about Pokemon is aware of Pikachu. Gen1 allowed players to revisit their childhoods and live out that childhood fantasy of living in the Pokemon universe. Gen2 on the other hand isn’t as memorable. While players cancould easily list off their favorite Gen1 Pokemon few canpeople will recognize most Gen2 Pokemon by name.
Overall, it was initially exciting to see new Pokemon to capture. However, just adding new Pokemon doesn’t fix the fact that the game has many underlying problems that need to be addressed before it can the game can have a solid population of players. Perhaps new updates will be made as the first anniversary of the game rolls around this summer. In the meantime, players can continue to try and fill their Pokedexes.