Nintendo’s Pokémon franchise is well known for its by the book formula and ponderous gameplay developments. However, the latest generation of Pokémon games has proven that not only does the franchise keep the traditions that it popular, but also move ever forward toward improving its own formula. With the release of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire announced and on their way lets take a look at how the new generation of Pokemon games have improved Nintendo’s critter captor franchise.

New Graphics
Pokémon’s visuals have never been the greatest highlight of the series with only so much movement and life you can breath into over 700 pixelated sprites. However, the absolutely staggering graphical improvements in X and Y have finally brought the main franchise to 3D, breathing life into the attack animations, and making it incredibly difficult to even think back on the series’ pixel roots.

Competitive Optimization
In previous generations, entering competitive play with your team of Pokémon was a arcane and strict process that really prevented the franchise’s competitive ring from reaching out to its full audience, but improvements like the ability to track effort value(EVs) growths and the individual values(IVs) of each Pokemon has allowed the franchise to really enter its full potential as a competitive game.

A massive multiplayer world
While still a breadth away from everyone’s oft desired Pokémon MMO the multiplayer optimizations have really opened the world of Pokemon and allowed trainers to trade and battle people from across the globe in a clean and efficient manner. This has vastly opened international interactions between players from as far as South Korea and the United States. What’s even more impressive is the seamless integration of the mechanic into gameplay, which will allow for hours more replayability than the previous generations.

Poking your Pokémon
For all the harping about friendship and companionship between humans and Pokemon that the series has made its central theme since Gen 1, you’ve never actually been able to touch and interact with your Pokemon until now. X and Y brought the franchise the ability to directly pet and fed your Pokemon, making your interactions much more meaningful when you use them in battle. Admittedly, some players will probably ignore the new feature entirely, it still adds a whole new level of tactile joy when raising new Pokémon.

Trainer Customization
Perhaps one of the most time consuming elements of any RPG has been the creation of your very own avatar with which to dress and customize yourself. An element that Pokemon fans didn’t even know they wanted until now. Clothes, accessories, shoes and all manner wearable articles are yours to choose and dress unto, finally allowing players to really play their own Pokemon journey.  With a reboot of third generation  Pokémon games on its way we may be able to look forward to even more customization options given the reentry of Pokémon contests to the franchise.
*Images taken from Official Pokemon website.

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