'Pokémon Go' Gen 2 Update Review: Day 1 with new Pokémon, evolution items and more


The Pokémon Go Gen 2 update was a long-awaited concept for Pokémon fans everywhere, and now it's finally a reality. As of Pokémon Go's most recent update, at least 80 new Pokémon are now available. If this summer was Red and Blue, the Pokémon Go Gen 2 update brings the real world into Gold and Silver territory.

But just like the original second-generation games, this most recent update brings along enough noteworthy changes to the experience of playing Pokémon Go itself that a re-review was in order.

Here are my impressions after day one in the Pokémon Go Gold and Silver era of Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go Gen 2 Update: New Pokémon, who dis?

There's a bunch of improvements to Pokémon Go from top to bottom, but the basics of the game's mechanics are the same as you remember: Walk around, and when you see a wild Pokémon, take your shot — toss a Pokéball, making sure you aim for the center of the closing circle. However, there are some new additions to this experience, too.

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For one, players are able to use more berries than just the Razz Berry, an item that increases the chance your next Pokéball will capture its prey. Other berries from the series' main games, like the Nanab Berry and Pinap Berry, are now available. These new berries slow a Pokémon's movements and cause a caught Pokémon to drop more candy, respectively.

The menus look different, too — but it's not just a simple facelift. If you happen to run out of Pokéballs, you can now buy more right from within the battle. No more having to run away from a rare Pokémon because you didn't swipe on enough Pokéstops.

All of this is fantastic — that is, when the game is actually working. Right after the Gen 2 update, Pokémon Go stuttered a lot. Since it's winter here in New York, waiting around in the cold for that rare Pokémon to finally load is a painful process. Luckily, it seems Niantic has since sorted out its server issues — for now, at least.

Pokémon Go Gen 2 Update: The new rules

The introduction of Gen 2 Pokémon also brings with it some new intricacies you'll need to know if you want to catch 'em all. It's the same old Pokémon Go you were introduced to back in summer of 2016, but more mature. (Perhaps, even, in a new sweater and glasses.)

For one, the new Pokémon Sentret, Hoothoot and Yanma could actually be a Ditto in disguise; my first Ditto was actually the result of catching a Sentret. Furthermore, while starter Pokémon like Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle were hard to come by in the Red and Blue era of PoGo, that doesn't seem to be the case for their Gold and Silver counterparts. In our experience, Chikorita and Totodile were not hard to come by — especially the latter. 

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Their evolutions, Bayleef and Croconaw, also spawned in my first day of playing the new and improved Pokémon Go. Strangely enough, I've yet to encounter a single Cyndaquil.

In less than a day, I also already hatched a Gen 2 baby Pokémon: Igglybuff.

Pokémon Go Gen 2 Update: Niantic breathed new life into its months-old game

To put it simply, playing Pokémon Go is fun again. Some stopped playing Pokémon Go as fervently due to a lack of major updates, while others put down the game altogether. Some of the folks in the second group may never come back. But for those that do, the game will finally have something of note when they return. 

Unfortunately, it's probably not everything they wanted. While Gen 2 was a long sought-after addition to Pokémon Go, being able to trade and battle against friends right there in the moment is still missing from the game. And Pokémon Go will be noticeably incomplete until those features arrive — though Niantic CEO John Hanke promises they're coming soon.

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Pokemon Go's strength always lied in catching Pokémon, and the thrill of the catch is finally back. The excitement of seeing one or two new silhouettes on your nearby Pokémon map actually makes you want to take the long way home. And sometimes you'll actually be rewarded for it. 

Pokémon Go guides, tips and tricks

If you're just booting your Pokémon Go to get into Gen 2, be sure to check out all of Mic's guides. You can read up on how to get stardust, how to determine how long it will take you to reach level 40, how to maximize your chances of catching Pokémon and how PokéStops distribute Pokémon eggs.