Pokemon Let’s Go – The DS Games

With the release of the first full Pokemon games on the Nintendo Switch, Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee!, we take a look back at the previous entries in the third biggest video game franchise ever made, continuing with the Nintendo DS games.

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl (and Platinum)

The first Pokemon games to be released on the Nintendo DS, Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl introduced players to a host of new features thanks to the handheld console’s technology. Set in the region of Sinnoh, the games follow much of the standard series plot, with players training to become a Pokemon master whilst stopping an evil team.

However, Diamond and Pearl did add new features, such as seasonal changes, new classifications for Pokemon moves, as well as online features that took advantage of the DS’s wi-fi capabilities. Pokemon Platinum followed the trend of previous generations’ third game entries in changing up placements of Pokemon, giving the game a visual update, and adding a few new story elements.

Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver

Remaking and updating the hugely popular second generation gamesPokemon HeartGold and Pokemon SoulSilver returned players to the region of Johto with a host of new features and functions.

The new games retained many of the newly introduced elements to the series, including double battles and online capabilities, as well as being the only time outside of Pokemon Yellow where Pokemon were able to follow players on screen. While before this had only been limited to Pikachu, Pokemon HeartGold and Pokemon SoulSilver allowed the first Pokemon in your party to appear on screen with you, meaning that literally any Pokemon in the game could accompany you through the adventure.

With the games recreating the beloved generation two entries, as well as providing some unique and well received features, they quickly became some of the most popular entries in the Pokemon franchise.

Pokemon Black and White

Set in the New York inspired region of Unova Pokemon Black and Pokemon White attempted to create a different Pokemon experience. Introducing over 150 brand new Pokemon, the games made it so that none of the older creatures were available until late in the game, meaning players were forced to play with nothing but new monsters. The game also featured improved graphics over the previous entries, using dynamic 3D movement and fully animated Pokemon.

Despite technical improvements to both the graphics and gameplay, Pokemon Black and Pokemon White were not as well received by fans as the previous generation, with many feeling that the games didn’t look as polished, and disliking the lack of returning Pokemon in the early stages of the game. Nevertheless, they quickly became some of the biggest selling games to ever be released on the Nintendo DS.

Pokemon Black 2 and White 2

Whilst previous generations of Pokemon games would introduce a third entry that would act as an improved alternative to the first two games, none of these acted as follow-up entries until Pokemon Black 2 and Pokemon White 2. Set two years after the events of the previous game, the player takes control of a new protagonist from a previously unexplored western side of the Unova region.

The player gets to return to many of the areas from the previous games and meet several of the characters, who have since grown and evolved, taking on new roles within the region. Whilst the games didn’t add any new Pokemon, it did address a number of the fan complaints about the previous games and offered a fresh take on the Unova region and generation five.

Pokemon X and Y

The first Pokemon games designed for the Nintendo 3DS, Pokemon X and Pokemon Y were also the first entries in the franchise to be presented in fully 3D polygon graphics, creating the most interactive and dynamic Pokemon experience to date. Set in the France inspired Kalos region, players were presented with the opportunity to explore a bold new world with new Pokemon, as well as a new game mechanic, Mega Evolution. A mid-battle power-up, Mega Evolution allows certain fully evolved Pokemon to change their form temporarily, gaining new stats and abilities.

Mega Evolution was an interesting new development that offered experienced competitive players new options for battles, as well as an element of uncertainty and excitement in the midst of a fight. The game also introduced a brand new type of Pokemon, the Fairy Type, the first time a new type had been introduced since generation two. With a host of generation one Pokemon returning for the game, including the starter and legendary Pokemon, Pokemon X and Pokemon Y felt like a love letter to the series, whilst being fresh and new.

Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire

Remakes of the generation three games Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire allowed players to experience an updated and improved Hoen region, complete with all of the new game-play features, including several brand new Mega Evolutions.

With a story that combined elements of the main games as well as Pokemon Emerald, the generation three remakes offered one of the best Pokemon experiences, featuring all 700+ Pokemon in existence. Still one of my all time favourite entries in the series, it’s a great game to sink hundreds of hours into.

Pokemon Sun and Moon

Released in November 2017 to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the series, Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon were some of the boldest games in the franchise, offering a huge departure from elements that had been a staple of the games since the beginning. Ditching the classic gym battle system, players were instead sent on a series of trials across the tropical island chain of Alola. Rather than battling tough trainers to earn badges, the player would be sent on quests, presented with puzzles, or made to fight giant Totem Pokemon.

Generation seven also made the bold move to get rid of HM moves  Pokemon moves needed in order to explore in the main world) in favour of rideable Pokemon. The new gameplay system, coupled with a more extensive story that explored parallel worlds and a whole new type of creature, the Ultra Beasts, Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon became hugely popular, despite several elements that left fans feeling disappointed.

Pokemon UltraSun and UltraMoon

Presenting players with an alternate version of the previous games, Pokemon UltraSun and Pokemon UltraMoon was set in a brand new universe, one that featured new gameplay elements, new Pokemon, and a more expanded story that further explored their characters.

Pokemon UltraSun and Pokemon UltraMoon addressed a number of the complaints with the previous entries, and further explored story elements that were only briefly touched upon in the last games, now allowing players to travel into parallel worlds and explore the home of the mysterious Ultra Beasts. It also went deeper into character motivation, managing to turn a two dimensional villain into a much more tragic and sympathetic character.

These improvements included a much more expanded post-game that brought back Team Rocket and a number of previous villain leaders for players to challenge. It offered a huge improvement over the previous edition and one that is still one of the boldest main series entries so far.

Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! release on the Nintendo Switch this Friday, 16 November.

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