The best Pokémon games, listed by generation

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Throughout the generations, the best Pokémon games have been released.

image credits: theverge

If you’re looking for the best Pokémon games, you’ve come to the right place. This is where they can be found. The Pokémon series has lasted more than 25 years and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

With the release of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet later this year, the Pokémon game franchise will enter its ninth generation. As a result, we decided it would be a good moment to rank every Pokémon generation to date, from least to most beloved. That’s right, we’re in charge here.

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Sure, compiling the top entries from a series that spans two decades is no simple task. It can be challenging due to nostalgia, a strong affinity for certain Pokémon and starters, and, of course, the enormous amount of games available. But we believe we’re up to the task.

Our ranking list of all eight Pokémon generations, as well as the mainline Pokémon games within them, can be seen below. We ranked the generations based on how big of an impact they made on the game series as a whole, as well as how pleasant they were to play. This is bound to cause some controversy, but we want to be clear: we don’t believe there is a single right answer Pokémon is a terrible game. (It’s difficult to build a terrible game when you adhere to one tried-and-true pattern.)

However, we can’t deny the fact that some of the new regions and Pokémon additions stick out more than others, and it’s a given that some generations saw more substantial and rewarding changes than others, or were simply more remembered, which is exactly what we’ll be looking at today.

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Continue reading for our list of the best Pokemon games of all time, organised by generation.

Pokémon games that are the best

Pokémon Sword and Shield / Legends Arceus / Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl (Generation 8)

  • In the modern era, Pokémon
  • REASONS TO PURCHASE +Sword and Shield added an engaging new region +Considered and effective gameplay enhancements throughout the board +Arceus provided a more straightforward experience +
  • There was a lot of experimenting.
  • REASONS TO AVOID -The Dynamaxing mechanic in Sword and Shield isn’t quite right -Arceus was a little too casual for some

The first mainline Pokémon games to be released on the Nintendo Switch were Pokémon Sword and Shield, and anticipation was strong from the moment they were announced. When it was revealed that Game Freak would not be featuring every single Pokémon from the eight generations’ National Pokédex, but would instead limit the amount to roughly 400 in a Regional Dex, they experienced the most chaotic pre-launch period of any of the Pokémon games.

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Despite the uproar, the eighth generation appeared to be able to weather the storm, as both titles went on to achieve critical and commercial success. The Galar territory of Pokémon Sword and Shield, which was inspired by the United Kingdom, is beautiful and well-liked, and its wild areas gave the series a much-requested open-world aspect.

There are a few major flaws that prohibit Sword and Shield from being the best, but these games are indisputably entertaining and provide numerous much-needed gameplay modifications. Unlimited usage of the Escape Rope; an open-world environment; and, for crying out loud, autosave!

Sword and Shield was later expanded upon in Pokémon Legends Arceus, allowing players who desired a simpler experience to do so while still providing some of the best storytelling in the series to date. It was a breath of fresh air to see GameFreak experimenting with its long-running series, particularly in how it redesigned how we battle and capture Pokémon – and it was because of this innovation that it deserved a spot on our best Switch games list. However, Arceus was a long way off for some It was too laid-back, and the Nintendo Switch hardware seemed to be holding it back.

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Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, remakes of Generation 4’s Diamond and Pearl for Nintendo Switch, were also released in Generation 8. These remakes aren’t made by Game Freak (they’re made by the firm ILCA), but they’re quite close. There are benefits and drawbacks to this. If you’re visiting Sinnoh for the first time, it’s the ideal way to do it, but if you’re returning and wanting for something new and reinvigorated, it’ll likely be a slightly less remarkable experience. They aren’t the most ambitious remakes in the Pokémon franchise, but they certainly reflect a lot of love for the originals, which adds to the nostalgic element.

Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl also bring some of the series’ more current ideas to a classic game, and they succeed in a lot of cases. For example, HMs are vastly improved and a lot less annoying. The majority of the modernizations are little modifications to the quality of life that make for a more pleasant and user-friendly experience. However, some features, like as the always-on Exp. Share, are likely to irritate users.

Generation 8 brought Pokémon into the contemporary day with innovative features and gameplay, but while we’re glad to see the series breathe new life, not all of the risks paid off.

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The greatest Pokémon Generation 8 game deals for today

Generation 7 – Sun and Moon / Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon / Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee / Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee / Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee / Let’s Go Pika

  • REASONS TO BUY +Sun and Moon pushed the 3DS to its boundaries +Sun and Moon had a more evolving story and RPG aspects +Pokémon Let’s Go was less competitive and more fun +Let’s Go streamlined the game
  • REASONS TO AVOID -In Sun and Moon, there are no skippable cutscenes -Let’s Go’s lack of competitiveness isn’t for everyone

Sun and Moon are a must-have for any list of the top Pokémon games, as they introduced the Alola region, a distinct departure from the series’ previous settings, replete with region-specific Pokémon forms and obstacles. Gyms have been replaced with island trials, Totem Pokémon, and themed challenges that surround them. Even HMs vanished.

Sun and Moon, as well as their Ultra sequels, were the most graphically demanding Pokémon games on the DS platform, and you can tell they pushed the 3DS machine to its limits in their successful attempts to bring the Pokémon universe to life.

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Sun & Moon combined Generation 5’s attempt to construct a more engaging tale with Generation 6’s ambition to be more of a classic RPG in a way that nearly succeeded. However, there was a disadvantage in that there were more non-skippable cutscenes than ever before, and they weren’t always entertaining, but you can tell Game Freak was aiming for something nice here.

Sun and Moon were followed by Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, however instead of merely recycling the same tale as a director’s cut, they attempted to recreate the sequel structure first seen with Black and White 2 in Generation 5. There was a brand new narrative about dimensional wormholes, a brand new story about

The goal of the games was to simplify everything and eliminate the sections of the game that irritated players. We despised the idea of wasting a valuable move slot on a useless HM like Cut or Flash. HMs were no longer present in Pokemon Let’s Go. We despised going through caves just to be attacked by Zubats. Random encounters were gone, and you could see where the Pokemon were on the map in Pokemon Let’s Go, so that wasn’t an issue. Sure, it took away part of the excitement of encountering a rare Pokemon like Pinsir in the Safari Zone, but it also meant less of the repetitive grinding that took up so much of our time in the 1990s.

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Generation 7 was the first to try something new. Sun and Moon were the most significant departures from the franchise in years, bringing much-needed new energy to a series that had been stagnating, while Pokémon Let’s Go was a modest tweak on the franchise that made the games less grindy, more entertaining, and a little less competitive.

The top Pokémon Generation 7 game deals for today

Pokémon X and Y / Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (Generation 6)

  • The series undergoes a revolution.
  • REASONS TO BUY +X and Y were revolutionary in terms of design.
  • +New and unique features were introduced to X and Y.
  • +X and Y are excellent series starters.
  • +Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are based on X and Y in a significant way.
  • REASONS TO AVOID -In X and Y, there is no compelling plot.

Pokémon X and Y were a visual revolution for the Pokémon franchise, as they were the first games to feature true 3D graphics on the Nintendo 3DS console.

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The graphics in X and Y were absolutely stunning, and we’re sure we’ll never forget our first visit to Lumiose City. To go along with them, we got a new type (fairy type), Mega Evolution, Pokémon-Amie, and new character customization settings.

We had no problem including Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire in our list of the best Nintendo 3DS games, which also includes another set of Pokémon games, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to earn this generation a high ranking position on the list.

The greatest Pokémon Generation 6 game deals for today

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Pokémon Black and White / Black 2 and White 2 (Generation 5)

  • Pokémon evolves throughout time.
  • REASONS TO PURCHASE +More approachable than prior generations +Intense depth +Black and White 2 stood on their own as separate games
  • REASONS TO AVOID -Complicated Pokémon designs -Lower level of difficulty than comparable games

Generation 5 was the first Pokémon generation to feature a straight sequel rather than an expansion, and it was also the generation that experimented with a new type of storytelling.

The Pokémon games aren’t known for their storytelling, but Black and White, as well as their predecessors, did a good job of generating something unique and entertaining, especially after the very staid Generation 6 games.

The achievement of Black and White 2 was that, although being direct sequels, they were able to stand on their own as unique games.

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Even if you hadn’t played the originals – or any other Pokémon game for that matter – it was simple to play Black and White 2. Generation V has accomplished a noteworthy feat in keeping a degree of depth that is both intriguing and accessible.

Ruby and Sapphire / Emerald / FireRed and LeafGreen – Generation 3

  • A generation that is polarising
  • REASONS TO PURCHASE +Ruby and Sapphire featured double battles, contests, and secret bases. Introduced the concept of running + Blue and Red were improved by FireRed and LeafGreen.
  • REASONS TO AVOID -In Ruby and Red, the day/night cycle is changed; in Ruby and Sapphire, there are odd new Pokémon designs.

Generations 2 and 3 of the Pokémon franchise saw Game Freak hustling, as Generation 3 saw the introduction of more exciting and important innovations. Following on from Gold, Silver, and Crystal, Ruby and Sapphire added improved animations, double battles, contests, secret bases, and the ability to run (much to everyone’s relief).

A lot of these modifications were unpopular at the time, and Ruby and Sapphire aren’t exactly the most popular Pokémon games. Nonetheless, several of the new features, such as secret bases and distinct Pokémon natures, had a significant positive impact on the course of future games. Contests also introduced a unique competitive dynamic that wasn’t solely centred on combat.

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However, these games had a number of flaws, notably the perplexing change to the day and night cycle after it had worked so well in Gold and Silver, as well as the frequently bizarre new Pokémon designs.

While Generation 3 had its flaws, it also gave us Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, remakes of Pokémon Red and Blue with new features and improved graphics – albeit they aren’t the easiest games to come by at a reasonable price.

Generation 4 – Diamond and Pearl / Platinum / HeartGold and SoulSilver

  • Bronze Brick
  • REASONS TO PURCHASE +HeartGold and SoulSilver improved on Gold and Silver +Platinum introduced new Pokémon and a new story +Platinum refurbished cities +
  • REASONS TO AVOID -Diamond, Platinum, and Pearl aren’t particularly memorable -Sinnoh Region wasn’t fresh or exciting REASONS TO AVOID -Diamond, Platinum, and Pearl aren’t particularly memorable REASONS TO AVOID -Diamond, Platinum, and Pearl aren’t particularly memorable REASONS TO AVOID -Diamond, Platinum, and Pearl are

The release of Pokémon Diamond, Platinum, and Pearl came at a critical juncture for the franchise. It almost felt as though the series was becoming stale, and Game Freak was using these games as a sort of bridge between Generation 5’s innovations.

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As a result, they’re games that play well and provide a lot of entertainment, but they don’t stick out in my mind for any particular reason. The Sinnoh area didn’t feel particularly new or thrilling, and the story and legendary Pokémon weren’t exactly high points in the series.

However, it is Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver that have kept this Generation from being a mediocre entry in our rankings. HeartGold and SoulSilver, which were published in 2010, were enhanced remakes of Gold and Silver that contained all of the enhancements made in Crystal. If you ever have the chance to play these versions, you should do so since, despite being remakes, they are even better than the originals, allowing Pokémon to follow your character in the same way that Pikachu does in Pokémon Yellow.

Pokémon Gold and Silver / Crystal (Generation 2)

  • REASONS TO BUY IN THE SILVER LEAGUE +New Gold and Silver features such as the day/night cycle and breeding +New Crystal plotline +Explore the Johto and Kanto regions
  • THINGS TO AVOID -Inconvenient phone calls

Generation 1 may have introduced us to the wonderful world of Pokémon, but it was in Generation 2 that Game Freak really found their stride and brought the pocket monsters to life.

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We saw the implementation of a day-to-night cycle, days of the week, and breeding in Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal. These additions added an exciting new dimension to acquiring and battling Pokémon, making it worthwhile to explore at all hours of the day, especially because some Pokémon could only be found at night. It was also a brilliant idea to increase the number of Pokémon to 251, especially when one of them was Cyndaquil. There is no bias in this article.

Between 1999 and 2001, depending on which region you resided in, Gold and Silver were published at the same time, as is customary with Pokémon games. Crystal was later released, and it significantly improved on Gold and Silver by adding a new storyline, the ability to pick your gender, and the Battle Tower, which allowed players to fight as many battles as they could before losing.

These enhancements, combined with the nostalgia factor, make these games among the most entertaining in the series.

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Pokémon Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green (Generation 1)

  • REASONS TO BUY +Memorable characters +Focuses on core Pokémon gameplay +Nostalgia-fest +Well-consolidated anime, merchandise, and card game REASONS TO AVOID -A bit repetitive -Glitches -Balance issues REASONS TO AVOID -A bit repetitive -Glitches -Balance issues REASONS TO AVOID -A bit repetitive -Glitches -B

The first generation of Pokémon games is, in our opinion, the greatest of the series. Is it largely nostalgia that you’re talking about? Maybe. Is it possible that they’re a little rough around the edges? Certainly. But these are the games that started our infatuation with the Pokémon video game franchise and exposed many of us to the original generation of 151 pocket monsters that you might have memorised.

Generation 1 Pokémon games blended seamlessly into anime, films, and merchandising, resulting in a Pokéfrenzy that anyone who grew up in the 1990s would have found difficult to escape. But it isn’t only nostalgia that makes these games so enjoyable.

With the iconic Team Rocket as the main villains and Gym Leaders like Brock, Misty, and Lt. Surge putting trainers through their paces, this generation has some of the series’ most remembered faces.

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Generation 1 is archaic in comparison to more current generations, and it has its fair share of bugs and balancing difficulties, yet without it, none of the other generations would exist.

Check out our selection of the top Nintendo Switch accessories.

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