I, like many, dropped Pokémon Go after the first few months of play. The game was buggy, crashed a lot, achievements didn’t feel meaningful, and the gym fights were tap fests with little to no payoff. Even so, here I am writing a Pokémon Go article in the year of our lord 2017.
Did Niantic fix all of these issues and turn Pokémon Go into a great game to play with your friends? Heck no! Well, that’s being stingy. Pokémon Go now doesn’t crash nearly as much as I’ve found out in the past two weeks.Plus Niantic has made a lot of key changes.
I work in an office for an alleged state government. It has long hallways and surprisingly robust wifi. I dusted off Pokémon Go as a means to make better use of my breaks. What I first found out is that you can set a Pokémon up as your buddy to walk with you, getting you candy for the corresponding species. Not only does this get you more candy for Pokémon of rarer species (Porygon anyone?) it is also very cute, your Weedle friend can hang out on your shoulder.
Another big plus is that there’s a whole generation of Pokémon that have been added to the game. Now you too can catch some of the Johto favorites like Marill, Misdreavous, Heracross, Tyranitar and even have new ways to evolve your Eevee with Espeon and Umbreon. And now that evolution items have been added you can get my very favorite Pokémon ever Slowking. You will also be encountering a lot fewer Ratata and Pidgey than you did before because now there’s a bunch more common Pokémon to replace them.
Now you have the ability to choose the path you want to send your Pokémon down. You can choose between Poliwrath or Politoed with your Poliwhirl. You can evolve your Onix into a Steelix with a Metal Coat. How do you get these items? Pokéstops my friend. Pokéstops. Which have also been recently revamped in a minor, but effective way. Each day the first Pokéstop you visit will give you double the normal items and add to your tracker. If you do this every day of the week, I usually hit the Pokéstop at the Methodist Church near my work, you will get a bunch of items on the 7th day with on guaranteed evolution item coming with it. This makes getting items just the tiny bit more accessible so you’re less likely to run out of Pokéballs.
Achievements have been reworked as well. The type specific achievements. Punk Girl, Bug Catcher etc. now give you a capture bonus for the corresponding type a big boost when you’re trying to capture high CP ‘mons. This is also going to very much affected by the area where you live. I’m out in the woods of Vermont near an old manufacturing plant which is most likely definitely haunted so I encounter more Bug and Poison types than most. Lucky me since most of my favorites are Cool Bugs.
Does the game still have problems? Yes of course. Candy acquisition is still janky. Trading is in the far future as a feature and gym fights leave a lot to be desired, but the core of the game is there and just continues to get better. So perhaps Pokémon Go is worth another shot now that the snow is starting to melt and the temperature is rising. I know I’ll be out there catching virtual monsters. Will you?