With every new generation of Pokémon, Game Freak always tries their best to make the Generation feel different from all that came before it and all that will come after it. Most of the time, this is accomplished in part through gimmicks.
Every Generation tends to have a few different gimmicks that help it feel distinct from the others. Today, we'll be ranking Generation Two all the way to Seven based upon their most interesting gimmicks. Let's jump right into it and look at every Pokémon Generation's best gimmick, ranked.
6 Generation Seven's Trials
Generation Seven tried to move away from the concept of gyms to break the formula that the Pokémon series had been sticking to for quite some time, which is a good idea in theory. As such, gyms were replaced with Alola's Island Trials. However, while they were fun, they really didn't do anything too different for the series in terms of gameplay.
Some were puzzles, and others were fetch quests, but they didn't really stray too far from the beaten path. However, they certainly served their function of breaking away from the rest of the series, something that the entire Generation worked to do through various different methods.
5 Generation Six's 3D Overhaul
Generation Six's 3D Overhaul is placed next to Generation Five's Sprite based artwork (spoiler alert) simply because it's a matter of personal preference. Most fans tend to prefer the sprite work of older titles, but both art styles are great and fit the series well. While Generation Six has many gimmicks to choose from (with Mega Evolutions and character customization being two that come to mind), the move to 3D is the biggest change for the Generation, as the entire series had to be rescoped when this change took place.
Regions had to be thought of in a 3D space and everything that was in the region had to be accounted for as well. The series managed to do this very well, with many areas in X and Y taking full advantage of this new look Hopefully you like the 3D look of the newer Pokémon titles, as it's likely we'll never get spritework from the series again.
4 Generation Five's Attention To Detail
Generation Five is arguably the most beautiful Generation of them all. While Generation Six's X and Y brought the series into full 3D for the first time, Five perfected the sprite and grid graphics that the series was known for at the time. The title featured full 3D cutscenes, beautiful moving sprites for every single Pokémon, and a wonderfully detailed overworld filled with fun details and scenery.
The changing seasons that were added to the Generation (only to be snatched away from us in Generation Six) helped highlight this beauty, and a beautiful overarching soundtrack tied it all together with the cutest little ribbon. The ability to add instruments found throughout the overworld to the soundtrack only helps to push the immersion one step further. Generation Five was the last sprite based hurrah we got before the move to 3D, and the art style certainly went out with a bang.
3 Generation Four's Harnessing Of The Console's Power
This entry is a little weird. The title makes no sense, but bear with us for a second. Generation Four came with a host of improvements for the series that have stuck to this day, made possible due to the games taking advantage of the hardware they were on. These changes include online play, which was a first for the series, a 3D overworld, dual-screen support, and an overall more polished gameplay experience all round.
While Generation Four certainly has its criticisms, it helped propel Pokémon forward in some ways. If Pokémon Diamond and Pearl hadn't moved to take full advantage of the hardware they were on, these changes wouldn't be possible. While less of a gimmick than other entries on this list, it's still amongst the best new features this Generation had to offer.
2 Generation Two's Double Regions
The Generation Two titles shocked fans with the inclusion of the Kanto Region as postgame content once they had finished up the main story. This was before Game Freak decided that you would love and visit Kanto literally every year, so it was actually novel back then. This was a huge deal at the time, and its impact is still felt to this day. How often do you see speculation and wishlists for new titles that include the ability to travel to a past region as part of the postgame?
This feature was included and expanded upon in Gold and Silver's Generation Four remakes, HeartGold and SoulSilver. These games were able to push this idea further than Generation Two, as small cartridge sizes were much less of an issue to worry about, thus, Kanto featured just as much content as Johto did. The length of postgame content is always a worry when it comes to Pokémon games, you never know what you're going to get. However, you can always rest assured that you won't have to worry when your adventure takes place in Johto.
1 Generation Three's Remakes
On the topic of remakes, Generation Three was the first in the series to bring this idea to the table. As Generation Three had the hindrance of not being able to connect with prior games in the series, Game Freak decided that the best course of action would be to completely remake the titles from the ground up.
Oh, okay yes please thank you more of that yes. This decision was a fantastic one, as it cemented the trend that each and every generation will (hopefully) get a remake on more powerful hardware, with the most recent set of titles to receive the treatment being Ruby and Sapphire. While FireRed and LeafGreen are already great titles on their own that deserve tons of praise, it is the precedent that they set that puts them at #1 on this list.