The massively popular augmented-reality mobile game Pokemon Go finally got the generation two (Gen 2) update last Friday.
There are over 80 more new Pokemon for Pokemon players - or trainers in Pokemon speak - to catch now.
These Pokemon, such as Chikorita, Cyndaquil and Totodile, hail from the Johto region in the Pokemon Gold and Silver video games - regarded by many fans as the best in the franchise.
Trainers can catch them in the wild now, instead of having to hatch them, as was the case with baby Pokemon like Pichu or Elekid that were introduced in the game's last significant update.
NEW BERRIES There are new Berries for trainers to use in their attempts to catch the new Pokemon. In addition to the current Razz Berry, there are Nanab Berry and Pinap Berry.
The Nanab Berry will slow the Pokemon's movement for an easier catch, while a successful catch using the Pinap Berry doubles the amount of candies trainers get.
The update also sees more movement from a wild Pokemon. Some are able to move sideways instead of the usual jumps. For example, the Swinub is able to scurry around in circles. Thus, using the Nanab Berry will increase the chances of a catch.
However, you can use only one Berry each time you make a throw. It would be great if trainers can use all three berries at the same time.
The game's interface has been tweaked slightly. In previous versions, you can tap only on the Poke Ball icon at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen to change the Poke Ball or throw Razz Berry at the Pokemon you want to catch.
Now, there is an additional Razz Berry icon at the bottom left that allows you to directly change the kind of Berry you want to throw at the Pokemon.
Trainers can now evolve some of their first-generation Pokemon to newer forms, such as from Chansey to Blissey or Golbat to Crobat.
For some Pokemon, an evolution special item is needed, along with the required number of candies.
For example, to evolve Onix to Steelix, you need a Metal Coat and 50 Onix candies (see sidebar for more details).
You will not be able to buy these evolution special items from the in-game shop.
Instead, you can get it only by spinning the mirror disc in PokeStops. And it seems to be entirely random. So you have to visit more PokeStops to raise your chances.
Read also: Pokemon Go' officially launches in Korea
There are also many subtle updates in Gen 2.
Some Pokemon are now split by gender. And there are actually physical differences between both genders. For instance, the male Gloom has several dots on each bud of his head, while the female Gloom has only one dot on each bud.
By far the most useless update in Gen 2 is the ability to customise your in-game avatar. You can now add glasses, change hoodies and pants using the virtual Pokemon Go currency Poke Coins. I will stick to the free outfits.
NOT YET AVAILABLE
On the downside, there are still no Player-vs-Player (PvP) combat mode and Pokemon trading.
These two features are probably the ones most sought-after by Pokemon trainers.
But Mr John Hanke, chief executive officer of Niantic Labs, the Pokemon Go developer, said during a recent interview with gaming website Waypoint that these two features will be available in future updates. No timeline was revealed, though.
Already, the Gen 2 rollout has seen some server outages, with a number of players being booted out or unable to log in.
I can't imagine what would happen if 20 million people log in at the same time to battle each other in PvP mode. Still, PvP is something that will entice more fans into the game.
On the other hand, I am not a fan of trading. I think it spoils the catching mechanism of the game, which is Pokemon Go's core gameplay.
What irked me more, though, is that the first-generation legendary Pokemon, like Zapdos and Mewtwo, are still not available in this update.
Overall, the Pokemon Go Gen 2 update undoubtedly reinvigorates the thrill of catching new Pokemon in trainers. But that also means trainers will now want more features and will be impatient for the third-generation Pokemon to arrive.
Eevees can now evolve into two new forms - Espeon and Umbreon. You need 25 Eevee candies to do so.
To evolve to Espeon, rename an Eevee as Sakura before making the evolution. For Umbreon, rename to Tamao before evolving.
You will probably want to do it soon, as Niantic could change the mechanics anytime.
SPECIAL EVOLUTION ITEMS
There are five special evolution items in Gen 2, namely:
Sun Stone - Plants need the Sun. So this aptly named item is required for Grass Pokemon. You can evolve the new Sunkern into Sunflora with this item and 50 Sunkern candies. Similarly, use this item and 100 Oddish candies to transform Gloom into Bellossom.
King's Rock - As its name implies, this is for the king. To evolve Slowpoke to SlowKing, you need this item and 100 Slowpoke candies.
It is also needed - along with 100 Poliwag candies - to evolve Poliwhirl to Politoed.
Metal Coat - This item applies to Steel Pokemon like Onix and Scyther. Thus to evolve Onix to Steelix, and Scyther to Scizor, you will need a Metal Coat and 50 candies of the respective Pokemon.
Dragon Scale - You need this item to evolve Seadra to Kingdra, along with 100 Horsea candies. You might want to store this item too for future Dragon Pokemon evolution. Just in case.
Upgrade - Porygon is essentially lines of code. Like any software, an Upgrade along with 50 Porygon candies are required to evolve Porygon to Porygon 2.
This article was first published on Feb 22, 2017.
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