The Pokémon franchise has been around for over 25 years and has become a cultural phenomenon with a massive following worldwide. The franchise spans across multiple media including video games, anime, manga, trading cards, and more, making it accessible to a wide range of audiences.

In terms of the video game industry, the franchise has been highly successful, selling over 350 million copies worldwide across various platforms. It has also been influential in shaping the RPG genre, with its monster-collecting and battling gameplay mechanics inspiring numerous other games.

Over the years, the franchise has released a plethora of games, ranging from the main series to spin-offs, each offering a unique take on the popular Pocket Monsters. However, which games in the franchise can truly be considered the best?

1. Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver

Put simply, Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver are considered the pinnacle of the franchise. The original Pokémon Gold and Silver were already outstanding sequels as they expanded the Pokédex and introduced new types, while also including the Kanto region as a bonus. Later, Crystal improved upon those games by allowing players to choose their gender, featuring animated Pokémon sprites, and a stronger focus on Suicune.

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HeartGold and SoulSilver

Despite this, Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver managed to surpass their predecessors in nearly every aspect. They updated the graphics, incorporated features from later games, and provided an unparalleled gaming experience. Nothing in the franchise can compare to the excitement, challenge, and satisfaction of battling Red and striving to be the very best.

2. Pokémon Black 2 and White 2

The fifth generation of Pokémon games was a game-changer for the franchise, and the direct sequels, Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, embody everything that made it so groundbreaking. The original Black and White games laid the groundwork by introducing the Unova region, a new cast of Pokémon, a compelling story with a memorable rival (N), and incredible music. The sequels built upon these elements and took them to new heights.

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Black 2 and White 2

The games feature a vast Pokédex with innovative designs and unique types, incorporating familiar Pokémon early on to make team building more exciting. The story continues from the first games, delivering a satisfying conclusion to the narrative. Visually, Black 2 and White 2 make full use of the Nintendo DS hardware, providing breathtaking 3D landscapes, bustling cities, cinematic bridge crossings, and intricate details throughout. The post-game content is exceptional, offering the opportunity to capture numerous legendary Pokémon, hone battle skills at the Black Tower or White Treehollow, and participate in the Battle Subway or Pokémon World Tournament. These games are the definitive Pokémon experience.

3. Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen

While Pokémon Red and Blue (or Green) are the games that started the global monster-catching phenomenon and should be praised for their contribution, Game Freak demonstrated with FireRed and LeafGreen that nostalgia isn't the only factor at play, and even the most cherished originals can be enhanced.

FireRed and LeafGreen

FireRed and LeafGreen are exceptional remakes, introducing various new features such as a recap of past activities, initial attempts at wireless trading and battling, a fresh location in the Sevii Islands, and all the considerable improvements to typing, battling, and Pokémon moves that were added in subsequent generations. Although Red and Blue may still hold a special place in our hearts, the best way to revisit the remarkable Kanto region is through FireRed and LeafGreen.

4. Pokémon Emerald

Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire were impressive sequels to Gold and Silver, introducing double battles, abilities, and natures. However, it was Pokémon Emerald that refined everything that was excellent about those games into something truly exceptional. As the most fleshed-out "third" version in the franchise's history, it brought several worthwhile changes, with the Battle Frontier being the standout addition that made for the most comprehensive and rewarding post-game content in the series.

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With seven distinct facilities and seven challenging "Frontier Brain" trainers to face, it provided a serious test for Trainers, one that has arguably not been surpassed since. Even after two decades since its release, Pokémon Emerald still holds up as one of the finest Pokémon games ever created.

5. Pokémon Go

In 2016, The Pokémon Company collaborated with Niantic, an augmented reality game developer, to produce Pokémon Go, the mobile game that took the world by storm. We all remember the unforgettable summer when it felt like almost everyone was out and about on their own individual Pokémon journey. What began as a simple concept of searching for Pokémon to capture in real-world settings has evolved into an expansive mobile game with much more than just Pocket Monsters.

Pokemon Go
Pokémon Go

PVP battling, Team Rocket, and a plethora of other features have been included, transforming Pokémon Go into an impressively comprehensive game. And with several updates that have added new Pokémon, unique spawn events, and even Pokémon Go Fest, where Trainers from all over the world gather to play together, the game continues to thrive, offering a one-of-a-kind, never-ending source of entertainment.

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