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Top 15 best Pokemon games ever, ranked

Many Pokemon games have released, but which ones are above the rest? We've ranked the top 15 from worst to best.

  • Posted on 21st Jan, 2022 15:30 PM
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There have been many entries in the Pokemon franchise, but which ones were truly the best? All the way from mobile to Nintendo Switch and everything in between, we’ve ranked the top 15.

Pokemon is officially the highest-grossing franchise of all time, bringing in a massive estimated $95 billion since its debut in 1996 across many forms of media such as TV, print publications, and movies.

It’s also had a very successful line of video games and has brought out many titles over the years. In the last 10 alone there have been over 50 additions to the series. But which ones are the best?

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It also brought over the Mega Evolutions and the Mega Stones from X & Y, as well as adding new ones that didn’t exist previously. The soundtrack was also improved.

10. Pokemon Colosseum

Top 15 best Pokemon games ever, rankedColosseum was insanely good, and even got a sequel.

This Nintendo GameCube classic was arguably one of the best games on the system, throwing players into the Orre region to reclaim Shadow Pokemon from the clutches of the evil Team Cipher who were closing off ‘mon’s hearts to shut off their emotions.

Not only was the story absolutely phenomenal, but battles felt immersive and fleshed out for the time. It wasn’t like the Game Boy Advance titles where Pokemon moved slightly when hit – they actually fully performed moves and reacted when hit.

And we gotta give credit where credit’s due: Miror B made the game 100 times more fun. If you know, you know.

9. Pokemon GO

Pixabay / The Pokemon Company / Game FreakPokemon GO has become a worldwide phenomenon.

It’s hard to deny that Niantic’s Pokemon GO hasn’t changed the mobile gaming space since its release for iOS and Android back in July 2016. In fact, the Nintendo collaboration reached a billion global downloads in early 2019, and a whopping $3 billion in revenue.

Being able to play the beloved franchise on your phone while on the move is a heavy seller for many, and it’s understandable that the idea of seeing your favorite monsters “in real life” would excite even the toughest of trainers.

The game is constantly being updated too, with many new events, Community Days for the chance to catch rare monsters, and special tasks added throughout the year.

8. Black & White

Top 15 best Pokemon games ever, rankedThe Gen V titles have one of the best storylines in the entire series.

Black and White for the Nintendo DS arrived in the West in March of 2011, and they have consistently been dubbed as having one of the best storylines in the entire series. Set in the Unova region, players are pitted up against Team Plasma – a fiendish group hellbent on causing destruction.

150 new Pokemon were introduced in the game’s Gen V Pokedex, making it the largest addition to the roster at the time since 2002’s Ruby and Sapphire for the Game Boy Advance.

While many newer games in the franchise are labeled as being easier, B&W’s difficulty pacing was actually quite tough, and seasoned players enjoyed the return of the challenge.

7. Sword & Shield

The Pokemon Company / Game FreakThe latest entry in the series is actually one of the best.

Sword & Shield is, at this time of writing, the latest mainline Pokemon installment for the Nintendo Switch. Released on November 15, 2019, the games brought a new region into the mix – Galar, which is based on the United Kingdom – as well as a new Dynamax and Gigantamax battle feature.

With the addition of the Galarian Pokedex, players saw hundreds of new monsters added to the mix, and new special regional forms for familiar favorites such as Ponyta, Corsola, and Weezing.

The Gen VIII titles broke records fast, and sold a staggering six million units in just the opening weekend, shifting quickly to become the Switch’s most successful launch to date.

6. Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon

The Pokemon Company / Game FreakPlayers returned to Alola in the Ultra games.

Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon saw the return of the Hawaii-esque Alola region in November 2017 – this time with an alternate storyline to its predecessors.

Five new Pokemon and a handful of Z-Moves were added, as well as improvements to the Rotomdex such as it growing affectionate towards the player, and being able to obtain items through the Roto Loto – a feature that gave the creature extra powers.

It ranked 84 with critic reviews on Metacritic, which was three points lower than the first S&M games, though was less of a hit with fans with a score of 7.7.

5. Black 2 & White 2

The Pokemon Company / Game FreakPeople didn’t seem to like the sequels to Black and White as much as the first games.

Returning to Unova in 2012, Black 2 and White 2 were the sequels to B&W on the Nintendo DS. Set two years after the events of their predecessors, the games opened up new locations and added three Gym Leaders, as well as a brand new Champion.

Like the first titles, the post-game added sections that were inaccessible previously, such as the Skyarrow Bridge, and the Battle Institute.

They received a user score of 7.7 on Metacritic, and a critic score of 80, as people had mixed feelings on the return to the Unova region.

4. Pokemon Platinum

Top 15 best Pokemon games ever, rankedPlatinum was one of the best Pokemon games on the DS.

The definitive game of Gen IV, Pokemon Platinum brings Diamond & Pearl together and bundles it up into a near-perfect experience.

Set in the Sinnoh region, it follows the player as they try to save the world from the clutches of Team Galactic boss, Cyrus. The story is filled with twists and turns that keep you entertained every step of the way.

Generation 4 fans actually returned to Sinnoh in late 2021 with the Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl remakes, which we ranked #14 on our list.

3. Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness

Top 15 best Pokemon games ever, rankedPlease come to Nintendo Switch!

Set five years after the events of Pokemon Colosseum, XD: Gale of Darkness focuses on a new Trainer called Michael who vows to thwart Team Cipher in their plans to achieve world domination.

Not only are there new Pokemon to purify but Shadow Lugia also plays a massive part in the story, and the game’s final showdown is one of the best events in the entire franchise – it’s THAT epic.

With it being 17 years since release, fans are crying out for a remake or remaster of the two GameCube games, and we’re right there with them! Please, Nintendo.

2. Pokemon Emerald

Top 15 best Pokemon games ever, rankedPlayers can catch Rayquaza in an epic battle.

Like Platinum is to Gen IV, Emerald is the better version of Gen III. Not only does it include the Battle Frontier, but you can also catch Rayquaza.

There’s not just one villainous team, either: both Team Aqua and Magma fight to assert dominance and wake Groudon and Kyogre up, meaning players have twice the work if they want to save the Hoenn region.

Though we added Omega Ruby and Sapphire later down this list, it’s hard to argue that the nostalgic charm of Emerald’s 2D graphics and the midi-style soundtrack doesn’t deserve to give it a high spot – almost top, but not quite there.

1. HeartGold & SoulSilver

The Pokemon Company / Game FreakYour Pokemon followed you around like Pikachu in Yellow.

HeartGold and SoulSilver are the 2010 Nintendo DS remakes to the 1999 Game Boy Color Gold and Silver games, which introduced Gen II for the very first time.

It retells the story of the Johto region and actually opens up to Red, Blue, and Yellow’s Kanto region in the post-game, making it a giant compared to recent games in the series like Sword & Shield which just has a handful of small events after the main story.

With a 9.2 user score on ranking website Metacritic, HG/SS are ranked as some of the best Pokemon games of all time – something we wholeheartedly agree with.

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