Out of the blue, Pokemon GO got a visual update. A bunch of graphics were added, sprucing up the game for its 5th anniversary. While the changes are mostly related to gyms, there’s a few nice touches here and there.
Sunsets and Gyms
First off, the gyms are pretty frickng sweet. They actually look a bit more like arenas filled with people. Of course, gyms aren’t completely to scale, but the fancier graphics really do make raids feel less, well, lame. The gym battles and raids seem more action-packed, as well as all-round better to look at.
The nicer thing though is a real-time sun in the sky. It’s honestly a lot like the sun in Minecraft. As the sun rises or sets, the sky changes colour and you get a nice sunset effect. Honestly, sunrise and sunset are more brown that I’d expect. But they look nice. The night sky is also much nicer too. There are also weather effects. Apparently. It’s been clear where I live for like a month now, and that probably won’t change until autumn.
But it’s a nice visual upgrade and a much-needed one. The changes spruce up the game quite a lot.
Probably not good for batteries and old phones
While the graphics are nice, it’s also more battery drain. Pokemon GO is already pretty heavy when it comes to battery use. In fact, Pokemon GO players can often be easy to spot in the wild due to having battery packs. More and better graphics will only increase battery drain. Unless it’s all well-optimized, which I very much doubt.
The bigger issue is that older phones might struggle with all the new stuff. Honestly, aside from the Pokemon models themselves, the game isn’t THAT heavy. While the graphics update might be quite small as well, you can’t predict how it’s going to work on every device. Older phones do struggle to run newer games, same way computers do. I’m actually kinda surprised that a toggle for the new graphics wasn’t added. An option to turn off the fancy sky effects would be nice. However, considering how
Then again, the lag might be due to an update that wasn’t optimized properly. Or maybe it’s just a sign that a phone is on its way, or already dying.
Could actually go further
Although the new graphics are very nice, I actually think Niantic could go further. After all, while the sky is pretty, the ground is the same green everywhere. It might be nice to have the ground change colours based on biome, rather than it all being green. There has been an update to the maps that Pokemon GO uses, and that means we could have different biomes.
We could have also had updated backgrounds for when you’re catching Pokemon. The current one is just a slightly updated version of the standard green trees. Different biome backgrounds would be a really nice change. It’d also finally allow us to work out what kinda of biome we live in at a glance. Currently, there’s no real way of knowing.
All that being said, aside from doing gyms and raids, the fancy graphics will pretty soon be forgotten. At least, it will, if you’re like me and always play with the camera as zoomed out as possible.