Spend five minutes with Yo-Kai Watch on the Nintendo 3DS and you’ll quickly discover why so many people are comparing it to the beloved and long-running franchise, Pokemon. Dedicate a few hours to the game, though, and you’ll find that it not only sets itself apart from the monster-catching series it so clearly draws inspiration from but, in some regards, it surpasses it.

Before you Mega Evolve and go berserk in the comments, understand that we’re not saying “Yo-Kai Watch is a better game than Pokemon.” That’s for each player to decide on their own and you’ll have our take on the new contender for the crown later this week in the form of a Yo-Kai Watch review.

It’s hard to argue that Pokemon’s many systems couldn’t do with a little evolving of their own, however, and that’s something that the team at Level-5 have managed to pull off quite nicely in Yo-Kai Watch. Here’s our list of the five things Yo-Kai Watch does better than Pokemon.

Story-driven adventures
Pokemon has been around for a couple of decades but, despite all of those entries in the series, the plot has never been a major driving force carrying players from Point A to Point B. Usually there’s an evil organization who wants to use Pokemon to pull off their devious plans and you are the only youngster plucky enough to stop them dead in their tracks.

Yo-Kai Watch, on the other hand, is all about bite-sized stories that come together to tell a tale that would feel right at home as a Saturday morning cartoon (which exists). The main arcs of the story are even broken into distinct segments, with a story sequence setting the stage for the specific problem the player is going to need to help folks solve. Instead of melodrama about saving the world, Yo-Kai Watch tells the story of a kid who discovers a unique ability to see spirits and then utilizes that ability to help those in need. Even the side missions have a stronger focus on narrative than you see in most Pokemon games, complete with lots of dialogue, unique motivations and recurring characters that make it feel like you’re actually having an impact on individuals’ lives rather than generic NPCs.

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