Changes to recent Pokémon games have made certain aspects easier, but this has been balanced with new difficulties to keep gameplay interesting.
Older games in the Pokémon series are known for difficult battles, challenging level grinding, and complex terrain puzzles. However, more recent entries in the series have simplified these aspects with the introduction of EXP Share, EXP Candy, and better maps. While it is can sometimes feel like newer Pokémon games are much easier than dated generations, there are numerous challenges that have been introduced to the game that not only add new difficulty levels but require attention to detail that may not have been present in older titles.
Much of the difficulty in older Pokémon games came from the limitations of game development at the time of release. In Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow, the development of boons like EXP Share hadn’t been discovered, or may not have been developmentally possible, in the late 1990s. In Ruby and Sapphire, sprawling maps and difficult terrain were frustrating to navigate thanks to 2D, pixelated graphics, and a lack of open-world exploration. What many have perceived as easier gameplay in more recent Pokémon game entries may actually be the product of better development tools and gameplay that is streamlined and balanced to be player-friendly, instead of experimental.