Pokemon Black and White are coming out later this year, at least in Japan, that and me getting back into the pokemon series gets me thinking of all the various games that have come up thus far. I really have been a player of the series since the initial Red & Blue came out in the US, and have bought every version since and a couple of the remakes as well. So how do I think they rank? I’ll put my two cents in, but only really going to go in the original of the series… the offshoots (such as Crystal and Emerald) tend to be slightly better than the original, as are remakes.#4) Pokemon Red/Blue/Green – This is kind of odd to me that I rank this one so low. It is the original after all and if nothing else the game gets tons of points on originality as before this game, there wasn’t anything like it. But when I compare it to editions that have come since the initial offering, it is fairly easy to see that. The game I think also had some of the better and most original overall pokemon in it, most of which are still revisited in all games since then. Still though, the storyline and design of the game seemed like a mish mosh. It wasn’t very focused and this really diminished from the game. I also feel out of the lot of them, this was actually the smallest of the games, with the least amount of space to explore, actually quite typical of a first. Revisiting the game now, it feels very small compared to the newer offerings. I also felt that just the nature of the game, that they offered 4 versions of essentially the same game (green and yellow), showed the lack of refinement. Not a huge fault but still made it look not as good compared to the others.
#3) Ruby/Sapphire – I don’t know why but this version just never really did it for me. Looking over the pokemon that were in R&S, I can’t really say I like many of them. I mean there were some very interesting combinations of pokemon, and some interesting ideas. But the pokemon themselves seemed lackluster and I think this was the main problem. This game did add abilities, natures and double battles, all of which were great additions to the game, but weren’t huge in their own right. It also was the first to add contests, but I never much cared for the contests. The game also took out day/night which was previously in Gold & Silver. I also think R&S had one of the bigger upgrades in graphics to date which may be why so little else was added, but weren’t enough to take it off the ground. Overall I think the lackluster pokémon was what did it in for me.
#2) Diamond/Pearl – This one struck a cord with me on the opposite way of RS. I just loved DP through and through. In fact it was a very difficult choice for me not to make it #1. The pokemon themselves hit more to what I wanted, absolutely loved the starters, and other ones like Chatot (one of my favorite birds) and the two dragon legendaries were pretty cool. Oddly, I don’t feel that DP actually added a lot of new features. The main feature I can think of is the online trading of pokemon which is brilliant considering you can trade Japanese people and get Japanese named Pokemon and visa versa. It also added an Underground where you could do a couple side quests, and really it seemed make money was the other main function, could have done without it overall.What DP did right though was to refine what was done previously and really make a complete pokemon experience. It didn’t need to have a ton of new features, it just needed to bring together what was done before. So it had everything that was done before, just done a little better.
#1) Silver & Gold – This game was the first in a lot of ways and really paved the way that Pokémon was seen from then on out. It added breeding, pokegear to help you find everything you need to faster (and also allowed you to re-battle former trainers from time to time), pocketed bags, specialty pokeballs, two new types of pokemon, splitting special stat to special attack and special defense, day & night pokemon, and shiny pokemon.1 All that AND it also included the entire Kanto region it as well. It is hard to say that this isn’t my favorite. I was clearly more than a little happy at the remake of this game in the DP graphics all things considered.
A Quick Glance at Black & White
The next in the series is to be Black and White. This is interesting in a number of ways, which I will surely have an article about in the future. First, it is the first base color since the original series (since being gems and metals). It is also oddly enough the first cover pokemon that both have the same type as the previous cover legendaries.2 Lastly, it is the first version of pokemon that will be released on the same platform as the previous generation.3 I have a lot of hopes for this next version, but I guess I will do that in another blog because this one is already too lengthy.
- Honestly one of my favorite features was specialty balls which in this game was done by bringing apricorns in to a pokeball maker who would give you a different type based on color of the apricorn. I loved this feature partially because it added variety but also because the first two games were difficult to get cash (at least when I initially played) and this was an easy way to get free pokeballs to use and thus not spend money. Even though money isn’t as big of an object, I still wish they brought this way of making pokeballs back. ↩
- Sapphire had a pure water and Gold had a Water/Flying, but Diamond, Platinum, Pearl, Black, and White all have a legendary that shares Dragon. ↩
- For those wanting to argue this point, Gold & Silver was actually launched for Game Boy Color not just Game Boy. Am actually a little surprised they aren’t holding onto BW until the 3DS is launched, they could have easily held it back for a year and updated graphics to suit the new system. ↩