But then, I had a realization: Given that I have my own source of income now, I can just buy the new games, and the system on which to play them. So, I did. I've skipped Generation IV altogether and bought myself a Nintendo DSi and Pokémon White and Black versions. I've started playing White version first, because, after some checking (done before the purchase, actually), I found that White version has the White Forest, where some pokémon can be found, whereas the Black City (Black version's counterpart) doesn't have any.
Before this next part, you should realize that, now that I've got the games, I'm trying to minimize how much I look up. I want to re-experience that initial discovery feeling from back when I played the first games, in the ancient 1990s. :P
As I've played through, here are some things that I've noticed, in no particular order:
- Based on the intro, there's much more of a JRPG feel to this game. I mean, I know that Pokémon is from Japan, and that it's considered a VGRPG, but it never really felt like that, y'know?
- Boy has the beginning of the game ever changed. Instead of being eased into the idea that this is a world of Pokémon, and eventually being shown a battle and given a choice of Pokémon, it's just: Here are the starters, pick one. This doesn't affect my ability to play the game (by the way, I picked Snivy), but I imagine that it could be daunting to a new player (i.e., "What if I pick the wrong one?" stress). Also, I kind of liked the relaxed pace of the games before.
- There is a distinct lack of early Pokémon. I found Patrat and Pidove, and was like, "OK, I got Rattatta and Pidgey, but where's... anything else?" This game's version of Caterpie/Weedle/Wurmple isn't encountered until after the first gym, which is quite odd. In fact, it was only thanks to my dogged persistence that I found that I could catch Purrloin, too.
- Speaking of that, this game seems to be playing more to the gamist players. There's the really quick start, and the rarity of Pokémon early on, and there are even Heal Balls later on, which are useless if the newly-captured Pokémon is sent to the box (i.e., if you have a full team at the time of capture). It really seems to play to the type of player who catches the minimum number of Pokémon to beat the Elite Four.
- TMs can now be used like HMs, and there are at least 98 of them. What's up with that?
- Why do I have to navigate terrain in 3D? This isn't even a 3DS game. Also, I'm still moving on a grid, so is the experience really that improved?
- Why did Sewaddle take until level 20 to evolve? It's this version's Caterpie, so I was expecting level 10 at worst.
- Why does the Snivy line have hind legs? It's not like there haven't been snake Pokémon before.