Friday, January 28

Pokémon Silver/Gold Review

I played on: Gameboy Color
I paid: £25 on eBay
Available on: Gameboy/Gameboy Color
Notes: Similar to Pokémon Red and Blue, I played this game on an emulator on my phone due to the Gameboy Color lacking any sort of backlight and modern hardware to play these games is hella expensive. Buy games where possible as collecting helps preserve the physical editions but also emulate them where you need to as this also helps to preserve them!

Pokémon Silver and Gold takes what Red and Blue started in the first-gen and expands on it brilliantly. This may be one of the best games in the entire series, that is, it would be if not for one thing…

Right from the beginning Silver shows how much it’s improved. You start in New Bark Town, and it’s so much more colourful than any of the areas found in Red or Blue. While Silver is still a dated-looking game from today's standards it’s amazing to go from Gen 1 to Gen 2. There’s a lot of charm in Gameboy pixel art and Silver has some of the best! The world of Johto is such a vibrant cheerful place that’s a pleasure to explore.

Johto shares a lot of similarities in its world design to Kanto from the last game. This isn’t a bad thing at all. Silver and Gold do well by taking what worked with Red and Blue and carrying that design over to the new map. As it stands there is a lot less getting lost and having to rely on guides. There is a reason that these maps are still remembered over 20 years since they were first released.

The gameplay is the thing that Silver and Gold share the most in common with Red and Blue. You still have a team of up to 6 Pokémon to battle with. Each of your little critters can still only learn 4 moves at most. The rock, paper, scissors mechanic of matching Pokémon types remains intact. Dark and Steel types have been introduced to better balance things out. Then you have the new addition of Pokémon breeding, which I will readily admit I don’t fully understand. If you leave two Pokémon of matching egg groups and opposite genders at the Daycare then there is a chance when you return there will be an egg waiting for you. You’re able to carry this egg as one of your 6 Pokémon and after a certain amount of steps, it will hatch. This new Pokémon will start at level 5 and have a combination of its parents stats. A whole community built around this system is a testament to its depth.

After leaving New Bark Town with your starter Pokémon you will set out to collect all 8 Gym badges and fill out your PokéDex. Along the way, you will dismantle what remains of Team Rocket after Red defeated them. This is the same story structure as the last game but it works well at getting you to explore this amazing world. That’s what Pokémon does well in my opinion. Shallow, simple stories with a rich deep world.

Then you have all the small things that Silver fixes over Red. You can now carry a lot more items meaning running out of space will rarely happen anymore. TM’s and HM’s are also now listed clearly in your inventory. The town map is easily accessible from your PokéGear. Silver takes a lot of smaller issues from Red and Blue’s design and makes them more user-friendly and streamlined. Then you have the post-game content that’s the best of all the games released as of 2021. You can travel to Kanto, the region from Red and Blue. Once there you can help out with local problems. You’re also free to take on all 6 gyms in the region. If you’re strong enough it’s even possible to take on Red, your player character, from the last game. Pokémon Silver and Gold just includes another full-length game that’s available after you beat the main game. It’s a massive highlight to any playthrough seeing Kanto remade in full colour! I can’t express how much I love this post-game, it’s insane how much there is to do as just extra content!!!

Silver and Gold would be an easy and clear highpoint for the entire series if it wasn’t for one thing. Soul Silver and Heart Gold. These are remakes of Silver and Gold available on the DS and they do everything the originals do but better. Because of these amazing remakes being so similar to the original but just better there is little reason to play these classics over them. Ultimately that’s what brings my score for these amazing games down, the even better remakes! As it is, if you fancy some retro early 2000’s gaming then Silver and Gold are great picks! For everyone else wanting to explore Pokémon’s 2nd gen then I’d say pick up Soul Silver or Heart Gold on the DS instead.

Recommendation Rating: 6 out of 10


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