Now as you may remember from previous posts, Pokémon Silver was one of my first games growing up. I will be honest and say that I wasn’t really that good at it. Actually, that is me putting it mildly. Truth be told, I was awful. I was not going to be the very best that ever was without figuring out that types were a thing. I eventually got better and was able to become a casual Pokémon gamer. I am not good enough to ever attempt competitive battling, but I can at least get through the general campaign of a Pokémon game with not much difficulty. I will say that I consider this generation to some the best sequels Nintendo have created for any of their franchises at the time. Many of their franchises all seemed to have some drastic changes to the formula around the second game for some reason. However, they decided they would refine the formula with the new generation and add post game content on a scale that was nearly thought to be impossible. So I just want you to understand what makes it such a good sequel. First let’s start off with the mechanics.
The mechanics were vastly improved from before adding things like an actual experience bar so you can actually keep better track of how much experience your Pokémon need to evolve. You can also manage to battle psychic types without having to be at a total disadvantage. For you see, they added two new types to this generation. The two types were the steel type and dark type with the latter being immune to the tyranny of psychic Pokémon. Steel type was added mainly to make fighting types more viable to parties. Did it work? In my opinion, not a ton still there were still some balancing issues that needed to be sorted. You see the game did more than just adding dark types as a way of nerfing psychics. They also split the special stat to be comprised of special attack and special defense. That way the battles are not solely reliant on who has the higher special stat and special defense can counter special attack. However, it still meant that if the Pokémon you fought had a low enough special defense, then type advantage was not an issue when battling certain Pokémon. In the end, special attacks tended to be more useful for battles overall, but it wasn’t as if physical attacks weren’t useful either and things were at least much more balanced compared to the first generation. Of course there are many other new mechanics that were added such as shiny Pokémon and breeding, but let’s talk about the new region to better understand how this game feels like a sequel.
The thing about sequels that I find to be the most important is showing that the connections to the previous game. It feels strange to make a sequel game that doesn’t really connect to its predecessor in any way so I feel that having at least some connections to the previous game is necessary such as characters, or themes, or at least the genre. I know that sounds super obvious, but back then I swear Nintendo experimented with every sequel they had to the point where they could feel like entirely different games. Looking at you Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. So seeing they went traditional for this game is refreshing to say the least. We got Professor Oak making an appearance, we have the return of Team Rocket who are trying to reunite and find their boss, and let’s not forget the post game content allowing you to explore the previous region three years after the first game, where you encounter all the previous gyms from before. The only gym leader to have changed is the last one since Giovanni has disappeared ever since Red dismantled Team Rocket so instead you fight Blue, his rival. You even get to fight Red, the trainer from the first generation after clearing Kanto region. That is probably the coolest final boss Pokémon is ever going to get and I doubt anyone can change my mind. It’s insane the amount of content they managed to fit in this game for the sequel and I can’t helped but be impressed. This goes without saying, but they added 100 new Pokémon to the formula and that was big at the time. Remember when catching them all was actually feasible? Man, those were the days. Anyway, one last thing before I move on. I glossed over it earlier, but I really like how we got the reappearance of Team Rocket trying to band together in last ditch efforts to be taken seriously only to one again be brought to their knees by a ten-year-old. Some things never change am I right?
Now this last part here will include some of my personal experiences with this game. I know you are all wondering which starter I use when I play Generation II and I feel an obligation to let you know. Before I start with that, I need to explain something. Now it should be common knowledge that there were fifteen different types in the first generation, eight of which were used in different gyms throughout the region. In order the types used at each gym were: rock, water, electric, grass, poison, psychic, fire, and finally ground. Now the second generation as you know added two more types bringing the total to seventeen different types, not adding another until Generation VI. What is interesting is that there are no types repeated from the previous region, probably because you end up going there later. The new gym leaders types are: flying, bug, normal, ghost, fighting, steel, ice, and lastly dragon. This brings us to a total of sixteen different types used for each gym with only dark type being left out. Interestingly enough, they seem to forget about creating a dark type gym for a while and only get around to it during Generation VIII. Now the reason I listed out the different types is not just to show you another cool way the game reflects being a sequel, but to show the absolute disadvantage the grass starter, Chikorita, has in this game. While grass may have been a viable option in Generation I as it at least could get you through some of the gym leaders early on, it has no chance to do much of anything in the new region. Unfortunately, as a kid I didn’t know that and got thrashed more ways then I can count. It got to the point where I eventually rage quit and because I was angry for losing so much with Chikorita and due to my frustration at the fire starter, Cyndaquil, for beating me so much, from then on I always chose the water starter, Tododile. And I have been carrying that grudge for nearly twenty years. So while I will say that this sequel is great for making many improvements to the formula and adding many interesting Pokémon as well as great post game content, I do have to say that they really did the grass starter dirty. So to end off I will say that I still consider this to be the best direct sequel Nintendo made during its early days due to the sheer amount of content, so long as you don’t choose Chikorita. Ever. Thanks for hearing me out.