During the past few days, I went back to one of the RPGs I used to play quite a while ago. Pokémon. Obviously, I'm not talking about as far back as the first games. I never played Pokemon Red or Blue when it was released. I, however, did play Yellow, Gold and Silver. After that, I believed my career as a Pokémon trainer should have ended since I didn't get the next instalment: Pokémon Crystal version. I remember how fun it was to play an RPG with a sometimes-amusing tone while still having loads of gameplay. It's one of those examples you can point to about gameplay in an RPG. I have yet to see a fancy looking RPG pull off Pokémon's fun other than Pokémon itself. Of course, I didn't go back and play Yellow, Gold and Silver again! It's obviously better to try out the new ones that got released. That being said, I'm talking about Pokémon Fire Red, Leaf Green and Emerald versions.
Fire Red and Leaf Green are actually Game Boy Advance remakes of Pokémon Red and Blue. The update makes them look a lot better and makes it a lot more fun to play. They've added a special set of islands which adds quite a bit to the content of the originals. Everything got updated to the new systems, meaning double battles, 386 Pokémon supporting PokéDex and more. I played through Fire Red, and while I'm a little disappointed that they didn't really change much of the world of Red and Blue, it was certainly more tolerable to the eyes. (The original Red and Blue were in horrible shades of colour if you put it in a Game Boy Colour.) Of course, the original set of Pokémon and Gym Leaders populate Kanto for you to battle. The new engine, so to speak also means you get to be a girl this time round, like in the Pokémon versions Crystal and up.
Then, we come to Pokémon Emerald, which is the newest instalment, I believe, in the series. I'm probably quite certain that there's some new version in development for the Nintendo DS somewhere. Emerald is a remake and update to the Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire versions and is set in the Hoenn region. By this point in time, I wouldn't be surprised if they decided the GBA needed Gold and Silver, and released it sometime next year.
Pokémon Emerald did wonders for me, since I hadn't play Pokémon for a long time. The game was much longer, had mad amount of running around before you could get your Gym Badges. To me, the most fun part of being in Hoenn was the fact that your character's father runs a gym. Woo-hoo! He's actually the first gym you come to, but the fifth you actually get your badge from. In addition, his gym is pretty tough to battle through compared to those before him.
The Hoenn Region is packed with surprises and updates for hardcore players, but I found it just great for adding depth into the game. As with every update, they seem to love giving you new unforgettable moves (HMs) to learn. This time in Hoenn, it's Dive. Dive allows you to... errr... Dive underwater to search for stuff. As for how you can be sitting on your Pokémon and still breath underwater, that's beyond me. Must be some Hoenn trick. :D
Hoenn has its own Elite Four and Champion (which is not your rival - relief!). Your rival is friendly and will be lots of fun to battle. I don't know what happened to Nintendo when they made this change, but I suppose Pokémon still rocks as an RPG. I am, of course, not going to be hunting down all 386 Pokémon. That's just plain stupid. I'm gonna wait for the next game!
Update: I was oblivious that Pokémon Diamond and Pearl (for the DS) was reported to be released sometime next year. Whoops.