Rather embarrassingly, I’ve owned a copy of Pokemon Pearl since its launch and never got round to finishing it. This is down to a general fading interest in the franchise, and other responsibilities requiring my time and interest. However, with a long train journey looming, I opened my trusty Nintendo DS and started my Pokemon journey afresh. Much to my surprise, second time round I found myself falling in love with the series all over again. It might be the same tried and tested formula… but somehow there is a sense of comfort and familiarity in that.
This game simply has so much to do. 40 hours are shown on the clock and my trainer is just about to enter the Pokemon League, but I’m already thinking about what I want to do next. Migrating all of my GBA creatures, retraining my party to participate in contests, harvesting berries and breeding Pokemon… the list goes on and on. Sometimes I feel games fail to justify their price tag, but on length alone Pokemon continues to stand proud.
Okay, so there are a few things Game Freak could really do with updating. 3D battles would be nice and the touch screen is still largely irrelevant to the adventure. Yet I can’t help but smile. If I was to go on holiday and only take one handheld title with me, Pearl would win hands down; I would recommend any parent to do the same for their child too. Now I’ve only played a slice of Platinum, but even if it only has a few extra hours of gaming it will be a monumental title. Fans may hold Crystal or Emerald as their favourite in the Pokemon series, but I’m surprised to find Pearl becoming my own personal preference. It’s just so accessible.
If you’re an RPG player and have left the Pocket Monster craze behind since the days of Red and Blue, now maybe a good time to think about returning. The series has evolved and the outlook of online play makes it a game for even the most hardcore of gamers. As my train rockets along, this is definitely more than just nostalgia that i’m feeling: it’s raw enjoyment. Guess I better sign off, I really need to train for those pesky Elite Four…