As those of you who have been listening to It's Super Effective for the duration of my tenure there know, Gen III is my least favorite generation. I've never liked the region, I thought the Pokémon designs were lackluster, and I thought it did away with a lot of advancements introduced in Gen II.
But a lot of you list Gen III as your favorite, so I decided that I'd give it another chance by making Sapphire the version on which I will perform my first Nuzlocke Challenge (For those unfamiliar, Nuzlocke is simply a way to make Pokémon games more challenging.) I'm going to write about what my second impressions of Gen III are so far, and one more time once I have completed the game. For an idea of where I am, I have three badges and I am in Fallarbor Town.
Chapter 1: Things I Like, Or: Confessions of a Hater
I'm finding that I don't dislike Gen III as much as I thought I did. I'm actually quite enjoying it. Here are a few things with which I am most impressed:
First, the designs of Pokémon are actually very interesting. I feel like they have a more serious feel than any other Generation, which may be what put me off in my initial runthrough, but now that I have played the games a ton more this is a bit refreshing. The starters of this generation are quite cool, even if this started the trend of having the Fire starter always end up Fire/Fighting. I'm beginning to like Seviper, Shroomish/Breloom, and Numel/Camerupt a ton, in terms of both visuals and practical usage.
That brings me to the visuals of the Hoen region itself. This is certainly the most beautiful region in the games. From volcanoes to deserts, Hoen is a feast for the eyes. It is amazing how great looking this game is despite running on GBA hardware.
The final thing that I respect Gen III for is the introduction of abilities. If we didn't have those, we wouldn't have ability of the week!
Chapter 2: Things I Don't Like, Or: Sorry, Folks
Unfortunately, these things aren't quite enough to prevent Gen III from moving up from the "least favorite" spot just yet. Here are a few things that are keeping me from enjoying this as much as I would like:
While I feel that most main series games have this problem to some extent, I still think that Gen III is the worst at distributing Pokémon early in the game to provide a balance of types. There are a TON of grass types available, and unless you choose Torchic as your starter you will be waiting a while until you get a fire type, and by that time you might even have a full team, making it more difficult to incorporate a new member.
My second complaint is with the region of Hoen. Sure, it's gorgeous, but it's also way too convoluded. The player feels that their biggest challenge isn't becoming a Pokémon master but figuring out where the Bulbasaur to go. With HMs up the wazzoo, just traveling becomes tedious.
Third, and perhaps most important, Gen III seem to do away with a lot of advancements from the previous games. For example, we lose the night/day functionality and the PokéGear's cell phone, which, aside from Youngster Joey's calls, was actually pretty cool.
Overall, I am liking Gen III tons more than I would have expected. Still, however, it remains my least favorite. Check back later when I have finished it. It will probably be by next week's Rare Article time, but if not I'll have something else for you to read anywho.