Name a game with better post-game content.
When you are designated to be the follow up to one of the most influential video games in history, Pokemon Silver had a lot to accomplish upon its release 18 years ago. It had to make what was great about its predecessors - catching them all - worth the time to do all over again. Silver did its job well, refining the original game’s positives and making it one of the best RPGs on the Game Boy. And although it shows signs of aging, travelling around Johto years later is still a great experience.
Taking place three years after the events of Red and Blue, Pokemon Silver casts you as a new youngster ready to venture out in the brand new Johto region and take the Pokemon League Challenge by beating the eight gym leaders. You’ll come across brand new Pokemon, each creative in its own design, with new types to play around with (Dark and Steel) as well as new moves and a revamped attack/defense system that gives you new ways to battle and strategize. The main game, which clocks in around 25-30 hours, is significantly easier to beat than the original. There’s a good reason why, however, and it’s one of the reasons why Silver is so revered among longtime Pokemon fans.
Pokemon Silver’s post-game content is incredible. Once you’ve beaten the eight gym leaders and become Pokemon League champion, you are given the opportunity to travel to the region from the original games to embark on yet another, more familiar Gym Leader challenge. In Kanto, you’ll come across familiar locales, along with a few new ones (it’s been three years, after all). Not every location from the original game is here (Cerulean Cave is blocked off, Safari Zone is closed, etc.) but it really is an amazing technological achievement to cram nearly two games worth of content into one Game Boy cartridge. And just for the record, the final battle on top of Mt. Silver is one of my favorite video game memories of all time.
It’s easy for me to look at this game with rose-colored glasses, so I have be realistic and admit there are faults to a game that’s being released as is 18 years later. The item management system, for one, still suffers from limit caps that can really bog down gameplay. You can use the PCs in the Pokemon Center to store unneeded items away, but at least twice during the game I had to completely stop what I was doing just to go to the Pokemon Center to clear my bag.
Another annoyance is that some of the best TMs like Thunderbolt, Ice Beam and Flamethrower can’t be obtained in Silver -- you have to go back to Red and Blue in order to obtain them. It’s frustrating, but what is it really annoying is that you need 2 3DS systems and 3 different game packs just to trade between one generation to another. This could be solved with a Pokemon Bank update, but as of this writing there’s no compatibility between the two (though it will be added sometime in the future).
There are signs here that Pokemon Silver doesn’t hold up as well as its later counterparts, but in the end is still a fantastic game. There’s hundreds of hours of gameplay, not just to complete the main story but capturing 250 Pokemon will also take a good chunk of time. It’ll be tough to catch ‘em all due to the aforementioned trade limitations, but regardless there’s lots of things to do in this game. If you can look past some of its more archaic features, Pokemon Silver is not just a great Pokemon game, but a fun RPG to boot.