So, if you were paying attention, Pokémon remake the second came out on Sunday. I’ve been a fan of the franchise for a while. Then again, I’m a stats fanatic and a pack rat, so something that combines collecting stuff with maxing out stuff is like perfect for me. However, something about remaking Gold/Silver as a “new” DS game rubs me the wrong way.
It’s not like they’re really copping out or anything. There was no real “story” in the first place, and I don’t sense a whole lot of strategic map planning in the games that much, so I don’t really care about that. However, what draws me to the Pokémon games is the same thing that draws me to opening packs of Magic cards even though it’s financially inefficient: the excitement of not knowing what I’ll get. I was always excited to beat a gym and get to a new area because then I’d get to see what new Pokémon I’d find, and see if one was cool enough to join my leet party.
However, I discovered this first in the FireRed/LeafGreen remakes: since the game was in the same world as the original, I had expectations. If I went to the grass in area A, I expected to be able to find Pokémon X. Finding other stuff threw off my rhythm, and I was secretly ticked off that either I couldn’t find what I wanted or I found something else that “wasn’t supposed to be there.” Of course, this is probably because I played Pokémon Red somewhere around 6 times start to finish with some hundreds, maybe even over a thousand, hours logged. I wanted a remake where the randomness stayed the same, but the features were updated. I never got far in LeafGreen; I think I’m somewhere around Lavender Town still. I bet I could pick up Red and beat it in a week or two, though, no problem. If it’s not for the reasons stated above, I’m not sure what the problem is.
Even though I actually haven’t finished it, I didn’t have the same problem with FF4DS. I played the original maybe 3-4 times through, although I only actually beat it twice. The remake was excellently done and I had a lot of fun in the time I put in. The main reason I got turned off was that the statistical difficulty was so high that I didn’t feel like putting in the time necessary to get my guys high enough level to make it through. By the way, I’m “stuck,” as it were, at Mt. Hobbs, right before you get Yang. I’ll get around to it some day.
Along the same lines, I think I would be extremely happy for a Final Fantasy 7 remake for the PS3. The elements of the game that I enjoyed aren’t easily changed, so I don’t think I would be dissatisfied with a remake. Again, with Pokémon, the new games were enjoyable because of finding out what Pokémon were found where and incorporating that into my strategy; for remakes, I don’t think of it as a “new” game, so I think I would prefer that element to stay the same between GBC and DS. I think maybe it’s that I feel cheated out of my expertise.
I tend to play RPGs for such a long time that I have a great sense of accomplishment for knowing where to find what I need. Having that taken away is frustrating. I really like to replay RPGs because I’m able to enjoy the game from the perspective of an expert. Compare it rewatching a movie: wouldn’t it be really weird if part of the movie was slightly different the second time you watched it? What about movie remakes, or book adaptations? Most people expect certain elements to be consistent between the two versions of media, and dissatisfaction with the movie typically comes from recognizing disparities.
The Fellowship of the Ring always had one huge complaint from book fans: Tom Bombadil wasn’t in it. To me, that didn’t ruin the movie. His role in the book wasn’t such an important element that his disappearance affected my enjoyment of the movie. Likewise, with the Pokémon remakes, adding the newer features (PokéGear, running shoes, etc.), adding color and animations, adding Special Defense and new moves doesn’t take away from the experience; changing things I did expect to stay the same does. Of course, this is going to vary by person, but these are at least my reasons.
Now, to be fair, I haven’t actually played HeartGold/SoulSilver, so maybe all the Pokémon locations are the same, but I just found out FF13 is supposedly a 60+ hour game, so I don’t expect to have the time to play it any time soon anyway. However, my experience from the previous remake does seriously reduce my desire to purchase this game. That and having to level Pokémon up again just seems annoying; I’m not even done with the extra areas in Diamond yet :/
However, if you, loyal reader (does such a thing exist?), decide to purchase this remake, at least you get this: