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| Generation IV
| Title screen of Pokémon SoulSilver Version
The fourth generation of Pokémon games, sometimes called the 3D generation by fans due to the fact that it contains the first main series (i.e. non-spinoff) games to use 3D graphics, is the fourth set of Pokémon games released.
Like Generation II followed from Generation I, Generation IV follows from Generation III, although it is unlike Generation II in that it is not a direct sequel (Hoenn is inaccessible in all Generation IV games). Like previous generations, Generation IV focuses on one main region across three games, the Sinnoh region featured in Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum on the Nintendo DS, released in 2006 and 2008 (and 2007 and 2009 outside Japan). Also like Generation II, the Generation IV games retain much compatibility with their Generation III counterparts, though in a different manner, and introduce many new Pokémon which are related to those of the previous three generations.
Much like Generation III remade the Generation I games, the Generation II games also receive much anticipated remakes in the form of HeartGold and SoulSilver, and through details revealed in the five main games, Generation IV is thus known to be contemporaneous with Generation II, occurring three years after Generation I and Generation III. Like all generations, the handheld games are joined by several games on Nintendo's latest console, the Wii, specifically, Pokémon Battle Revolution and My Pokémon Ranch.
Advances in gameplay
Much like how Generation II enhanced Generation I mostly by building on its features, Generation IV builds on the features introduced in Generation III. The advancements introduced in Generation IV include:
- The addition of 107 new Pokémon, bringing the total to 493. New evolutions and pre-evolutions abound in this generation, including ones for long-time favorites such as Electabuzz, Magmar, and Eevee.
- The addition of 113 new moves, bringing the total to 467.
- The addition of 47 new abilities (and removal of the unused Cacophony), bringing the total to 123. Many older Pokémon can now have one of two abilities, rather than the single ability they could have in Generation III.
- Four more boxes in the Pokémon storage system, bringing the total to 18, for a total of 540 Pokémon.
- Another new region to explore, Sinnoh, yet again with its own Gym Leaders and Elite Four. Player characters are again changed.
- Four new variants of Poké Ball, retaining the seven introduced in Generation III.
- A new villainous team, Team Galactic, whose intent is to capture Dialga and Palkia, said to be the creators of the Pokémon universe, and remake it in the image of their leader, Cyrus.
- The return of the time system from Generation II, with enhanced transitions between the time periods of the day.
- A three-dimensional rendering of the overworld, rather than just sprites, with the same style seen in previous games.
- Moves are now designated physical or special based on the move itself, rather than its type.
- Pokémon are now able to be traded and battled over the internet through the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
Alterations from Generation III include:
Further additions in Platinum include:
- Another new Battle Frontier, with several different facilities than the one in Hoenn.
- Ability to record and share battles with other players and in the Battle Frontier over the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
- Sinnoh Pokédex is expanded, making the total of 210 Pokémon in the Sinnoh Pokédex.
Further additions in HeartGold and SoulSilver include:
- Main article: Sinnoh
Like Generation III, Generation IV introduces a new region disconnected from all previous ones, the Sinnoh region, found far north of Kanto. Being that it is so far north, snow can be found on its northern tip, as well as in the mountainous center of the region. Much of the western half of the region is rural, while its east is comparatively urban, in a similarity to the continental area shared by Johto and Kanto, respectively.
Though it was initially rumored that the Grass/Fire/Water setup that had been the norm for the past three generations would be replaced with a Dark/Psychic/Fighting trio, these rumors were later proven false. At the beginning of the journey, players must choose from the Grass-type Turtwig, the Fire-type Chimchar, and the Water-type Piplup to defend themselves from a wild Starly in Diamond and Pearl, or be given one of the three by Professor Rowan directly in Platinum.
Like the other three regions, Sinnoh has its own set of eight Gym Leaders. This set specializes in the same types as Gym Leaders from other regions, though not in the same order. Like always, badges and TMs are given away by defeated Gym Leaders.
- Main article: Johto
Much like Generation I's version of Kanto was featured a second time in Generation III, Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver caused Johto to be featured a second time in Generation IV.
Much as Kanto's Generation III starters were the same as in Generation I, Johto's starters have not changed. Professor Elm offers Chikorita, Cyndaquil, or Totodile to the player as protection on an errand to Mr. Pokémon's house on Route 30.
As would be expected, Johto's Gym Leaders are the same as before, but many give out different TMs than they gave out in Generation II.
- Main article: Kanto
In its fourth appearance, Kanto returns in HeartGold and SoulSilver much in the same way as it did in Generation II (as a post-League area).
Kanto's Gym Leaders are the same as in the original Gold and Silver, changing slightly from the group who were there in Generation I and Generation III. All Kanto Gym Leaders give TMs, unlike in Generation II.
Other Generation IV games
Pokémon Battle Revolution features a Pokémon Stadium-like arena for battle, allowing Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, and SoulSilver to link to it through wireless communications between the Nintendo DS and Wii, much like previous generations' games would link to Colosseum, XD, Stadium, and Stadium 2. Battle Revolution also features online battles with players around the world via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
My Pokémon Ranch lets players of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl deposit their Pokémon, via wireless communication, to a ranch owned by Hayley, who will also bring Pokémon to the ranch. Players can interact with up to 1,000 of their deposited Pokémon. An update for this game enables support for Platinum, as well as allowing storage for 500 more Pokémon, however, it was not released to players outside Japan, while players of HeartGold and SoulSilver cannot connect with the game at all.
Discussion of Generation IV
Sinnoh thematic motif
The theme of this generation is history of the universe and myths and legends. The three starters evolutions have more references to myths and legends, for example Torterra is based on the legend of world turtle, Empoleon has references to the god Poseidon and Infernape is based on Sun Wukong. This also reflects on its legendary Pokémon as Arceus is the literal creator of the universe and created the rulers of time, space and anti-matter who are Dialga, Palkia and Giratina respectively. All three of them are involved in Sinnoh myths, as are Uxie, Azelf and Mesprit: the embodiments of knowledge, willpower and emotions.
Some standard Pokémon are also connected to myths and legends, such as Drifloon and Drifblim that in folklore are said to rake children and people to the spirit world and Spiritomb who is said to be made up of 108 spirits.
Some towns still preserve their history and myths. Celestic Town is said to be there since the beginning of Sinnoh and has a shrine that dates back to ancient times, as well as a cave painting. Some other examples are the Solaceon Ruins, which contain Unown and is said to be as old as the ruins of Johto; the Snowpoint Temple, which was created long ago to contain Regigigas; Eterna City, which contains a statue of Dialga/Palkia; Floaroma Town, which was said to be a wasteland long ago but then was transformed into a beautiful landscape by Shaymin; Mt. Coronet; and Spear Pillar. Canalave City houses the first Pokémon library which transcribes many of the legends of the region. Sinnoh was meant to establish the origin of the Pokémon universe and be more mysterious and historic than other generations.
- Every player character in all Generation IV games has a Wii in his/her room, referencing its status as the current Nintendo console during the generation. This is in contrast with Generation III, in which player characters in Hoenn had a Nintendo GameCube, while player characters in Kanto had a NES.
- Generation IV is the only generation that is compatible with the generations before and after it, as it can connect to Generation III games through Pal Park and Generation V games with the PokéShifter.
- Generation IV is the first generation where level 1 Pokémon are obtainable.
- Generation IV is the longest Pokémon generation in at least Japan, falling only 10 days short of being four years long.
- Generation IV has the most forme changing Legendary Pokémon.