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| Generation IV
| Title screen of Pokémon HeartGold 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 received 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 real-time and days of the week 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. There is also now the category of status that includes moves that do not do direct damage such as Toxic, Recover, and Destiny Bond.
- Pokémon are now able to be traded and battled over the Internet through the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
- When items are bought and sold, the item's proper plural is used, rather than a conditional (s). In past generations, the conditional (s) rendered selling some items, like the Silk Scarf or DeepSeaTooth, odd, with "SILK SCARF(S)" and "DEEPSEATOOTH(S)" used regardless of if one or many were sold. Selling one of these items now renders as "Turned over the DeepSeaTooth and received 100," while selling multiple renders as "Turned over the DeepSeaTeeth and received 200."
Alterations from Generation III include
- New and enhanced versions of Pokémon Contests, featuring more rounds and a different appeals process. Poffins are now used to enhance Contest stats, rather than Pokéblocks.
- Secret bases have been moved to the The Underground, where players can interact over local wireless connections.
- Some Pokémon now display differences in appearance based on their gender.
- The framerate has been downgraded to 30. This is likely to prevent slowdown or crashing in 3D areas.
- Players are now able to run inside all buildings.
- Pokémon hatching from Eggs are now level 1 instead of level 5.
Further additions in Platinum include
- Another new Battle Frontier, with several different facilities from the one in Hoenn.
- The ability to record and share battles with other players and in the Battle Frontier over the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
- The expansion of the Sinnoh Pokédex, making the total of 150 (in Diamond and Pearl) and 210 (in Platinum) 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. Southern area of Sinnoh is lush and green with big cities and small towns.
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 four 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
The Physical-Special split introduced in Generation IV as well as the introduction of powerful items such as the Choice Scarf, Choice Specs, and Life Orb made competitive battling far more advanced and popular. This was also increased due to the GTS increasing the chance of finding a Pokémon with Pokérus and EV enhancing items for a specific stat being introduced also made it far easier to EV train a Pokémon, which added another dimension to competitive battling as EV training is no longer as painstaking as it was before. Due to these additions this generation is widely praised by competitive battlers. The GTS also paved the way for the Masuda method through the transaction of foreign Pokémon, and this in addition to the Poké Radar made it far easier to acquire Shiny Pokémon.
After Diamond and Pearl, Platinum continued improving the series, adding a new Battle Frontier, as well as introducing many new additions to the games (such as VS sprites and animated battle sprites for certain important NPCs, such as Gym Leaders and Rival). Platinum is also an important part of the series' continuity, as the storyline of the game is referenced in Pokémon Black and White, showing where Generation V is placed on the timeline. The overall generation introduced many characters, some of whom play notable roles during the following generation. HeartGold and SoulSilver brought older and newer players back to the Johto region with improved graphics and sound and other additions to the storyline and characters.
Sinnoh thematic motif
The theme of this generation is history of the universe, and myths and legends. The three starters' evolutions have references to myths and legends in themselves-- 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 take children and people to the Underworld 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 present 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 the 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. In Generation III, however, while Brendan and May have Nintendo GameCubes in their rooms, Red and Leaf have a NES, and Red in Generation I has a Super Nintendo.
- 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 Poké Transfer.
- Generation IV is the first generation where level 1 Pokémon are legally obtainable, outside of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series.
- Generation IV is, so far, the only generation to have all its games released in the spring in North America and in the fall in Japan.
- Generation IV is the longest Pokémon generation in Japan, falling only 10 days short of being four years long.
- Generation IV introduced the largest number of evolutions for Pokémon of previous generations.
- Generation IV introduced the largest number of legendary Pokémon, with 14*. Prior to the introduction of new forms for legendary Pokémon in Black 2 and White 2, Generation IV introduced the most form-changing legendary Pokémon, with 3.