As far as Nintendo is concerned with Pokemon, just let the little critters work their magic. Pokemon has always favored little tweaks instead of major overhauls, and this remake of the original Gold and Silver games continues the tradition. Haters will accuse Nintendo of rehashing previous entries ad nauseum, so what about SS/HG stands out and makes this the Legendary one of the bunch?
Revamped Pokemon storage system
Seeing as the franchise has ballooned out to encompass nearly 500 Pokemon, major overhauls to the storage system (Bill’s PC to the initiated) have been long overdue. HG&SS offer a bunch of tweaks including the drag and drop with the DS stylus, an idea so good you’ll never be able to go back to the old system of individually selecting a Pokemon, choosing a box, switching the selected box, placing the Pokemon in the box. It’s annoying just thinking about it.
Walking the Pokemon
Just like in Pokemon Yellow, trainers will have the ability to have their favorite Pokemon follow them around in HG/SS. Dropping a Pokemon in the first spot of your lineup will free it from the confines of its ball, allowing it to trail behind you. No word yet on a Pokescooper. The Pokemon will also gain big happiness bonuses from following the player around, useful for contests, special moves like Return and Frustration, and of course evolving certain types of Pokemon. The player can now directly examine the Pokemon which can provide insight into its mood, or just a wacky response like gnawing on your shoes. All 493 Pokemon can follow the trainer now, though it’s still a mystery as to how a 47 foot tall Wailord can fit into buildings and walk comfortably on dry land all day.
One of the clunkiest aspects of Pokemon that’s long since worn out its welcome is the menu system. Despite the fact this is the third DS game, none of them have fully utilized the stylus for the menus. Even in Platinum players still had to press a button, scroll to the option they wanted with the d-pad, and then, if they were lucky, navigate a menu with the stylus. Fortunately the bottom screen now allows access to the player’s bag, Pokedex, Pokemon and more with a single tap. Given all the item and Pokemon management you’ll be busy with, this minor tweak feels like a godsend.
Another irksome frustration that’s needed fixing for some time was constantly having to switch your hot key items. Switching from your bike to your fishing rod, to your Pokeradar and back again gets old fast. HG&SS finally wise up and give the player two key item buttons, allowing you to have your bike and fishing rod (or any other usable item) programmed to two separate buttons instead of having to constantly cycle the key items back and forth through the menu. Another minor change, but one that players have been wanting for years.