I mentioned to my wife that If our daughter was good and finished her homework, perhaps she could be allowed to open up her copy of the new Pokemon game to get started.
With that incentive, it was no surprise to find that my daughter had already gotten her first gym badge in the game and that her main Pokemon was level 14.
Of course I had to jump in immediately. My daughter has Pokemon HeartGold and I have SoulSilver, having learned the lesson about getting one copy of each back with Diamond and Pearl.
The first important choice you must make in the game is about your initial Pokemon.
You have three to choose from, Chikorita, Cydaquil, and Totodile.
These represent three basic types of Pokemon, grass, fire, and water, which is a rock, paper, scissors arrangement. Fire burns grass, water puts out fire, grass absorbs water. And, in reverse, water doesn’t do much harm to grass, fire can’t do much to water, and grass is very weak attacking fire.
Of course, things aren’t that simple over all. There are other types of Pokemon, like flying, gaseous, rock, psychic, and so on. So rather than rock, paper, scissors, the game ends up being more like rock, paper, scissors, slide hammer, toilet brush, harmonica, radial tire, pipe wrench, umbrella, and so on, each part of a complex matrix of who hurts who the most.
But initially you get the three way choice. And whatever you choose, your rival in the game, an NPC you will have to face off with repeatedly, will also end up with one of these three, the one against which your choice is weakest.
My daughter is all about the fire Pokemon, so for her the choice was easy. She went with Cyndaquil. She named it Flame.
I, on the other hand, agree with Keen in finding fire Pokemon to be, if not hard mode, at least annoying to play. I like to have one in my party to burn down any grass Pokemon. In fact, they tend to be quite powerful on offense. But they have a glass jaw against too many things.
So my choice, both to avoid a fire Pokemon and to have something different than my daughter, was Totodile which, in a flash of unique vision, I named Toto.
I had been quite successful in Pokemon Diamond with Piplup, the water Pokemon, which helped make my choice. I had gone with grass in Pokemon Platinum and had found it much less satisfying.
Choice made, I was able to catch up, somewhat, to my daughter. The first gym badge is less than two hours into the game. It is also nothing like the epic gym battle fights in Pokemon Diamond where you had to face a half a dozen followers before you got to the gym leader whose full party was quite a challenge.
Of course, having the first gym battle be a bit more manageable might be a good thing. It is more of an introduction battle than a big effort, a taste of bigger things to come. And with that first gym badge we can transfer over the Jirachis that we got from the last pre-release download event. They are level 5 and will fit in nicely.
Over all the game looks great. The graphics have been nicely updated for openers.
I have no doubt what my daughter and I will be doing this weekend.