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Thread: Shift in flavor between Gens III and IV?

  1. #1
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    Default Shift in flavor between Gens III and IV?

    Well, this has been on my mind for a while, but I can't place a finger on what it really is about Gens I-III that give off a different vibe from IV and onward. Somehow, Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald give off more similar vibes to Red, Blue, and Yellow, than to Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum, despite the former being one generation further apart than the latter.

    In any case, here are a bunch of songs and between all four generations, and see if anyone can determine anything from listening:

    Hometowns:

    Pallet Town
    New Bark Town
    Littleroot Town

    Twinleaf Town

    Professor's labs:

    Oak
    Elm
    Birch

    Rowan

    Initial routes:

    Routes 1 and 2
    Route 29
    Routes 101-103

    Routes 201 and 202

    Underground:

    Mt. Moon, Rock Tunnel, Victory Road
    Union Cave, Ruins of Alph, etc.
    Petalburg Woods, etc.

    Mt. Coronet

    Biking:

    Red/Blue/Yellow
    Gold/Silver/Crystal
    Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald

    Diamond/Pearl/Platinum

    Surfing:

    RBY
    GSC
    RSE

    DPP

    Perhaps it's that everything prior to gen IV sounds more modest. Really, that would make sense, given how everything from GSC was upgraded not only in audio quality, but to sound more "epic" for HGSS (something that wasn't done with anything for FRLG), in order to line up with DPP.

    Anyone got their own thoughts on that?

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    I think it all just depends on personal experience tbh. For me Gen 3 & 4 feel more similar to each other than they do to 1 & 2. Gen 3 is the one where it all started changing imo.
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    Gen I and III do take place in the same time period, so that might explain their similarity and the difference to Gen IV(which takes place three years later)
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    Honestly every region has had a unique feel to me with its music. I personally can't see Hoenn having a strong connection with any of the other generations going by how it sounds, because it's so different. And it's the same for other regions too.
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    I really think that this is more an issue of progression in technology. The DS was capable of so much more than the Gameboy line in general, and that allowed them to reimagine the series in several ways - I think that even extends to the aesthetic and atmosphere. Pokemon was suddenly able to become a more serious franchise, with deeper story content and more complex mechanics (note things such as the physical/special split that occurred in Gen IV). Things definitely feel different making the leap from Emerald to Diamond and Pearl, but it's more a function of the tech enabling changes to the execution of the IP.

    I think that there's also a sense of mystery and wonder to certain Gen III and prior things that was lost with that transition, too, but that's also just because they were more able to flesh out the world of the games so much with advancement in tech. This is a silly and trivial example, but I always think of simple things like the Starf Berry, this unobtainable item described as being "it was abandoned at the world's edge;" or Faraway Island, so distant from the main regions and only home to one Pokemon; or Mirage Island and how rarely it appears, and how it's the only natural habitat for Wynaut; or even several different aspects of the Sevii Islands. There's tons more I could list, but what I'm trying to get at is that these things weren't explored or explained as deeply before technology allowed the franchise to go deeper.

    Additionally, a bit of a resurgence of the franchise's popularity kind of propelled the series into a greater digital and online presence, which contributed to increased communication between creators and consumers. The "meta" of the series became more important, and thus the tone shifted with that.

    I'm rambling now and I think I'll just stop.
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    Nah, 3rd to 4th didn't really change a whole lot. If anything, I would divide the series into three eras:

    I. Basic Era (1st - 2nd gen)

    The earlier games were fairly straightforward experiences, you were a kid going out on an adventure to challenge the Pokemon League to become the best trainer and complete the Pokedex. Not much more than that. The storyline and extra features were fairly minimal at this point, these games simply laid the groundwork for the series.

    II. Adventure Era (3rd - 4th gen)

    These two generations really focused on scale, we started seeing deeper gameplay mechanics, vast regions, deep storylines, and tons of extra content from these games. The games started getting more fleshed out here.

    III. Casual Era (5th gen - Present)

    It was around here that Game Freak decided to focus on a casual audience and ended up simplifying the games so they could be played in shorter bursts, inspired by complaints behind Sinnoh's region design and the growth of the mobile market. Region design became more linear, difficulty decreased, and we started seeing less content from these games.

    3rd and 5th gen were really the biggest changes in philosophy for the series. 3rd gen because the series was continuing longer than it was originally intended (it was supposed to end with GSC) and 5th gen because of the emergence of the casual market. I don't really see the jump between 3rd to 4th, or at least not compared to 3rd and 5th.
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    Really, that would make sense, given how everything from GSC was upgraded not only in audio quality, but to sound more "epic" for HGSS (something that wasn't done with anything for FRLG)
    FRLG definitely had audio updates for route music - I guess whether it makes the tunes more 'epic' or not is dependent on personal perception, but for me Gen 3 Route 3 is the most epic piece in the entire franchise.

    In terms of wider musical trends, I actually feel that later gens possess less personality than older ones, largely due to the tech advances discussed above. I'd argue that older games benefit from shorter, more simplistic tunes that lend clear definition to the tone of a given location, and are certainly more memorable. Later games boast longer, more subtle pieces with plenty of mild flourishes that, while perfectly pleasant, are nowhere near as effective at setting the mood as the crisp bleats of Gens 1 and 2.

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    I think it all just depends on personal experience

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bolt the Cat View Post
    Nah, 3rd to 4th didn't really change a whole lot. If anything, I would divide the series into three eras:

    I. Basic Era (1st - 2nd gen)

    The earlier games were fairly straightforward experiences, you were a kid going out on an adventure to challenge the Pokemon League to become the best trainer and complete the Pokedex. Not much more than that. The storyline and extra features were fairly minimal at this point, these games simply laid the groundwork for the series.

    II. Adventure Era (3rd - 4th gen)

    These two generations really focused on scale, we started seeing deeper gameplay mechanics, vast regions, deep storylines, and tons of extra content from these games. The games started getting more fleshed out here.

    III. Casual Era (5th gen - Present)

    It was around here that Game Freak decided to focus on a casual audience and ended up simplifying the games so they could be played in shorter bursts, inspired by complaints behind Sinnoh's region design and the growth of the mobile market. Region design became more linear, difficulty decreased, and we started seeing less content from these games.

    3rd and 5th gen were really the biggest changes in philosophy for the series. 3rd gen because the series was continuing longer than it was originally intended (it was supposed to end with GSC) and 5th gen because of the emergence of the casual market. I don't really see the jump between 3rd to 4th, or at least not compared to 3rd and 5th.
    To be fair half of the Sinnoh map is a mountain and the game was very slow paced.
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    As a person who has played since the very beginning, I can't really agree. I feel like the vibe definitely changed with R/S/E. That's not to say that it was necessarily bad, but I definitely feel like it was R/S/E where it changed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ((JAWS)) View Post
    To be fair half of the Sinnoh map is a mountain and the game was very slow paced.
    Kind of, but 5th gen was an overcorrection to the problem. Sinnoh's main issue was that it went overboard with HMs and wasn't really intuitive on where to go all of the time (even I had trouble with one section where you needed to explore Lost Tower to get Strength, but the only hint that you needed to do so was from some random NPC in Hearthome that you could easily miss). Outright killing the region design was a completely unnecessary measure to address those issues and really took away some of the appeal of this series.
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    I did personally not notice a huge shift in flavor between Gen 3 and 4 specifically. While I can notice that things have changed in the series between most if not all generations, I don't feel like the differences between Gen 3 & 4 stand out above the others. Here are the general impressions I got from all generations and how they compare to the previous generation:

    Gen 1 felt very basic which is expected as it was the starting generation. They were trying to see if the Pokemon concept could work, and it did! The games didn't have much in terms of post-game or content but the gameplay was solid enough for its time. The third version in terms of Yellow didn't do things a whole lot differently compared to the first pair, but as said, they were just starting out.

    Gen 2 felt very much like an expansion pack to Gen 1. New Pokemon, but the main focus was still on the old Pokemon. Several of the new Pokemon were also related to the old ones. I felt that the games improved upon Gen 1 in terms of content, features, mechanics, physics, graphics as well as being less glitchy, but the overall gameplay wasn't as solid as in Gen 1. Crystal took the concept of a third version to a higher level than Yellow but there was still a long way to go.

    Gen 3 was more of a reboot. Now that Pokemon was successful, they could afford to take some risks as the games would still sell like crazy. Which they did. The focus this time around was mostly on the new Pokemon, not all old Pokemon were available from the start. Connection with the older generations had been cut off which made many fans angry at first but allowed the games to expand on a technical level. This generation also brought FR/LG which allowed players to revisit the original games in an updated version that also fixed several problems with the original games. Emerald then took the concept of a third version even further than Crystal in terms of story changes as well as new features and content.

    Gen 4 is hard to describe. I get the feeling that they wanted to recreate the original feeling of the first Pokemon games with D/P, but without really succeeding. They didn't showcase all of the new Pokemon during the main game, but they had a lot of content for a first pair. They also improved upon past games in terms of battle mechanics. Platinum then fixed most of the mistakes with D/P as well as continuing in the tracks of Emerald, being another great third version. Fans of the older generations then got to revisit both Kanto and Johto which had been updated in HG/SS.

    Gen 5 aimed for another reboot, with only new Pokemon before you had beaten the main game and more new Pokemon than any previous generation! They also had a lot of content just like D/P and had a bigger focus on story and characters than previous generations. They then continued with B2/W2 - sequels instead of a third version, something we hadn't seen them do before (and not afterwards either, so far). These games had a completely new story set after the events of B/W, not to mention a ton of content, the most in the entire series to date. This generation didn't introduce any new major game mechanics, it just focused on improving the games as much as possible in terms of gameplay and content. And that is honestly something I personally value higher than introducing any new major mechanic.

    Gen 6 was the series 3D debut, it had less new Pokemon than before but introduced some major new mechanics with the Fairy-type and Mega Evolution. Sadly, X/Y were a step down in terms of content compared to B/W and D/P. Hoenn fans also got their long-awaited remake in terms of OR/AS. There wasn't a third version or sequel this time around though, which I personally feel is a shame as that is one thing this generation really would have benefitted from.

    Gen 7 really tried to change things at their very core, with the Gyms being removed and the trials taking their place. New mechanics in forms of Z-moves and Alola forms were also introduced. Still, there isn't a whole lot of content in these games either. It is hard to say something about this generation on the whole at this moment since it hasn't ended, we'll have to see what US/UM brings to the table.

    ...just some short thoughts on each generation so far.

    As for the music, which is what the first post really asks for, I'm not sure. I guess there might be some major differences in terms of music between some, most or even all generations, but that's nothing I have ever thought about. I like most of the music in the games and I never reflected on the music being different from one generation to the next. I guess you could make a very deep analysis of the music in the games, but I'm not the right person to do that.

    Anyway, in terms of flavor shifts between the generations. For me personally, I think there biggest flavor shifts happened in Gen 3 and Gen 6.

    Gen 3 was vastly different compared to Gen 1 & 2, it felt a bit weird at first but I eventually got used to it and came to prefer it over the previous generations.

    Gen 6 was the start of something new for the games. Starting with this generation, they have been putting a higher focus on fan pandering as well as having less content than previously. Which I'm not super happy about, even if I still like the new games a lot. As for Gen 7, despite everything Sun and Moon try to do differently, they only managed to feel like a second X/Y to me. Which is weird, but that's the way I feel. I think this was because of the fan pandering to Kanto, the low number of new Pokemon, the low amount of content and the removal of many useful features that the previous generation had. All of those were things X/Y also did. I still like S/M though, and I like X/Y as well. I have high hopes for US/UM but not as high expectations since I don't want to be disappointed.

    Overall, Pokemon have changed a lot during the years, but it is still largely the same on the whole. I have found most of the games enjoyable despite their differences and similarities.
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    Tbh I prefer linear maps like Unova, it was refreshing to go through big cities and deserts without having to use an HM every two seconds.

    The problem with Unova was that it was linear and the Pokemon designs sucked. B2W2 truly saved that generation.

    Each to his own I guess, you could say Hoenn was a decent balance though, just too much water IMO
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    Quote Originally Posted by ((JAWS)) View Post
    Tbh I prefer linear maps like Unova, it was refreshing to go through big cities and deserts without having to use an HM every two seconds.

    The problem with Unova was that it was linear and the Pokemon designs sucked. B2W2 truly saved that generation.

    Each to his own I guess, you could say Hoenn was a decent balance though, just too much water IMO
    >I prefer linear maps
    >The problem with Unova was that it was linear

    Um.... yeah.
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    For me it felt like that Gens 3 and 4 were very similar in several sorts of ways. The battle sprite animations were very similar (the only Gen 3 game that had sprite animations was Emerald) for both front sprites and back sprites. The battle interface was very similar (minus the touchscreen) particularly with the backgrounds. At last, I felt a similar challenge when playing games from these two gens (lack of Audino-like grinding in Gen 5 and the broken EXP Share that was in place since Gen 6).

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    Kanto and Johto have always seemed so linear to me, like two parts of a whole. So when I experienced Hoenn, I didn't like the shift since the region's layout seemed bizarre.

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    The addition of online play is what separated gens 3 and 4 the most to me, of course with that gone now they feel more similar (with only a couple big differences like the physical/special split, dual screens and the slight 3D graphics.

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    Gens that feel similar to me are I & II, III & IV, and VI & VII. Gen V is on its own mainly because of how different the main story in all four games played out and GF did more in those games than the rest of the series such as version exclusive areas, level difficulty settings, and seasonal changes.
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    Ah, yes, this is something I, myself, have been noticing A LOT (i don't think i need to listen to the music to determine it farther :P).

    Kanto/Johto/Hoenn feel like almost a COMPLETELY different franchise to me than the later four regions. Its amazing. In fact, even with my crush on Korrina, I have a hard time feeling that she's a pokemon character sometimes (maybe even a lot of the time?) XD; Cuz the new stuff just feels soooo different to me than the old stuff.

    Neat someone else pointed this out that wasn't me. I admit; I kind of thought i was going a bit crazy with this xD; Even though I really did feel it rather strongly....
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    Quote Originally Posted by McKnight View Post
    Well, this has been on my mind for a while, but I can't place a finger on what it really is about Gens I-III that give off a different vibe from IV and onward.
    To me it felt as if Generations 1 through 4 were more connected to each other since the first four regions were based on geographical regions in Japan, then Generation 5 came along and things didn't feel the same to me. I think of Generations 1-4 as the franchise's first phase, while Generations 5-7 seem like a whole separate era to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhart View Post
    To me it felt as if Generations 1 through 4 were more connected to each other since the first four regions were based on geographical regions in Japan, then Generation 5 came along and things didn't feel the same to me. I think of Generations 1-4 as the franchise's first phase, while Generations 5-7 seem like a whole separate era to me.
    Agreed.

    However, I can see the OP's point as well. I think the first big difference is that shift from GBA consoles to the DS, and in terms of music this meant it sounded a lot less bit-like. The pace of the games was also slowed in Gen IV while the difficulty was increased (which is the source of a lot of people's frustration towards the games).

    Those are the technical differences. Otherwise, I think the aesthetic is also different: in Hoenn you spend a lot more time on the water, while in Sinnoh you don't surf very much and there's no underwater sequences. The region is much more terrestrial and the big focus is instead on Mt Coronet, which bisects the region. You don't have anything like that in Hoenn, although there is still the west-east progression.

    The tone in Sinnoh can also be a lot darker, with the Old Chateau and all the places that share its music. In fact, I think the music in general is darker and more foreboding in Sinnoh, whereas in Hoenn it's a lot more cheerful. Just compare the Victory Road themes. The only time in Hoenn where the music even comes close to dark to me would be the cave themes, and even then, they're one-upped by the dark undertone of Sinnoh's cave themes (Oreburgh Gate/Mt Coronet interior especially, but also Oreburgh Mine/Iron Island).
    Last edited by The Living Daylights; 24th September 2017 at 1:53 AM.

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