The original Pokémon games for the Game Boy and Game Boy Color literally took the video game markets by storm, and have left a significant impression on he populace. As popular as the games were, and as much demand as there was for a continuation, a lot of the demand was to fix the plethora of issues that plagued the original game. Nintendo's answer to the various requests was the second generation: Pokémon Silver, and Pokémon Gold (later accompanied by Pokémon Crystal in the same way Pokémon Yellow did in the first generation).
Now Pokémon Silver and Gold are nearly identical, with the only differences being very minor wild Pokémon placements and a few minor text differences. Thus, if someone has played Pokémon Silver, then they also played this game, so they can judge accordingly. However, if looking for additional information on Silver, then the following information is also applicable. Pokémon Crystal is generally recommended for second generation Pokémon, but if between Silver or Gold, then the differences are minuet.
The first notable upgrade is on the visual level. Overall, they are more colorful than the original trilogy, and a lot of the textures are more detailed in general. Since it did come later, and the coding oriented around the Game Boy Color rather than the original Game Boy (though the coding is largely similar). It is very subjective whether or not the visuals are superior to the first generation, but they are more colorful, and more complete. One thing that has been lost from Pokémon Yellow was that all the towns got the same general hue now, whereas in yellow different areas had different lens colorization, which would have been an interesting option as now there is more of a sense of repetition than yellow. However, animations of attacks are more fluent (for good reason) and the sprites are more colorful, if a bit monotonous. That's this game's biggest problem visually: at times, the visuals are not unique enough for different areas, and as this is the second generation one would expect things to be less so. Otherwise, the visuals can actually rival many Game Boy Advance titles, including "The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past" as far as detail goes.
On the Auditory level, the music is high calibre for the Game Boy Color. Most of the songs follow similar styles to the first generation, and for good reason. However, what has been improved off was the placement of audio, and how it transitions from area to area. For example, there are a few spots in the game it goes silent before an epic battle, and this more effective than a steady beat the whole time then slightly speeding it up. The audio chosen for each Pokémon, each action, and each area with care, and it shows. However, like all video game soundtracks, it is immensely subjective, and may be a bit too upbeat for some people (with the exception of a few scattered tracks).
The story line picks up approximately three years after the first generation in the Johto Region, which neighbors Kanto, with a new trainer in a small town similar to Pallet town. This is actually a fairly strong way to continue their adventures and keep the original spirit and charm as there could be continuations from kanto. In all Actuality...there are continuations from certain aspects of the Kanto story line, but it is still left relatively vague which means it retains the same advantages and disadvantages the original generation contained: you can build your own story how you want, but people looking for a pre-destined detailed story will be somewhat disappointed. What storyline aspects there are, however, are well put together and should satisfy the average fan.
The core game-play remains primarily the same as earlier games: gain a starter Pokémon, build a team and work your way through the gyms. The concept of capturing Pokémon in the wild, and building a team of Pokémon is still there, the movement between places are still the same, and the style is virtually identical. The single biggest difference between the game play is more to do with layout of the various text-based systems from the first generations and making them more user-friendly. For instance, TMs and HMs now has the number AND the name given on the spot, which is a huge advantage over the previous TM system. As well, the inventory has been improved to have separate "pockets" where different types of items can be stored. This not only helps resolve the clutter from the original inventory, but also immensely helps increase overall storage by several fold. Whereas one would have their home computer cluttered, it is possible to go the entire game without using it once as TMs and special "quest" items will no longer take up the entire inventory. The PC, speaking of which, had some minor improvements as well as there is now a limited visual feedback provided, yet one minor disappointing factor is that there isn't more space considering the influx of new Pokémon.
Yet in many ways that is simply visual enhancements, so what actually impacts the core game play? The first, noticeable difference is that there is now a day/night cycle based on the real world clocks, and actual seven-day weeks. This has a major impact on what Pokémon can be caught (certain ones can only come out at certain times of day as well as in certain areas) and what can be used. For instance, one form of transportation can only be used on two specific days and only once on those days.
The obvious inclusions of a plethora of new Pokémon and techniques are evident as soon as the game starts. The starter Pokémon follows the tradition that was to be set in the first generation and offer a grass, fire and water Pokémon. This is a good tradition because it offers a limited replay value in trying to beat the game with wildly different teams on different difficulty levels (the starter will determine the difficulty based on gym leaders, building the rest of a balanced team, etc). There is a lot more flexibility for building a late-game team, but early in the game is heavily limited (much like in its predecessors). Certain moves has been nerfed or boosted in power based on necessity, such as wrap (which given to a fast Pokémon was overpowered) which has been a welcome change. The biggest change in how the moves and Pokémon are presented is that there is now a way to delete HMs. Yes, a move deleter who will remove HMs free now exists, and immensely helps make the game less frustrating.
In some respects, the game is easier than the first generation counterparts, but it is also harder at the same time. It is easier in that the average levels of trainer’s Pokémon are lower and less base power is necessary. It is harder in the respect that the player much be prepared for a much wider range of potential attacks and strategies, especially on a first play through. Overall, though, it isn’t a hard game to pick up and play but a bit difficult to truly master every single minuet detail.
This game do contain two of the same flaws as it’s predecessors: trading and repetition. Like the previous titles, trading is an absolute necessity to acquire certain Pokémon whether because they are game specific or because they are some of those that requires a trade to reach their final form. This is exceptionally frustrating for people who do not have a friend willing to trade with them frequently or multiple systems and games from the generation. One major upgrade with the trade system, though, is the inclusion of a means to trade with the previous generation. That is right: it is now possible to trade with the older games in the series. How is this possible? Apparently, the developers decided to defenestrate the laws of physics, and create a time machine. The player can trade or battle their “elders” but the catch is no Pokémon or moves that are indigenous to the second generation can be brought into the room. Imagine a HO-OH at the elite four in Pokémon Yellow. Regardless, it is interesting how the developers took the time to make this addition but left the problem for solo gamers.
The other “problem” that still rings true is repetition. The game play stays largely the same throughout, and while there is a lot more to do it does not help quench the repetitive nature of training. The environments, especially early in the game, will blend a lot and it will give off a feeling of saying one is going on an adventure but in reality walks across their garden. This depends on the player’’s definition of an adventure, of course, and the game is legitimately large for what it is. Whether or not it is truly “repetitive” is a matter of opinion, but in many ways it is more of the same. If that’s bad or not depends heavily on the player.
Amidst these words, what is the final verdict? If looking at a second-generation Pokémon game, then crystal is usually the first recommendation closely followed by silver or gold tied dead even. Yet is going to the second generation even worthwhile? If a fan of turn based strategy games and/or other Pokémon games, then yes, it is well worth it. In some ways, it is the dividing line between the old and the new for Pokémon, and is worth looking at just to see the transition between Generations one and three. As a standalone game, it is an excellent single player game, but the full experience will be lost without friends to play with. In the end, one's Pokémon's adventure will only end when the trainer hangs up their poke balls for the last time, and it does not have to end with Pokémon Gold.