Hardest Tussle Yet!
We have all been there, growing up as kids in the 90's and now as adults, years have been plagued with this question. Picking up your starting class in any RPG or picking up your starter pokemon is a choice that had us all spent hours upon hours, restarted the game dozens of times just to test what they do. But why is this such a hard decision? Because in those games, what you pick sticks up with you till the end. There is no way to pick up the other pokemon unless someone trades with you, and there is no way to change from one of the three starter classes to the others in an RPG. But which is the hardest choice? We will judge it based on:
A) Permanency of Choice
B) Limitation in gameplay
C) Diversity of each choice
D) Impact on story
So, without further Ado, let us BEGIN!
A choice so iconic and memorable it has spawned memes, camps and even entire arguments on the internet on which is the best starter and which ones can go fuck themselves. With every generation bringing new and interesting starter designs, those three pokemon, despite never having been anything different than the usual Fire, Water, Grass types, have been -so- important that they have often been used as key selling points. The better looking the starters are, the better the game is supposed to be. But regardless of what choice you make, the point is having fun right?
A) Permanence Of Choice: 7/10. Admittedly, if you either have friends, or two handhelds you can mange to bypass this choice with ease. All you have to do is just, trade the pokemon and you have all 3 of them. But, even if you do not do what can be considered cheating, throughout the years Nintendo has given us way to access starters from other generations or means of trading with people, so ultimately, there are options for you to acquire all 3.
B) Limitation In Gameplay: 0/10. Pokemon are wonderful in the way that, if you do not like any of the three starters, then you can just use them until you find the pokemon you love, and then just throw the starter in the box and be done with it. No matter what you choose, the gameplay is not affected one bit, as Pokemon offer a freedom to play the game the way you want to.
C) Diversity Of Each Choice: 10/10. Sure, we only get Fire, Water and Grass in each generation, but each of them are -vastly- different. With every rendition of every generation having its own weaknesses, strengths and final form dual elements, each choice feels nothing like the other.
D) Impact On Story: 5/10. Though in no part in any Pokemon you come across a moment where you starter choice affects the story whatsoever, it is true that there will come a time where the choice will have an impact, and that is "The Elite Four" and the "Legendary Pokemon" battle. Since the elite four usually orbit four main types and the legendary pokemon always has a very specific type combination, there is no denying that picking one of the starters that eventually becomes a type that counters most types of the Elite four or the Legendary, will make your life -much- easier.
Starting RPG Class
Ever since Lord Of The Rings introduced the concept of the "Adventuring Party" which was taken by Dungeons And Dragons to create the iconic "Warrior, Mage, Rogue" combination all RPG's have plagued us with a starter class choice. Usually ranging around the "Warrior/Rogue/Mage" choice, the starting class of each RPG tells as much about us as people as any psychological test would.
A) Permanence Of Choice: 3/10. Most RPG's especially the latest ones, offer a variety of ways for you to expand upon your starting class. With prestige classes, advanced classes, or even hybrid and combined classes, it is fair to say that most RPG's give the player plenty of means to customize and alter his class throughout the game.
B) Limitation In Gameplay: 8/10. Unlike Pokemon, the starting RPG class will set you on a specific path wether you like to or not. Picking a Warrior means you can tank more damage and the way you would approach problems would reflect that, on contrast, picking a Mage will offer you more versatility but will make your character weaker in terms of hitpoints, as such you would greatly alter your gameplay accordingly.
C) Diversity In Each Choice: 10/10. As mentioned above, the fact that each class will sort of "lock you" into a specific means of gameplay, means that RPG games tend to make sure that that choice matters. As such each class will have to feel unique, diverse and powerful in its own way.
D) Impact On Story: 8/10. Good RPG's will make sure that your starting choice matters. There are many examples in RPG's that selecting a starter class will make certain areas of the story easier, and others harder, while some rare ones will have your initial choice come up constantly.
And The Winner Is
Starting RPG Class
This was not an easy choice. Pokemon are an Achilles heal for me, but ultimately I cannot ignore the severity of choice RPG's give you with each class. Even if they try to spice things up with advanced classes and many talent trees, ultimately the impact it has on gameplay and story is undeniable. Where in Pokemon your starter choice ultimately impacts nothing, as you can replace the starter with any pokemon you capture that you like more, in an RPG the classes not only set you up on a different path, but in most of them give an entirely different story experience, thus making replaying them worthwhile.