Pokemon Pearl was the first in the DS line of games, and improved upon the technology and stories set forth by the previous generation of Gameboy Advance games. It was originally released in 2007, and was my very first Pokemon game ever. It gave me a forever-interest; I'd always been intrigued by the franchise before but this game swung that interest into full special interest territory. I can admit the game has its faults looking back, but for the time (and a 9-year-old me) it was a technical marvel. This game will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Pearl brings back a lot of good that were absent from Ruby and Sapphire, such as an animated intro for each sprite in battle and the day/night system that were not very present in Ruby and Sapphire, and missing entirely from FireRed and LeafGreen. It introduced the special/physical split: this meant that instead of an attack type being determined by the move type, it was something entirely seperate. This was highly controversial at the time, but now is an accepted piece of the franchise, and this is where it began. It gave viability to many old Pokemon whose type, stats, and movepool didn't quite match up with each other. As I said, this was my first-ever Pokemon game, so imagine my surprise when I received LeafGreen a year later and this element wasn't present!
In addition to all this, Pearl introduced many fan-favorite Pokemon such as Garchomp and Lucario. It also added many new evolutions onto old Pokemon to make them more viable and useful, such as Sneasel now evolving into Weavile and Gligar now evolving into Gliscor. Pearl also featured the ability to transfer Pokemon up from the Gameboy Advance games, allowing players to bring their team up with them to a new console for the first time, as this feature was not present between the first two generations and the third.
You are a new trainer from your hometown of LittleRoot that encounters a situation that forces you to choose your first Pokemon: the fire-type Chimchar, the grass-type Turtwig, or the water-type Piplup. After this, Professor Rowan, the owner of those Pokemon, allows you to keep your choice. From there it is suggested that you take on the gym challenge, and you begin to notice a nefarious group called Team Galactic lead by one man: Cyrus. Team Galactic pops up repeatedly through your journey and it is your job to thwart their ultimate plan, which you find out is to create an entirely new world for their own sake. This would destroy your world in turn, however, so the stakes are quite high. You must defeat them to prevent the destruction of your world, all while continuing to collect gym badges and progress through the region and completing your Pokedex.