Review: Pokemon Black and White
So last week, My sister bought me a copy of Pokemon White for the Nintendo DS. I wasn’t in a hurry to buy it myself, what with the laughable looking (that was my first impression anyways) Pokemon. However, growing up Pokemon was like a drug. Basically the same experience each time, but I was always psyched for my next fix. But even 12 years later (I played Pokemon Red for the first time at age 7) it seems that I don’t need Nostalgia to satisfy my addictions, and the new Pokemon game did more than just pleasantly surprise me.
The game takes place in a completely new region called Unova. Our Hero hails from Nuvema Town, along with 2 Rivals named Bianca and Cheren. You don’t get to chose their names unfortunately.
After receiving your Pokemon from the surprisingly hot professor Juniper, your quest to catch em’ all begins…again…
(Admit it guys, you’d let her handle your pokeballs. XD)
The formula hasn’t differed much from the original games. You still have a pokedex to fill, gym leaders and Elite 4 to pummel and all while putting Team Plasma in their place. The game is more focused story and Characters than the previous ones, the gym leaders and your rivals get more dialogue and development (not saying much, considering how little there normally is.) For example, in the first game, Blue doesn’t have much personality, he’s a arrogant prick to you, and that’s what made him fun to beat. However, Cheren is a goody-good and Bianca’s an airhead. These two don’t feel like their worthy of being your rivals. However the trade off is that they are better developed, and you get to interact with them more often. Not to mention they help you rather than hinder you. They’re really no more dull than May/Brendan from R/S/E.
Team Plasma plays a much bigger role in the game, similar to Galactic in D/P/Pt. However, while Cyrus wanted to re-create the world using Legendary Pokemon, Team Plasma wants to force everyone to release their Pokemon, considering it cruel that they’re confined to Poke balls and raised to fight…Yet they use Pokemon in poke balls themselves.
Admittedly, that does make beating these self-righteous hypocrites much more satisfying. Battling hasn’t changed much. Triple battles are now an option and are a nice challenge. The only thing about them is that the Pokemon on on the right side can’t hit the enemy on the left, and vice versa. You have to think about what order to place your first 3 party members before you fight. Double and single battles are still as fun as ever, and even wild Pokemon will attack in doubles in the darker patches of grass. Battle animation has improved, the Pokemon move on screen instead of just standing completely still, not the mention the graphics for attacking are improving each game.
There are other changes that have made the game much more practical. Pokemarts and Pokemon centers are now located in the same building, and TMs (items used to teach pokemon new moves) can be used as many times as you want. There are less HMs (Moves used outside of battle to clear obstactles/Travel) however, but that can be considered an upside since they take up move space anyways. One problem I have is that the VS seeker is gone, and wasn’t replaced with any other way to re fight trainers. However, there are certain locations in the game where a decent # of trainers can be fought every day after beating the Elite four, much like the Saffron Dojo or the Survival area in previous games. You can also fight Cheren on a daily basis once you’ve beaten the Elite Four
Wild Pokemon are much higher level in this game than in previous ones. So once you’ve fought all the trainers you can a day, it’s worth your while to hit the grass. Not to mention Juniper gives you a wonderful item called a Lucky egg after the 5th gym. (Give it to a Pokemon to hold and it boosts EXP earned in battle.)
Either way, there are new towns, returning pokemon from the older games and more trainers to fight even after beating the Elite 4.
Even though the new Pokemon seemed awkward looking at first, I found they slowly grew on me. I recall one of my friends telling me she didn’t think it made sense that they keep adding new Pokemon into this universe, but I have the opposite opinion. There are billions of different animals on earth. In the world of Pokemon, it shouldn’t be that outrageous that there’s over 500, particularly if each game takes place in a different part of the world. I do wish they had at least included some of the older Pokemon in the Regional Pokedex, but you’ll just have to be patient and beat the Elite Four with the Pokemon Available.
With Legendaries though, you’d think once God has been done (Arceus) the others are just a downgrade. They still manage to make them interesting however. Zekrom and Reshiram still have a decent mythology (I’ll say nothing else at risk of ruining the story, since this game is more story driven than previous games.
If you are a nostalgia freak, remain calm. you can Migrate Pokemon from any of the DS games after beating the Elite Four. (you’ll have to migrate GBA Pokemon to another game first, then send them to black and white with another DS via wireless. Luckily, my sister has a DS so I don’t have to worry about this.) If you’re lucky enough to have a friend who’s completed that game, they can trade you any Pokemon they want, it simply won’t show up in your pokedex until after it’s upgraded to National mode.
I also like that they experimented with type combinations more (Some examples are Bug/Fire, Ghost/Ground, Electric/Flying, Dark/Ground, Bug/Electric, Ghost/Fire, Dark/Steel, Dark Dragon.)
For those who thought TL;DR: Pokemon Black/White is great contribution to the franchise. For older players, it gives us another fix and for newer players it manages to be as accessible than the older games, if not more. If you’ve ever enjoyed a Pokemon game, I can recommend this one as much as any. Overall, 8.5/10