Review: Pokémon Black/White
I’ve been playing the Pokémon games since the Game Boy Color days. I didn’t know anything about it until my cousin was talking about it. It sounded stupid, yet interesting. Sure enough, I ended up wasting quite a few batteries playing this game. Pokémon is basically built for children. The game isn’t that difficult. There’s not a lot of moves. It’s turn-based. But it holds it’s charm and has such an addictive mechanism for children (and adults), that South Park did a great parody of it in the 90’s. But enough about the past. The 5th generation of these abused creatures is back, and this time, it’s almost the same exact thing!
Which is a good thing, if you ask me. Just to give some gameplay background of the series, Pokémon adventures start out with a professor of the island you live at asking you questions, you picking one of three rare Pokémon (grass, fire, water), you leaving your mom – dad’s M.I.A. – behind to become a trainer, and then heading out to collect Pokémon data on a device called a Pokédex. The Pokédex is a sort of encyclopedia, giving you information on seen Pokémon and then more information after you capture them. Capturing a Pokémon requires you throwing a Pokéball at a creature during battle, and locking it into place. It’s sort of like how the Ghostbusters do it, only faster and less messy. During your collecting, you also go on various side quest for people, battle other trainers, and train yourself to beat all of the Pokémon Gym masters (just think of them as bosses). This is essentially the series in a nut shell. So why is there five generations of the same style game? It might be because Nintendo doesn’t need to fix what isn’t broken.
Pokémon Black/White is a bit different than most of the other games, at least in it’s story. Team Rocket, the bad guys of the previous games, are no longer the bad guys. Instead, Team Plasma are the new bad guys, and they’re a bit more realistic than the previous villains. Team Plasma closely resembles the animal rights activist we have in every country. They’re just a bit more extreme in some manners. They feel Pokémon are mistreated and should be set free. You’ll get this message pushed at you during the entire game. Nintendo did a great job at making me hate their guts, because they were extremely annoying when they popped up. I missed Team Rocket when I played, but these guys feel more like true bad guys than Team Rocket ever dreamed of being.
The new visuals of the game are top notch to the series. It’s great seeing the cities come to life when you walk through them, but it still doesn’t change much to the game. If you’re really wondering about the newest changes to the game, aside from the Pokémon , look no further than the way the game is a bit more fast-paced. The tweaks they did to the game really shine, as they just make the game feel a lot more fluid than before. Along with that is the more annoying features of the series has left, and hopefully for good. TMs are no longer used up like before. This is one of the more annoying things about the old game, as sometimes it’s just a hard choice to make on how to use these moves.
If you’ve never played the series before, this isn’t a bad start at all, but you may want to get familiar with the previous installments before getting Black/White, if anything just for the story. The game is so well defined in it’s own way that going back afterwards is kind of hard. Trust me, I’m playing through HeartGold again, a game I loved, and there’s several little things that make the game feel old. Real old. But if you want a solid experience with online support, this is the game to get. A top of the line title from Nintendo, once again.
Reviewed on the Nintendo DS.