Reviews: Pokemon Black And White

Generation V review

Generation V includes Black and White and Black 2 and White 2.

Setting: The Unova (called Isshu in Japan) region is based on America instead of a Japanese island. The theme is opposites, like the version mascots being on the color opposite to their body color.

Story: Team Plasma is trying to separate Mons and trainers so that the Mons can have better lives free of humans. A plot twist occurs later regarding their motives, but I won't spoil it. The point is that the plot is actually quite interesting this time, and it changes considerably in B 2 W 2.

Pokemon: Gen V introduced 156 new Mons, giving it the honor of the most Mons to any Gen, even beating Gen I's 151. The surge in creativity is further accentuated in BW when pre-Gen V Mons aren't available until you beat the game. There were a few stinkers (ex. Garbodor) but overall the designs were great as well as stats. However, their movepools are rather scarce to make up for the now permanent T Ms; if they were as diverse as before, it would be much easier to make a usable Mon compared to other Gens where you had to work for replacing what few T Ms are renewable.

Verdict: Gen V is seen by many as the first really outstanding game since Gen II. The innovation in the region and its Mons, the gripping story, and several new mechanics (ex. Hidden Abilities) gave many the impression that Game Freak was finally getting the creative juices flowing again. Of course, there are some negatives. The postgame of BW in particular is rather barren, and requires hours of level grinding just to be able to fight wild Mons about 10 levels higher than what you fought at the League. As noted before, the smaller movepools make many new Mons harder to use against older Mons. Finally, the Mon sprites, while now constantly moving, actually look worse than the static sprites in Gen IV. However, my complaints are few, and this Gen definitely deserves praise for revolutionizing the series.


Don't miss my Gen VI review!

Pokemon White

This review concerns the main adventure (beating up bad guys and becoming Champ). Multiplayer, contests, postgame and catching 'em all do not apply here).

So, Gen V, widely held as the best beside Gen II and Gen VI. So how does it hold up? Well this reviewer has not played Gen II and VI yet, but is a Gen Fiver, so bias steamroller alert.

First off, I like the Anti-Grinding in this game. It promotes a more balanced and strategic team instead of One Man Party. There are 2 collectible EXP share, a few Pokemon tradable to NPC, and an experience boosting item, so smart use of them can really help. Wild Pokemon are slightly weaker than local Trainers, so new members catch up quickly.

I agree that the story is the best the series has to offer, and this is why I love this Gen; however, the bar was never high to begin with. The story has the villains question the heroes' ethic concerning Pokemon, but how this conflict is resolved is a major cop out. Instead of giving strong points for the heroes' treatment of Pokemon, the story reveals the villains as hypocrites to make the heroes look good by comparison. Some good points are raised here and there, but the problem is never resolved beyond "agree to disagree." The story does not realize its full potential, but it impresses me nonetheless. N is one of the most complex characters in the series.

People criticize the design of this gen's Pokemon (as well as Gen III and IV), but I actually don't mind my mons being ugly. What Measure Is Non Cute and What Measure Is Non Badass are serious problems with the franchise and the fanbase that are rarely commented on beside some minor talk. If I have to comment, I'd say it at least does not have any black face or Mexican and Jewish stereotypes

All in all, this is my favorite gen (or first half of a gen) yet. Maybe I would review the second half later.

Fifth time's the charm, it seems

I've loved Pokemon ever since the lovably glitch-ridden Pokemon Red And Blue came out in the states. I've tolerated the many crappy new Pokemon of Pokemon Gold And Silver for the excellent gameplay and Pokemon like my two personal favorites, Scizor and Tyranitar. I've endured the tedious Surfing of Pokemon Ruby And Sapphire for the great new Pokemon designs. And I've slogged through the sluggish, bloated gameplay and many weak or terribly-designed Pokemon of Pokemon Diamond And Pearl for the increased story elements and rare gems like Gallade and Weavile. However, it felt to me Pokemon would never recapture the fun I had playing Red and Blue.

And then Black and White came out. From the moment I saw that the protagonists were teenagers instead of the usual tweens, I was ecstatic. And then I saw the new Pokemon designs - although there were a few stinkers, either design-wise or statwise, such as the resident Pikaclone Emolga, there were more than enough Badass Pokemon like Golurk, Braviary, Haxorus, Maniac Monkeys Darmanitan, Eelektross, Excadrill, and Scrafty to go around. And that's not even mentioning that they finally managed to make a cute Pokemon that wasn't annoyingly saccharine to me in the form of Joltik. The little guy's evolved form isn't half bad, either.

And then you have the setting. Unova is easily the best setting since Hoeen, and minus the annoyance of constant Surfing - hell, that brings us to one of the many improvements. The all-important gameplay.

Remember how painfully slow Diamond and Pearl was? Black and White fixes that. The battles move as fast as you can press the buttons, and best of all - hated elements like needing H Ms to progress and T Ms disappearing after they're used are no more. You only need to use Cut ONCE to progress, and T Ms are reusable FOREVER.

And the biggest improvement is the story. This is the first Pokemon game where I can say I was truly satisfied with the story. N is easily the most compelling character in the history of the franchise - and I'm not even a fan of him! And Ghetsis, well... Complete Monster is to nice a term to describe him. He's the perfect villain.

All in all, this is the best Pokemon game ever, and I'm VERY excited for Black2 and White2.

The Very Best

Pokemon Black and White are, without a doubt, the best Pokemon games in the entire franchise. Set in a fresh new region to explore, this game actually takes place in America (New York and New Jersey to be exact), making it the first handheld Pokemon game to be set outside of Japan (aside from the two Pokemon Colosseum games).

The graphics are improved and the game makes it its business to flaunt the improvements, such as the Skyarrow Bridge and the fully animated Pokemon within battles. The 150+ new Pokemon added to the game are really great and imaginative, despite some questionable ones like Vanillish and Klink, they are still powerful in their own rights. I was a bit skeptical when the game was first announced, but it really is a magnificent game.

However, two unexpected improvements which make the game even more enjoyable than any previous installment are the music and the story. In as few words as possible, the music is amazing. Anyone can tell that there was a lot of effort put into it. The tunes for each different town, city, character, & battle are gorgeous and catchy, especially the battle themes against Thundurus/Tornadus/Landorus and many of the cities, in fact, just listen to some of the songs on youtube. The story itself has never been the strong suit of the Pokemon games (again, Colosseum and XD being the exceptions) but there is no longer an Excuse Plot for condecscending non-players to make fun of. The villans are threating and their goals are frightening (and they're jerks), your friends are loyal and well developed, and HOLY CRAP is there a lot of symbolism or what?! It's also a cool idea to have 18 year old main characters so that the more hardcore players who grew up with the franchise (myself included) will appreciate not playing as a 10 year old. Because seriously, who sends a child to do this job? Juniper must be the only Pokemon Prof who has any common sense!

All in all, this is a must-buy for any Pokemon fan, and newcomers are always welcome. I'm sure I forgot some important things to mention about the game in this review, but I'll just let you play it yourself to find out. See you all in Unova.

10 out of 10

Black and White: More color than ever before!

Just when I thought Game Freak was about to release another slog-fest through the Pokémon world, they go and give us Black and White versions, and these two are by far the most groundbreaking entries in the series. The old tried-and-true mechanics are still alive and well, fire water and grass starters, eight gyms, beat the Elite Four and become the Champion. But at the same time so many things are different that it feels like a complete re-imagining of the series (which, as I heard, it was meant to be).

No old 'mons will be showing up around the Isshu region until the post-game, which is fine because this generation brought the largest number of new creatures yet! Some may criticize the design choices of many newcomers but I guarantee they will grow on you. I looked at Zuruggu and Koromori as incredibly ugly, but they soon weaseled their way into my team and my heart (quite literally with Koromori's evolution). A myriad of new and improved features awaits series veterans, such as infinite-use T Ms, wild double battles, new battle types (triple and rotational), and a whole new dimension of strategy that will be unleashed with the eventual release of Dream World Pokémon, who possess alternate abilities compared to their normal versions.

As if that weren't enough, the game itself is more polished than any before it. Despite not being fluently versed in Japanese, the dialogue and new characters are enough to tell me that the story is more than an excuse to catch critters this time. It also helps that the soundtrack is universally loved: from the incredibly catchy wild battle theme to the mysterious theme of new character N I guarantee at least one song will worm its way into your thoughts. Even the little things in battle, such as idle sprites and dynamic camera angles, are really nice touches that show the lengths that Game Freak stretched to curb the stagnation of the series.

In my honest opinion? The best Pokémon game yet. My only complaint is that I'll never get any work done if I keep playing! I will be anxiously awaiting the English release to experience the new land of Isshu all over again!