Title: Pokemon White/Black Version
Platform: Nintendo DS
Date Released: 6 March 2011
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
I might be too late doing this review for Pokemon White (and Black, they’re almost the same anyway) which was released since early March. Well, I just finished the game the other night (August 1) and played its majority since a week and a half ago, even though I got the game as soon as it was released. A couple of actually absurd reasons made this delay: (1) I was waiting for Smogon‘s release of the movesets and tiers of the new Pokemon in the game as well as the updated movesets and tiers of the old ones for this new generation and (2) I was just wanting to be competitive, raising Pokes up to level 100 for competitive battling.
It was only last week when I finally played the game again because I was bored of school stuff. Since then, I have been regretting delaying my Black and White gaming experience.
Pokemon Black and White were intended to provide the latest spark in the Pokemon games series. They were created not only to be a continuation of the long running series but also to make the impression that Pokemon games are not just games for fun or leisure but in fact games with creativity, inspiration, and emotion. They were created as new, meaning the most unique and special Pokemon games there have been. Hence, 156 new Pokemon were introduced in this generation, the largest amount of new Pocket Monsters in a generation. Unova is the games’ newest region while routes were reset to start from Route 1 (instead of continuing the route numbers of the earlier games) to signal that Unova will be home to a new kind of gaming experience not only for the all-time fans but for beginners, enthusiasts, and ordinary people who happen to receive Black and White during their birthdays as well. A lot of improvements were made to make the game more interesting and more original. There is a plethora of adventures compiled in these tiny game cards that can make anyone say “wow!” or “yes!” once in a while as he presses those DS buttons to have his Pokemon journey.
Graphics and screens. Let us start with the most obvious factor that every critic would first look at when a new game is released. People, all these years, have been condemning Nintendo DS games because of inferior graphics compared to their evil counterparts in Sony PSP. Early DS games were indeed just subordinates to PSP’s versions with pixelated pictures everywhere. Later games made improvements though (especially with the breakthrough of the 3DS), and Pokemon Black and White are clearly two of the best manifestations of this, if not the perfect ones. As a user of both platforms, I can say that these two latest Pokemon games can compete with any PSP game one can throw out there, even though the games did not fall in the latest 3DS console. Its graphics and screens are excellent and peculiar for any game, especially for the role-playing genre, and clearly could have been perfect if put into the 3DS.
A lot of new genius have been put in Black and White. As mentioned earlier, graphics and screens are way excellent. An anime-like conversation can be witnessed every time the Xtransceiver rings, unlike before that only texts can be seen when some sort of communication device comes into picture. The games’ short films can be compared side-to-side with some good animated films out there. Not only they were crystal clear (especially when used in 3DS) but also were in full and extraordinarily perfect details. Shout outs are not simply shout outs anymore. They are more comical now and more convincing to read. The new Pokemon look good especially the legendaries and the fully-grown starters. Even the tiniest factor, such as the town map, looked peculiar and attracting.
I would like to point out, though, that Pokemon are a little pixelated in battle screen, especially those in the user’s side. They look good on the Pokedex, though.
Controls. Although the controls have not changed that much and are basically the same with the previous games, it is worth mentioning that Black and White work perfectly with the 3DS circle pad, especially with the games requiring new movements aside from up, down, left, and right as mentioned above. The circle pad makes movement in Castelia City, some stairs, and in that tower before the end game much easier compared if one uses the usual directional pad, or D-pad. Of course, the earlier versions of DS and their D-pads still work great, but not as convenient as with the circle pad. The touch screen is nothing much of use and in fact can be ignored all throughout the game if one wishes to.
The main problem of Black and White, though, for me that is, can be found in its controls as well. Whether one is using the circle pad or the d-pad, the bike, an item which is supposed to make the character’s movement faster, can be of extreme annoyance. When in bike, the character moves extraordinarily fast that he misses the door of the Pokemon Center seven times out of ten. One needs to move from left to right and vice versa a good number of times before the character, in bike, hits that door or cave or whatever hole you want him to go into. The bike in fact slowed me down instead of making the game faster for me. Hence, my character was in running shoes, which is slow but relatively faster than when in bike, the majority of the game.
Story. The story was inspiring, especially with the turn out of events in the end. This is something new with Pokemon since the earlier games’ stories were just loud expressions of excitement to become a Pokemon trainer. Well, maybe, this is because the story is on a more matured note with the characters as teenagers and adults rather than 10-year-old kids pampered by some old professors. I don’t want to spoil your gaming experience, but I must say that beating a trainer now means something rather than winning and raising Pikachu to level 100. Black and White’s story project emotions and feelings and makes gamers think. Although events are definitely surreal, they positively affect the user’s ideas in such a way that he is led to seek the good in his identity.
Well, I can’t blabber that much. You might have to check it out on your own. But for me, these versions’ story is the best in the Pokemon series so far.
Game Difficulty. Well, you’ll get annoyed, excited, pumped up, irritated, confused, lost, “whaaaat?!”, and once in a while you’ll see yourself throwing a closed fist up in the air. That’s how the exciting your journey will be. Well, most of the time, you’ll get stuck or lost throughout your journey, especially if you are not using any walkthrough.*
*There are a lot of websites that post walkthroughs and playthroughs. My favorite walkthrough site is Psypokes, which I have used since Emerald. I used Marriland in Black and White though because my internet here in the condominium blocks Psypokes. You might want to try Serebii and Smogon too. Also, check out YouTube and some blogs for useful playthroughs.
I can’t assess how difficult it is to catch legendaries here, because as far as I am concerned, I caught legendaries without much effort (I caught Zekrom with a Dusk ball in one trial and only wasted one Quick ball, which I threw at him at the start of our encounter). Marriland and other sites, on the other hand, ask you to store about 40 (or 60?) Ultra and Dusk balls for Reshiram and Zekrom. Well, 40 special balls mean something right? Guess what, I think it means that it is hard to catch Zekrom.
Battles can be tough, especially with the Elite Four, N, and Ghetsis. It gets tougher once you beat the game. Triple battles and rotation battles are added. You can now also choose to use items when battling with a friend. Check out the video below.
Raising Pokemon is not hard in these versions. Somebody in the middle of the game will give you Lucky Egg, an item that adds 50 percent experience, which is otherwise a very hard item to find in the earlier versions. It is just a matter of when and to whom you will use Lucky Egg.
Pokemon transfer from 4th Generation requires another DS. It is a prerequisite to beat the game and enter some codes that a scientist would ask to push through with the transfer. This means that you can’t have any Pokemon beside those from the Unova region unless you defeat the Elite Four, N, and Ghetsis. There is no limit in terms of the number of Pokemon that can be transferred per day. Items can’t be transferred, though. But don’t worry about Giratina, Dialga, and Palkia not holding their respective Orbs because they will be given in the game by some ninjas.
Hmm, what else? Ah. Conversations (if they make the games harder for you) are not novel-long in Black and White as with the previous games.
Well, salutes to this game! Interesting and challenging. Good graphics and good emotion stimulator. Best story. Intelligently done. Everything good (well, except the bike). What else can you ask for? Enjoy.