Why? BECAUSE POKEMON
I know, I know. Gaming is Hato’s thing, so why am I here? BECAUSE I LOVE GAMES TOO! He can’t have all the fun, and besides, he doesn’t even like games by Nintendo let alone Pokemon. Ever since I bought the game (which was an adventure in of itself involving some french guy trying to whisk me off to a club to “pratique le français ;D”) I’ve been thoroughly obsessed with it. Feel like you’ve lost the fire for Pokemon? Not sure why anyone would want to repeat the same motions of stuffing small creatures into balls? Curious about what’s changed, but don’t want spoilers? That is why I’m here. Cool is here to convert you to become a Pokemon Trainer.
Pokemon. It’s been around for ages. Technically, they never planned on making anything past Silver, but that was before they realized how obscenely profitable this whole business was. The original 151 has multiplied to a staggering 649. SIX HUNDRED AND FORTY NINE. You only use 6 of the little buggers at once, why do you need so many?! Now at Generation 5, Black/White is the newest addition to the franchise. It promised new Pokemon, new battle systems, and a shinier 3D look. But was it enough to make it worth handing out money for yet another regurgitation?
Personally, I went with Snivy. Named it Dolce to match how pretentious it looks.
Let’s start with the gameplay. In a nutshell, it’s exactly the same as every other Pokemon game. You run from city to city beating the crap out of Gym leaders and Team Plasma (the Team Rocket replacement). The changes aren’t really as ground-breaking as Nintendo would like you to believe. Those tweaks are surprisingly enough to add spice. Afterall, Pokemon already has an amazingly complex battle system that doesn’t need any fixing. As a lover of tactics games, the amount of strategizing that has to go into picking teams, natures, movesets, abilities and held items is greatly appreciated. Once you get competitive, there is no end to the depth brought forth by this ingenious system.
First of all, the battle system looks downright sexy. All the Pokemon sprites (all of them. Remember how many there are?) constantly move around when you’re in a battle. Miniscule, I know, but you’ll never be able to go back to stationary sprites again once you’ve experienced it. There are also a few new battle modes for the competitive spirits out there, such as 3 on 3 battles and rotation battles where 3 Pokemon rotate during a battle. There are also retarded additions like Pokemon musicals where you watch your Pokemon wiggle about for 5 minutes.
The best thing about how the gameplay has changed is that there is no more dicking around. You get your starter Pokemon almost as soon as you turn on the game. I don’t think I was ever really forced to use strength, surf, or cut to get somewhere – it’s all for optional items. Because no one ever liked having to take out a stupid HM slave to use FLASH and wander about a twisting, winding cave full of level 5 zubats for days on end. It’s very clear where you need to go, and there are trainers practically everywhere to get your battle on. Finally, Nintendo realizes that the game isn’t about getting lost, it’s about SLAUGHTERING ADORABLE LITTLE PINK BLOBS. The environments are still nice, but they involve less frustrating guesswork at where to go next.
Are a cutscene skipper? I hope you rot in hell. All my friends buttonmash A as soon as they see text, and I resent them for it. Okay, usually people have nothing to say in Pokemon, but this time it’s different. (Except for your stupid friends who bug you all the time). Team Plasma actually grapples with the concept of Pokemon not actually wanting to be forced to battle. They question the ethics of the very thing you are doing – enslaving Pokemon. They want to free Pokemon so humans and Pokemon can be equals instead of master and servant. That sort of morally ambiguous villain is a lot better than, say, Team Rocket who is just “herp derp i want yer pikachoo.”Of course, some of them (I won’t spoil it) are just downright evil.
Pokemon Black/White has a surprising gambit of very mature themes. Even certain NPC’s spout some profound things. I walked into some chick’s house and she started asking me “Do we give up on changing our dull every day lives because we become used to it…?” Girl, I thought you had a TM or something, whatchu talking bout? ANYWAYS, this game has a very impressive plot for a Pokemon game. Compared to story-based RPG’s, it’s no masterpiece, but it’s absolutely the best storyline a Pokemon game has ever had.
Some sexy cities, a cave, and Zoroark’s ass
Pokemon looks pretty darn sexy. Look at it, it’s delightful! It even sounds delightful! The music is pretty catchy! The cities are all in glorious 3D as well (not popping out 3D, but foreground, middleground, background 3D). The 3D city thing is a bit superfluous and sometimes annoying, especially since some of them are huge and easy to get lost in. On the flip side, the 3D spin on things makes the Pokemon League quite possibly the most epic experience you will have on the DS. It makes you feel tiny, insignificant, and even apprehensive to so much as approach those massive steps to the champion. When they do it right, they do it right.
The real seller for Pokemon games is how you can play them over and over and over again. It doesn’t end until you catch them all. Black/White only shows you the new Unova region Pokemon until you beat the game – a wise choice to give that fresh feel. After that, if you had your heart set on a Pikachu, you can go back and train your brand new team. I know I’m gonna go back and train a secondary team of stone cold murderers. I can barely WAIT. I played Pokemon Diamond for YOU DON’T EVEN WANNA KNOW HOW MANY hours and I will do it again!
But wait! Once you beat the game, there’s MORE! What goodies await you, I cannot say, but it’s more than just expanding your army of Pokefleshlings.
If you didn’t like Pokemon before, you’re not going to magically like it now, even with the new bells and whistles. There’s nothing I can do for you. If you’ve never played Pokemon before then I don’t know what kind of horrible childhood you had, but there’s no better time to start than NOW. YES, it’s essentially the same thing but NO, it’s not boring! Starting fresh in a new region with new Pokemon is all I need for a good time.
-Sexy sprites and graphics
-Best story in a Pokemon game ever
-More straightforward, easier to navigate from town to town
-3D cities are a bitch to navigate
-Your friends are kind of annoying
-Some of the new pokemon are hideous
-Gym leaders aren’t challenging and can be killed with OHKOs most of the time
Graphics and Sound: 8/10
Play Time and Replayability: 9/10