Game Review – Pokemon Black/White

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.

PROS:
-Sexy sprites and graphics
-Best story in a Pokemon game ever
-New Pokemon!!!
-More straightforward, easier to navigate from town to town

CONS:
-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

Gameplay: 9/10
Story: 8/10
Graphics and Sound: 8/10
Play Time and Replayability: 9/10
Overall: 8.5/10

About

A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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81 Responses to “Game Review – Pokemon Black/White”

  1. Bass says:

    Haha good stuff, that was a great read as per ush.

    I agree with the score too, it’s right in between super awesome and awesome and that’s where it really is.

    I loved how it felt fresh and new due to the lack of old pokeman and I love how they manage to recreate the feeling of playing through pokemon for the first time. The experience was awesome

    • Overcooled says:

      Thank you~ :3 It’s reaching for a 9, but it’s not quite there yet, haha.

      This felt a lot more refreshing than SoulSilver, which I got bored of very quickly without having any new Pokemon or really anything too different from Diamond. I felt like I was playing Pokemon Yellow for the first time again ;w;

      • Bass says:

        Haha I ate gold/silver up. Put in 150 hours into that monster and I didn’t even do any breeding or competitive battling “OTL

  2. Mint says:

    I want to play this so badly. ;_;

    Love how NPCs are capable of spouting profound thoughts, lol. The graphics look awesome, but I can honestly say that there’s not a single new Pokemon design that I actually like. They all look so freakish and… wrong. XD

    • Bass says:

      They’ll grow on you though. I love quite a few of time now, ones that I swore off when I first saw them.

      It helps that you see them as you play the game, since you can finally accept that they are actually cannon in the series.

    • amado says:

      I get that too. I think because they dont look um… cool and dangerous?
      maybe this means I should watch the current anime to see them really move about(though I was still around diamond pearl galactic battles or something…)

    • MikADo says:

      you will get used to them if you see them long enough :3

    • Overcooled says:

      As for the Pokemon designs, each individual pokemon is are either 1. beautiful or 2. an abomination. Gen 5 does have some really cool and adorable Pokemon though, so don’t let it stop you. My best advice to get used to them? Go to pixiv.

    • Mint says:

      B’awww that deer is so cute. I want one >w<

      I never did get used to DP's designs either. That's when I stopped even learning all of their names, haha… but still, hopefully they will grow on me. ;D

      • Bass says:

        Haxorus, Krookodile, Zebstrika, Electric Spider dude…..I grew to love quite a few of them lol.

  3. Anya says:

    I finally gave in and ordered White this morning >.< I don't know how much I'll play it though, since I barely touch my DS (don't use it much since my phone is an emulator for everything pre-DS)

    • Overcooled says:

      BWAHAHAH YES!!! Join usssssss. If you ordered it, you should at least play it, lol. I’m sure you can slip in some play time somewhere into your schedule~

  4. BlackBriar says:

    Awesome!!! I’ve always been a fan of Pokemon, whether it’s the game or the anime. And Black and White will be no different. I’m planning on getting the Black version. The graphics look really sweet. One thing is sure, it’s gonna be more work completing the Pokedex this time. Wish me luck.

    • Overcooled says:

      I only watched the anime as a kid, but I’ve always been a big fan of the game. Luckily most of my friends are too, so they get it XD

      Are you really going to try and complete the Pokedex? Wow *salutes* good luck to you on your mission, sir!

  5. chikorita157 says:

    I am pretty satisfied with the new mechanics in Black and White like new abilities, Rotation and Triple Battles… Unfortunately, the Wifi features are nerfed when I played with someone else in the Aniblogosphere. Unlike D/P/Pt/HG/SS, the Flat rules are restricted to four Pokemon and you can only use 3 (4 in Rotation/Double/Triple Battles), which is a big letdown. Hopefully there will be a Pokemon Battle Revolution 2 or something on Wii so everyone that has a Wii and the DS bypass the restrictions.

    • Overcooled says:

      The new mechanics definitely have my gears turning as I try to think up the perfect team…It’s great! I’ve only done wifi trading with an aniblogging buddy so I didn’t know battles were a bit on the restricted side. Oh well, better than nothing at all. It still blows my mind that you can use your DS to communicate with someone halfway around the world.

  6. Elyon says:

    I want this game…SO MUCH T____T

  7. sassy says:

    Maybe I should get a DS, but there aren’t many games I’d even play. I don’t think it’s worth it just for one game…

    • Junko says:

      I have a DS purely for Pokemon XD

    • Dan-go says:

      then get it for phoenix wright, worms, final fantasy, AND pokemon

    • Foshizzel says:

      You and me both…Sad but true not sure I would buy this based on one game.

      • chikorita157 says:

        It’s worth it to play Pokemon… This is the primary reason I bought a DS… One should definitely pick up Pokemon HeatGold/SoulSilver too considering it’s a nostalgic piece of art.

        (plus those Mario games of course)

        • Foshizzel says:

          Hey there Chikorita! -waveeee-

          True mario would be worth it, I am curious to see how this game plays graphics looked decent.

    • Overcooled says:

      LOL Junko. and Dango is right, there are a lot of good games for DS! Not to mention that there’s the 3DS coming out which has even more games announced for it (LAYTON X WRIGHT!!!). You two might wanna look into that and at least see if it’s worth it. :3

  8. Junko says:

    You’re my favourite poster now *__*

    I got mine a few days ago. Picked the samurai otter and called him Yukimura. Hemay not be Blastoise but we GOT OUR GUNS ON dammit!

    I freakin’ agree all over the place, this game is sexy. I remember playing Platinum and getting my head messed with in the reverse world, oh man. Now it’s like that every day, graaah XD My only complaint about the settings is the long wanky bridge that jsut reminds me that my D-Pad is seriously broke ;__;

    But I honestly love this game. Everytime a new pokemon pops up I get real excited XD Have you read that hilarious review on DA? Pretty much sums up the game.

    • Overcooled says:

      Awww you flatter me XD

      lololol you’re not the only one who did that. Is it bad I wanted to name my Scrafty Ieyasu? So we can UNITE UNOVA WITH OUR FISTS? I definitely have a dragon type named Masamune in one of my storage boxes too. All together we can have a PARTY.

      The 3D bridge was a nightmare. I was like OKAY, I GET IT, IT’S PRETTY, MAKE IT END NOW. But hey, new Pokemon makes it all better. I haven’t read the review on DA, I’d better go hunt for that…xd

      • Bass says:

        But for that bridge it was just pressing up on the dpad the whole way…..I guess as an architect I loved the architectural stuff.

        This game was Nintendo’s love letter to bridge lovers, there were so many of them lolol

        • Dan-go says:

          sexiest bridge vote? i like village bridge, it’s quaint

  9. anaaga says:

    new pokemons are cute.
    if i have a DS…

  10. Captain says:

    OC, you should have done this with me ; __ ;
    No, wait, I could have done this months ago. BUT STILL.

  11. amado says:

    id love pokemon if there is an ending where you end up with the other character like if you pick the guy, you can end up with the girl….

    well if my tito will finally send me a nintendo dsi, I might get this when I finish pearl and get diamond for dialga and the other kinds of pokemon.

    • Dan-go says:

      so so so hoping for a yaoi ship with cheren?

      • amado says:

        no, of course not. cant you tell im a yuri fan not a yaoi fan?

        im talking about the character choices, you know, the character that you pick and the character you didnt. I want those two to really end up instead of just being ship tease. im talking about the normal boyXgirl pairing.

      • amado says:

        and I dont know who is charen

        • Dan-go says:

          Cheren is the male rival in the english version

    • MikADo says:

      hmmm actually there is one romantic event if you choose a female character at the ferris wheel :3

    • Overcooled says:

      Amado, you’re asking for too much lol. Kids are gonna be turned off by romance. Just be happy with your Pokemon and then play other, non-Pokemon games for the romance haha. Hopefully you get your DSi to play it.

      If you play as the girl you get some romantic vibes from N in the ferris wheel and in the last scene. If you’re a guy then…well, you don’t get anything.

      • amado says:

        then a girl it is, if my tito does send me a dsi though…

      • Dan-go says:

        I had the same romantic vibes…and piano music…and cute lines…only my character is a guy…i wonder if gay marriage is legal in unova?

  12. Scamp says:

    I honestly didn’t like the new straightforward aspect of it. As soon as you go to a new town, some gym leader comes out and directs you towards some mystical tower and that’s it. No chance to explore by yourself, there’s someone holding your hand every step of the way. I liked exploring by myself in Pokemon and this game didn’t give me the chance to. I would have gone to generic mystical tower #3 anyway, they didn’t need to point me towards it.

    Agreed with everything else though. The profoundness of the plot really took me by surprise

    • Dan-go says:

      they did it to streamline the game…people complained for GENERATIONS about the stupid zubats in those annoying caves where you get lost for years on end, it’s to popularise the series EVEN MORE (nintendo u money whores) and add non conventional content (ZOMG LVL 52 elite four? wtf so easy)

      • MikADo says:

        i want harder game play :3
        at one point i was so obsessed with the game, I could clear Mt.Moon cave without using flash, but now days, the caves are to easy to navigate even without the flash, so it doesn’t really matter anymore :3

        • Overcooled says:

          Overall, I liked that exploring was optional in that if you didn’t care, you didn’t have to go and get all the items. I think exploring should be at the player’s own will and not imposed on them, but they did take a while before you have enough HMs to actually…well…explore. There were times were I definitely felt like I was being babied too….It’s a bit of a mixed bag of being condescending despite being easier and letting me gleefully run around and kill things without having to think much.

          DAT PLOT. I never thought a Pokemon game would ever touch issues like that!

          • Scamp says:

            Being anal for a sec: Rock Tunnel was the one you needed flash in, not Mt. Moon. And yes, I also went through that tunnel once without using flash. I felt so ridiculously accomplished when I managed that.

            The Elite 4 were waaay too easy this time around, albeit my team were rather nicely set up to counter all their types rather conveniently. However that was partly down to the fact I OCD’d during the game and battled every single trainer possible so my powah level was way beyond them.

            I actually liked that there was less HM usage because HM’s were always annoying to have to teach your pokemon. One useless guy stuck with Cut, Rock Smash and Flash was a bit annoying. But there’s plenty of ways to explore without using HM’s, or simply use the core HM’s more frequently.

            …damnit, I should just write my own post on Pokemon monochrome…

            • MikADo says:

              I have a comrade!!! Oh and yes it was rock tunnel, my bad :3
              I agree on the HM thing, since we had to always carry one stupid pokemon with the multi-HM moves :3

            • Bass says:

              Yea my pokemon was set up pretty well for them too. I didn’t even lose a battle the whole game, it felt really easy since they included Audinos to grind with if you feel a bit low.

              I think the Elite 4 was set up nicely since there were a ton of awesome badass dark pokemon, which matched up well with half of them,

            • Overcooled says:

              Even if you didn’t have a killer team, the elite 4 were pushovers…:/ Luckily there’s still a lot of other challenges like the battle subway, otherwise the difficulty level would be a big problem here.

              I hated having HM slaves too. The only decent HM to have on an actual pokemon is surf. Yeah, I would probably like it more if they dashed the HM system altogether so all Pokemon with claws can cut things, all water pokemon can SWIM etc. Then all you would need is a Pokemon suitable to explore that area without teaching it an HM. That and areas that don’t need HMs at ALL. XD

              …Write a post. Do ittttt.

        • Dan-go says:

          want harder gameplay? beat cynthia FML

  13. Dan-go says:

    DUDE EVERYONE FRIENDCODES!?!!!
    i’m up to victory road on my australian version
    lvl 54 Zebstrika
    Lvl 52 Victini
    Lvl 54 Emboar
    Lvl 58 Sawk

    Anyone wanna fight me?

    • Overcooled says:

      I was so underleveled when I went through the elite 4…I was like level 48-50…MUST TRAIN MORE. You can trade me though? lol, i have Pokemon Black

      In case you want it: 2365 5078 3829

      • Dan-go says:

        4803 5193 2148 under the name Ding

      • Dan-go says:

        i added you oc, play with me (but i’m still only lvl 60s)

        • Overcooled says:

          How do I know when you’ll be on? @[email protected] And I’m still level 50 only, haven’t got around to playing again due to tests…T.T We can trade if you have pokemon white…?

          • Dan-go says:

            pokemon black :/ bahahha, have u tried audino training oc? google it, it’s soo good

  14. Yvoon says:

    call me old-fashioned…but why does pokemon look so different to what it originally was..?

    • Overcooled says:

      The Pokemon themselves or the actual game? Because if the game looked exactly the same, we’d have a problem o_o

    • Dan-go says:

      Because we have an icecream ice pokemon…yeah…thats right…ICE CREAM

  15. Starry says:

    My fav pokemon at the moment is Munna! It’s just such an adorable pink, flowery BLOB. 8D

  16. MikADo says:

    ohgod oh god oh god oh god, you would not guess how much i wanted to play this series.. When it was first released, i heard rumors about this amazing storyline, and hints coming of in pixiv here and there, i knew that this game is the GAME. Unfortunately, i can not play this game yet, but i know one day i will, and that it will be an epic play :3

    • Overcooled says:

      Why can’t you play it yet? D= You seem to really want to play it…lol

      • MikADo says:

        NO DS lllOTL no money/no game too ㅠㅅㅜ
        stupid thailand! since it came to this, i have no choice but to turn into the dark ways and find a ROM and a emulator

        • Dan-go says:

          you can get a ds lite for about 100 australian dollars off ebay

          • MikADo says:

            i wonder how much it will cost for the transportation fee :3
            its like 1/4 of earth from Australia to here

            • Overcooled says:

              There’s no one in Thailand you can buy a second hand DS off of? I haven’t used eBay so I don’t know what the chances are of getting ripped off or if you have to pay shipping…good luck! XD

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