Review by nash_clovis

Reviewed: 09/22/10

Success piled upon Success that will print money.

Success Piled upon Success That Will Print Money

Pokemon has been a rock-solid series ever since the first games in the series came out in 1996 on the Game Boy. While still pretty much a fad, it still had widespread support. Now, fourteen years later, the next addition, Pokemon Black and White, has arrived, better than ever and prepared to remedy the problems present in the previous games.

While it’s basically the same formula that the games have followed since the beginning with reasonable success, what it does different makes up for the mistakes of the past. Gameplay as a whole is faster than the fourth generation, has a feel of a whole new world with all new adventures, separate from other regions from the third generation, the day/night system that began in Gold, Silver, and Crystal, and is an acceptable successor to the series so far.

The story, on the surface at least, is basically your standard Pokemon affair: the silent protagonist departs from his small hamlet with a new rare Pokemon (a shortening of Pocket Monster) to get all of the gym badges and catch all the Pokemon, beat the Elite Four and the champion, and eventually become the greatest trainer ever. Along the way there’s an evil team that gets in your way and try to conquer the world. The plot is deeper for once, which is a welcome addition. I don’t want to spoil too much (as it’s almost impossible to talk about the plot without spoiling a lot of things), but it’s very surprising, to say the least.

As I said earlier, gameplay as a whole is faster. Battles are quick and to the point, and there are a lot of new moves, abilities, and Pokemon to try out in battle. There’s plenty of depth in the gameplay with all kinds of combinations in regards to moves and Pokemon, and there are a lot of holdouts from the previous generations (EV’s and IV’s are still around). Gamers who have been with the series won’t feel that too much has changed (outside of the fact that battle sprites are actually animated). I have only one problem with the gameplay, and it’s probably the one problem I have with the game at all; the experience system has changed, and in my opinion, not for the better, seeing as it’s scaled now, meaning that you gain less experienced if you’re higher leveled than your opponent. This doesn’t make the game unplayable, but it was to remedy a system that didn’t need fixing.

Online play is back with a vengeance this generation, as it quickly becomes a mainstay in the series. The Dream World, available after you obtain a certain item, allows you to view your Pokemon’s dreams as it sleeps. It functions a lot like the Pokewalker from Heart Gold and Soul Silver: you can obtain Pokemon that have different abilities than normal and some items. There are also plenty of ways to play with other trainers, as you can use IR or Wi-Fi to connect with other people in real life and battle, trade, or enjoy the new Pokemon Musicals, which replace the Contests this generation. However, you can also upload your game to the internet, and play online, using the internet and interacting with others. Players can also use the C-Gear system to go online whenever they want to. With all that said (and I’ve only scraped the surface), there’s a very heavy emphasis on online with Black and White.

To many fan’s surprise this generation, there are no Pokemon from previous generations that are available before you beat the elite four and champion, meaning that there are 156 new Pokemon this generation, bringing the grand total to 649. So if you’re still interested in collecting them all, good luck, and you’d better start now.

This game can be played on any DS, and any difference between the systems is negligible, except if you’re playing on a DSi. Those who will be playing on a DSi will be able to enjoy video conversation using the DSi’s built-in camera.

Graphically, this game is fantastic. It clearly shows that the developers have had experience with the DS and are using it to push the limits of what we thought was good. This is likely one of the better-looking games that we will see before the 3DS arrives. Though, this isn’t limited to graphics, as the game also sounds great. It sounds exactly like it should, except there are a few things that you might notice, like the fact that the music changes and becomes slower paced when your Pokemon are becoming weak.

Apart from the changes to the experience system, any flaw that I found in the game is relatively meaningless and the game more than makes up for it with fun, addictive gameplay, great looking graphics, excellent sounding music and SFX, and online play. I would definitely recommend this to anyone with a DS.

Definite 9/10.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Pocket Monsters Black (JP, 09/18/10)

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