Pokémon Black and White on DS

June 7, 2012
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Pokémon Continues to Top Themselves

You are walking through the tall grass on your way to the next town on your
journey. Suddenly, a wild creature jumps out at you ready to fight. You call upon your trusted partner whom you have gone through much with, and you battle with all of your might. When your opponent is beaten you befriend it so it can aid you in battles to come. This is a world of excitement; this is the world of Pokémon.

Throughout the Pokémon gaming franchise’s long and successful history they have made many games. These games have each surpassed the ones before it in every single way. In my opinion, the greatest Pokémon game ever created was Pokémon Platinum version, released March 22, 2009. It was truly a masterpiece that set the bar for Pokémon games of the future, and left Pokémon fans eagerly waiting for new installments to this amazing series. After completing a remake of one of the older versions of Pokémon, the Pokémon company launched into their newest project, Pokémon Black and White versions. These versions would launch players into a whole new region in the Pokémon world, the Unova region. One filled with new and exciting Pokémon at every turn.
While these new versions did include some new and surprising twists it still stayed true to the generic Pokémon format. In every Pokémon game players play as a young boy or girl whose dream is to become a powerful Pokémon trainer. After naming their character the player receives their first Pokémon from the professor of that Pokémon region. Following that, players embark on their Pokémon journey catching new Pokémon to add to their team in order to make it even more powerful. Pokémon is a free world game in which players move freely throughout the world as they continue on their Pokémon journey. In the games there are a lot of decisions that impact your journey; such as choice of Pokémon to add to their team and various moral choices. As players advance through the story they come across Pokémon gyms. These gyms are home to gym leaders who are powerful Pokémon trainers that players must defeat in order to gain gym badges and advance in the game. Once players have explored the region and defeated all 8 of its gym leaders the final test is the Pokémon league. Which is home to the elite four and the Pokémon champion. After players complete this challenge they take part in an intriguing after story that usually involves characters you have encountered earlier in the game. As players move through the main story they encounter a criminal organization, like Team Rocket, whose goal is world domination, and the character must stop them.

One of my favorite improvements was the addition of brand new Pokémon, like Seismitoad who is water/ground type Pokémon, and looks like a giant blue toad that stand on its hind legs. I for one was very excited to train some all new Pokémon, and discover some new favorites. Another thing I enjoyed about this game was that it was impossible to catch Pokémon from previous regions until you had defeated the Pokémon league. This way it forced players to experiment and find new Pokémon to add to their teams. In addition to new Pokémon there came two new styles of battling, triple and rotation battles. Triple battles were battles in which three Pokémon were out at once on each side battling. Rotation battles incorporated a tag team type of battling so you never knew which Pokémon your attacks were going to hit. I enjoyed both of these new battling types, because they were very creative, and much more thought provoking than regular battles. Obviously, since this is a newer game the graphics significantly improved. In these versions the Pokémon actually moved as they awaited their commands instead of standing completely still. In previous games one of the most fun things to do was to battle your rival/friend. In these versions you had two rivals which made for double the battling and double the fun. With the coming of new Pokémon comes new attacks such as the moves grass pledge, water pledge and fire pledge. These moves were interesting, because while they may be weak on their own when used together they become much more powerful. Normally, you can find wild Pokémon in the tall grass, but in Black and White there is the very tall grass where you can find two Pokémon at once which makes it easier to train and catch wild Pokémon. Pokémon trainers can use TMs (technical machines) to teach their Pokémon new powerful moves. In previous games, TMs could only be used once and then they break, but in Black and White versions TMs can be used over and over again which makes it easier to teach Pokémon powerful moves.

The storyline of this game was much better than the other games. In games before Black and White, the character seemed to stumble upon criminal organizations and pick them apart, but in Black and White one of the main objectives of the game was to stop team Plasma, this regions criminals, from separating people from their Pokémon. Also, when players do face the Pokémon league they can battle the elite four in any order they choose; where as in previous games there was a set order you had to follow. Another improvement that was made was the fact that players got to battle the main legendary Pokémon from the opposite game. So in Black version you got to fight the legendary Pokémon Zekrom using the legendary Pokémon Reshiram, and in White you fought Reshiram using Zekrom. Once players defeat the elite four and beat the game they can go to the big field and small court to battle powerful trainers, and level up their Pokémon. Lastly in Pokémon Black you can travel to Black City to purchase rare items, and in Pokémon White you can catch rare Pokémon in White Forest. I liked this installation, because it further differentiated the two versions which are usually very similar.

While the newer versions did incorporate many improvements, they got rid of some of the better parts of the game. First of all, in all the previous games there was a battle tower where players fought against trainers whose Pokémon’s levels matched their own. In Black and White there was no battle tower. Also, this game left out a item called the VS seeker which lets you rebattle trainers you have already defeated. Since this game did not include it, you were not able to re-fight your favorite trainers. In addition to not being able to fight normal trainers more than once players were not able to battle gym leaders that they have defeated, like they were able to in Pokémon Platinum. Another thing is that in Pokémon Platinum you could travel through a series of underground caverns to mine gems, create secret based, set traps and play capture the flag. Pokémon Black and White did not include underground caverns to do these things in which didn’t not make any sense, because the underground caverns were a huge success among players in Pokémon Platinum. Throughout the entire Pokémon franchise they have included Pokémon contests where you showcase your Pokémon’s moves to impress judges. However, in Black and White Pokémon contests were non-existent. Instead they had Pokémon musicals which were nowhere near as fun, because you could hardly control anything. As I said before, this game did include new triple and rotation battles, but there were only about three of these battles in each game which made it very hard to get used to them, and see what they have to offer. Also, many of the new Pokémon were strange looking, like Trubbish which is basically just a giant garbage bag. Finally the after story was not very in depth in this game. There was not much to do once you had beaten the elite four.

While this game did have its ups and downs, I believe it is a game worth getting, because it is a game that can be played for hours and hours. There are an unbelievable amount of things to do. I have played my Pokémon Black version for over 100 hours, and I payed $35 for it! This is a game that has something to offer for everyone, and does not require much skill to be successful at. Remember this is a Pokémon game, and the Pokémon franchise has been successful enough to withstand the test of time. The first games, Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue, were released in 1996. This means that these games are truly masterpieces. They have attracted generation after generation of fans, which proves just how amazing this series is. Pokémon Black or White would make a fine addition to anyone’s game library. However, don’t just take my word for it. Just think about it; Pokémon games are created by the Pokémon company, and the Pokémon company is owned by Nintendo a well respected gaming company. Nintendo has made many successful and fun gaming franchises like Mario and The Legend of Zelda. Pokémon is no exception to this trend, and is quite arguably Nintendo’s best work. These games are definitely worth buying.





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