by Liam Edwards
reviewed on NDS
As I stated before, the series’ well known story of becoming a Pokémon master takes a back seat in Black and White. B/W takes a much more story-driven and controversial aim this time around. Similar to the teams of the past, Team Plasma are the new bad guys. They are out to steal everyone’s Pokémon but this time for what-seems to be a good cause. Team Plasma’s aim is to steal back all Pokémon to set them free into the wild, as they believe that Pokémon shouldn’t be kept in balls and forced to battle. This really makes you think about whether catching Pokémon is such a good thing after all. Team Plasma act much like hard-core animal rights campaigners, as they preach to people that keeping Pokémon is an unforgivable act.
Considering that the whole Pokémon series is based around catching and battling Pokémon in hopes of becoming the number one trainer, the subject of B/W is rather surprising. The way the story unravels and is played out becomes quite involving and, for once in a Pokémon game, the story actually seems important. Gym leaders become no more than obstacles within the story, with them automatically becoming friends with you after you defeat them and they then help you defeat Team Plasma.
Throughout the game you encounter the mysterious trainer, N, who is an important figure within Team Plasma, but he seems more like a friend than an enemy and at times really questions your morals as a Pokémon trainer. N seems like he wants to be your friend and just wants to do what is right, but his underlings and henchman are more unforgiving and evil.
I can safely say that this time Gamefreak got the story right. It may not be as in depth as the stories of some other games, but this is the best storyline in any of the Pokémon games to date. The story is interesting and takes over the game.
A new era
Black and White are certainly a new era for Pokémon. Although I fully believe generation V should be the last set of Pokémon, the new changes mean that Pokémon games in the future can only get better. Changes such as cities, brilliant bridges and huge towns make B/W feel epic. Although these are only aesthetically pleasing and don’t do anything to change the gameplay, they are nice touches that rejuvenate the series. Everything about B/W has been thought out: the gameplay, the sounds, the graphics and the story.
The score for Pokémon Black and White is pure nostalgia, with the classic tunes of previous games all featuring as new remix versions, and new sounds that have a more orchestral feel. The music never gets boring and you will find yourself humming along while playing. The visuals for B/W are outstanding for a DS game and Gamefreak seem to have attempted to take advantage of all the processing power they can from the DS. B/W features cut-scenes of huge 3D models and massive sky-scrapers in some cities which are full of detail and animation.
Gotta’ play them all
Pokémon Black and White is the best game in series since Red and Blue. It is a fantastic entry into the series for anyone who hasn’t played before, but it never alienates veteran players or fans of the series. It actually brings features both sets of players can enjoy, with simple additions to the gameplay which stop players from getting frustrated and annoyed. The game also features the most balanced generation of Pokémon seen so far, with no Pokémon feeling useless.
Although the new Pokémon seem to suffer from a lack of creativity, some of them look fantastic and B/W features some of the strongest and biggest looking Pokémon so far. At the end of the game, your Unova pokedex will be nearly full. The variety in Pokémon you see is huge and for each area there is a different set of Pokémon to battle and catch, with hardly any repeats.
Although the game can feel easy at times, with gym leaders being easily swatted aside, the elite four and the last few battles can be punishing and may take you quite a few times to complete succesfully.
All the changes make the Pokémon formula work 16 years down the road, a new generation of fans will grow from Black and White and they will be the players that will carry on the series into the future. As long as Gamefreak keep on surprising us, I am sure we will be playing Pokémon for years to come.
If you want a reason to play Pokémon again, or to get into the series again, Black&White do it for you.
A rejuvenation for the series and the best since Red and Blue
Pokémon are lacking creative thought, hopefully last generation of Pokémon