Pokémon Black/White

It’s another Pokémon game!

For seasoned trainers, it’s another world to explore. For new trainers, it has the same pick-up-and-play feel as the other games, although you’ll probably be sucked in like the rest of us who have followed this franchise since childhood. I won’t waste too much time explaining the concept of Pokémon… everyone’s hamster nowadays knows who Pikachu is so let’s just get on with it. I have a team to train, as always.

In this narrative, you are in the Unova region with more new Pokémon to catch. (Yes, more! Let’s frown a little at a couple of designs, like Trubbish. What the hell?! It’s a garbage bag with eyes!) There is finally a female Pokémon professor and you have two friends/rivals (one of them is nice, the other has a little bit of ‘needs to learn a valuable lesson’ about him) who are a friendly pair that finally settle the question ‘What happens to the third starter Pokémon?’ The enemy team is called Team Plasma, and somehow they’re the most annoying team you’ve ever come across. By the way, they’re fighting to ‘liberate’ Pokémon from their trainers.

There have been a couple of additions/subtractions. You can now have double battles in the wild which makes things a little interesting; triple battles exist and can get complicated; seasons change and affect the surroundings and music as well as the Pokémon you can catch. Updated as well is the look of battling itself – the camera is dynamic and constantly moves around your Pokémon, who are also constantly moving. It makes things feel a lot more active and fluid. A very minor but cute addition is that if a Pokémon falls asleep in battle, it now closes its eyes!

The game continues to use the semi-3D style graphics as used in Diamond/Pearl onwards, but there’s something more to them. Certain areas are fully 3D and absolutely beautiful to see in a Pokémon game. Crossing the pedestrian route on Skyarrow Bridge is breathtaking ; your character will snake up a circular path while big trucks rumble on the motorway below, then you’ll climb some stairs to the main bridge and watch the camera sweep out and over, showing that you are just a tiny speck on a really, really massive structure reminiscent of Tokyo’s own Rainbow Bridge. The skyline comes into view over the horizon, and then shortly after that you’re in the middle of the 3D Castelia City, complete with tall skyscrapers and bustling crowds that rush past rather than NPCs milling around in one spot. It’s really impressive, and makes the game feel like a big adventure. It kind of makes me long for the 3DS to be out already, although this game isn’t fully 3D.

There is a lot of emphasis on connecting up with people with the ‘gadget’ of the game called C-Gear, which acts as a hub for you to connect with people via infrared, wireless or online. They all have various confusing features of their own – for example the local wireless connection allows you to access the Entralink, which is just dressed up local multiplayer. You can appear as an avatar in a friend’s game and team up to play missions together for bonuses and items.

As for the ‘online’ aspect of C-Gear, it’s not up yet but is due at the end of March. Pokémon Global link has the ‘Dream Land’ which works as a kind of personal online hub. The idea is that you sign up to the website with an account that you can use to sync your DS game with the internet, sending Pokémon from your game to the web to play mini games and unlock items and other Pokémon that you can use in your game and so on.

All of this ‘connectivity’ feels like a bit much. Some will like it of course, but there’s so much that it all feels like unnecessary extras. But who knows, I’m more than a little antisocial when it comes to playing games. Still, all of this extra stuff isn’t really going to encourage me as a player to go and do all of these multiplayer things – the single player game is more than enough.

You know, this franchise doesn’t get old. Every new game is fun to play and lovely to look at. On looks alone this is the best Pokémon game I’ve played so far, but all the rest mostly feels comfortable and familiar. Yeah, Pokémon, yeah!







3 responses to “Pokémon Black/White”

  1. Duncan avatar

    Snivy for life! 😀 <3

  2. Jason Potter avatar
    Jason Potter

    just finished it, loved it so much!

  3. pokemon roms avatar
    pokemon roms

    Excellent site. Plenty of useful info here. I’m sending it to a few friends ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you on your sweat!

Leave a Reply