Review: Pokémon Black & Pokémon White (NDS)

Pokémon Black & Pokémon White
Platform: Nintendo DS
Reviewer: MidnightScott
Date: Mar. 5, 2011

(SPOILER WARNING: Only read and view videos if you do not mind being spoiled!)

Who would’ve thought that another Pokémon generation would make its debut on Nintendo DS? If you told me that a few years ago before the DS was popular, I would’ve told you that you are crazy. New Pokémon generations have always made their debut on the newest handheld. This time we get one more great adventure on the DS!
Director of the Pokémon games, Junichi Masuda, said that the reason Pokémon Black & White came to the DS was because the system has the biggest userbase in the world. Why make it for 3DS which just released, when you can maximize it on the DS and reach the most fans?

So what makes Pokémon Black & White different from the other games? The games have been in the making for years, with particular efforts to keep the game the same, but change it up to make it a new adventure.
The game begins with Professor Juniper introducing you to the world of Pokémon. Your journey begins in the Unova Region (JP: Isshu), a place far away from the regions of Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh. The game setup is based off of New York City, specifically Manhattan, a first for the Pokémon series as they have always been based off of the various regions of Japan.
You start off the game picking from three starters. The first is the grass snake Pokémon Snivy (JP: Tsutarja), whose smugness has led to the nickname of “Smugleaf” from the gaming community. The second is the cool fire pig Tepig (JP: Pokabu). And the third is a cute otter Pokémon named Oshawott (JP: Mijumaru).
The basic idea of the game is the same though, but why change something that has worked for the past fifteen years? You travel through the region of Unova and battle trainers, gym leaders, and catch various Pokémon.
What makes this new about it, is that during the main story of the game, you will not encounter any of the previous 493 Pokémon from the past four generations. The game creators really wanted to make it a new experience by not having any attachment to the past. I applaud them for this, I was tired of seeing Geodude & Zubat in every cave.
The game is presented with various new things like different camera angles when you walk around cities or across bridges over a beautiful landscape. Seasons change in the game each month, which allow access to different areas and makes it easier to encounter different Pokémon.
When you play the game on a Nintendo DSi/XL or a Nintendo 3DS, you can use the camera & mic to video chat with either up to four people via local wireless,  or two over Nintendo WiFi Connection. The game also supports WPA security connections when you use it on the systems, making it that much easier for you to access newer Pokémon via the trading and mystery gift functions.
In battle, the Pokémon you encounter will, for the first time, animate throughout the whole sequence. In previous games the Pokémon would animate when they came out of the Poké Ball or when you first encountered them. This allows you to see how a Pokémon would move without having to watch the animation on television.
There are a few differences between each versions of the game. A few different Pokémon are exclusive to each version. The look and aspects of the game for various towns and areas in the game will be different in each version. For instance, Pokémon White has more 3 vs. 3 Pokémon battles, and Pokémon Black contains more Rotation battles. Basically you can attack only certain Pokémon on each side of the battle, or you can rotate them to put one of them center stage for attacking. It adds a new aspect to the games, but is still seldom used throughout.
The game has now been made just a little bit easier and that’s because the creators wanted us to experience many of the new moves in the games. Technical Machines (TM’s) now act like Hidden Machines (HM’s). You can use them as many times as you want and they don’t expire, and you can still erase other moves with them unlike HM’s. I thought that was a pretty great idea. I would like to see a specific slot in future games so you can have one HM move per Pokémon that doesn’t take up a main attack spot in the lineup. (This would lead to using Pokémon less as HM slaves and more as part of your part.)
The new mysterious gang in the Pokémon world is called Team Plasma. Their goal is to free Pokémon from human control as they believe the Pokémon are used as slaves. What makes it ironic is that you have to battle them with Pokémon. I honestly can’t tell you much about the story since I played the game in Japanese, but I’ll leave that as a surprise since you are being spoiled by reading this review anyway.
I absolutely love the music in Pokémon games. The battle themes this time around will not leave you disappointed. I have been listening to the soundtrack ever since it came out. There are various themes that don’t really sound like their old ones. You might hear/see a few cameo sequences later on after the main story of the game, but I’ll let you see those for yourselves. Great surprises for a game that is so restrictive about it being only new until after the main story finishes.

These are the first games in which you can connect your game to an account on the Pokémon Global Link launching at the end of March across the world. You can battle other trainers around the world, access some new DLC for your games, and encounter Pokémon with exclusive attacks and abilities in the Dream World feature. More on that will be covered once the service launches very soon.
There are many new things to discover this time around, and it will keep you playing for many hours to come. People who haven’t played these games in years should definitely give Black & White a chance, as they are full of new experiences and surprises that might just make them enjoy the series they may have forgotten about.
Overall, I would say that Pokémon Black & White are the best games so far in the series, and that you may think of them as peak of the Pokémon series. I am definitely excited to begin my journey once again in a language I can understand. Please do not miss out on these wonderful, amazing, exciting, awesome games, you will regret it!

Score: A

Check out our Pokémon Black & White page to see all 156 new Pokémon!

About MidnightScott
I am a huge Nintendo fan, but I also own a PS3. I love video games, anime, music, movies, and the internet! The 3DS is really awesome and I'm looking forward to playing more fun and unique games in the future.

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