Thursday, March 10, 2011

Still Gotta Catch 'Em All: Pokémon Black and White Review

This review was originally written for the ASMSU Exponent.

After hiding it all through high school, we could come out in college, we would no longer be judged. We were finally free. I’m of course talking about Pokémon. On March 6, the ever-swelling number of monsters grew again as the fifth generation of games, Pokémon Black and White, was released. Nearly 15 years after the franchise came to American shores, it storms them once again.

Game Freak has succeeded in making something new out of a tried and true formula. Even longtime veterans will feel as if they’re playing a brand new experience when popping this cartridge into their DS. The games are set in a brand new region, completely populated with never-before-seen Pokémon. In fact, none of the monsters from older generations can be found within the Unova region until after the game is beaten. This makes the game incredibly accessible for new fans, while providing longtime fans with an entirely new challenge.

Part of the game’s brand new experience is the improved in-game story. The games have slowly been developing more involved stories over the years, but the story for Black and White stands tall above those that came before it. The players witness the rise and fall of a mysterious figure known only as N, and fight the most compelling villainous team yet: Team Plasma, a group that seeks to “liberate” Pokémon from humans, though their intentions may not be as benevolent as they seem.

Of course, it would be a disservice to the game to not mention graphics. Pokémon has come a long way from the top-down, semi-isometric graphics of Red and Blue. The world is rendered in a pleasing blend of 3D graphics and 2D sprites. The cities and towns of the Unova region are all visually distinct, and presented in dynamic camera angles that best showcase them. The in-game battles have also received a visual upgrade. In the past, the Pokémon were represented as still images, but now are fully animated throughout the battle.

Even if you fell out of Pokémon over the years, Black and White are worth returning to. The brand new experience makes it easy to catch up with. If you’re in need of a nice distraction over Spring Break, then look no further than these games. The same old formula is as addicting as ever. Just as true as it was in 1998, you gotta catch ‘em all.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review. I just wish I had the money to buy the game. :)