Let it be known I am a huge Pokémon fan. Having played the original games on the Gameboy and all of the subsequent sequels which have appeared on of various handheld consoles. Nintendo Have now released Pokémon White and Black which adds another 100 plus Pokémon to the ever expanding list.
Anyone who has played Pokémon before will be at home with this edition. You start off as a young boy or girl, who meets the professor of your village, chooses one of three starter Pokémon and the quest begins. There is an all new region to explore, the Unova region, bustling with new characters and Pokémon. There is a deep storyline within the game which is actually quite fresh but soon starts to get annoying due to lengthy conversations. Team Plasma are the new the bad guys for this game and drive the story forward with their dark plans for the future.
The game follows the Pokémon formula of past games albeit with a few extras. You battle your creatures to gain experience and level up, to unlock new attacks and to make them stronger. Levelling up allows certain Pokémon to evolve from their cute initial stages to becoming huge behemoths, though this is through personal choice. As usual you can have a team of 6 Pokémon at one time, so it pays off to have a balanced team. It’s no good just growing one Pokémon either as there will always be enemies who have an opposing type to defeat them.
One noticeable aspect was that there are no new types of Pokémon, it’s the usual Water, Rock, Fire, Grass, Psychic etc, which initially made me feel a little short changed, however Nintendo have combined types to make unique combinations. Some of these such as the Dark and Dragon type Hydregion are real tough to beat with minimal weaknesses.
Graphically, the game is overall average. The game worlds have been created in a mix of 2d and 3d, with some excellent graphics seen such as when scaling mountains or crossing bridges. The sprites of the characters and Pokémon however, are stuck back in the days of the Gameboy. In the battle screens especially, the Pokémon are blocky and somewhat laughable by today’s standards. The Pokémon battles are now much more fluid it must be said and each creature is animated, though the attacks themselves are nice enough. Sound wise, the game has a nice mix of old school tunes, such as when visiting the Pokémon centre plus some new sounds which are very catchy.
The game has some excellent additions to make it feel new. There are now 3 on 3 battles, which are great and bring a new level of thinking as the position of your Pokémon determines who it can attack. However these are few and far between, I think I had about 5 in the entire game. The major downsides to the game are the actual Pokémon themselves. There are some great monsters added, such as the awesome Haxorus, a mean looking dragon type and also the rock hard eagle Braviary. However, the majority are just awful, there are types we have seen many times before, I mean how many pigeon Pokémon do we need?! The worst has to be a Pokémon styled like an ice cream, which evolves into double then triple variations, it seems ideas have run thin…
Pokémon White is a very good game. It was more challenging than past games and seems to be growing up. There are new options to trade and battle online which adds a new level of depth. If you ignore some of the weaker Pokémon deigns then this is definitely worth picking up for fans and new players too.