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For the first time ever, a Nintendo handheld has gotten not one, but two core Pokémon games in its lifespan! Squeezing itself in at the tail end of the DS life-cycle, Pokémon Black and White breathes new life into a somewhat depleted franchise that I thought was beginning to run out of ideas. But boy was I wrong.
The game brings not only brings the entire new Unova region for trainers to explore and battle in, but hundreds of brand spanking new Pokémon species that you've never seen before in past games. Nothing was more fun that getting to start an entirely new adventure all over again in a world I haven't yet seen, discovering new areas to explore, fiddling with the many new breeds of Pokémon and their variety of new skills, hashing together new strategies I never had to face in previous games, and roaming the truly massive cities found in the game.
Gotta catch em' all!
I shouldn't have to explain how to a play a Pokémon game by this point. At first glance, you might just check this game off as just another repackaged Pokémon adventure you've already seen before over and over again.
Even though its formulaic nature remains the same, I didn't mind it. As usual, you travel the world catching and battling other Pokémon, filling up your Pokedex for the Pokémon Professor, train you crew of little monsters to beat the eight gym leaders of the region for their badges, and strive to one day become the champion of the Pokémon league.
New battle mechanics such as triple battles, the name kind of explains itself, where you have to battle three Pokémon at once spiffy's up the combat, putting together a pretty hectic fight that kept me scrambling around on my toes trying to figure out what the heck I needed to do to in order to win.
Another nifty new battle mechanic are the new rotation battles that were a lot more fun that I had first anticipated. Your Pokémon will switch places constantly throughout the battle, completely rendering your past battle strategies useless, forcing to come up with new ideas on the fly. My only complaint is that the mechanic wasn't used as often as it could have been, since it was a blast to play.
Also, in addition to the day and night cycle that was first introduced in the Gold and Silver games, Black & White introduces an all-new seasonal cycle, dynamically changing the world around you. Even your wild Pokémon encounters will differ as some creatures may only be found in the harsh snows of the winter, since some may only come out in the hot heat of the summer sun.
A story to remember
Like earlier Pokémon games, Black and White follows yet again another teenager who sets out on a journey to become the next Pokémon master after receiving a Pokémon as a gift from the town's Professor. And you can't leave out the two friends you always have that will serve as your biggest rivals throughout your adventure, being Bianca and Cheren this time around.
But what I feel sets this game apart from the other Pokémon games is the much more in-depth, streamlined story the game presents. The bag bad-guy organization you'll be up against this time around is Team Plasma, led by King "N" and a council of seven sages, is a Knights Templar-esque group hellbent on the belief that Pokémon are being punished by their trainers and deserve to be released back into the wild.
And instead of hiding away in remote hideouts and warehouses like the bad guys always did in past games, Team Plasma is an aggressive enemy that will face you and the other trainers of Unova head on, stealing Pokémon and pledging to piece together a new world for Pokémon and humanity alike.
The game definitely made me think the story was revolving more around an end of the world styled setting throughout my adventure, making my fight to save the Pokémon and their trainers all the more epic!
Pokémon Black & White essentially feels like a reboot to the franchise. If you've never played a Pokémon game before in the past, then this should be the one game that I think will finally draw you into the series. This is one Pokémon adventure you won't want to miss!
Replay Value: High