Pokémon Black & White

Posted By at 6:58 AM on Monday November 22, 2010

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So, I’ve started playing Pokémon White, and I’m a little over halfway through. Here are my thoughts on the game so far. I’ll try not to spoil any story elements that you don’t learn immediately and instead detail some of the game mechanics I’ve found novel or interesting.

–WARNING, POSSIBLE GAME MECHANIC SPOILERS–

-First of all, there are no good starter Pokémon. You’ve probably seen the new ones through promotional material, and the only halfway decent-looking one is Grass. Grass, of course, is never the most useful type for Pokémon games, but it still remains my favorite and is the least silly of the three.

-Because all the Pokémon in this game are new, I have no idea which to catch and train up for my party. It’s pretty obvious what the Ratata and Pidgeys of this game are, but as for the others, no clue.

-Possibly due to my hesitancy to waste time on training useless Pokémon for the reasons above, or possibly due to a lack of good Pokémon, or possibly due to my type configuration, I haven’t found anyone good to add to my party for most of the game. I’m actually still at 4 Pokémon, and I’ve always used 6 in the past. I didn’t think anyone played this way…

-Fortunately, my Pokémon are levelling up pretty fast, since I don’t have to spread experience points around so much. But there are pretty helpful items that allow you to gain more experience points, more money, and divide experience points with Pokémon who haven’t even shown their faces.

-Speaking of which, I’m really rich in this game for some reason. Money is never a problem, I’m loaded. I think I have 150,000 yen or Pokédollars or whatever at the moment, and I haven’t been doing anything other than battling trainers. Also, stick with the vending machine drinks scattered over the world instead of buying potions at the shops, for the first part of the game they heal just as much (if not more) HP for a smaller price. Yeah, it sucks to stand in front of a vending machine and manually buy Water after Water instead of purchasing from the Pokémart in bulk, but think of the savings!

-The Pokémarts are included in the Pokécenters in this one. I oftentimes accidentally walked outside after healing my Pokémon to head to the next building, only to realize there was no need.

-Another useful feature is that items can be automatically arranged in your bag with the touch of a button. Convenient, since with the new Dousing Rod on the touchscreen acting as a GPS guiding you to nearby items ensures you’ll never miss any and your pack will fill up fast.

-TMs have changed as well in that they can be reused over and over. Good, I suppose, but I still find them sitting around collecting dust in my pack. Maybe I’m still in the mindset that I have to keep them and make sure I use them at the very best opportunity, but I also feel like there aren’t many good TM moves.

-One of the items you can’t really use in-game but comes into play from time to time is a video phone that the professor calls you and your sidekicks on. When she chats, the screen is divided into 4 squares for each of the call’s participants, so you get to see anime versions of the characters. I actually believe this can be used online as a real-time video chat with real people using the DSi’s camera. There are a ton of online options in this game, but I haven’t had a chance to check them out, since I don’t have an appropriate network here. Something about being able to see your Pokémons’ dreams, too…

-As for the people in this game, you’ve got your typical boasting trainers and chatty NPCs. A new class of trainer I like is the backpacker, and there are clowns, too.

-You start out on your Pokémon adventure with two friends, who don’t travel with you, but are never far behind, and often catch up to you at cities to talk to you about something or another, or maybe challenge you to a Pokémon battle to test your strength. Needless to say, they also approach you in the middle of a route or other inopportune times to fight you, so be sure to have your Pokémon at least a little more than half-dying when travelling.

-If you do find yourself struggling in a battle, you’ll be happy to note that the “DING DONG DING DONG” of the emergency bell is replaced by some intense, dire-sounding music when your Pokémon is close to fainting. I kind of find this annoying myself, however… but far better than the alternative.

-Triple battles can happen in this game, the camera zooming around crazily during Pokémon encounters seems less weird once you realize its scope also includes the non-existent participants of a triple battle. The dynamics aren’t that different to a double battle, but some moves can damage all the participants. (Usually the strong ones.)

-The game’s environments are pretty similar to everything that came before, you start out in the same little town where you live with your mother, adventure on route maps that include mountains and forests, and cities big and small. The gatehouses are pretty cool in that they have big LCD displays telling you the weather for the route and giving tourist information about the city you’re about to head into, including news like who won the latest battle against Gym Leader X. (You, of course!)

-Fortunately, this generation’s adventure doesn’t require you to do the whole “start at town X, go to town Y, go back to town X” that almost made me give up on the last games. You get to dive into the adventure right away and not worry about backtracking. But get ready to suffer through learning how to catch a Pokémon, of course.

-Finally, the overreaching plot of this game deals with a joke oft-made in schoolyards… is it really okay to cram a little animal into a ball and make it fight for you? That’s right, Nintendo’s made its latest game to deal with just this, and the Pokémon world doesn’t quite seem to know how to handle the thought that maybe what they’re doing isn’t nice. It’s interesting to hear both sides of the issue, though the evil team’s still evil, no matter what their aims.

Well, there’s my summary, folks! Further bulletins as events warrant. Thanks for reading this far!

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2 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    Wait a minute I though these games were coming out this spring?

  2. GlitterBerri says:

    They came out in Japan in September. =)

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