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- Mornin '13
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Pokemon Black Version Review
developer: Game Freak
|ESRB rating: E
release date: Mar 06, 11 (released)
|» All About Pokemon Black Version on ActionTrip|
Now I know what you're thinking, "Smappy, we know you used to take a lot of drugs, but Pok'mon too? What kind of monster are you?" (Actually, yes, that's exactly what I was thinking - Vader) and I don't have a clever response to that question.
Pok'mon Black and White is the latest in a long line of games about children leaving home to enslave cute cuddly creatures called Pok'mon and make these pseudo-magical animals fight for their master's fame and fortune. For Nintendo, the franchise is basically like printing money. Pok'mon is a wonderfully deep, yet remarkably friendly strategy role-playing game. I'm not going to delude myself into not believing this is largely marketed to children, but it certainly offers enough for a gamer of any age to enjoy the experience. I kind of like the friendly atmosphere the game has because if Pok'mon were to ever receive a gritty reboot it would be nothing but unadulterated nightmare fuel. The most iconic Pok'mon, Pikachu, is a rat capable of shooting lightning bolts, which is not something I would like to see angry.
Now, that doesn't look safe at all.
Looks like I'm stuck here.
The game starts with a greeting by lady Doctor Professor Juniper who asks what your name and gender are. Being a pervert, but only having seven letters, I was a girl who had lost one of her R's and been named "Diarhea." Professor Juniper proceeds to say something like, "Well Diarhea, welcome to an exciting world where we enslave cute, semi-sapient, magic creatures known as 'Pok'mon' to fight for our entertainment! Oh Diarhea, you're going to have so much fun, Diarhea, because in a few seconds you'll get to pick your very own adorable combat slave, and then Diarhea, you'll find yourself on what is sure to be the adventure of a lifetime! Here are your two best friends, Diarhea, this dude is a prick, but a reliable prick, and this girl is a complete ditz, but she means well. Have fun, Diarhea!"
Of course, that was just for Pok'mon White. For Pok'mon Black I was dude named CuntBug, which was less exciting because the male avatar doesn't wear Daisy Duke cut-offs and I picked the memetic "SmugLeaf" starter, Snivy, who is a lot less useful than the sea otter that turns into a samurai, Oshawott. I do not recommend playing both games at once, unless you happen to be blessed like I am, and me too, and schizophrenic.
Now, while enslaving small animals and making them fight sounds simple enough, each Pok'mon has at least one type and possibly two. There are seventeen different types in total (in no particular order: grass, fire, water, normal, dark, bug, psychic, fight, poison, ghost, flying, dragon, electric, rock, ground, ice, and steel). All of these types are arranged like rock-paper-scissors on crack. A chart is a necessity for me to keep them all straight. Each Pok'mon can only know four moves at any given time and each move also has a type. Pok'mon learn new moves by leveling up, from a list unique to their species. Under certain conditions, certain Pok'mon will "evolve" and change their species into something else entirely. This use of the concept of evolution is only slightly more accurate than how Young Earth Creationists use the term.
In Pok'mon Black and White there are over 150 all new Pok'mon and due to the complex type mechanic, collecting a great many of them is a necessity to doing well in the game, as is leveling up the Pok'mon you already have. So the game takes grinding to a new extreme, but this rarely gets boring, it just gets time consuming. You can carry up to six different Pok'mon at once (all others are stored on an in-game computer), and change which one you're actively using at any time, so if you get tired of playing with one, you can change to another, although you'll often be forced to change because of the type mechanic (taking a grass Pok'mon up against a fire Pok'mon will usually result in the grass Pok'mon having its ass kicked).
In order to play Pok'mon Black or White to "completion" you would need something around (I'm guessing) a hundred or more hours and a friend with a copy of the other game (White or Black) with which to trade Pok'mon since each version of Pok'mon Black or White has access to a slightly different collection of the same. So if you've got a lot of time on your hands, access to a DS, DS Lite, DSi or DSi XL (not to mention the soon to be released 3DS) and hopefully a friend who also plays or is willing to play, then I can emphatically recommend this game, especially if you have never played a Pok'mon title before. I've heard that this game is popular with some members of the armed forces serving overseas, due to its extreme length and social qualities.
If you have played a Pok'mon title before, you will feel right at home, although you may not be blown away by what's new, since Black and White are not wildly different from previous titles on the DS. Pok'mon Black and White are still a somewhat ambitious leap forward for the series. More is different between these two titles than previously paired color sets like Heart Gold and Soul Silver.
It's like dog fighting but with more strategy and less liability, a great role playing game experience for anyone, strangely social thanks to online play;
Does not radically change from previous titles; Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver had more convenient touch screen controls.