Joey: Mike and I have had Pokémon for approaching two weeks now. We’ve played a crap load of the game, rocking out for well over 50 hours combined time. So, after all of that, I have to ask…
Mike, is Pokémon Black and White the definitive entry in the Pokémon franchise?
Joey: Elaborate, you son of a bitch.
Mike: Pokémon Black and White keeps all of the elements that made previous games in the series so great and added a few small changes to improve the experience even more. Certain items you would spend hours trying to find through puzzles or exploring are now much easier to come by. You get two Exp. Shares. How much better can it get?
Joey: Right, and that was a major focal point for my review. This entry was a massive refinement. Nintendo seems hesitant to change the Pokemon formula too much (who can blame them?) so this series will likely be a consistent stream of tweaks until sales start to underwhelm company execs.
How about other changes? The graphics? The 3-way battles? The ability to trade Pokemon from not just your party, but also your PC from anywhere in the game world? It’s like Nintendo’s finally taken time to pay attention to major game downsides and improve.
Mike: The graphics are a major improvement. I can recall traveling before you learn the HM Fly being such a pain but now I can’t wait to see what the next route or city looks like. The overhaul to battle animations were much needed as well. It isn’t boring to look at the Pokemon you’re battling anymore.
3-way battles are a little bit of a stretch for me. I understand that they feel the need to introduce something into the game that is different and new but their previous battle system was fine the way it was. The new tall, dark grass where two wild Pokemon can attack you at the same time is a great addition though.
Nintendo and Game Freak hit a home run for me with the new trading system. This is a quality of life improvement that is so obvious yet took them this long to implement. I know Black and White just came out but I can’t help being curious about what they could possibly do to improve the series in the next game.
Joey: That is the real question, right? Regardless of the fact that this game just came out, we’re already starting to question the nature of the next entry.
But is it even a worry of “What’s next?” The franchise has managed to steadily improve, and that’s commendable as hell.
What about the plot line? I know that Pokemon has never been entirely about gripping characters and story. I just felt that this one was a bit more mature. Your rivals are your best friends, not just some stupidly mean jerk you grew up with. The enemies have a more identifiable, evil quest. It’s like they simplified the storyline, played up the humanity and made it more appealing.
Still, I never found myself playing for the story. As always, I play for the next sweet Pokemon I’m about to get.
Mike: I really did enjoy the story this time around. The conflict in past games was always present yet it didn’t affect me as a player. They really made the struggle feel personal and more human in Black and White.
What did you think about this generation of Pokemon? I think we had similar favorites but also noticed some blatant repetition from previous generations.
Joey: Oh, definitely. Zubat is now Woobat, Rattata is now Patrat, Pidgey is now Pidove. That stuff is all over. But the major Pokemon, the ones outside of the normal category, are amazing. Are they similar to classic characters? Sure. But they’re buffed up and made to be more visually appealing.
Let’s wrap here. Would you recommend Pokemon Black and White to both fans new and old?
Mike: I would 100% recommend this game to anyone. The game progresses so smoothly in Black and White. There was never a moment where I was unsure of what to do next to plot forward. Nintendo placed all the focus on the story, battles and the Pokemon themselves while eliminating frustrating elements from previous games and improving the graphics and overall experience.