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Review Scores

VGChartz Score
8.9
                         

Ratings

     

Alternative Names

Pocket Monsters Black / White

ポケットモンスター ブラック・ホワイト‎

Developer

Game Freak

Genre

Role-Playing

Release Dates

03/06/11 Nintendo
09/18/10 Nintendo
03/04/11 Nintendo

Friend Code

Community Stats

Owners: 467
Favorite: 60
Tracked: 11
Wishlist: 44
Now Playing: 30
 
8.8

Avg Community Rating:

 

Pokémon Black / White Version

By Gabriel Franco 18th Mar 2011 | 9,861 views 

The best Pokémon ever?


Pokémon’s fifth generation has arrived to our side of the world after its successful venture into the Japanese market, where it enjoyed both critical acclaim as well as soaring sales figures (it sold some 2.6 million units in only 48 hours). The game arrives with a plethora of additions to game mechanics and a storyline that deviate only slightly from the familiar pattern we’ve gotten used to.

The game begins when a boy who dreams of becoming the best Pokémon trainer in the world is offered the gift of a Pokémon, and is offered three basic Pokémon to choose from: a Tepig (fire type), Oshawott (water type) and Snivy (grass type). Two other friends also receive Pokémon as gifts and armed with their new pet friends, the trio decide to have an amicable showdown in his bedroom, making a mess of the place. After this brief intro, the boy embarks in the greatest adventure of his life, visiting several cities in the Unova region and challenging the leaders of Pokémon gyms along the way to obtain the precious badges needed to become a recognized Pokémon trainer capable of challenging both the Elite Four and the famed League Champion. However, your quest for glory in competitive sports isn’t the only thing there is to the package. There’s also the pesky Team Plasma and their quest to sever all the bonds between humans and Pokémon that must be dealt with.

There are some 156 new Pokémon in the Unova region, but curiously there are none from the 493 species we had already seen in previous games. The story, as mentioned earlier, follows the usual pattern. However, once you’ve defeated the Elite Four and are about to confront the Champion, the plot takes an unexpected twist which I won’t spoil for you. Just go ahead and play it, we’re sure you’ll like it; personally I consider it one of the better innovations to the franchise’s story so far. The controls did not received many changes, the main character is controlled using the D-Pad. The handling of boxes in the PC is achieved through very simple and user friendly menus that you manipulate either via the touch screen or by using the ABXY buttons.

Some of the main attractions of Pokémon games are the simple mini-games that help you break away from the pressure of completing the campaign. Pokémon Black & White is no exception and this time we have a Musical Pokémon mini-game where you have to dress your Pokémon accordingly to compete in a dance contest. Pokémon Black & White offers a massive amount of new additions that refresh the gaming experience in this aging franchise that has already been criticized before for falling into comfortable patterns to the detriment of originality. One of these additions is the C-Gear. This item is very similar to the Poke-gear seen in the Diamond, Pearl, & Platinum editions. This small jewel will be displayed in the touch screen of your DS and you’ll have three options: Wi-Fi, IR, or Wireless. If you choose the Wi-Fi option, it will send you to Game Sync from where you can then link to a website called the Pokémon Global Link. We’ll return and explain further about this site later. For now just be forewarned that you have to complete a certain portion of the adventure before you can register into this site and enjoy the benefits.

The IR (or Infra-red) Mode is made possible because the Black & White game cartridges contain tiny infrared ports that allow them to communicate with each other. This scheme has been tried before, but now there are more options. The Wireless mode lets you chose between Intralink or Xtranreceiver. Intralink removes you from the main story and takes you to an alternative location in the Unova region called the Dream Forest, where you can find the Pokémon brought from the Dream World. In here you can also engage in special missions or join the missions some of your friends may have already started. Xtranreceiver is a DSi & DSi XL exclusive option that allows video chat between up to four players within the range of the wireless signal.

In the Pokémon Global Link you can also find the Dream World. To enter this World you have to send one of your Pokémon into a slumber. Once asleep it’ll grant you entry into the Dream World which is the only place in the game where you can multiply your berries. You can also visit the Dream Islands, or even engage in a journey to the Dream Tree. In your journey to the Dream Tree you can find several Pokémon who will invite you to engage them in minigames. If you win, that Pokémon befriends you and for the meager price of one berry will join you in the main game. However, if your victory is very decisive, the Pokémon will come into the outer world with an advanced ability. For instance, Poliwags usually start out with two abilities: “Water Absorb” and “Damp”, but if decisively defeated in the Dream World he comes to you sporting the “Swift Swim” ability as well. There are a large variety of mini-games in the Dream World from simple “Find the Hidden Pokémon” challenges to “Ice Cream Tower” building contests. You also accumulate points to unlock new areas and new species of Pokémon from the Dream World.


Another feature of the Black & White package is the whole Wi-Fi functionality is centered around the Pokémon Centers, saving you the hassle of traveling to a specific city. You can find the access to the Global Terminal in the right side of the second floor of every Pokémon Center. Pokémon Centers are small healing centers where you take your Pokémon to recover from any injury like paralysis or a burn. There’s one in every city. On the second floor of every Pokémon Center there are three doors that have very specific game functions. The most relevant is the one on the right that takes you to the Union Room where you can interact wirelessly with other friends via your DS. In the Union Room you can also trade Pokémon or Pokémon eggs, and even challenge someone to a friendly duel.


Despite the fact that Pokémon Black & White introduces a large array of innovations, the battle system remains largely the same we’ve seen for the past 15 years. Based on turns, each Pokémon has to wait for his turn to attack and just as in past versions, there are attacks such as the Quick Attack or the Mach Punch that allow you to move ahead your turn. There are also attacks such as the Fury Swipes or the Bullet Seed that allow the same Pokémon to strike up to five times in the same turn. Due to the 17 different kinds of existing types, Pokémon battles become huge rock-paper-scissors affairs, with some attacks being super-effective against certain Pokémon, while some other Pokémon are completely immune to such assaults. Add to the mix the personalities and special abilities Pokémon obtain in the Black & White versions, and you end up with a neat strategic element added to the game. Even seemingly identical Pokémon can have radically different individual attributes.

If you’re an old fan of the series, you’ll recall that the Technical Machines (or TMs) were one shot only affairs. To the delight of trainers everywhere, that has changed in the new version, and can now be used as many time as the player wishes in order to teach new techniques to your Pokémon which it would otherwise be unable to master. Just as in all previous Pokémon games, you have to look for these throughout the Unova landscape. A few will be given to players as gifts by the leaders of Pokémon gyms or even by random people one meets throughout the game. Others can be bought at Pokémarts. The most powerful ones can only be bought at the Battle Subway using your Battle Points. Finally, a last group is only made available during certain seasons of the year. Irregardless of how you obtain them, they are all well worth the search.

Since the outset, Pokémon has placed great emphasis in human interactions, be it by trading Pokémon or battling your Pokémon against those of a friend. Black & White is no exception and in addition to the well established Single and Double battle modes, there’s also a Rotation Battle mode and even a Triple Battle mode. In a Triple Battle, a trio of Pokémon are sent out to the battle arena, however, there are some rules restricting which enemy Pokémon one can attack. The Pokémon in the center of the trio can attack all three of the opponents, but the ones in the wings can’t attack the rival Pokémon in the opposite wing. Nevertheless, there are a few attacks that have an effect throughout the whole battle arena and those will continue to affect all members of the enemy team. Among these is a new form of combo attack performed by joining the powers of two Pokémon types. Rotation Battles are similar to Triple Battles, but with a twist. In these, your three Pokémon are placed in a rotating disc, and only the Pokémon at the fore can engage in combat. If you want to switch Pokémon you will lose a turn. It’s a very tricky game mode where you must carefully try to anticipate your opponent’s moves in order to win.

The starting Pokédex in Black & White is limited and can only contain information on the 156 creatures found in the Unova region. However, once you complete the story, you’ll be offered an upgrade to improve it and register al 649 species of Pokémon known to date. The Black & White version’s Pokédex contains the same standard information as all its predecessors from previous iterations, but with a few innovations such as recording the alternative color schemes of certain types of Pokémon.

The developers did a good job creating the Unova region, adding dimension and texture to scenarios. Some of the towns actually feel really like a 3D display. Castelia City is the best example and is easily the jewel in the crown of the visuals department of the game. There are a few visual elements in Black & White that actually affect gameplay such as the inclusion of seasons. Some areas within Unova aren’t accessible during certain seasons (seasons last about a month each in this game) and you have to wait for the propitious time to enter them. Furthermore, some of the Pokémon change their looks from season to season (such as the Deerling and the Sawsbuck). The sound effects and the music in these game are quite stunning; walking besides a river feels very lifelike and relaxing. The ambient sound and the battle noises are also noteworthy. The melody heard near the end of the game is one of the most memorable (and stickiest) ever to crown the franchise.

Even after you’re done with the main story mode in the game, which will take some 20 hours to complete, Pokémon Black & White is a game that potentially enjoys near infinite replay value. The robust lineup of online and offline combat modes, plus the 649 different species of Pokémon and a myriad number of possible attacks virtually guarantee lovers of the franchise near limitless fun.

Pokémon Black & White is indeed one of the more innovative launches in the series and may actually be the best Pokémon game to date. It’s not only an ideal package for people who are just getting acquainted with the saga, but also a great expansion of the tried and proved concepts that made the franchise so popular with its regular fan base. It’s certainly not the game you would want to miss if you aspire to become a Pokémon trainer.


VGChartz Verdict


8.9
Great

Read more about our Review Methodology here

Shipping Total

15,640,000 Units
As of: March 31st, 2019

Opinion (250)

S.Peelman posted 30/10/2015, 01:38
Nintendo says 15.60m as of september 30.
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atma998 posted 31/01/2015, 02:11
Reached 15.05M and outsold games like CoD MW3 (X360), Pokemon Yellow, GTA V (X360) and Gran Turismo 3, even came close to Brain Age 2 (15.28M).
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Kongfucius posted 01/07/2014, 07:13
Biggest first week of any game in Japan ever, beats FF8 by just 17k!
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Lynx_7 posted 17/10/2013, 02:30
According to Nintendo, this has sold 15.42 million copies. Undertracked by quite a lot.
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Azhraell posted 01/09/2013, 06:22
@Toxicspikes: VGC changes Rest of the world with europe in some games...
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Toxicspikes posted 16/08/2013, 07:52
Where are the Europe sales? I really don't think these games have sold only 0.6million copies in all of Europe...
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