Well it's that time of year again: a new Pokemon game for the Nintendo DS was released and once again we at pnosker.com have received a copy of Nintendo albeit a little bit after release. That provided us with more time to really get acquainted with this iteration of the game so after the jump comes our review of Pokemon White!
As I warned last year, this is the first Pokemon game that doesn't include any of the pocket monsters from the original games or from any others for that matter. They were trying to create the feeling of a brand new game a la Red and Blue with all new Pokemon. This effect is largely achieved though if they would've left in the newer Pokemon from the last few games and just took out the originals I probably wouldn't have noticed. I'm a pure homer for the original 151 and hope in the future Nintendo releases another game featuring just those, though it would purely be out of nostalgia. The idea of a Red/Blue reboot doesn't seem out of the question though.
Going along with the brand new game aspect, Nintendo introduced more character development and more of a reliance on 3D graphics within the games which will probably ramp up next year if the series ports over to the 3DS.
There's actually a story that involves one character's transition from good to evil and another breaking away from her family. There doesn't seem to be much resistance from your as always single mother in letting her ten year old go out on his own taming wild animals but that's par for the course. I won't spoil any of the rest of the story but while it reverts somewhat to a traditional Pokemon story, it is starkly different still. By the way, on the island, there's a part of the city that is meant to resemble Ground Zero. TOO SOON.
The graphics are better and while nostalgic still not good enough for this platform which will just become more apparent if these same graphics make their way over to the 3DS. You still can't see attacks hit your opponents. While there are some new visual effects, the graphics are still subpar. I greatly enjoy them since they remind me of my childhood but that's probably not going to appeal to the target tween audience.
The battle mechanics are still pretty much the same. New Pokemon have new attacks but they're still pretty much the same thing. Water Pokemon fall to grass who lose to fire and so on and so forth. It's nothing new. There are nonsensical ones still like psychic's weakness but it is what it is. They aren't going to tinker with some of the most well known and loved mechanics of one of the deepest and most loved role playing games.
There are two new additions though. Triple Battles and Rotational Battles have made their way into the game to at least to add some kind of change up to that familiar mechanic. Triple Battles are basically what you'd think: 3 v 3 Pocket Monster battles. Unexpected I know. Rotational Battles are tag teams with, you guessed it, 3 v 3 Pocket Monster battles. You can pull back one Pokemon and send out one backing it up which is more of a cosmetic change than a material one, but anything to change it up without damaging the formula.
The are also more cutscenes but they're still not fantastic and are just distracting. They're trying to make the game more cinematic by hiding the menus as well but those were purely functional before and now just make it hard to find the save button. Dialog boxes got changed to speech bubbles. YAY.
All in all, it's another solid yet unspectacular addition to the Pokemon family. It's not groundbreaking like the originals but it may be to someone who has no feeling of nostalgia for the older Pokemon. These Pokemon may be their original 151 and that's what Nintendo is going for. You have to commend them for going out on a limb to create another fantastic Pokemon game as a foundation for the future. Here's to hoping Nintendo can hook another generation on the Pokemon series.