Video Game Review: Pokemon Black

Details: Spent about twenty-five hours playing through it. More information can be found at https://www.pokemon.com/us/pokemon-video-games/pokemon-black-version-and-pokemon-white-version/

Score: 7/10

Each Pokemon game seeks to move forward and add something new ahead of what was established in the last Pokemon game. Pokemon Black does this primarily with improved visuals and cinematic moments.

At its core, Black is the same story as in all Pokemon games. You play as a child who comes of age and begins their Pokemon adventure. You must defeat eight gyms in order to earn the right to challenge the Elite Four and become the Pokemon Champion. Along the way you’ll meet various people and collect as many Pokemon as possible.

Every Pokemon game has a “Team,” which is the bad guys you have to beat along your journey. The bad guys in this game are some of the most realistic in that they’re basically PETA. Like PETA, the bad guys seeks to free Pokemon by doing something extreme like stealing all Pokemon from their owners. As always, you do beat them up eventually.

Unlike in past games, you have three rivals. It’s a nice change.

Gameplay is the same as in past games. You catch Pokemon and they take turns hitting each other. Nothing new here.

Real time and seasons play a role in the type of Pokemon you can catch and some areas of the map that change depending on the time. Syncing in game time to real time is a bit short sighted in that it restricts players to play only at certain times. For example there are parts of the map that can only be accessed during Winter, like in real life Winter. If I started playing the game in Spring, I’d have to wait a whole year to access that area. It’s not a smart system.

The biggest change and improvement are the visuals. The art style in this game combines two dimensional sprits with three dimensional environments. The result is visually pleasing and original in a way. It kind of reminds of Octopath Traveler in a way. There are also a bunch more improved visual details like better animated Pokemon during  battles and character designs. It’s just an overall step up from the previous Pokemon games.

Music is great as always with this franchise.

Overall, this was a fun game. Keep in mind that this is still an old game and does not hold a candle to more recent role playing games. With that said, I still had fun with it and appreciate how it moved the franchise a step forward.

 

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