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Friday, September 22, 2023

Life + Arts

Pokémon games back in black and white

It is time once more to journey across a new land while capturing new creatures, training them and defeating an evil team. Nintendo’s newest entry to the Pokémon video game series is Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version.

This is the fifth entry into the series — each entry features at least two versions with minor differences, new Pokémon and new areas to explore.

The most obvious aspect is the visual upgrade from the previous four games. The game starts with a short movie introduction, and there are other short movies during the game as well, like when the player first meets the Pokémon on the cover.

The Unova Region, which is where the game takes place, has larger cities and a variety of environments to explore. The camera zooms out appropriately at scenic locations without interrupting game play.

The battle system largely the same. A battle begins as soon as you enter the line of sight of another Pokémon trainer. Battles are turn-based and each Pokémon can remember up to four attacks.

Each Pokémon is aligned to an element, which determines the effectiveness of attacks against them. Taking advantage of the different elements is the key to winning battles, and it is encouraged to build a team comprising Pokémon of different elements.

Triple battles and rotation battles are new to the series, but they are barely used in the game — most of the battles inside the game are one-on-one battles.

156 new Pokémon are added to the mix, bringing the new total to 649. However, the majority of the game deals with only the new Pokémon.

This brings a new certain mystery to all the creatures that are encountered and forces the player to explore new options outside of old favorites. The designs of some of the new Pokémon seem to lack the charm of the older ones, but the large variety assures that most players will find at least a few that they will like.

Older Pokémon are available through trading, online features and in areas accessible after the main storyline is finished.

Just like the all the other Pokémon games, you start off in a small town and receive one of three starter Pokémon from the local professor.

From there, you journey onwards to challenge other trainers and beat all eight gym leaders scattered throughout the region. Beating the eight gym leaders enables the chance to battle the Elite Four and become champion, which is basically the end of the game’s story.

Along the way, Team Plasma will be causing trouble and needs to be stopped. Three rivals will stop you for battles throughout the game, two of which are from the first town and the last one being a mysterious boy simply named N.

Overall, Nintendo sticks to its original formula very closely and adds some new features in an attempt to add variety. The different Pokémon add a lot of customization to building a team.

The new region offers plenty to explore and scenic locations to see. For anyone who is interested in turn-based role playing games, this might be one of the best choices for the Nintendo DS.

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