Pixel Review: Pokemon Black and White

The 5th Generation

Pixel Review: Pokemon Black and White

Taylor Aguilera, Staff Writer

In the summer of 2020, I was mainly inside, unless you want to count the few small trips I went on with my family. Bound to my house I, of course, did get bored. I decided to play a game that I hadn’t played in some while, thus making me decide to pick up my first ever Pokemon game, Pokemon White.

This game will be 10 years old on March 6th of 2021. The feeling of mortality aside Pokemon Black and White are 5th generation entries of Pokemon. A controversial generation as well, something I didn’t know when I was new to the Pokemon. Being a soft reboot of the franchise, it brought new things in that alienated some fans. The games introduced 156 new Pokemon, the largest amount ever in a generation. Not leaving much room for older ones. Still, I thought it would be fun to play the game again seeing as I’m older and my mind has hopefully grown.

The Main Game
Pokemon games aren’t known for their story but rather their gameplay. Though generations 3 and 7 are exceptions. These games tend to hold your hand and are more restricting. Thus making some players feel frustrated from lack of freedom.

We go through the basics of being introduced to the Pokemon world, our friends, and getting to pick our starter. In the first town, we meet a group called team Plasma ruled by a king named N. They’re speaking about pokemon liberation while being led by Ghetsis (one of the Seven Sages of Team Plasma). Bringing up questions about the ethics of pokemon that have been in the games for years. The typical formula of defeating all 8 gyms to then defeat the Final Four takes a back seat to the main story of Team Plasma’s pokemon liberation plan.

Team Plasma’s actions aren’t random unlike older evil teams, they work towards the goal of N to get one of the legendary dragon-type pokemon; Reshiram or Zekrom depending on the version. These pokemon are Truth and Ideals; Yin and Yang. Team Plasma wants him to use one of the pokemon so they can force people to release their pokemon. N says that you are the other hero of Unova, ‘hero’ being the title of the person who can revive the other dragon pokemon.

After our 8th gym battle, we head to fight the Elite Four. Breaking tradition again, you don’t face the champion as per usual, this time you battle N who’s defeated the champion already. It’s then left to you to defeat N. Once reaching N, the stone you got depending on the version, will turn into one of the dragon pokemon. After the pokemon is revived you battle N. After defeating him, it’s then revealed that Ghetsis has been using N as nothing more than an instrument, in an attempt to gain power. Angry, Ghetsis battles you. Once defeated he flees. N flies off to search for the truth.

Revisiting my copy of White version was a great decision, as I enjoyed it. The main characters were well done, each having their own story going on. The main affair daring to ask questions that have been asked so many times and cobbling an intriguing story out of it.

The Gameplay & Post Game
Gameplay is the other element that matters in a videogame. This is clearly something that matters more in the Pokemon franchise when compared to the story.

Difficulty is something that I’ve cared more about recently. I’m getting older and as such, some games have gotten easier. Most of the games don’t have a difficulty setting, despite being a popular request. When the game’s not difficult it can be a bore to play.

This is one of the reasons why I returned to this game, I wasn’t disappointed. While you had to grind (a term used when you need to level up) at points due to some of the higher level gym leaders and Elite Four, I enjoyed it. I found the battles to be satisfying. There’s plenty of kids, including me, who were introduced during these games and I can tell you that these aren’t too difficult for kids. However Game Freak continue to carry the notion that kids can’t handle even the smallest challenge. The difficulty in this game helps with the post-game too. The opponents that you find throughout the post-game are close to the same level as you.

Past a small task of finding the Seven Sages, there are other things that make up the post-game. Things like; getting your pokemon to level 100 as well as gaining max money. Something else you can do is capture the other legendary pokemon in the region. You have the mysterious third piece to Zekerom and Reshira; Kyurem. The swords of justice Comballion, Terrakion, and Virizion. Not to mention the genies Tornadus, Thundurus, and Landorus. Catching these pokemon can be tasks that are rather time-consuming yet fun, so if you’ve never played a Pokemon game then my advice is to make sure to save before you battle and bring enough Ultra Balls! You also have the other half of the map to explore with more trainers to battle.

The gameplay is smooth, the battles are done well and the game looks nice.

Final Thoughts
Overall, I think Black and White while controversial were under-appreciated at the time of release. They added a lot of new things to Pokemon and gave us a great story. Sure the game had its flaws, but with those flaws came all the positives. The gameplay was well done and made the games a fun experience to play. With a great soundtrack to boot. I’d overall give these games 5 out of 5.