Pokemon White review
Nintendo and GameFreak have graced us with yet another edition of Pokemon Adventure: Black and White (I wonder what happens when they run out of colours...) And just like with Pearl and Diamond, we are playing on the Nintendo DS, so expect a lot of fun little details to do with the touch screen and the stylus :)
Once more players will take the part of a young boy/girl and go on a Pokemoning adventure. This time with two friends, whom you run into all the time (to see who's become stronger and so on) and with whom you learn important lessons about life. There are no surprises in the main goals of the game: "gotta catch 'em all" and defeat all the gym leaders to become the top Arcanine of the Unova region.
Plotwise we'll reveal this much, that there is a new team in town: Plasma. They seem to have a good goal (liberate Pokemon from the yoke of human oppression), but our tough-nosed grade schooler can surely stop them. It took the writer of this review quite a while (read: not yet there) to get passionate about beating Plasma Grunts - especially when it seems that they are perfectly unphased after every battle, as if there was nothing to worry about.
I must admit that I find this new group quite interesting, remembering the discussion that raged around the pokemon-idea at the game's emergence ("it's going to brainwash our kids into thinking that dogfights are cool!"): Plasma say it is morally wrong to catch pokemon and make them fight each other (and then proceed to defend their position by, what else, pokemon battles...) Is this sarcasm, or Nintendo's tactical way to address that criticism? Either, way it's rather cool how it ties my world to the world of pokemon.
But any kind of plot-problems are forgiven with Pokemon, because - let's face it - it's not about the story, it's about the creatures and how they awesomely rip into each other. And while there are exciting new pokemons to behold and train (and many more that cause conversation with their "wtf?"-appeal), there is something... strangely familiar about all this. At first you start with your usual cool starter pokemon and start hacking away at some rats and pidgeons... And as you move along the region, you really start to pick up on many familiar things - that is, if you have played the earlier games.
Which I guess is a beautiful part of the franchice: it always starts over, a new player can climb on board at any new game. Everything is explained from the beginning.
A big point goes to the new game in look and design. Your little pixel sprite moves in a wonderful 3D universe, where the camera pans (and only at appropriate times, not like with Tomb Raider or something where the camera would pan and leave you looking at the inside of the geometry when you'r eabout to get eaten by a bear) to show you the architecture. The battle animations are beautiful, and finally the pokemen's eyes close when they fall asleep! :D I have waited for this day.
There's lots of little fiddly details and side-games to get distracted by, the game uses the Nintendo Wi-Fi for a lot of little perks, and overall there is much to be said for detail.
So in conclusion, Pokemon White is a very shiny and nicely-detailed hashing of the original pokemon game - and why not? Gotta Catch 'em ALL!
More computer game reviews