The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Game Freak has spent years building upon a money-making
gameplay formula that involves engaging countless critters in addicting
rock-paper-scissors style battles on a quest to catch ‘em all. Though
the basic mechanics of the franchise have been effective, Pokémon
fanatics have been clamoring for the series to evolve for years. While
the latest franchise entries, Black and White, don’t necessarily make
any major leaps in innovation, they do take steps in the right
Professor Juniper kicks off the action by
sending our matured protagonist on a lengthy adventure to complete the
Pokédex, battle trainers across the expansive Unova region, earn gym
badges, and ultimately become the Pokémon champion – pretty much
standard fare. While veteran trainers might be put off by some of the
explanations on how to catch and train Pokémon early on, the action
quickly picks up with the introduction of Team Plasma, a group bent on
the liberation of Pokémon and releasing them from the selfish demands of
their trainers. Regular encounters with the team while exploring Unova
unveil that their intentions of freeing Pokémon are not as benevolent as
Unova is home to memorable hot spots such as the
business district of Castelia and the center of entertainment, Nimbasa
City. Upon entering each location, you see how far the series has come
from a technical standpoint as sweeping camera angles show off each
city’s amazing detail and scale. Towns scattered across the massive
world map are home to a number of fun diversions such as Pokémon
musicals, arena battles, and the occasional NPC who lost a Pokémon and
needs your help. These tasks break up the hours spent scouring patches
of grass for new captures.
Just like in any other Pokémon title,
you’ll spend a large amount of time engaged in battle. With the new
Pokémon introduced in Black and White, finding a fresh face and
developing new strategies based on the unfamiliar opponent’s strengths
and weaknesses is part of the fun. To mix things up, 3v3 battles are
introduced for the first time in the series, requiring a new level of
strategy by determining which Pokémon to send out while being mindful of
the elemental properties of your opponents. This addition injects a
much-needed dose of variety, but you still spend the bulk of your
experience in single and double battles, since 3v3 doesn’t make an
appearance until much later. Still, once you put together a winning
team, battles of any size are just as addicting as ever, and only get
more satisfying as your Pokémon evolve.
Pokémon Black and White do
a great job building upon already solid features and taking them to the
next level. With new Pokémon, fun characters, unforgettable locations,
and changes to the battle system, Game Freak has given true fans a
reason to become a trainer again.