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Analyzing The New Pokémon

by Jeff Marchiafava on Feb 10, 2011 at 11:00 AM

When Nintendo first introduced Pokémon in 1996, players were entranced by the creativity of the game's 151 unique species of pocket monsters. 14 years later, the series now boasts roughly one hundred billion Pokémon in its roster, and it appears that Nintendo is really scraping the bottom of the barrel for new character designs.

How do these new contenders stack up against the veterans like Pikachu, Squirtle, and that thing that has a plant growing out of its back? I haven't played a Pokémon game since the original Blue version, but that's not going to stop me from critiquing 31 of the new creatures from Black and White based on the flimsiest of observations.

All of the following information and images are from Nintendo's official Pokémon Black and White website, so be sure to check it out for more information.

Victini is classified as a Victory Pokémon - apparently that's a category of Pokémon now. So there you go; I guess we can skip the other 30 Pokémon, because Victini apparently always wins. You're probably going to want to catch one of these things as fast you can - they're way better than creatures from the Defeat Pokémon category.

In case the name and category weren't enough to convince you of how great Victini is, its special ability is called Victory Star, and it also waves the victory sign whenever it gets the chance. Oh, its stupid head also makes a big "V" too. That's some unified character design right there.

Now here's a category I can get behind. Basculin is classified as a Hostile Pokémon, and it certainly looks the part. Basculin's abilities are Reckless and Adaptability, which seem to contradict each other, but I guess if you're going to be reckless you have to be able to adapt to whatever mess you create. Basculin is a Water-based Pokémon, which should have been obvious since it's a fish.

Pansage is a Grass Monkey, which isn't nearly as cool as a Brass Monkey...that funky monkey. Pansage is also not as cool as that other Pokémon monkey whose ass is on fire. However, I love the fact that its special ability is Gluttony - that almost makes up for the broccoli growing out of its head.

The best thing I can say about Alomomola is that its nearly-unpronounceable name is a palindrome. That's not a good sign. Alomomola is a Caring Pokémon, which in a fighting tournament is about as helpful as a Pacifist Pokémon (I wouldn't be surprised if that's a real category too). Its abilities are Healer - which is helpful enough - and Hydration. Is that a problem in Pokémon games nowadays? Do you have to worry about your monsters becoming dehydrated?  Something tells me that Basculin would wipe the sea floor with Alomomola, who would probably just say "Gee Basculin, that was really great how you kicked my ass just now. Here, have a cup of water."

Speaking of non-combatants: Deerling is a Season Pokémon, who comes in four different colors depending on what time of the year it is. These colors are pink in Spring, green in Summer, orange in Autumn, and...brown in Winter? What does brown have to do with winter?!

Nothing about Deerling says that it would be a good Pokémon to have in a fight - its abilities are Chlorophyll and Sap Sipper? What is going on? Do Pokémon games have a non-fighting mode nowadays? Selecting this creature would be like bringing a pug to a pitbull fight. All I can say is I would really hate Deerling if it wasn't so damned cute. Luckily though, Deerling is adorable, and I kind of want one - I'm just not going to bring it into the arena with me...

At first I thought Sewaddle got its name because it must waddle when it walks, but then I realized the emphasis must be on the "sew"...because it's a Sewing Pokémon. Sewing should not be a category of Pokémon, unless there's some kind of sewing minigame now that I'm not aware of. Sewaddle also has Chlorophyll as a (non)ability, but Swarm might be cool, and Struggle Bug's description sounds as helpful as its name is adorable. I don't normally like Grass-based Pokémon, but Sewaddle is alright in my book.

Watchog looks like a pissed-off meerkat. Its Illuminate ability might be cool, but how good of a Lookout Pokémon can Watchog be if it got caught in the first place? Keen Eye, huh? Have fun using that ability to stare at the inside of your Pokéball prison...

Patrat is the Pokémon that Watchog evolves from, and is equally worthless - clearly both its Keen Eye and Run Away abilities failed to keep Patrat from getting caught. I'll give this guy a break though, since he at least looks like he's trying to do a good job, waving off the other Pokémon until the coast is clear. Too bad Patrat has to "evolve" into such a disgruntled-looking jerk.

Alright, now this is just stupid. There's a Coffin category of Pokémon now? A Coffin isn't a category, it's what you put your Pokémon in after it dies fighting for your own sick amusement. What exactly was the design process for Cofagrigus?

Design Guy #1: "Alright, let's make a Pokémon based on a sarcophagus."

Design Guy #2: "...Whatever. [Draws sarcophagus] Now what?"

Design Guy #1: "Uh...I don't know; give him wacky arms and feet."

Nintendo went the mole approach for Drilbur, huh? Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just that Drilbur could have been some kind of awesome-looking metal drill dude...but moles are nice too. I mean, its Sand Rush and Sand Force abilities sound powerful enough - I just don't feel very intimidated when I look at Drilbur.

Wuw! Forget everything bad I said about going with a mole - this Excadrill is bad-ass! His steel claws look like they could ravage even the toughest opponent, and his expression says that he's totally going to get revenge on anyone who made fun of him when he was just a simple Drilbur. I take it all back, Excadrill!

Finally, a pun that doesn't suck! Braviary is classified as a Valiant Pokémon - now that's a category! And its ability is Sheer Force? That sounds like a move only Chuck Norris would have! Do you think Deerling's Sap Sipper ability is going to stand a chance against Sheer Force?! Everything about this 90 pound, ass-kicking bird makes me happy. This Braviary looks pretty pleased with himself too, like he knows that he should be making a scary face, but he's just too happy being awesome!

Braviary is a hard act to follow, but I kind of dig Axew. Tusk Pokémon is a decent category, but its Mold Breaker ability doesn't sound that impressive - it breaks up mold? Great, I need to catch one of these guys and have him clean my shower for me. Still, this Axew is pretty damned cute: His stance says he's ready for anything, but his stubby little arms say all he can really handle is a great big hug.

This is amazing - Nintendo can even make a friggin' nucleus look cute! Also, this nucleus Pokémon is 44 pounds, which is kind of terrifying when you think about it.

I'm calling BS on Gothitelle right now - this isn't even a Pokémon, it just looks like an indignant girl in a dress. If I had that hairstyle, I'd be pretty annoyed too. Does Gothitelle even have a male version? If so, he's going to be more confused about his identity than that Twilight vampire...

Woobat, huh? I kind of like the idea of having a romantic bat as a Pokémon - what better way to insult your opponents than by causing them to fall in love with a flying mammal? However, I'm not sold on its abilities - Unaware and Klutz? Obviously Woobat gets by on its charm.

My initial thought when seeing Musharna was, "My God, this Pokémon is still a fetus! What kind of sicko is going to make a fetus fight?" But the truth is even creepier: According to the caption, that pink squiggly thing I mistook for an umbilical cord is actually a mist that's "filled with the dreams of people and Pokémon." How disturbing is that? What, Musharna floats around stealing people's dreams and then blows them out its blow hole? That's terrifying!

Munna is the initial form of Musharna, and its classification confirms my fears: Munna is a Dream Eater Pokémon. I have no idea what its Forewarn and Synchronize abilities do, but the fact that it can eat my dreams makes it one Pokémon that I would want as an ally rather than an enemy.

Now we're getting somewhere! Gigalith is exactly what you would want out of a Pokémon. Sure, Sturdy is a lame name for an ability, but it lets Gigalith endure knock out moves even when it only has 1 HP? Rocky ain't got s--- on this Pokémon!

Despite the flaming eyebrows, Darmanitan doesn't look all that tough, but its enemy in the picture has been reduced to a ball of flames, so I'll keep my criticisms to myself.

Klink is a Gear Pokémon, and is apparently a kind of 2-for-1 deal. I'm not sure why both of their right eyes have been injured; hopefully there's not some kind of Poké-abuse going on here. The caption makes a big deal about Klink being the first Pokémon to have either the Plus or Minus ability. Maybe if I knew what those did, I would give a crap.

Okay, this is just a cuter version of Pikachu. Minccino is actually a Chinchilla Pokémon, which - if you really have to make up a bogus category for Pokémon - is actually pretty cool. In case you couldn't tell from the friggin' picture, Minccino is cute, and as such its ability is Cute Charm. Minccino also has a Technician ability, so if your Cute Machine ever breaks down, Minccino can fix it. The caption says its Tail Slap can attack an enemy multiple times in a row, which is probably the most adorable way you can get beat up. Oh Minccino, you just tail-slapped your way into my heart!

Something about Blitzle seems like it's trying too hard. Fine, you're a cute zebra/pony hybrid with electric attacks. Whatever.

How many new Pokémon are there? I feel like I've looked at about a billion of these things already. Sandile is the first Pokémon that is both Ground- and Dark-type. Great. It also is either part raccoon, or it's wearing goggles - I can't tell anymore. I do like that one of Sandile's abilities is Moxie, however.

Pidove is apparently a cross between a pigeon and a dove, but it looks all pigeon to me. Also, please notice that its category is Tiny Pigeon Pokémon. Is the Tiny really necessary? Are there that many Pigeon Pokémon that we need to further break them down by size? And how many size categories are there that you need to go with Tiny instead of just Small? Not to mention the fact that Pidove is 4.6 pounds - if that's Tiny, then what the hell is a Giant Pigeon Pokémon?! Despite this, I can't complain about Pidove's abilities. Big Pecks? That's pretty awesome, as is Super Luck - Pidove's got it made!

Swanna also has the Big Pecks ability, but everything else about this White Bird Pokémon seems pretty lame. Apparently Swanna has a Hurricane move, but it's dependent on the weather? I didn't even know Pokémon battles had variable weather conditions. No thanks, pal. If I catch this Pokémon, I'm going to "Swanna" Pidove instead.

According Nintendo's website, Zoroark can only be caught at a special event, and I ain't going to no damned Pokémon event, so I don't really care about this guy. If you want to catch 'em all, you can find out more about the event here.

Zorua is another example of the original form being cooler than the evolved form - I'll take a Tricky Fox over an Illusion Fox any day of the week. Plus, Zorua has an ability called Foul Play, which makes sense if it's really that tricky. *Sigh* does anyone want to go to that Poké-event and catch one of these guys for me?

First of all, what the hell is coming out of Oshawott's stomach? That just looks indecent, especially when it has a Water-based Torrent attack.

Oshawott is one of the new starter Pokémon for Black and White, which makes the blatant phallic symbol on its chest an even stranger design choice - but then again, "Squirtle" always sounded like the nickname of an adult film star, so I guess Water-based starter Pokémon have always been a bit scandalous. I'm going to go ahead and call Oshawott a solid choice for new trainers.

Snivy is the second starter, and is classified as a Grass Snake Pokémon, despite the fact that it clearly has arms and legs. Snivy also looks pretty damned smug for a Pokémon whose big ability is Overgrow. That's what my lawn does every summer, and while I admit it's annoying, it's not the hardest ability to overcome - I'm sure there's probably a Mowing Pokémon category with a monster called Trimble or something equally stupid, that's going to decimate this snooty creature. I will not be choosing Snivy as my starter.

Poor Tepig really got screwed in the naming department. I'm assuming that it's a pun on tepid, which I think would be a major insult to a Fire-based Pokémon. Tepig is the final starter Pokémon, and its category is way cooler than its name: Fire Pig? That sounds like a super hero! Its Blaze ability also sounds pretty great - way better than Tepig. But if its giant smile is anything to go by, Tepig doesn't really seem to care about its dumb name. I love this pig.

That concludes our epic look at some of the new creatures in Pokémon Black and White. So, who's your favorite new Pokémon, and which starter are you going to choose?