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White vs Black - Differences --- Best Pokemon Game since 1st Gen!,
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This review is from: Pokemon White Version (Video Game)
Quick Personal Statement
I was in elementary school when the "pokemon craze" hit the US and everyone brought games and cards to school. I still have funny memories of getting my cards or gameboy confiscated because I was battling friends or trading during school. (It was much harder to be sneaky when you had to use a cable to connect your systems.) That being said, I only have fond and happy memories of Pokemon. However, as I started getting older, my interest in the series kept declining, but I still bought each new game. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed with Heart Gold / Soul Silver and still have not beaten it yet. I didn't have very high hopes for this game, however, I can tell you this game surpassed anything that I could have hoped for and is by far one of the best Pokemon games that I have ever played. My interest in the series has been reinvigorated. The core battle mechanics remain the same tested and true old formula, but the presentation has improved leaps and bounds! The graphics and environments are some of the best that I have seen on the DS. There are full 3D environments that look astonishingly good. Furthermore, Black and White will have seasonal cycles, as well as night/day cycles. Another added feature is triple battles where each trainer sends out 3 pokemon. I have only had a few hours to play the game, so I cannot speak for the plot as a whole or the post-story activities, but my brief experience with the game has been nothing but pure nostalgic fun.
Anyways, I'll leave the detailed reviewing of the game itself to someone else. I'll move on to what I really want to talk about: the differences between Black version and White version.
Differences -- Pokemon - White Version vs Pokemon - Black Version
Normally, it really doesn't matter which Pokemon version you get, because both are essentially the same thing, except for minor pokemon differences. However, surprisingly, for the first time in a Pokemon game, there are actually significant differences between the games. This time, there are unique regions to each game and the visual theme of each game is quite different.
~~~ Visual Theme ~~~
So, what do I mean by the visual theme? Well, Pokemon Black has more urbanized, industrial locations, whereas Pokemon White shows a more natural world. This can be seen throughout the game. You will see small differences such as a gardening patch in Mistralton city in Pokemon White compared to a building in the same spot in Pokemon Black. Most of the cities give off a natural atmosphere in White. In White, the cities have more grass, plants, and trees, and in Black the cities have more concrete, asphalt, and buildings. The cities in Black are more developed, and in some cases slightly futuristic-looking. Opelucid (Souryuu) City is the most notable; the city look almost entirely different between the two versions.
~~~~ White City / Black Forest ~~~~
Pokemon Black has Black City and white has the White Forest. These are the version exclusive regions I mentioned earlier. They fit the visual themes set forth by each game: Black City is a heavily urbanized area with several trainers to battle with Pokemon from lvl 40 to the mid 60s. There are also many item shops with items that can you help you in game. White City, on the other hand, is a natural forest with low leveled, unevolved Pokemon that you can catch. Black City will definitely help you more in terms of raising your own Pokemon's levels and getting supplies for future battles. However, White City will cater more to people who plan to collect Pokemon and try to complete their pokedex.
~~~~~ Special Battles - Triple and Rotational ~~~~
In both Pokemon White and Black, there are 5 special battles. Pokemon White has 4 Triple Battles and 1 Rotational Battle. Pokemon Black has 4 Rotational Battles and 1 Triple Battle. In both of these special battles, both trainers send out 3 pokemon. These special battles are a bit hard to explain without visuals. The mechanics the battles will be better explained in a simple way during game.
It is a 3 on 3 battle, however, the order you place your pokemon matters. The pokemon in the middle is can attack the enemy's middle, left, or right pokemon, but your pokemon on the left can only attack the enemy's pokemon on the left and the middle. Similarly, your pokemon on the right can only attack the enemy's pokemon on the right and the middle. So, your pokemon on the left cannot attack the opponent's pokemon on the right, and your pokemon on the right cannot attack the opponent's pokemon to the left. To further complicate things, attacks that damage all pokemon such as explosion or earthquake cause more damage when done by the pokemon in the middle, but also inflicts more damage to the pokemon in the middle.
** When I say left or right, I am saying it from the perspective of behind your trainer.
Like the triple battle, both trainers send out three pokemon. However, this time, the pokemon are not fighting against each other all at the same time. Even though all three are sent out, the battle appears like a 1 vs 1 match. Each trainer sends one pokemon forward to battle as one would in a normal battle. But here's the twist: at the start of your turn, you can rotate between any of the three to send forward. You can think of this as basically a pokemon switch without wasting a turn. This adds to the battle strategy when considering types. For example, if your opponent has a grass type forward and you have a water type forward, you would rotate your water type to put a fire type in front.
Hopefully, my explanations made sense. If not, don't worry, they are far less complicated when the game explains it to you. If you like the Rotational Battles better, then you might want to gt Pokemon Black since it has 4 of those and only 1 Triple Battle. Maybe rotational battles aren't your thing and you want to do Triple Battles. Then, you should consider Pokemon White.
~~~~ Trainer Differences ~~~~
There are sometimes minute differences in the pokemon line up of different trainers. I don't really feel that this is significant to talk about. However, one somewhat large change is the gym leader in the 8th gym. Pokemon Black features a stern old man, whereas Pokemon White shows a young girl. These gym leaders have the same pokemon, the only thing different is their appearances/avatar.
Pokemon Black has the white Legendary Pokemon, Reshiram, which is a Dragon/Fire type.
Pokemon White has the black Legendary Pokemon, Zekrom, which is a Dragon/Electric Type.
Strategic Note: The sum of the base stats for both legendaries is 680, however, the spread is slightly different. Both have base 100 hp and 90 speed. Reshiram has 120 attack, 100 defense, 150 special attack, 120 special defense. Zekrom has 150 attack, 120 defense, 120 special attack, 100 special defense. This means that Reshiram is better suited to deal and take special attacks, while Zekrom is more suited to deal and take physical attacks.
In my honest opinion, I think the Dragon/Electric legendary will be far more useful for competitive battling. One of the best electric type pokemon is Zapdos. However, Zapdos is stunted by its flying type, leaving it vulnerable to devastating attacks such as a 50% health loss from Stealth Rock. This new legendary should easily be able to replace that spot. Plus, the versatility of a dragon type may put it ahead of other notable electric types such as Electivire.
And of course, like all previous pokemon games. Each version has a few pokemon exclusive to only that version. I wouldn't stress out at the loss these pokemon though. You can get all of them through online trades later, if you really want to complete your pokedex and catch 'em all. Check the bottom of the review for a list.
~~~~ Conclusion ~~~~
Pokemon Black/White is definitely one of the best pokemon games to come out. I definitely recommend it to anyone of any age. Don't waste time deciding whether or not to get the game: get it. Now, the only decision you have is whether to get Black or White. I decided to go with Pokemon White. White version just appealed more to me and seemed more "open". Black version looked cluttered, in my opinion. Also, I feel that the Black Legendary (found in white version) would be more useful in battle. Try checking out a few screenshots online to help you decide which visual style you like better, then get whichever version you like better!
Pokemon - Black Version
- urbanized theme
- Black City (battle trainers and buy items)
- Dragon/Fire Legendary
- minor trainer differences (Old guy as 8th gym leader)
- more Rotational Battles
Pokemon - White Version
- natural theme
- White City (catch low level pokemon)
- Dragon Electric Legendary
- minor trainer differences (young girl as 8th gym leader)
- more Triple Battles
List of version exclusives:
#641. Tornadus (legendary flying)
#643. Reshiram (legendary dragon/fire)
#642. Thundurus (legendary electric/flying)
#644. Zekrom (legendary dragon/electric)
+ Several Unevolved Pokemon you can catch in the White Forest:
Update: I just beat the game. It was a fun RPG and I think I am going to now start prepping for competitive battling. I think what drew me into this game the most was that all the characters are brand new until you beat the elite 4. The base plot style is still the same: beat 8 gyms, collect pokemon, navigate through a few caves, solve some little puzzles, defeat enemies from an evil group in a big building, defeat that evil group at their hideout again, fight rivals, elite 4, etc. This style has become standard for Pokemon and the sales data shows it works remarkably well. This game brought back the feeling of the original red / blue as you had to guess what type each Pokemon was, learn new movesets, get legitimately surprised during evolutions, etc. This game really brought back the mysteriousness of Pokemon and their mystic allure that originally piqued your curiosity a decade ago when you first played. Since the game had all new Pokemon, the game inherently took more steps to lead you in and actually is far more beginner friendly than other games.
Looking toward the future: (purely speculation and personal opinion)
This little section isn't really part of the review; it's just a place for me to dump my stream-of-consciousness about how I feel about the inevitable sequel. With 649 Pokemon, I'm not sure if Nintendo will decide to make a whole new fresh set of Pokemon in their next game as they did in this one (then again, people on forums said that were doubtful of a follow up to 2nd gen ages ago when we hit 251). I think Nintendo may just add a few (around 100) new Pokemon and include many of the current 649 in the next game. Now that we have a 3DS, it's only a matter of time before Nintendo starts dropping hints and teasers for the next 3D Pokemon RPG. Even though I love Pokemon games, the thing that keeps me coming back for more isn't the story, but rather the battle mechanics and strategy involved. In my opinion, it seems like each new Pokemon game just applies the same plot template and changes a few things. It's clear from the sales data that these games are raking in money and are hugely successful, but I actually would like to see some variation in the next game. The general plot idea seems a bit overused and trite now after being adapted for 5 generations of Pokemon games. I actually really enjoyed the gamecube Pokemon RPGs Colosseum and XD. Maybe Pokemon could incorporate more RPG elements in terms of exploration and interacting with the world, perhaps a Collosseum-like RPG game modeling styles of other Nintendo RPG series like Zelda. Actually, now that I think about it, I realize that I don't know what exactly I would change; I just want to see something a little new. A new Pokemon game with the same plot line will sell millions, so I don't think GameFreak and Nintendo will gamble on something new when they found something that sells. Well, that's just my opinion; I'm sure many people would disagree with me. Regardless of plot, the battle mechanics have me hooked and I will definitely be buying the next Pokemon game. If you have some time to spare, drop a comment about what you want to changed/added/removed in the next game.
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Showing 1-10 of 39 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 6, 2011 8:02:34 PM PST
Hunts Things says:
Thanks so much for this, I first got pokemon black but I am also going to get pokemon white also.
Posted on Mar 7, 2011 2:40:56 AM PST
Joey's Girl says:
That is the best game review I have *EVER* read! Thank you so extremely much for pointing out a detailed and well thought out list of differences between these two games! Nice job!! :D
Posted on Mar 7, 2011 12:16:09 PM PST
You really provided a very well thought out thorough review that provided; in my opinion, the exact needed information for all customers to make their best decision when purchasing either version of this game. I really thank you for actually taking the time and effort to write this wonderful review.
Posted on Mar 7, 2011 12:37:42 PM PST
Wonderful review, thank you. =) You highlighted several things I was not familiar with about the differences between Black and White.
I just wanted to mention one thing I found odd, however: the fact that in the list of version-exclusives, you mixed English and Japanese names. For example, you list Washibon and Braviary, instead of the Japanese Washibon/Wargle or the English Rufflet/Braviary. It's not a big deal, I just thought I might mention it for consistancy's sake.
Anyway, thank you very much for such a helpful review~!
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 7, 2011 1:19:27 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 7, 2011 1:25:52 PM PST
Oh, wow, that was my mistake. Thanks, I fixed it now. I played a good chunk of the game in Japanese prior to the US launch, so those names are still fresh in my head.
Posted on Mar 7, 2011 1:20:24 PM PST
Mr. Mustache says:
Thank you! I didn't know which one to choose but this review made it so much easier to decide.
Posted on Mar 8, 2011 12:19:44 PM PST
Just wanted to let you know I think you did a great job with this review. No reason to get too involved with everything that happens in Black & White because there are a lot of "core" things that all the pokemon games do (which I think some people get caught up in with their reviews). This review explains a lot of the differences between the two new pokemon games and enough details to help explain the differences between this generation and the previous generations. Well done sir.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 8, 2011 2:17:46 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 8, 2011 2:20:01 PM PST
S. Richman says:
best review i've ever read, I really want that game and after reading that review i think i'm going to buy it right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted on Mar 8, 2011 5:21:50 PM PST
My 9 year old couldn't decide which one he wanted since he can't have both right now. You helped a mom who is completely lost on this topic make the decision. He will be thrilled. Thank you for taking the time to put this on Amazon, it is very much appreciated.