Top critical review
54 people found this helpful
on March 14, 2011
Main-series Pokémon games are mostly all the same, so there's not much to say about them. They all follow the same pattern and so on. So if you've played one, you can assume that everything is pretty much the same as it's always been.
However, compared to HeartGold and SoulSilver, which i absolutely LOVED, this game feels very sloppy. I have heard that it was developed concurrently with HGSS and that on top of that it was rushed -- maybe that's why. But it's no excuse. It makes for a very disappointing game considering i just put 300+ hours into the previous generation.
I am an older player (24), so i probably have a different perspective on this than a 10-year-old, but here is a very long list of the bad things and the good ones. First the bad:
1. Unlike HGSS, the touch screen is almost completely un-used except for within the PC interface and during battles. Throughout the entire game you have this pointless 'C-GEAR' feature taking up the entire bottom screen. The menu can only be accessed by pressing X. If you turn the Dowsing Machine on, you have to press X to close it and then press X again to bring the menu up. You can not talk to people with the touch screen. You can't skip dialogue with the touch screen. You can't even skip the opening intro with the touch screen. It feels like, why even bother having a touch screen when you don't use it for anything?
2. Unlike HGSS, you can not turn on auto-run. You have to hold B the entire time.
3. Unlike... every Pokémon game for the last 10 years... you can not set it so that the L button functions like the A button. There's no reason for this, the L button doesn't actually DO anything in the game, they've just inexplicably removed the feature.
4. Unlike HGSS, the menu system is very poorly thought out. Despite what i said above about the touch screen being almost completely un-used, some features in the menu can ONLY be accessed with the stylus -- so not only is the game inconveniencing you by almost never using the touch screen, it's also inconsistent about it.
The item menu is EXTREMELY slow and cumbersome. If you obtain a new item, it pushes the entire menu down a notch, so when you go back into it you've selected a different item. This is very irritating when you're going through a cave or something and you keep using Repels. You might have a Super Repel highlighted the entire time, but then you find a Poké Ball or something on the ground, and now suddenly you're trying to spray a Sun Stone.
The above also comes into play in the Poké Ball menu during battles. If at some point you pick up a Poké Ball that you didn't already have, the game will completely re-arrange the Poké Ball menu in the battle interface. This has led me to almost waste my Master Ball several times, because the items are not where i expect them to be.
Another example of inconsistency: Once you have brought up the menu (by pressing X), you can then navigate it using the touch screen. You can select 'Save' with the stylus, you can select 'Yes' you would like to save the game with the stylus... but then you can't get OUT of the Save screen without pressing A. It is not possible to dismiss the 'You saved the game.' message with the stylus.
5. The PC has seen almost no improvements over Platinum. You still have to select 'Move Pokémon' every time. Why does it even HAVE the 'Deposit' and 'Withdraw' options? They're completely worthless. At the very least, put the Move option at the top of the menu.
6. Viewing stats and so on is more difficult than in previous games. Re-arranging moves is cumbersome and requires several button presses to reach the correct menu location.
7. All of the personal 'emotional' sort of touches that were added to HGSS are gone. Your Pokémon no longer follow you around on the map. You can no longer see ribbons from the status menu. There are no touching moments with your Pokémon like when Ethan/Lyra gives you the Leaf Crown in HGSS.
8. Pokéathlon is gone. It has been replaced by Pokémon Musicals, which i earnestly believe is the dumbest and most pointless feature ever to be added to any Pokémon game. I thought the Contests in Platinum were bad -- this is far far worse. It is SO stupid. Don't even attempt to do it, you will be all the more disappointed.
9. The game now censors your Pokémon names. Some might say that's a good thing, little kids are playing after all. However, automatic censorship of 10-character names is difficult to the point of being useless. Aside from the fact that there are thousands of variations of bad words that kids will come up with, here is an example of just how difficult it is to do: It is not possible to trade the Pokémon 'Cofagrigus' on the GTS (without giving it a nickname) because the censorship objects to the official name that Nintendo gave it. Seriously.
10. The PC boxes are censored as well. Completionists in Pokémon games often fill their PC boxes with all of the Pokémon they've obtained in order of their Pokédex number, and then name the boxes accordingly. For instance, your first box might be named '001-030' or '001-074' (if you skip pre-evolutions like me). Many people have done this in Pokémon games for several years. This is no longer possible, because for some absurdly arbitrary reason you can no longer have more than 4 digits in a PC box name. ???
11. Nintendo had the chance to really improve the trading system. You could see it going that way (there have been several good changes -- see below), but then they un-did all of their work it by forcing you to choose a Pokémon to trade TWICE, and then of course confirm it TWICE. It is so irritating.
12. Although you see this complaint with every new generation, i have to say that many of the new Pokémon are extremely un-inspired. For instance, the fighting Pokémon named 'Sawk' and 'Throh' are just blue and red guys in karate suits. (And honestly, 'Throh'? That's really what you came up with?)
That said, there are many good parts to the game:
1. Some of the new Pokémon, on the other hand, are quite rad. I very much like Reuniclus and Chandelure.
2. The updated Pokémon sprites/animations are, for the most part, very nice.
3. The game is much faster. Battles are quicker, even with animations turned on. Trading seems twice as fast, although this is cancelled out by the extra step they make you go through before-hand (see above).
4. You can now trade Pokémon directly from your PC -- you don't have to put them in your party anymore.
5. Related to the above, the Poké Transfer feature -- which allows you to migrate Pokémon from Generation IV games to B/W -- is very fast, and also allows you to select Pokémon directly from the PC. You trade six at a time and it only takes a moment or two (even with the mini-game you have to play, which is easy). It also doesn't kick you out after you complete a transfer. I was pleasantly surprised.
6. The music in the game is fantastic. Driftveil, Mistralton, Cold Storage, and Village Bridge all have really catchy themes.
7. There is a lot to do post-game -- although not as much as in HGSS.
8. Your main rival and antagonist, N, is probably the best antagonist in any Pokémon game, ever. I like him a lot.
9. The story has several moments of genuine humour. A lot of it is pun-based, but there are other moments that are funny as well. A character from Platinum makes a cameo at the end of the game which i honestly laughed aloud at.
10. Some parts of the game have been made less tedious. An obvious example is the fact that TMs last for ever. Another example is that experience gain has been reworked -- you now gain extra experience if your Pokémon is lower than the enemy Pokémon. This change also applies to Pokémon holding an Exp Share. This makes levelling up a lot easier and faster.
Overall, i found the game pretty good. If you like Pokémon games, i wouldn't turn this one down. However, despite its handful of improvements, it is no-where near as good as HeartGold and SoulSilver were. I am hopeful that this is just because they were rushed, and that the next generation, or even the 'Grey' version, will re-add all of the advancements that were made in HGSS.