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Pokémon - Black Version
Format: Video Game|Change
Price:$41.00+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on March 6, 2011
I originally wrote this review for Pokemon White, but I copied it here for you Pokemon Black fans :)

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 has seasonal cycles, as well as night/day cycles. Another added feature are special battles, where both trainers send 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, while the cities are more developed, and in some cases slightly futuristic-looking in Black. In White, the cities have more grass, plants, and trees, and in Black the cities have more concrete, asphalt, and buildings. Opelucid (Souryuu) City is the most notable; the city look almost entirely different between the two versions.

~~~~ White City / Black Forest ~~~~
These are the version exclusive regions I mentioned earlier. Pokemon Black has Black City and white has the White Forest. These regions fit the visual themes set forth by the 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 Forest will cater more to people who plan to collect Pokemon and try to complete their pokedex.

~~~~~ Special Battles ~~~~
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.

Triple Battle:
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.

Rotational Battle:
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 (Dragon/Fire type).
Pokemon White has the black Legendary Pokemon, Zekrom (Dragon/Electric Type).

Strategic Note: The sum of the base stats for both legendaries is 680, however, the spread is slightly different. In terms of base stats, 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 opinion, I think Zekrom will be far more useful for competitive battling. One of the best electric 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.

~~~~~~~~Version Exclusives~~~~~~~~~~~

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.

By the way, more people are buying white than black. So if you get black, you may be popular for trades :)

~~~~ 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 White. White version just appealed more to me and seemed more "open". Black version looked cluttered, in my opinion. Also, I feel that Zekrom would be more useful in battle. Try checking out 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:

Pokémon Black

#13. Weedle
#14. Kakuna
#15. Beedrill
#198. Murkrow
#228. Houndour
#229. Houndoom
#285. Shroomish
#286. Breloom
#311. Plusle
#313. Volbeat
#430. Honchkrow
#546. Mommen
#547. Whimsicott
#574. Gothita
#575. Gothorita
#576. Gothitelle
#629. Vullaby
#630. Mandibuzz
#641. Tornadus (legendary flying)
#643. Reshiram (legendary dragon/fire)

Pokémon White

#10. Caterpie
#11. Metapod
#12. Butterfree
#46. Paras
#47. Parasect
#200. Misdreavus
#261. Poochyena
#262. Mightyena
#312. Minun
#314. Illumise
#429. Mismagius
#548. Petilil
#549. Lilligant
#577. Solosis
#578. Duosion
#579. Reuniclus
#627. Rufflet
#628. Braviary
#642. Thundurus (legendary electric/flying)
#644. Zekrom (legendary dragon/electric)
+ Several Unevolved Pokemon you can catch in the White Forest:
- Pidgey
- Nidoran
- Abra
- Machop
- Bellsprout
- Gastly
- Rhyhorn
- Porygon
- Togepi
- Hoppip
- Magby
- Wurmple
- Seedot
- Ralts
- Slakoths
- Aron
- Trapinch
- Shinux
- Happiny
- Surskit
2626 comments| 433 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on April 21, 2011
One of the new Pokemon is an ice cream cone. It is literally an ice cream cone. And it evolves into an ice cream cone with two scoops. I just can't get over that and it has ruined Pokemon for me. Now every time I think fondly about my memories of catching them all in Pokemon Red or opening a pack of Pokemon cards and finding a Charizard or getting a perfect picture in Pokemon snap or how cute my Charmander ornament used to look on my Christmas tree that stupid ice cream cone pops in my head and ruins it.
1111 comments| 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on March 16, 2011
Well, I'm only 2 gyms into the game, but I can already tell it's nothing special. Sure, new region, new pokemon, new graphics, and new features. But the game is just Soul Silver with a new region added. I was expecting the game to be aimed toward the generation who grew up with pokemon, but I was wrong. It's clearly made to "reboot" the series, not to add to it. It is made for the younger generation to be introduced to the world of pokemon, not for the older generation to fall back in love. This is shown by the difficulty of the game. You pick a starter, as usual, and are pinned against a rival who in theory is stronger than you are (along with another rival who picked the inferior pokemon to yourself)... Which is cool. Then in the first big city you get the monkey pokemon inferior to your starter, making it superior to your strongest rival's starter. For example, if you pick the water type, one rival will pick grass and one will pick fire. Grass should be a challenge, but it's not, because you are GIVEN a fire type monkey pokemon to defeat it. Things like this make the game incredible easy, and would allow a kid who's never played pokemon to quickly make the transition to Pokemon master.
The graphics, which are improved in some ways, make me sad. The pokemon you are battling looks a lot better than the 8-bit pokemon you're battling with. So the way I see it, the graphics are an addition to Diamond/Pearl graphics, but in some spots they retro you back to the Red/Blue/Green graphics.
So far, I'm kinda disappointed. But hopefully it will pick up speed and the game actually will add something to the series.

Oh and a funny thing I found was that the goal of the prof. in this game is to "find the origin of pokemon"... Only 500 pokemon into the game, and the "creator" changed with every series. shame.
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on October 12, 2017
The game I received was used, no instructions or box (like the picture). No where in the description does it say used, VERY overpriced for a used game!
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on December 29, 2017
Its great!
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on January 9, 2018
This was a gift to my son, and he really liked it. We've always enjoyed the pokemon series, and now he can take it with him on the road.
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on April 9, 2011
I really enjoyed both games and they were a great addition to the Pokemon Series. I only had a complaint against Amazon for saying when you purchase one of these games you would get a gift card. I didn't receive a card for either game.
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on January 26, 2018
As a kid, I played Gens 1-3. As an adult, I picked up Sun & Moon when it came out and have been working my way backward to all the generations I missed. Wasn't a huge fun of Pokemon X, so I didn't know how I'd like Black either....


First off, yes - this DS game works just fine on my 3DS, and the one I received was a genuine, brand-new game.
This game is a bit unique in the sense that the backgrounds, buildings, etc. are all 3D, while the characters and Pokemon are still 2D. It's surprisingly satisfying and fun to look at. Game play is smooth and exciting, with all the classic elements of a Pokemon game. Some of the wild Pokemon you encounter are pretty lame and repetitive (same darn Patrat every 2 mins), but I'm also less than halfway through so weak/boring Pokemon are to be expected.

Haven't finished it yet, so I won't speak to the story/Elite 4/etc., but I'm thoroughly enjoying it. If, like me, you missed a few generations in the middle... Black/White is the game for you.
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VINE VOICEon June 16, 2011
My daughter has taken a huge interest in Pokemon lately, and as a gamer parent I made it a point to try to learn more about it from her even though I don't play this series myself. When it came time for her to pick, she chose Pokemon Black simply because of the Legendary creature it offers: both Black and White have the same creatures, but you can only capture Reshiram in Black and you can only capture Zekram in White.

If you're new to Pokemon, the shortest way I could explain it is that you are a young person in a land where many different kinds of creatures exist in the wild called 'Pokemon'. These creatures can be captured and cared for, and for many children this is a kind of rite of passage: you learn how to capture and train Pokemon, travel the land on your own, and have adventures. You use your Pokemon to have battles, against other trainers and against wild Pokemon. If it sounds a bit cruel, keep in mind that this is a game for young people and as such Game Freak goes out of their way to make the story a positive lesson: you have to take care of your Pokemon, they grow to like you, and no one ever dies--they just 'faint' and can be revived. Some creatures can 'evolve' into different forms, and that adds to your options and makes the possibilities even more diverse.

If you're contemplating buying a Pokémon game for a child in your family, there is educational value to be had here: I'm amazed at the huge and creative variety of creatures, and my daughter has coached me on strategies: type matching and analysis are important skills that require memorization, reasoning, and a bit of basic math. You have to manage money to buy things and plan your inventory before taking a trip out of town. And sometimes your character is asked questions to make them think.

My daughter loves this game and she's already played many of the previous Pokemon entries in the series. We've read reviews criticizing the graphics quality of the game, but I'm not seeing that here. This new series may have graphics very close to the level of previous series, but I think that's the nature of the series: unlike Final Fantasy where some releases can get a facelift, Pokemon is designed to be colorful, cartoon-like, and graphically simple. My daughter loves the new and interesting sounds that Pokemon Black makes (particularly the opening screen), and I have to admit that is one thing that continues to get a little better with each title. She often loves playing the creature sounds over and over and showing me what Pokemon she's captured, and we've had more than one occasion where she excitedly comes rushing up to me so I can watch this or that creature evolve and we can share the surprise of "what will it look like?"

The rest of the elements of this game are what make it entertaining. Children like consistency, so Pokemon Black and White have done a good job balancing the desire to keep the game familiar to a child wanting more of the same, and throwing in some small changes to make 'the same' still seem refreshing and new. We still have the same theme: your child is a Pokemon Trainer, and it is his or her job to travel the land capturing and training Pokemon and making them battle each other. We have a new land: a different world map with different places (and going from Black to White, those places can look different). We have all the same creatures Pokemon fans loved in the original series, and we have some new and exciting ones. But probably the biggest reason my daughter gives this game 5 stars is because with Pokemon Black and White you no longer have to play the same boy character: a girl can choose to be a girl trainer, and my daughter really likes the look of the girl character. Kudos to Nintendo for making that little change, because for a girl gamer it has a big meaning.

If your child is new to Pokemon, this game and its manual will help teach them all they need to know to get started, and it is a great title to entertain them. If they are familiar with the series, chances are they'll very much enjoy this new world and all of its interesting new creatures. I'm very glad to see that the makers of the Pokemon games are starting to realize that girls enjoy Pokemon, too.
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on April 11, 2011
Pokemon SoulSilver Version and Pokemon HeartGold Version was able to entice many former Pokemon fans back into the franchise. However, Pokemon Black and Pokemon White will not be able to utilize nostalgia for long. Black and White will appeal to many avid fans as it has quite a bit to offer, but others should keep clear from the game's lack of major innovation. [Note that this review may contain some spoilers!]

First off the story is very typical. There has, however, been an injection of a unique plot, revolving around ideals ("liberation of Pokemon") versus truth ("experiences with Pokemon"). The story does not have very memorable characters and their character is shallow at best.

Black and White offers a whole new line of Pokemon. All Pokemon prior to post-game quests are brand-new: none of them are pre-evolution "baby" Pokemon, or evolutions of prior Pokemon. Beating the game unlocks in-game access to previous Pokemon and the Global Trade System allows Pokemon to be traded at a international scale.

Black and White has also updated their mechanics. These are very minor such as new breeding mechanisms and new battle-styles. New to Pokemon are the Triple-Battles and Rotation Battles. They offer a new experience in battling Pokemon, but it will be as or a tad-more exciting than the double-battles.

There are some aesthetic changes, for example Pokemon sprites during battles are no longer static. The camera also pans during battle, and may rotate when entering or exiting certain buildings, caves, forests, etc. The soundtrack provides great music, but is no more distinct or unique than past Pokemon games.

This game has provided myself, a Pokemon fan (though no extreme enthusiast), many hours of fun. The lack of innovations has been pushing me to be less attached to the franchise, though I continue to purchase the games due to nostalgia and the classic Pokemon formula which many still enjoy today, new fans and old.
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