on March 18, 2011
Played the first two generations, and then, called it quits. I had a blast with both Poke'mon Red and Silver, plus, the several Poke'mon spin-off games that ended up on the Game Boy Color and N64. But then, I decided to take an extremely long break. The Poke'mon formula is addictive but it wasn't enough for me to go nab the next couple of generations.
So fast-forward to a couple of days before the official N.A. release of B/W. I was looking at the different details, and thought, "why not?" So, had it pre-ordered and here I am right now. I'm taking my sweet time with the game so I'm far from finishing it with 32 hours clocking in.
There are a lot of impressive things in the game and of course, some disappointments. But overall, I think B/W is a good generation to try on for someone who hasn't played Poke'mon in a long time. It definitely does give off a refreshing feel even if it uses a lot of familiar past Poke'mon game elements.
+ Battles are much quicker now from what I remembered. Same with the speaking text. You can now change how fast you want the text to go.
+ Two - three Poke'mon VS battles now.
+ Game animation is more fluid.
+ 3-dimensional buildings in a city. I'd have to give Game Freak a lot of credit for that, even though, graphics is really something I don't judge into that much.
+ You have the change of seasons and weather per area.
+ Different forms of climate regions are explored as well.
+ Different shops/people will offer events that may be a daily thing or happens only on a particular day.
+ Unlimited TM/HM usage is a huge relief!
+ The scope of the Unova region is huge. There is a lot more to do now than I can recall, in terms of battling and backtracking areas. Also, finding secret items is a fun quest of its own.
+ The prices for items have gone up for the better from experience. I find myself purchasing items with money worries, which is a plus, compared to the first two generations where it was easy to not spend much money. (And the duplication cheats pretty much annhilated the point of buying Poke'balls...) Maybe, this may be attributed to how much easier it is, in B/W, to be KOed by a lower leveled Poke'mon no matter how high you are. Back in the early days, it was easier to KO by your level number and not so much by your element power.
+ The Battle Subway offers up a nice challenge.
+ Enjoyed the brief interactions with several of the people you run into. Some of them may even be weird....
+ You get the bicycle after the beginning of the game. Yaay...
+ I like the use of the C-Gear shortcut options. Yet...(continued in the negative section)..
+ What I liked the most among all these positives is: there's an improvement in plot. There is now a story that I can actually care about compared to the past. It's like combining the plot of a Poke'mon show/movie with the game. It's still a bit simple, but it's much better than: "I am going to be the best Poke'mon master in the whole world! Once I defeat the Elite Four and Team Rocket, I'll come back home and wave my ego in my (pre-determined) RIVAL's face!!"
You still have the goal of filling up a Poke'dex and beating every single gym leader in the Unova Region. Yet, you now have story-interactive gym leaders, a ditzy best friend, and a best friend who has a determined dream. Above all, you now have enemies whose goals are not to obtain rare and powerful Poke'mon. We now have Team Plasma, who thinks on the same level as extreme activism (-- worse than that?). To say further would be spoiling it.
What I wasn't crazy about:
- The Poke'mon PC. There were some new features added to it from the last time I saw it, but, I was hoping there were more flexibilities in the system. I wish Game Freak could just combine DEPOSIT and WITHDRAWL together. Meaning, you could switch and move around Poke'mon without having to manually switch in and out all the time. It's 2011, and we're still manually going back and forth between DEPOSIT and WITHDRAWL. Also, the Battle Box. You can't just move Poke'mon from your party to it or withdrawl Poke'mon. You have to first move Battle Box Poke'mon into any of your boxes just to withdrawl a Poke'mon.
- Edit update for the C-Gear: After further exploring, I finally understood about check-marking the box underneath all the other items. Yet, the check-mark pretty much saves the area in the item selection that you were last lingering on. I think this could still be implemented in a slightly better way, but it's better than opening up the C-Gear menu entirely. I think the boxes need to be moved to the top part of the screen rather than the bottom part.
- I said there were more things to do/see, but within each town/city, other than item/Poke'mon related events, you just talk to some people and battle others. There is still this feeling of wasted potential. In the amusement park related city, for example, there could've been carnival-like mini-games here. You can't even access the ferris wheel (again). Sure, the Battle Subway is the main meat along with the gym, but there was just this feeling of "that's it?". This feeling echoed with me from the very first main town. I know there is a lot that was put into this game already, but, Game Freak has the chance to push the system even further to match Level-5's "Ni no Kuni".
- The mail feature is very limiting. You can't type out your own words. You're forced to use the system's custom made mail.
- In 2011, you still can't skip cutscenes or chats with NPCs. Oh Game Freak...
o Feels a bit odd to be going through a region that mirrors the NYC tri-state area. It's like combining NYC with Japan elements. In the past Poke'mon games, we had stores with multi-leveled floors and I didn't understand that until I had a trip to Japan. Now, back with a Poke'mon game that focuses on my region, it took a bit of a time to get use to this.
o I actually tried not to remember too many Poke'mon names after Red. I just couldn't keep up even when I was playing Silver. :D So with White, I'm just taking it easy with some names. In the long run though, I'm not even going to bother with them too much (and just their custom made nicknames).
o I remain neutral on graphics. Graphics are the least of my concern for any game.
o The Poke' balls seem to have irregularities in the type of Poke'mon they can contain? Sometimes, the basic Poke'ball can capture a powerful Poke'mon and the higher level balls don't seem to work at all.
o Game Freak should make the next generation have a more interactive wi-fi community than just limiting a wi-fi city to Black. Also, GF should also be thinking of letting us customize our characters in the future, too. (Although, I'm not sure if I'll be playing a Poke'mon game after this one. I stopped being die-hard during Silver/Gold's time after all.)
o Is there a duplication method for items/Poke' balls in B/W? I have to wonder...
Overall, my experience has been 9/10 so far. The game is definitely not Famitsu perfect, of course, but it's fun and that's what counts the most. Even if it uses the same ol' battle formula with some improvements.