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on March 6, 2011
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.

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.

~~~~~~~~Legendaries~~~~~~~
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.

~~~~~~~~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.

~~~~ 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:

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

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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on April 5, 2017
I bought Black and White when they were first released but I don't want to erase all my work in post-games to play them again. I was so excited to see Amazon had new copies for sale so I could have another cartridge to do play throughs on.

The game I received, however, was NOT a North American copy (see photos). Nothing in the product listing or product photos indicated this. Nintendo also likes to region lock things, so I was worried I'd have to return the game. I did a quick Google search and found that what I was sent- a Malaysian, Singapore, UAB, Saudi Arabia game, would work just fine with my North American New 3DS XL. (And yes, it's in English.)

Popped the game in, and it loaded up and I'm ready to revisit Unova! If you get a game that looks like mine, don't worry- you can still play! My console is the latest software, all the updates, no hacking, and it has no issues with this cartridge. And the game WAS brand new and sealed.

Super relived and now super happy :)

Also- I already knew this- but do be aware that online services shut down for Black/White/Black 2/White 2 in 2014. You cannot use the GTS or Dream World in the game anymore but you can trade with other Black/White games as long as the other player is in the room with you.
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on March 1, 2016
It's pokemon, so I'm happy that I'm able to play it, but you do notice the downgrade when you have been playing current games like Pokemon X and Y or Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. This game doesn't compare to those in graphics.

Personally, I think this version, along with Pokemon Black Version, was the best when it came to storyline. Characters like N and villains like Team Galactic actually seem to make the Pokemon franchise seem more mature than other games have in the past. I would recommend buying it.
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on August 4, 2014
This game is really amazing, it's one of the first games for generation 5 for Pokemon other than it's counterpart Pokemon White. You start off in Nuvema town just as you're about to go off on a journey with your friends Bianca, & Cheren. You first get to pick your Pokemon, you get to chose between Tepig, Snivy, & Oshawott. As usual in the Pokemon RPG's you're asked by a Professor, in this case Professor Juniper, to go across that specific region & see all kinds of Pokemon to fill up the Pokedex for their research. Along the way you have to battle the evil Team Plasma, as well as go up against N on several occasions. While doing all these things, you also need to work on getting your gym badges. It's not much different then most of the other Pokemon games, but it is really one of my personal favorites, & I think any Pokemon fan whether it's the games, manga, or anime that you love, if you like Pokemon I think you should give this game a try.
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on December 5, 2014
"Condition: Used - Like New - Includes manual, cover art, and packaging. Bonus downloadable content may have already been redeemed. Game data from previous use may be present, but can be overwritten or deleted."

This is what was written on the listing for my purchase but the game was not "like new" the case was not perfect, it has the scrathes and things you wouldn't expect from a "like new" product. This was Amazon fulfilled. If that passes as like new, Amazon, then I should change the listings for all the items I've sold. Not to mention that the game did not have the manual or "packaging." The game data was definitely present though and I got a free Reshiram - so thanks for that.
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on May 6, 2017
When I bought this from Amazon, the game WAS NOT INCLUDED!! I apparently paid full price just for an empty game case. Luckily Amazon was very understanding and gave me a full refund on the product, but nevertheless, I was disappointed with the overall experience.

The game itself is a rather good entry into the Pokemon series, but be warned that it seems rather harder than previous titles. The gym leaders seem to be a good bit ahead of you each time unless you grind out leveling in the tall grass. The animations are rather good, despite this game being for the DS. I might have enjoyed the game more if it wasnt for me trying to rush through just to transfer my pokemon to the 3DS titles. Overall, I dont think any Pokemon fan should pass up on this generation.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon March 8, 2011
UPDATE: Two Years Later My Son and I Both Revisit These Games Frequently ENough to Make This One of the Best Values Ever for a Pokemon Game

Original Review: I have been playing these games with my now-10-year-old son since he was three (I bought used GBCs and color pokemon games and let him figure it out - he also learned to read). Together, we have gone through the Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, the Sinnoh games, and Heart Gold/Soul Silver. I almost didn't buy a copy of Pokemon Black, because the games had been getting kind of stale for me. My son still loves them (as do his classmates - if you have a fourth grade boy on your gift list, and he doesn't already have this? You will be making a little boy ecstatic.

Anyway, my son really wanted me to play, and I gave in a bit reluctantly, but, now that I'm playing the game, I love this iteration for the following reasons:

1. I do not want to spoil the storyline, but the antagonists' issues and ethical positions are fairly sophisticated. Team Plasma is actually asking some interesting questions about trainers' relationships with their pokemon. Those questions also apply to our own relationships with other (real) creatures here in our world.

2. The smack-talk from rivals and other trainers is toned way down from generations past.

3. The game helps you along, which makes it much less frustrating (at least for me). For example, before each of the three gym battles I've done so far, you get an opportunity to get a pokemon who has a helpful type and a high enough level to ensure that you don't spend a ton of time fighting and re-fighting the same battles.

4. The graphics are really amazing for a handheld game, and the towns have lots to do besides gym battling, so your kid isn't likely to beat this game in a day and toss it aside. You get your money's worth.

5. There are new battle modes, new pokemon, new ways of interacting with friends in person and over the Wifi Connection. Nintendo also made Black and White just different enough from each other to make it worthwhile to purchase and play both.

I deducted one star because my game cartridge arrived glitchy. In the first battle, my pokemon, a female Oshawott could not execute any attacks. Every time I selected an attack, the game went to a screen describing the attack and showing my trainer statistics. I had to shut down the game and restart several times, all with the same result (except never again did I get a female starter), before I decided to try cleaning the cartridge, which worked (use a q-tip and rubbing alcohol gently to clean the game cartridge and let it dry completely). This is the first time since the Gameboy color games (which I bought used) that I have had a quality control issue with a pokemon game.

I recommend this game for kids who enjoy the anime and the other rpg and for adults who either want to play along with their children or enjoy gentle (mostly) nature/environmental-themed rpgs. It's fun and has good replay value for the money.
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on January 16, 2017
I enjoyed Pokemon White. It was a significant upgrade over Diamond and Pearl in terms of in-game visuals, although as always the gameplay itself stayed the same. A much better game from a mechanical standpoint, although the creativity in terms of storyline and new characters is very painfully lacking.

-PROS-
>Updated graphics system, engine runs in 3D in multiple locations.
>Lots of new Pokemon, abilities, etc. Fun to play!
>Battles themselves are rendered better, more fun to watch and more varied sound and animation effects.

-CONS-
>Storyline for me was a little odd. Seemed inspired by animal rights movements, which was an interesting semi-political thing to bring into Pokemon.
>Some of the new Pokemon seem really forced in this generation. Garbage bags, ice cream scoops that evolve into more ice cream scoops, gears that evolve into more gears, etc.

-OVERALL-
Giving this game three stars. The game is fun, and I enjoyed it. Creativity lacking, technically well done. I'd recommend to fans, but not newbies.
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on April 6, 2017
To me, gen 5 was the worst in the series. What most people complained about was the pokemon design, but that was the one redeeming factor for me. I love gen 5 mons, but the games themselves are trash in my book.

Reasons: level relative leveling means leveling is SLOW. Exp gain is SLOW. Everything is SLOW.
Evil team is rooted in child abuse and has the most absurd goal.
Lame rivals.
Post-game outlevels you so much (for reasons above) that it's hard to start.

Things i like:
Poketransfer is a fun minigame.
Adler is a badass champion
Pokemon designs
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on January 14, 2014
I played pearl and was a little underwhelmed with it, but when I got black, I was very, very happy. The pokemon don't look absurd anymore, the minor animations during the battles really add a lot more to the feel of battling, reusable TM's are a godsend for people like me who used to just hoard them and never use them, fewer HM's (that was getting really absurd) and smart, well thought out gameplay. the new villan's PETA-esque point of view is really funny, and while I'm sure it wasn't intentional, it parodies the idiocy of human nature well. All in all, if you've got an option for a DS pokemon game, skip pearl and go for black/white
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