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Pokémon: Black Version
Platform: Nintendo DS
Publisher: Nintendo of America, Inc.
Developer: Game Freak, Inc.
Style(s): Third-Person 2D RPG
Synopsis: The next chapter in Nintendo's blockbuster Pok?mon franchise features 156 completely new creatures to battle, capture, tame, and train. Two distinct starting areas are now available, Black City and White Forest, each corresponding to the game's title. Exclusive legendary Pok?mon types are also associated with each version of the game, requiring players to trade with owners of the opposite version to "catch 'em all." A new graphics engine incorporates increased 3D elements and changing seasons for the first time in the series. Seasons aren't for ambiance, either -- certain Pok?mon appear more frequently during certain seasons, while parts of the land are inaccessible during winter or summer. As a male or female trainer, you'll begin your career with a choice of three Pok?mon, including grass-based Snivy, fire-based Tepig, or water-based Oshawott. You'll then travel across the all-new Unova region looking to pit your skills against rival Pok?mon trainers. Battles are once again resolved in turn-based fashion, as you decide which of your Pok?mon's skills to activate while attempting to defeat the opposition. New twists to the battle phase are rotation and triple battles. The former utilizes a tag-team format, while the latter is a three-on-three fight. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
Package Contents: 64-page Instruction Manual
While Pok?mon Black and White have been hyped as the most ambitious entries in the creature-catching series to date, they're still, well, Pok?mon games. The changes are mostly cosmetic, with the adjustments to gameplay more tweaks than outright revisions. That doesn't mean the game isn't worth seeking out for fans of the series, it's just that those hoping for a completely new approach won't find it in either version. The big lure of Pok?mon Black and White is the completely new list of monsters to confront and collect, giving the game a long overdue element of surprise when encountering a creature for the first time. Pikachu and company are gone (at least until the end of the game) in favor of a new group of cute animal hybrids. Yet the bulk of your time spent with the game will be doing the exact same things you've been doing since the series began. You begin by choosing your gender and naming your character. You'll then select one of three starting Pok?mon (fire-based Tepig, water-based Oshawott, and grass-based Snivy) before leaving your home and venturing out into the world. The goals are the same: populate your Pok?dex, challenge rival trainers, and level up your creatures so they learn new attack or defense moves. You will stay in contact with a professor, periodically run across a bumbling rival team, acquire gadgets to open up new paths in the environment, and confront each town's Gym Leader to earn badges. Badges once again unlock different towns to visit and allow you access to new items to purchase. Again, no surprises there. Apart from the new region and creatures to combat, the biggest changes are from a presentation standpoint. The 3D rendered towns are still viewed from an overhead perspective, but the camera now zooms in on details, such as entering a house or building. Battles no long rely on static images of the monsters, with the camera panning and zooming in on creatures that now animate as they stare at each other from opposite sides of the screen. In addition to finding wild Pok?mon to battle during the day and at night, creatures will now appear in certain seasons (each season lasts a month of "real" time) as well as in specific regions. You can carry up to six Pok?mon with you at once, with additional captured creatures automatically sent to storage to be accessed from computers in town. You'll also enter certain battles with up to three creatures at once, which offers a nice break from the traditional one-on-one format. Other notable additions include the inclusion of two friends who start their journeys at the same time as your character. While you go your separate ways early on, you'll meet up with them from time to time to compare progress and engage in some friendly duels. There are also multiple ways to communicate with fellow Pok?mon players online and off, including video chat for DSi owners. Neither Pok?mon White nor Black should be considered a reinvention of the series for a new generation of players, but the tried-and-true format is still an addictive one, one that can easily last 100+ hours for those that enjoy the challenge of fully completing their rosters. The different environments, seasons, and new creatures are just enough incentives for longtime fans to forgive the developers for delivering more of the same. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
the game requires Joystick/Gamepad.