Pokemon Returns for 5th Generation

When you were little you probably played Pokemon games as a child. Most started on the Gameboy, with Pokemon Red, Blue, or Yellow. That was the First Generation of Pokemon. Then, Generation Two came forth with Pokemon Gold, Silver, and Crystal (the game that started the tradition of having a 3rd game combining the elements of the first two). Generation Three came soon after, making use of the Gameboy Advance with Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald. Finally came Generation Four, utilizing the 3D power of the Nintendo DS system; Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. We all knew eventually that another Pokemon game would be on the way and fans constantly speculated about what sort of Pokemon would appear, what the Gyms would be like, and even what the Legendary Pokemon would be. Those questions were answered and more with the release of Pokemon Black and White, the eponymous 5th Generation of Pokemon games.

Pokemon Black and White take the best aspects from every generation and combine them into a truly superior game. Like Diamond and Pearl before them, Black and White take full advantage of the 3D graphics of the Nintendo DS system. The towns and cities have evolved, quite literally to new heights as buildings are taller, cities are larger and there are more trainers than ever before to battle and conquer! There are also over 100 new Pokemon added into the game, coupled with the ability to have Pokemon from every generation able to be used via trade over WiFi connection. In total, that equals about 649 Pokemon. Good luck trying to ‘”Catch Em’ All” now!

The connectivity mechanics in Black and White are similar to their DS counterparts but with more features added. An example is the C-Gear. Just like the PokeGear of generations past, the C-Gear allows communication between the player and various NPC trainers throughout the game as well as with trainers from all around the world. There are options for Trading, Battling and new features such as Feeling Check and Pass By. Feeling Check detects the compatibility between two trainers and awards items depending on the level of compatibility. Pass By allows players to take surveys and depending on how many other players are participating, can receive items. Trading, Battling, Friend Codes, and the Feeling Check are all done through infrared connection. Wifi or wireless communication allows for the use of the Xtranceiver to communicate with friends via video chat, access the Entralink, and transfer content from the Dream World. There are also special ways in which a player can transfer a Pokemon from an earlier generation game such as Diamond or Pearl; Poke Transfer and Relocator. The Poke Transfer is a mini-game of sorts in which the Pokemon being transferred scatter around the screen and you throw Pokeballs at them by tapping the screen. The Relocator allows you to transfer Pokemon obtained via special events outside the game to unlock their corresponding in-game rewards. The Relocator is also able to be used before the main game is completed, unlike the Poke Transfer.

The plot of this Pokemon game is similar to all the others in that you defeat an organization, catch the Legendary Pokemon, defeat the Elite Four and become a Pokemon Master…in that order. The major plot events in game are linear and appear one after another, although there are also side events that you can trigger during the game as well. You can catch Pokemon whenever you want to, but Legendary Pokemon are one-time events, except for when you catch either Zekrom or Reshiram. Unlike most Legendary Pokemon encounters, catching Zekrom or Reshiram isn’t an option, but a requirement to continue through the game. Also, all the Pokemon you catch in-game are brand now creatures so there are no more constant encounters with Zubats in caves or Pidgey in tall grass. In fact, the only way to obtain Pokemon other than what is offered in-game is via Wifi trades.

The graphics in the 5th Generation of Pokemon gaming have improved vastly over their previous DS counterparts. The Pokemon appear realistic and life-like, the environments are detailed, and the cities and towns in which you explore are taken to new heights. The majority of the in-game cities and towns were heavily based on New York City and the surrounding areas, unlike previous generations which were based on areas in Europe and Japan. All of the cities and towns are rendered in spectacular 3D graphics, whereas trainers and Pokemon are still rendered with 2D although their sprites finally have full forms and not just head and back/front shots.

Battles are also improved. There are now two other kinds of battles to go with the standard one-vs-one Pokemon battles that take place. These new battle systems are Triple Battles and Rotation Battles. Triple Battles employ 3 Pokemon at once. Rotation Battles do the same, except you must rotate your Pokemon’s position during battle to determine the best plan of attack and/or defense. Also, battles against two or more Pokemon in the wild can occur now too, depending on the type of grass you walk through, either the standard short grass or new Tall Grass. There are also new areas to battle in that are similar to the Battle Frontier of previous generations. The new areas are the Battle Subway and the Royal Unova, a cruise ship similar to the S.S. Anne of Generation One.

In addition to the new battle mechanics, Black and White introduce not just a day-night cycle that has been seen since Gold and Silver, but a seasonal cycle in which the game goes through actual seasons of Spring, Winter, Summer and Fall. The game graphics change depending on the season, such as snow covering the ground in Winter, or leaves flying through the air in Fall.

All in all, the newest generation of Pokemon games has gone above and beyond what has been seen thus far. This game is an absolute must for fans of Pokemon and even those just starting to get into the games. You won’t be disappointed.


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