1 2 3 4 5 6 Pokemon!


Hey nerds! Big news! POKEMON!

Seriously, though. Pokemon. We’ve been neglecting this blog of late, but POKEMON.

Anybody who would possibly read this probably already knows about Pokemon Black and White version, the two new Pokemon games that were recently released in North America. Featuring 156 all-new Pokemon, a shiny new region to explore and more potential racist jokes than you can shake a stick at, the fifth generation of the Pokemon games is a pretty big deal. There’s also very little connection between these games and previous generations, so new players will be hooked easily without getting lost.

That being said, I’ve spent the last couple weeks playing this game, and I think I’ve got a handle on it. Review time!

The game opens predictably, with an amnesiac professor asking you what gender you are and who you are. I told the dumb broad that my name was “I”, which I find gives the game an interesting narrative feel, and like a fool she believed me. Fast forward through credits, blah blah blah, pick out a starter…wait a minute, the girl gets the weak Pokemon? Sexism much? Oh well, fast forward…battling, finally!

The graphics in battling are both better and worse than previously seen in Pokemon. The camera moves around, which is cool when you attack and it zooms in on your opponent as they are mercilessly slammed into the ground, but which is less cool when you take a second to pick out an attack and the camera wanders off to presumably look at butterflies. Oh, sorry, I forgot this is Pokemon, so the camera’s off looking at Butterfree. The sprites were also tweaked in this game. Again, it’s cool when your Pokemon actually shuts its eyes and snores when it’s put to sleep, but it’s less cool when your Pokemon is at such a low resolution that you can’t tell whether its eyes are open or not. It’s actually weird how pixelated the Pokemon are compared the rest of the game, as if the designers spent too much time making Surf look cool and they realized too late that they forgot to draw the monster that’s attacking. It’s like Michaelangelo deciding that the ceiling of the┬áSistine┬áChapel could wait, because this floor needs some parquet pronto.

The Pokemon themselves are pretty cool. One of my favorites is Golurk, a ground/ghost type based on a golem – for those of you who don’t know, “golem” is an ancient word for “mecha.” There’s also Litwick, a ghost/fire type based on a candle. Litwick levels up into a lantern and then a chandelier, which is an interesting idea and a well-executed design. Of course, there’s a couple weirdos; Sigiliyph, a psychic/flying type which is this generation’s Special Attack sweeper, looks like the bastard child of a Christmas tree ornament and a totem pole with a dash of Mayan nightmare fuel thrown in.

There are a couple little things in B/W that give me mixed feelings. In HeartGold and SoulSilver, there was an option to leave the Running Shoes on for the entire game, which was greeted with enthusiasm. That’s gone in B/W, which could be good or bad since there’s an extended dungeon that features quicksand which sucks you in if you try to run through it. HG/SS had the first Pokemon in your party follow you around the overworld, which was cool yet occasionally annoying. That’s gone now. For the first time, the names of Pokemon are grammatically correct, with the first letter capitalized and the rest of the word lowercase, which a grammar Nazi like myself loves. However, the font that they use is small enough that some letters look alike, so it’s hard to tell if I’m trying to catch a Kyurem or a Kyuren.

The game takes some liberties with the usual plot progression too. As usual, you have to go to one gym after another, but the Elite Four can be battled in any order. Also, I’m trying to avoid spoilers, but let’s just say that the version-exclusive legendary isn’t obtainable until after you beat the Elite Four the first time. Several times I wasted a handful of Revives, expecting to battle again soon, only to have my Pokemon unexpectedly healed.

To sum up…yeah, I got nothing. I’m going to go back to playing Pokemon.

Here’s some Nerd Is The Word:

Concrete pillars are uncomfortable.


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