Pokemon Black review
After the success of all the previous generations of Pokemon, Game Freak decided that it was time to make the 5th generation of Pokemon by releasing Pokemon Black and White on March 6, 2011 in North America. Both games were very successful, but were they as good as games from previous generations? I'm now going to explain my view on Pokemon Black by making this review.
Pokemon Black has some graphical improvements over Diamond, Pearl and Platinum. Before Black and White, every area had a top down perspective. In Black, there are several areas in the game where you can look at certain areas in different angles, such as Skyarrow Bridge, which provides a number of different angles as you make your way across the bridge. Castelia City is another great example, where you can look at the city at a sideways view when you're on the outer edge of the city. Other than some new camera angles, there aren't a whole lot of graphical changes from gen 4, which isn't too surprising since both generations 4 and 5 were primarily for the DS. My only complaint as far as the graphics go are a lot of the Unova pokemon designs. There were some really strange looking pokemon from gen 5. Pokemon Black made me feel like Game Freak was starting to run out of good ideas for new pokemon. Despite the new pokemon not looking that great, the new camera angles are great and the different areas throughout the game look really nice, so I'm giving the graphics an 8.
Pokemon Black has one of the best soundtracks in the entire series. There's plenty of great music in the game such as all of the Team Plasma related battle themes, the Elite Four theme, Route 10, and the Subway battle theme. These themes are some of the best that the series has ever had. As great as that music is, there was also some music in the game that was very underwhelming and disappointing. Those themes are the gym leader theme, the rival theme, and Champion theme. The rival and champion themes in particular are unfortunately the worst that this series has ever had. The rival theme has no intensity at all and it was a pain to have to listen to because of how underwhelming it is, while the Champion theme is just flat out terrible. It doesn't make sense why Game Freak wanted to make a champion theme sound so terrible. The rest of the soundtrack is really good, but the fact that those 3 battle themes in particular are this disappointing makes me have to drop the sound score from a potential 10 down to an 8...
Pokemon Black has a good amount of replay value. There's a whole new region to explore and there's the new battle subway, which is very similar to the battle frontier, except instead of there being different buildings to go and battle in, it's all in a subway. Other than that though, there isn't much that makes Pokemon Black different from the other games. Online multiplayer makes a return after being introduced in gen 4, there's 8 gyms to beat, there's the pokemon league to beat, and the region itself isn't as big as previous regions that the series has had. Overall, the gameplay is as addicting as it's ever been, but there isn't enough new content in the game for me to give this category a higher score. I'm giving the addictiveness an 8.
Pokemon Black has the best storyline that any mainstream pokemon game has ever had. The game starts out the same way that many other games in the series have started. You get your first pokemon, go on a journey to capture pokemon, battle your "rivals" Cheren and Bianca, beat gym leaders, and eventually challenge the pokemon league. However, there is a new organization who you'll encounter along the way called Team Plasma. Their goal is to liberate pokemon from their trainers so that pokemon won't be used for selfish gain or as tools for battle. They are led by N, who was raised alongside pokemon and wishes to see them freed from their trainers, and then there's Ghetsis, N's father, he has a secret and different goal from N. What is this goal? You'll have to find out by playing the game. While I don't want to give away massive spoilers, I will say this game has the best storyline in the mainstream pokemon series, and because of that, I'm giving the story a 10.
Like the rest of the series, Pokemon Black has a good amount of depth but there should've been more content. For some reason, Game Freak
decided instead of having some pokemon from previous generations be available to catch throughout your journey, they decided to only make the new Unova pokemon available before the pokemon league. I found thisdisappointing because even though gen 5 provides the most new pokemon that any generation of pokemon has ever provided, there still weren't asmany pokemon to catch before the pokemon league as there were in R/S/E and barely more than D/P/Plat. Also, I felt like the gen 5 starters are the worst s
election of starters the series has ever had. Tepig, Oshawott, and Snivy are each very underwhelming and their evolutions don't provide any interesting type combinations. Oshawott is purely water and Snivy is purely grass, while tepig's evolution is the 3rd fire/fighting combo that a fire type pokemon has had. The region itself is smaller than previous regions in the series as well. These factors make me have to give this category a lower score than I've given other games in the series. I'm giving the depth a 7.
Leveling up is easier in Pokemon Black thanks to a certain pokemon known as Audino. Everytime you beat Audino you get much more exp than when you battle other pokemon. Abusing this can cause most of the game to go by much faster than previous games in the series. Also, a lot of the battles in this game aren't too difficult either, with an exception being the battle against Ghetsis, which is one of the most difficult battles in the series if you're underleveled. Besides the Ghetsis battle, the only other difficult aspect of Pokemon Black is the Battle Subway, where you and your opponents pokemon are at a set level and you must make it through a certain number of trainers before you can battle the subway master, which is the same as the frontier brain in the battle frontier. Since the battle subway and the Ghetsis battle are pretty tough, I'm giving the difficulty a 5.
Overall Score: 8.5/10
Pokemon Black was a good way to start off gen 5. It has very nice graphics, a mostly stellar soundtrack, addictive gameplay, and the best storyline that any of the mainstream pokemon games have ever had, and the story's better than a lot of the spinoff games as well. If it hadn't been for the weak starters, the lack of pokemon from previous gens, and a region that doesn't look very big when using a map, I would've given Pokemon Black a higher score. Instead, I'm giving Pokemon Black an 8.5 out of 10. While it's a great game, it could've been better in a lot of ways. Fortunately, this game's sequel fixes a lot of these issues. I'll review that game at another time.