Pokémon Black And White Versions, Pokemon White

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By Jack DeVries
One of the cool things about Pokemon is that there's a new audience every year. Current fans are so young that I feel like a creeper every time I go to a Pokemon event. This new audience is part of the reason Pokemon hasn't had to change much of its formula over the past decade and a half. Still, developer Game Freak has taken note of what fans want, and Pokemon Black and Pokemon White improve in ways that longtime fans have been begging for.

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If you never caught Pokefever during the last four Nintendo handhelds, we have a Pokemon history article you can check out. While Pokemon appeals to a younger demographic, fans stay true because it's a really solid series of RPGs with a lot of depth.

Game Freak didn't decide to turn the series on its head, and Black/White remains formulaic. You still play a 10-year-old kid who doesn't seem to have a Dad. You still get a grass/fire/water Pokemon from a world renowned Pokemon professor who happens to live in your tiny, three building town. You still journey from town to town, kicking everyone's butts and taking their money as you collect eight badges. And, yes, you still defeat an evil group of people with a villainous plot. For ones groaning, “Oh crap, not again!” or “What the crap are you talking about?” listen up. I went from literally catching them all in Diamond/Pearl, to burning out and not finishing HeartGold/SoulSilver, but Black/White brought me back because it has more to offer.

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First, the villains aren't dumbasses. They're the cliché of an evil group of trainers, but this time they serve the plot of the game. From the very beginning of Black/White, the mysterious Team Plasma, and the Seven Sages drive the story. They also bring up concepts about the morality of Pokemon that are pretty heavy for the series. They're a constant presence, showing up in every town, stealing Pokemon, and confusing the protagonist's motivations. They're never hiding out in a dumb warehouse waiting for a kid to steal their key card or whatever.

Black/White is also a more streamlined Pokemon experience. The developers have done a lot of small things that make the game run smoother. Some of them are obvious, like combining the Pokemon Center with the Poke Mart, but others are more subtle. Battles run just a smidge faster each turn, for example, speeding up the whole process.

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Pokemon Black/White has two new fighting styles: Triple Battles and Rotation Battles. Both are in Black and White, though one gets a larger focus in each. I prefer the Rotation Battles, as the ability to switch Pokemon before the attack every turn adds a new level of strategy. The Triple Battles feel like bigger Double Battles, which isn't bad, but isn't very exciting either. There are some cool new move sets like Combined Moves which are normal attacks that create more powerful effects if used in tandem with your partner. The game's cover Pokemon, Zekrom and Reshiram, utilize this with a pair of devastating fusion attacks.

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Pokemon White Version
Have you already collected them all? Well then, grab up your pokeball, because a fifth generation of Pokemon creatures comes your way from Nintendo!

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