Pokemon Black Version DSi and DS Lite
DSi and DS Lite
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Released on 02/03/2011
Pokemon Black for Nintendo DS
Redefining the Pokémon series, Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version offer fans and newcomers alike a completely new adventure to discover and enjoy. And for the first time ever in the series, the two games feature their own individual areas to explore. Set in the Unova region, which is located far away from the Kanto and Johto regions Pokémon fans will be familiar with, both games also feature all new action-packed locations, such as the bustling urban environment of Castelia City
Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version also mark the first time in the Pokémon series that the seasons will change in the game world. The result sees specific Pokémon appearing more frequently during particular seasons and also changing in colour or form. Furthermore, players can only access some areas during a specific season.
As if that wasn't enough, players will also encounter more than 150 never-seen-before Pokémon, some of which can only be caught in each version of the game. Two such are Legendary Pokémon are called Reshiram and Zekrom.
Reshiram can engulf its surroundings in flames and it is rumoured the heat from the flames can cause the very atmosphere to move, while Zekrom can produce electricity from within its own body, fly and disappear inside thunderclouds! Reshiram can only be caught in Pokémon Black Version whilst Zekrom can only be caught in Pokémon White Version.At the start of the game, players can choose between new, older boy and girl Trainers, as well as from three new starter Pokémon - a Grass-type Pokémon, Snivy, a Fire-type Pokémon, Tepig or, a Water-type Pokémon, Oshawott - before departing on their adventure with two childhood friends.
In Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version the player is tasked with completing two quests. One is to complete the Unova Pokédex by finding and catching every Pokémon in the region - however, in order to fully complete the Unova Pokédex, players will need to trade Pokémon between both versions. The other is to become the Pokémon League Champion by battling with wild Pokémon and other Trainers in the region. Players will train their Pokémon with the ultimate goal of taking on the Elite Four and the Unova Champion! Thanks to some all new connectivity features you will be able to hone your fighting skills via the Random Matchup mode, using the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection.
UK Pokemon fans can begin clearing their diaries for March 2011 after it was announced that Pokemon Black and White will be making their debuts.
The two latest DS additions to the monster-catching RPG phenomenon will arrive in European game stores two days before they receive their long-awaited US launch, Official Nintendo Magazine has revealed.
Pokemon Black and White will introduce players to more than 150 never-before-seen creatures, including a starting choice between Grass-type monster Snivy, Fire-type critter Tepig and Water-type beast Oshawott.
As they journey across the Unova region in search of rare Pokemon, gamers will encounter new seasonal environment effects and special areas that are exclusive to each version of the game.
Marc Franklin of Nintendo said the games "represent a generational leap forward for the renowned series".
Nintendo will be hoping the new Pokemon titles can emulate the success of their Japanese launch, which saw them become the fastest-selling DS titles of all time.
The ever-popular Pokemon franchise is to reclaim the spotlight this year with a new TV show and other media launches set to tie in with the release of Pokemon Black Version and White Version.
Nintendo has confirmed that a new series of the long-running TV cartoon will premiere this year, introducing fans to the characters, setting and creatures featured in the DS games.
The show will once again follow Ash and sidekick Pikachu as they travel to the Unova region, encountering more than 150 brand new critters who will all be catchable in the games.
In addition to the TV series, a full-length movie called Zoroark: Master of Illusions will be released this year, as will a fresh expansion set for the popular Pokemon Trading Card Game.
Pokemon Black and White will be out in the UK in March 2011 after becoming the fastest-selling DS games ever on their Japanese debut last year.
New monsters who will make their debut in the games include the legendary duo of Reshiram and Zekrom, as well as the cute starter trio of Snivy, Tepig and Oshawott.
In an interview with US site IGN, Pokemon Black/White director Junichi Masuda suggested that we shouldn't expect to see a Pokemon RPG on home consoles any time soon.
Questioned about the possibility of a full Pokemon game on Wii, Masuda said "I don't think so. I think the Pokemon core series is always going to be with handheld hardware, in the future as well."
"I consider handheld hardware you can carry around with you as almost being equal to being with Pokemon," he continued. "I think handheld really matches the idea of Pokemon that we have. Also, you can communicate and transfer data all the time, whenever you want with a handheld. That's also a match with the Pokemon concept."
We guess the series is all about pocket monsters, after all, though Masuda didn't rule out the possibility of a home console Pokemon in future, and spin-offs are always likely. "Obviously the home console allows people to get together, for parties, and those sorts of things. Maybe in the future, if we can think of a way to do something cool with that, then that's the sort of environment we can work in."
Masuda wouldn't be drawn on whether or not Pokemon Black and White due out in the UK on March 4th - would be accompanied by a third pokemon game on DS (pokemon Grey, anyone?) but it seems likely that Game Freak's next project will appear on 3DS.
Out with the old...
You might not expect it, but Pokemon Black and White are brave games, ready to take risks that other games in the Pokemon series have shied away from. Its philosophy is all about regeneration. After its predecessors spent 15 years building up a collection of over five hundred monsters, Black and White has chucked them all out and started again with 156 new ones. That's bravery, right there.
But you won't miss them, at least not for long. Pokemon Black and White's monsters quickly find their way into your affections. They're not all as brilliantly designed as each other - there are a few properly weird products of the human imagination in here - but they've got character, and there's a good balance of different Types introduced throughout the 30 to 40-hour story. You'll see new faces right up until the end.
And even after the end, there's much more to do. All the old Pokemon make an appearance after the main story is over, giving you an absurd number of critters to collect - 649 in total. Some of them can only be caught by connecting to the internet and downloading them direct from Nintendo, or putting your Pokemon into a Dream World on your PC where they encounter new friends and items.
Within the game, the bottom screen shows a nifty new gadget called the C-Gear that tracks infrared, wireless and internet creativity, letting you trade with others and battle each other at any time. It even passively gathers information about other Trainers while in sleep mode. The connectivity options are easily the best of any Pokemon yet. It's easier than ever to share and compete.
It also looks just brilliant - as good as anything else on the DS, and a world away from Diamond and Pearl's bright but functional look. Pokemon's monster design has always been exceptional, but otherwise the graphics were rarely better than tolerable. Now the battles come alive with cute, cool and entertaining monster animations, the cities are constructed of distinctive 3D buildings, and towns are connected by towering bridges that stretch over sparkling water and reveal distant skyline vistas.
The sprites are bright and crisp, long grass sways in the wind, and the world's weather changes along with the seasons once every real-time calendar month. New Pokemon appear every month, lakes ice over during winter to give you access to new areas, and some monsters even change their appearance. There's a load here to keep things interesting over the long term - not least the never-ending quest to catch 'em all.
Black and White make several small changes to the Pokemon formula that add up, overall, to a significant improvement. The biggest one is a change in the distribution of experience points: monsters now get a far bigger share of EXP when they defeat foes stronger than themselves. This not only evens out the process of building a strong and even team, it makes over-levelling impossible. Grinding - what little there was of it - has been completely eliminated.
Better than ever
Pokemon Centres and Marts have been merged into one building, and there are Pokemon healers dotted around caves and inter-city Routes to prevent you hiking back to them three times an
hour. TMs, the items that let you teach Pokemon new moves, are now infinite use, too. It's easier and less risky than ever to experiment with and customise your team.
By most standards, Pokemon Black and White are easily the best in the series. They make everything feel new again, which is quite an achievement in a series that's been so set in its ways. If you're a lapsed Pokemon fan, these games will do a lot to draw you back into the fold, and to keep you there - and if you've never tried them before, now's the perfect time to jump in.
Our Rating: 9.0
+ More interesting plot.
+ Looks amazing.
+ Incredibly deep - 100 hours plus.
- Some of the new monsters are lame.
- It could be harder.
- Will take over your life.