The Pokémon Video Game Series has been steadily popular since its inception almost fifteen years ago. Now the new Pokémon Black and Pokémon White versions on the Nintendo DS/DSi look set to continue the trend.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the world of Pokémon (translated as 'Monsters in my Pocket'), players must take over the role of a Pokémon Trainer. You must catch and train your Pokémon so that you can compete in battles against other Trainers, in the hope of becoming a Pokémon Master.
Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version introduce a whole host of never-before-seen Pokémon characters. New Legendary Pokémon include Reshiram ( Pokémon Black Version) and Zekrom (Pokémon White Version).
Pokémon Black and White DS/DSi versions contain two new battle systems, Triple Battles and Rotation Battles. In Triple Battles, both Trainers must send out three Pokémon at once.
The position of your Pokémon in the Triple Battles arena has a direct impact on the type of attack that players can perform on the opposing team. For example, Pokémon on the left or right sides can only target the Pokémon directly opposite of them and the two Pokémon in the center position on both sides, while Pokémon in the center can target all Pokémon in the field.
Players can choose to change the position of their Pokémon during their turn, but they must then wait until their next turn to launch a new attack.
In Rotation Battles both Trainers send out three Pokémon at once, again, but instead of a three-on-three match as seen in the Triple Battles, Players must endure a one-on-one match, whereby the Pokémon in the front can be switched with either of the two other Pokémon sent out without using up a turn.
Depending on the game version, one of these two new battle types will be found in greater quantity than the other; Black has more Rotation Battles than Triple Battles, whereas the White version features more Triple Battles than Rotation Battles.
Further gameplay changes include The C-Gear , which allows the player to control the various wireless capabilities of Black and White, including any wireless battling, trading and friend codes, as well as the new Feeling Check function.
Another unique feature of Black and White is the Pokémon Dream World, which utilises the official Pokémon Global Link website where the player can befriend and capture Pokémon normally unobtainable in the main gameplay.
Furthermore, the Dream World function also allows players to gain special Pokémon Abilities, which are then later captured in an area known as the Entralink after syncing the game back with the Dream World.
Moreover, in a similar way to the HeartGold and SoulSilver Pokéwalker, players can also maintain a house in the Dream World that other players can visit.
Black and White have also introduced a seasonal cycle, however, the seasons are not linked to the real-life calendar, but automatically change every four months or so.
Outside areas will appear different depending on the season, such as changing of leaves in autumn, or snow on the ground in winter. Certain areas will only be accessible during certain seasons, and different Pokémon can be found in the wild in winter when others are only encountered in the other seasons.
The overall graphics have been enhanced in the new Pokémon Black and Pokémon White versions, and the game now features more cutscenes than in previous titles.
Character speech has now been changed from scrolling text to speech bubbles, which are shown over the character's heads. This means that it is easier to talk to other characters and it also allows more characters to talk at the same time.
Overall, Pokémon Black and White is a very welcome addition to the series. The new features enhance gameplay and provides a lot of refreshing content for fans of the series to explore. If you've ever had the desire to ''Catch 'em all'', then this game is perfect for you. Overall rating: 10/10.