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Forums > Submission Feedback > honestgamer's Pokemon Black Version review

This thread is in response to a review for Pokemon Black Version on the DS. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: PAJ89
Posted: May 03, 2011 (03:27 AM)
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Enjoyed reading. I've invested a lot of time into at least one game in each of the generations (and will start with B/W this week) so I have a different perspective, but I can totally understand a lot of your points.

The one about move slots and which ones to keep, for example: my current self that has a fair knowledge about which are useful and how to go about building move-sets would say anything more than four moves would break the balance when it comes to competitive play. But when I first played Pokemon Red way back, I didn't have a clue (I remember making the mistake of raising a Charizard that had four fire type moves). There are ways to re-learn moves later on (if the Heart Scale item is still in at least), but I would probably be very overwhelmed at the complexity of everything if I was just coming into the series now.

It's a strange series in that it always gets lots of sales (and likely plenty of new players each generation), but it's had a thriving competitive scene since the very first game. The changes, particularly to the battling, always tend to be little tweaks rather than overhauls (the most radical changes would be adding the Dark and Steel types and the splitting of the Special Stat to Special Attack and Special Defense, both of which I believe were in the 2nd generation), so as interesting as a real change to the series would be (or the battling in particular), I don't think we'll see it.

After browsing some of the new monsters, totally agree on the design. I know they've broken 600+ now so it's going to be a tad difficult to make every one outstanding, but some of the names and designs are boring, repetitive or even ugly. I read an IGN Top 100 Pokemon list voted on by users, and unsurprisingly, the majority of them were monsters from the first two generations.


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: May 03, 2011 (09:12 AM)
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It's easy to miss important little details if you aren't ready to totally immerse yourself in the game. For instance, I didn't know that I could learn back moves until someone who had played the game for 200 hours told me, and it's not like I only sampled this game before reviewing it. To an expert player, it probably reads like I did in my review, but I've spent quite a few hours with both the main game and the post-game content.

Pokemon Black is not a horrible game and I expect that the truly diehard fans will love it and (depending on how open-minded they are or aren't) consider me a fool based on my review. My review isn't for those people, necessarily. It's for someone who has been a casual fan of the series or perhaps a total newcomer. It's a warning, perhaps, that there are better places to start. I hear that HeartGold and SoulSilver, which I missed, are excellent.

Thank you for reading, and for letting me know what you thought of the review. I appreciate your comments and your perspective, especially because you were open to mine. I hope that you'll review the game yourself once you've played through it!


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: May 03, 2011 (09:13 AM)
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Nice review. My biggest complaint with this generation of Pokemon after reading and hearing about it has to be the Pokemon themselves. As you say and as PAJ has pointed out, I truly feel that they've just run out of really good ideas. I mean, Jesus - there's a freaking ice cream monster for Christ's sake. Haha. Still, this alone won't be enough to make me avoid the series. I was reluctant to try it at first, but now I probably wouldn't mind. From what I understand, even if a lot of what they do has been done before, it's done in a more expansive way, and therefore should be interesting.

The random encounter thing is also a good point, but is of even lesser concern to me because I've found repels to be quite cheap and hardly a money waster in the end. Maybe the ramped up encounter rate will null this; I'll have to find out whenever I can get a chance to play

Anyway, I disagree completely about the move set thing. That's one of the series' greatest strengths and more or less makes up the strategy of the game, deciding what moves to put on your Pokemon. I know you may be new at this, but every generation since III (at least) has given you the accuracy, power and a description of what each move does, both when you're trying to learn it and in your Pokemon's regular stats. Because of this, there's no excuse for ignorance when it comes to selecting move sets.

The one point you may have regarding this is deciding whether to teach HM moves or not. (The water one is called "surf" btw). But, again, that's part of the strategy. I've found that, if I don't want a particularly good Pokemon to have an HM move that would prove rather annoying and somewhat crippling to it, I'll either just catch another one of that same breed and train it up properly or, as you suggest, catch a weaker one to use as an HM slave. Recently I've found the latter to be a very effective technique because it allows for your main five Pokemon to actually fit within the level range of your enemies as you progress (particularly the gym leaders). The only tough thing about it is possibly training up a sixth member might take a bit of extra time.

In any case, aside from the move set argument, I pretty much agree with everything else, as I said earlier. Good job with that. Pokemon has always seemed like a hard series to review, so it's cool to see how others do it. Might help me when I get to writing my own.

EDIT: To address the Move Tutor / Move Relearner issue, anyone could find these people if they explore every town thoroughly because that's usually where important people like that are. However, I can understand someone missing it if they're not completely into the game and/or just don't like the tedium of going into every house and talking to every NPC there is. I admit that I get impatient myself. And, in fact, when it comes to this series, I'm actually kind of dreading the prospect because some of the towns/ cities (Hiun especially) are just so huge.


What espiga does in his free time
[Eating EmP's brain] probably isn't a good idea. I mean... He's British, which means his brain's wired for PAL and your eyes are NTSC. - Will


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: May 03, 2011 (09:27 AM)
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It's hard to put all of my thoughts on any of those topics into a review without it becoming a bloated beast. The review is already just over 1400 words and that's basically my self-imposed limit where I know I'm going on too long and that most people won't read any more if I continue (or any at all if they see how huge it is). The new design makes longer reviews look shorter than they are, which is helpful, but it doesn't change the fact that there's a lot of text to process.

Anyway, a big problem I have with Black that I didn't perhaps articulate as well as I could have--owing to how much I'd already said--is that while there are "fixes" to some of the issues I encountered, the solution almost always involves entering a bunch of houses. I kind of touched on that with the "turn to the Internet" bit, since that will solve things. You can talk to a friend to find which building or which NPC in which town might offer you what you need if conditions are right, but there's so much digging to do and for a newcomer who has more to play than Pokemon, it's a bit much.

This would be a good game to buy a 12-year-old who has a lot of time on his hands and not much money for games. I don't know why so many parents come to the store with their kids and (I've seen this) say "You can buy a game for your DS but not that Pokemon thing!" I guess they're holdouts from when pastors used to address the congregation and warn them of the evil of Pokemon (I still remember that actually happening in the church I attended when I was a teen and the craze was red hot, so reports of such things aren't lies). Someone I know on Twitter who has contributed here and to Gameroni was talking about spending over 200 hours with the game and about how easy it is to spend a few hours in post-game to level up individual Pokemon to an extent that you can have boxes full of powerful Pokemon. It was presented as convenient and perfectly reasonable, and maybe for some people it is, but until you've invested that amount of time in the game or the series or have read a bunch of stuff online or talked to a bunch of knowledgeable friends, how could it be reasonable unless you've grown up playing the game since you were a wee child (or are now a wee child yourself)?


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: PAJ89
Posted: May 03, 2011 (09:31 AM)
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I don't think there's danger of any sensible reader considering you a fool, you put it out there straight away that you aren't a die-hard veteran of the franchise. I think I enjoyed the read more because of that: although I'm not at the level of super hardcore player who is up on everything in terms of competitive battling, I've spent hours playing about with IV/nature breeding and EV distribution in the past two games, enough to know the mechanics and be able to build a decent team. As I said in my other post, I've got to guess that there are always lots of new players with each generation. And although I can't imagine playing a Pokemon game without getting in deep to borderline obsessive levels, I bet a lot of people just want a fun, long-lasting RPG. This review sets it out plain and simple for that type of player.

Case-in-point would be the story details, which don't bother me that much. Although the commentary on morality caught my interest a little, it doesn't bother me a lot as the big draws for me are collection and battling (and I've already slogged through four games that have had the same story). I'm sure a new player would give more consideration to the story than I do.

I can't be certain as I've not played B/W yet, but it does seem like HeartGold/SoulSilver (or even the GBA remakes of Red/Blue) would be the best place for a new player. I think we've all established that the earlier Pokemon designs are stronger, and you don't get to see the majority of the original 251 if you enter in at the third generation or later.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: May 06, 2011 (11:37 AM)
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The goldfish 30 second memory thing is a scientific myth. But I still like the way you incorporate it here.

This review is killer. I really dig a review that can tell me what I'm going to get out of Pokemon, even though the answer is usually: "the same old thing." That I stayed engaged enough to keep reading while suspecting that answer says a lot.

I've always thought pokemon needed a mario-RPG style makeover to their combat, where you could use timed buttons or, with the DS, timed drawings, to do more damage, take less damage, or use special attacks. I love the game world, I like the simple anime scripts (surprisingly) and I even like those damnable pokemon, but the fighting system is so thin that the thought of encountering a battle every two steps is causing me gastric pain.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: hmd
Posted: May 06, 2011 (01:55 PM)
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