"It looks like Game Freak finally woke up"

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl were great, but with all the concepts they tried out, they almost felt like test games to see how people would react and what they would want more of. Game Freak has delivered, and this game is the result.

Game Play

In the previous Pokemon games, we got a little taste of the 3D capabilities that could be implemented. Now, we have it blown out to full proportion. It will remind you a little bit of Super Paper Mario in that it can be really confusing at times and looks a little odd having everything out there visibly all at once, but the control aspect is easy to get used to. With the implementation of seasons, the game play is much more interesting, since there are some areas you can only access during certain seasons. After you've played this game for an hour or two and go back to playing one of the older ones, they feel very static compared to this game. One major addition to game play is that you are now able to get abilities on your Pokemon that they would not normally have. The overall online gaming competitive community, known as the metagame, will be greatly modified thanks to this, and it should be interesting to see what happens.

Storyline

Just when you think they couldn't top the previous storyline, they...don't -- at least, in my opinion. However, one of the things the Galactic storyline was missing was the ability to fully interact with the main storyline of collecting badges and battling Gym Leaders. The Plasma storyline will eventually get most of the Gym Leaders involved, and needless to say, going through the Elite 4 is much more rewarding this time around.

Graphics

The graphics aspect is a bit of a challenge to get used to at first. With all these 3D areas, there are many things you might miss simply because you don't think you can go there. During battling, the camera moves around, which makes the battle more interesting. The Generation 5 Pokemon are a bit odd, but so were every generation beforehand when they were introduced, so people will get used to them in time. Every single Pokemon has movements, which is really odd looking at times and makes you wonder just how much work went into all of it considering how the movements actually match with the sprites perfectly. When you sit back and look at it, you have to appreciate all the tiny details they added to certain Pokemon (for instance, Banipucchi, the ice-cream Pokemon, has small snowflake sparkles added by it). The small downside that everybody I talk to keeps complaining about is the fact that Gym Leaders and the Elite 4 no longer have sprite animations. I think it's pretty obvious that they are more than likely saving those for the third installment of this series that will come out some years in the future. All in all, the graphics are really sweet.

Sound

The sound effects in this game remain somewhat unchanged from Diamond onwards, but there are minor differences, such as with Shadow Ball and Blizzard. They keep the Pokemon feel to them without being a direct copy + paste over. However, the music is a mixed bag. There are those that will find some of the tunes to be random, akin to a painter just throwing up a bunch of paint on a canvas and calling it art. However, there are other tunes that are extremely catchy, especially the Team Plasma theme, which sounds like an actual bad guy theme for once instead of solely ear candy. You will notice some references to music in the past in some of the music, which was a nice addition.

Replayability

As usual, all Pokemon handheld games are known for their endless replayability, and this game is no exception. With vast amount of areas to explore and new moves and abilities that will greatly change the metagame, people will be discussing this game for years and years to come.

THE BOTTOM LINE: 10/10

If you loved all the previous games, you will love this one.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 09/20/10

Game Release: Pocket Monsters Black (JP, 09/18/10)


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