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Fans of the series who have been following since the beginning, Red/Blue, will not be surprised by anything at the start of this game. You wake up on your 10th birthday and are entrusted a pokemon by the professor that resides in your small town. You either get to pick from Tepig the fire pig, Oshawott the water otter or Snivy the grass snake. From there though the changes to the series start to take shape. Instead of the one rival system that has been implemented in almost all of the games before this, you now have two friends that show up on your journey often for you to battle and test your strength against. You also have a new antagonist group called Team Plasma lead by their leader N who you will also see throughout the game as you travel through routes and cities.
The fact that this game added 151 new pokemon was a bit unsettling at first when I heard before the game came out and then when I heard that you couldn't transfer older pokemon over until late in the game I was even more upset. What I've learned now that I've gotten my hands on the game is that the fact that I only see the new generation of pokemon has made me like them just as I had to do when the original pokemon came out. I thought that I'd never like any of the names or the designs of these pokemon but playing through the game they have been put on the same level as every other pokemon that I've played. The story actually won me over as well as I was playing it. In games before it was (add evil organization here) is trying to take over the world, stop them. But this game adds a depth to Team Plasma and your friends that follow you around that the series has never gone to before. I actually found myself excited to get out of a gym and go to the Team Plasma portion of the story at times.
The game has changed a lot from it's roots where kids had to basically find their own way around and figure things out for themselves. The game does a good job of explaining the mechanics of the game for those who need it and staying out of the way for those who don't. People after battles will randomly heal your pokemon or give you a berry for beating them now that you can use to heal them of some ailment. Black/White seems to just help the player out more than it had before in that respect and does it in a streamlined way. There are a lot more trainers to battle in this game than previous generations as well. This cuts down on the need for grinding wild pokemon battles for days on end before you can battle the gym leader. Trainer battles offer more experience for each pokemon and Gamefreak has struck a good balance between the need for trainer battles and the need to go out and fight wild pokemon.
The game play has stayed mostly the same with battles revolving around turn-based fights but the fights are now different. As well as single and double battles, Gamefreak has introduced triple and rotation battles. These involve three pokemon on each side and takes an extra layer of strategy to see what works against who and how to help your team defeat the other one. Another huge addition to the game this time around is the Pokemon Global Link. This is a game mechanic that ties into the in-game story line that lets players go and find pokemon that wouldn't normally be catchable in the new area of Unova. The Link also has an accompanying website that users can sync their game up to via WiFi and battle online against other people around the world or use the Dream World. The Dream World takes place inside of pokemon's dreams and is a place where you can go and play very fleshed out flash games involving characters and pokemon from the story. You can also catch pokemon there that have abilities that they don't normally have in the real world and then transfer them over to your cartridge when you're done. It's a huge expansion that Gamefreak can really expand on going forward and something that will take a lot of time to fully explore.
Overall this generation of Pokemon is one of the best. I've said to many people over and over that the feeling I've had while playing this game is close to the same feeling that I had while playing Pokemon Red. They've really seemed to capture the classic formula with this pokemon and any self respecting trainer needs to pick this game up.
Final Score: 5 out of 5