Starting Pokemon White Version
There tends to be a great deal of excitement when a new entry in a successful franchise launches. Naturally, this was the case with Pokemon Black/White, the latest set of monster-catching games from Nintendo and Game Freak. I was one of countless Pokemon fans eagerly anticipating the release of the latest iterations, so I was a giddy mess when I picked up my copy of Pokemon White Version. Though I was a bit annoyed that GameStop opened a bit later than usual (laziness!), I didn’t let that affect the initial experience I was about to have with my brand new Pokemon game.
I started up the game and watched the enjoyable little intro cutscene, reminiscing on my youth and the daily morning activity of watching the Pokemon anime before heading off to school. Afterwards, I began the brand new Pokemon journey by naming my trainer and reading the Pokemon professor’s briefing. The game started off fast, with my character and his two friends, Bianca and Cheren, ready to select their starter Pokemon. I got the first pick (because it’s my game, consarnit!), and I went with the fire Pokemon Tepig. I figured I’d see plenty of text only to be sent off to see the Pokemon professor, but that was not the case. Instead, I engaged in my first two battles immediately after selecting my starter. I was surprised, but I wasn’t too worried, and I quickly picked up victories against my two buddies.
The Usual Bit of Briefing
Once I got done owning Bianca and Cheren in battle, the game took a more predictable turn. My character’s mom gave her best wishes to the trio and sent us off to the Pokemon professor. From there I read about the wonders of training, battling, and raising Pokemon. It was a familiar setup to get me started on my journey across the Unova region, and I got a nice kick of nostalgia because of it. Admittedly, I was still pretty eager to get on with my adventure, especially since I already knew all the things the professor was teaching me. Regardless of that fact, I used the time to get even more pumped as I readied myself to explore a brand new region and capture brand new Pokemon.
Catching and Battling
As I played through my copy of Pokemon White Version, everything felt familiar. Granted that’s not a bad thing because past entries in the series such as HeartGold have been incredible. To be honest, I can’t say I was expecting some grand innovation in terms of battles and monster-catching. The most important conclusion I gathered from my first couple hours of battling trainers and catching new Pokemon was that everything felt just a tad different despite relying on the same basic formula of past games. My Pokemon’s attacks weren’t as strong as they were in previous entries, making for battles that required different strategies. This was definitely a welcome change that added just a smidge of challenge to the formula.
The Presentational Nuances
The big change in Pokemon White Version was the graphical improvement over past releases in the series. Buildings and structures pop out more, colors are much bolder, and character sprites are far more detailed than in previous Pokemon games. During battle sequences, the Pokemon bounce and move around quite lively, and it’s insanely adorable seeing the little monsters move around their side of the battlefield. There is some major pixelation that makes the Pokemon look a little, well, ugly; but overall, it’s great to see them moving around, and the new animations for performing moves (from what I’ve seen so far) are a nice touch.
The game’s soundtrack is your typical Pokemon fare, featuring music that sounds very old-school with a splash of modernization. I’ve always enjoyed the music of the Pokemon series as it gets me really excited and really pumped to go exploring in forests, interacting in cities, and battling in gyms. Pokemon White Version still evokes those old feelings in me, but it’s new enough to carve its own identity so that I’ll be reminiscing about this game a year from now. Additionally, there are some new jingles and chimes that are triggered when making selections or performing certain actions, and these sound nice and crisp.
Pokemon White Version – The Verdict So Far
My first few hours of play time with Pokemon White Version have been enjoyable to say the least. In hindsight, all of the excitement and anticipation was definitely justified, because I’ve been having a total blast with the game so far. Although I’ve mentioned that this Pokemon game feels quite traditional, there is still a new vibe to it that it makes worth picking up by fans new and old. The colorful graphics are great, and while the pixelated Pokemon are a bit rough on the eyes, there’s a ton of personality and charm just dripping throughout. The sound harks back to the Pokemon standard all the while offering new themes and sounds to get you excited all over again. And the battle system, though largely the same on the outside, feels more tactical and more challenging this time around. This game is going to steal hours out of my day and force me to forget about sleeping. It's on now!