Still ‘gotta catch ’em all’

By Jonathan Terbeche
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It’s only been a year since the last iteration of “Pokemon” games were released. But “Pokemon HeartGold Version” and “SoulSilver Version” were merely remakes of the older “Gold” and “Silver.” The last true new generation of “Pokemon,” “Diamond Version” and “Pearl Version,” came out in 2006, nearly five years ago.

With “Pokémon Black Version” and “White Version” an entire new generation of pokémon in an all new region is at hand. An important key difference in the newest versions is something that has not been done since the original games, the ability to only catch the new region’s pokémon, making all players start with a clean slate and equal opportunity.

So other than some new pokemon, what does an entire new pair of games come with? Well, visually the game has made an upgrade. While still using sprites and top-down views for much of the game, 3-D sections, and buildings, as well as anime-style character models are also present and very beautiful.

Along with the visuals, new animations, music, and mechanics are present. Pokemon now have three, or four animations as oppose to just two like before. Battle music is now dynamic and changing along with the melodic tunes of each town in the game. Unfortunately the cries of the Pokemon are still done in chip tune sound.

None of the changes are large, but just made to optimize the capabilities of the Nintendo DS system. Though this does leave something to be desired, as the constant question of change remains on players minds.

Another tweak to gameplay is the long-awaited elimination of an inventory of TMs; now all TMs remain even after using them. Menus are easier and item bags are consolidated for ease of use.

A new type of battle, the triple battle, is also present and introduces an element of position strategy in battle. More mini-games and side events are available as well, from pokemon sporting events, to dance shows, to intense battles on subways.

A new type of battle, the triple battle, is also present and introduces an element of position strategy in battle. Once the whims of team plasma, eight gyms, and pokemon league have all been conquered, the remaining half of the map opens up for high-level adventuring.

While the new content and slight menu alterations may be enough for some fans, many others will be ultimately disappointed with the lack of innovation. Considering the first games came out almost 13 years ago, there is certainly validation in these complaints. However, no matter how similar, unoriginal, or mundane it may be, I just can’t stop trying to “catch ‘em all!”