Pokemon White – A Commentary

Having just finished Pokemon White, I wanted to share some thoughts on the game. This is not a traditional game review, because there are general things about Pokemon White that I wanted to talk about, such as the designs of certain Pokemon and some tips and tricks. I still, however, want to review the game, and the first section of this blog post will be a short critique, followed by a discussion on the (then) controversial Pokemon designs, and finally what I found to be the best way to grind for the Elite Four rematch. Let’s-a go!

Grass type 4 lyfe! My Serperior was inevitably named Gourdy. If you get that reference, you are winrar.
Grass type 4 lyfe! My Serperior was inevitably named Gourdy. If you get that reference, you are winrar.

Adventure RPG in the Most Traditional Sense

Pokemon White is a great game. Weird as it may sound, this one might actually be the most RPGish out of all them. The story is pretty epic in an emotional/moral sense. The world isn’t about to be destroyed or anything, but the antagonist is concerned with freeing Pokemon from being slaves to humans. Gen V has the best story, imo. Though Team Plasma is reminiscent of the sickening real-life PETA, within the context of the Pokemon universe they present an interesting moral dilemma. Pokemon are really just slaves to Pokemon trainers, when you think about it; thank goodness the Plasma grunts are around to lighten things up, eh?

Many have complained that Black and White feel more linear than previous titles, with very little backtracking and extra areas to explore. This wasn’t a problem at all for me, as I actually hate using HM slaves. Cutting down on the number of obstacle plants and rocks encouraged a more fluid gaming experience, and I didn’t mind that one bit. Who enjoys carrying around the one Pokemon who is useless in battle anyway? Constantly learning TMs is also a pain in the butt, so a linear story path might not be such a bad idea.

As a Pokemon game specifically, Gen V introduced several amazing features, such as reusable TMs, ninety-two (wow) new moves, Pokemon Centers combined with the Poke Marts, and more. This was definitely the most impactful generation in a gameplay sense, making things more convenient and logical.

Gen V Pokemon Designs are Bad.

Click to enlarge.

Confession: the main reason I wanted to write a blog post on Pokemon White was because I saw the above picture on the intarwebs. Whoever created this, you’re stupid. For the record, I actually don’t think Gen V Pokemon are terrible. There are actually some awesome Pokemon in Gen V, such as the ones I chose for my team, but on the whole, Gen V, while not terrible, is still bad, and I’ll explain by refuting a couple of points made by the image above.

“You’re biased because of nostalgia.”

Yeah, nostalgia is fully capable of transforming regular fans into rabid dogs sometimes, but not so here. You see, we’re allowed to criticize the lazy designs of Klink and Trubbish precisely because Gen I already exists. The complaint isn’t that they’re turning everyday objects into Pokemon, but that they’re doing the same thing they’ve already done in Gen I. You gotta understand, before Pokemon existed, there was really nothing like it. No one had thought that kids would enjoy a concept of creatures battling for and befriending them, much less something that would require as many designs as the original 151. That is why even Muk and Magneton were awesome, because nothing like them existed before, and also the same reason why Klink sucks; joining metal parts together has already been done before. A Pokemon in the shape of an ice-cream cone? A sarcophagus? A freakin’ bag of garbage?! With the exception of Voltorb and Electrode, no Pokemon from the original 151 was a face slapped onto an inanimate object (and Pokeballs aren’t even real objects). That is why Unova Pokemon feel uninspired.

Perhaps the defenders of Gen V are right; if Pokemon Black and White came out before Red and Blue, the latter would be getting shat on, but the FACT is that Red and Blue came out first, which is why we’re allowed to compare the successor to the predecessor. That’s reality.

Lastly, look at the original 151; the designs are all of creatures that look like potential pets, or at the very least something that kids wouldn’t mind having as imaginary companions. Now look at this:


Looking back at all the Pokemon now, it was really in Unova that we started getting Pokemon designs that simply forgot the premise of Pokemon: that these were creatures meant to be pets for kids. They could look cute, powerful, goofy, disgusting, scary, and whatever, because different kids have different personalities. But starting with Unova we got the feeling that they were running out of ideas, and so they tried hard to be unique, and forgot the design principle of keeping Pokemon something that kids wanted as companions.

Okay, anti-rant is over. For the record, once again, I don’t think Unova Pokemon are terrible, but there was definitely a misstep. Most of them are repetitive, some are bizarre, and some are just unappealing. The overall collection was a flop, and I strongly suspect whoever decided to design the Unova Pokemon got regulated to designing Yokai afterwards. Nonetheless, I was able to still pick out some Pokemon I thought were pretty badass.

Elite Four Training

My team: Gourdy, King K.Rool, Oprah, Flubber, Erik, and Reptar.
My team: Gourdy, King K.Rool, Oprah, Flubber, Erik, and Reptar.

There’s really only one tip I can offer, because the game is pretty straightforward and not really that tricky. Every Pokemon trainer knows the toughest challenge is always the Elite Four and the reigning Champion. Because N interrupted things the first time, your initial battle with the Elite Four didn’t end with you being inducted in the hall of fame, and what Pokemon journey is complete without having your name etched in blazing glory among the best?

The rematch, however, is pretty tough, as all four of them (plus Alder, the Champion) have six Pokemon each, all level 70+. I beat them with a team average of level 65, and it probably could’ve been lower too. Anyway, here are the spots you want to train in order to prepare yourself for the Elite Four rematch:

Nimbasa City – Big Stadium and Small Court. After you beat N, tonnes of trainers wait in both stadiums with level 60+ teams.

Cynthia in Undella town during Spring and Summer. Most people say once a day, but I actually faced her twice in one day during the Spring once.

The rich family in Undella town (northwestern mansion). Once a day.

Cheren at the top of Victory Road. Once a day.

Game Freak in Castelia City, in the building which is on the street that can see the Pokemon Center. Once a day.

Go through this list two or three times while using the Lucky Egg, and you’ll be set.

In Conclusion…

Final play time: forty-eight hours and twenty four minutes. It was fun, it was an adventure. I highly recommend Pokemon White (or Black) to any fan of the Pokemon games. In the end, Pokemon White retains the basic blueprint that has worked so well all of these years: you are creating your own team and going off on a journey. Yeah, the designs are pretty meh, but at least you still get to choose, right? See you next time, with Pokemon Black 2.

This has been a gamobo review. Thanks for reading.


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