Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ghost's Angry Reviews - Pokémon Black and White



This is your standard spoiler warning.  If you don’t want Pokémon Black and White spoiled for some reason then don’t even bother.

This was the first review I had ever done and was highly influenced by The Nostalgia Critic.  People who have read it previously have enjoyed it and I hope you do too.  It is very long but I tried to keep it both informative and humorous.

Ghost here! Glad you could drop by.

When deciding what I wanted to review I wanted it to be something relatively current, something many have played but not everyone, and something I could easily poke fun of.  And what better to praise and destroy at the same time than Pokémon.

                                           NO NOT THAT! I’m talking about the video games.



In Feb 1996, Gamefreak introduced to Japan a new Role playing game called Pokémon Monsters Aka and Midori for Nintendo’s Gameboy.  It took the element of Role Playing Games and mixed with an element similar to the insect collecting which executive director Satoshi Tajiri-Oniwa enjoyed as a child. Nothing like forcing your personal hobbies on the world, but fortunately for Satoshi, the idea was a great one!  It goes without saying that the idea took the world by storm!  You practically couldn’t breathe at one point without hearing something about Pikachu flaunting himself about.  Who would have thought that 15 years later, Pokémon would be the second highest grossing franchise to Nintendo after the Fat Plumber himself.  Apparently enslaving small creatures, forcing them to fight, and telling ten year olds that they can leave their home and fight their way to the top is profitable.  Who knew?

The franchise has made a multitude of “main” game versions as well as countless spinoffs and is going strong.  On March 6th, 2011, Pokémon Black and White hit the shelves in America.  Pokémon freaks from all over flocked stores to buy it and I was one such individual.  As any good fan of the series I did my research.  I looked at the version exclusives and the differences in the games and purchased white because I found it to truly be the superior game in my opinion.

                                                        Don’t even start that!!

The world this time is far away from all the other regions we’ve been used to seeing, the region of Unova.  While all other previous games are based on Japan, Unova is actually based on the United States, especially notable places such as New York City.  They’re gonna screw this up aren’t they?

                                                              
                                                             Main Characters

As with all Pokémon games in the Post-Pokémon Women’s Rights Movement that brought us the glorious forerunner of Krys in Pokémon Crystal, you get to choose your gender in this game.  Also as per usual you get to select a custom name for your character, however if you don’t want to be bothered to do that you can go with their pre-set and completely cannon names of  Hilbert and Hilda……and they’ve already lost me.  Those names? Really?  Why not something like Jacob, Joshua, Ashley, Amanda… stuff that’s, you know, COMMON in this country.  How are the names Hilbert and Hilda supposed to make me think of the United States?  Because it doesn’t at all.. it makes me think of Eastern Europe!  Either that or we are in some sort of fantasy earth where we all have friends with names like Abigail or something like that.

Yeah that’s not helping matters any… on second thought Taylor Swift songs tend to be in this perpetual goodie fantasy world, and this game is a fantasy world so…. What was I talking about again?

Both kids this time are slightly older than our usual 10 year old crowd from past games.  This fact was perceived as blasphemous by some but thoroughly enjoyable by others (especially artists on the internet but I WON’T be getting into that!) I personally enjoyed the slight change of age just because it’s something different that doesn’t hinder anything about the game.   Now while their ages aren’t exactly set in stone they just look older than any we’ve seen before.  But let’s take a look closer at their designs.  The guy seems pretty standard really.  He looks like like he’s trying to get into junior college but has hair straight out of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  And the girl…well she looks like something out of a redneck’s fantasy.  Can’t get any better than a trucker hat, a white tank top, and Daisy Dukes for those with only a couple teeth left.  Is this seriously what Japan’s view of US teenagers are?  Guys trying to be cooler than they can possibly be capable of being so they just slip into not being noticed, and girls that wear clothing that is far too revealing? …Actually yes, firm grip on reality.  Well played Japan, well played.

                                                               Rivals

 Your character is accompanied by two friends who grew up in the same town as you,  Cheren and Bianca.  They will serve as your rivals for the game.

Although both do have some egregiously annoying dialogue with the main character they are both really well formed characters.  These rivals really work and you end up caring about them…sorta.  But before I talk more in depth about each Character, let’s take a look back at previous rivals and why they aren’t as good as this set. 
=======================================================================
=======================================================================Blue/Gary Oak   -  Red/Green/Blue/Yellow/Fire Red/Leaf Green
Now it’s hard to knock on the very first rival of the game series too much especially when it’s Gary Oak.  Gary suffers from that generic bully syndrome.  You don’t really know why he’s being a brat he’s just a brat.  His grandfather is Professor Oak and that may have something to do with the size of Blue’s Poke-ego but it’s never specifically stated.  Red (your character) and Blue grew up in the same town and Prof Oak lets Red pick his Pokémon first, but I don’t think that’s justice enough to not only pick the Pokémon that can beats yours in typing, but keep randomly stopping you at every turn to throw sand in your face and fight.   There’s really not much to the character at all to make him the least bit likable.  I understand he goes on to be the champ and is booted within just a short time but there really is no character development and no real purpose for him to exist other than shock value that he’s your final battle of the game.  I give him credit for being the first true rival but really he’s nothing more than an annoyance that needs to be taught a lesson.

Silver – Gold/Silver/Crystal/Heart Gold/Soul Silver
Now here was another rival you really just wanted to beat the snot out of.  He was ruthless, but an absolute idiot! Let’s also not forget the girlish haircut. They tried to build up the rival a little more by giving him some sort of extra feelings.  While Blue was just being an all-around jerk, Silver was flat being cruel.  Another difference between him and Blue is that he steals his first Pokémon because he thinks it makes him hardcore.  Since the professor just GIVES you a free Pokémon when you turn ten, this proves his lack of mental capacity, but oh well it made for something different I suppose.  He wanted nothing but power and didn’t even care about his Pokémon, or at least he said he didn’t care about them.  This fact about his character always confused me.  If he didn’t care about his Pokémon then WHY DID HE KEEP THE SAME EXACT TEAM THE WHOLE GAME?!   You’d think if he didn’t care about them his team would change each time you see him coming.  He eventually turns to a loving Pokémon trainer but up until that point he falls short in the same area that blue did.  He’s just a jerk because he’s a jerk.  Nothing more to it.  There’s no reason behind his actions or attitude.  Now I understand in Heart Gold and Soul Silver they tried to add a little extra storyline behind him with his father being Giovanni and his father abandoning him and so on but honestly it took them ten years to re-release those games and add that information.   I call this the George Lucas syndrome, but I’m not going to get on THAT topic today.
 
                                       Brandon or May, and Wally – Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald
This was the first game in which we technically had two rivals.   WOW can you believe it two rivals instead of one?! I bet this is going to be really great and…. Yeah I can’t finish that sentence.  These characters are terrible wastes of time and data.  Nintendo, need we remind you that quantity does not mean quality?   Which admittedly is a problem with this franchise period but I’ll get to that later.   First you have Ruby and Sapphire or as they are otherwise called Brendan and May.  Now Nintendo tried to head back to the Gary Oak school of rivals for this game cause Brendan/May was the kid of the Professor Birch who let’s be fair here was probably the worst professor of the bunch.  What other professor looks like a stoner and gets himself chased and attacked by a level 2 Pokémon with no ways of defending himself?  And his children were just as useful.  Yes you fought them a couple times and they gave you a couple cool items just being a nice kid but otherwise they were completely forgettable. 

Wally…… well Wally was odd.  You see him just about as often as you see Brendan and May then he sort of just disappears off the face of the planet.  He tries to battle Flannery (I think) and his Pokémon’s levels are just a joke.  But the next time you see him he’s got a team strong enough to probably beat the Elite Four.  I’m calling hax.  Out of absolutely nowhere he shows up and battles you at the end of Victory Road.  I gotta give him minor props for giving us enough time to forget he exists before surprising us but just like Gary did.  The three of them however are just an unforgettable bunch.

                               Diamond/Lucas and Pearl/Dawn – Pokémon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum
Sadly this generation was even more pathetic.  The both of them were just dumbed down versions of Brendan and May.  I didn’t think characters that were so useless could even BE dumbed down, but they found a way.   This set hung around the Professor and helped you out just a couple of times and that was about it.  Completely forgettable.  It’s as if they weren’t even trying and just slapped rivals in there for the simple sake that there are always rivals in these games.  This is just an absolute failure on a platter.

Now that I’ve gone over all of the previous rivals let’s get right to what is so awesome about Bianca and Cheren….. I haven’t forgotten anybody have I?

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO DON’T EVEN LET ME GET STARTED ON THIS ONE!  Barry is to Pokémon what Uwe Boll is to the video game franchise as a whole.  I gotta talk about something else before I break something.  Yes, this character is THAT awful and annoying.
=======================================================================
=======================================================================
Now back to Bianca and Cheren.  

Both of these characters are more friends than they are a rival (which is something we’ve really needed for a while), these characters have flaws, desires, and quirks like any well thought out character should have.  You do something different in this game than others.  The three of you take your first step onto Route 1 together.  It’s a little cheesy I admit but it was a nice sentimental touch.  They fight you just to evaluate how each of you has been doing, not to hold you back or anything.  As opposed to the previous 2 generations, they are constantly around you.  There are very few routes, cities, and storyline events in which they aren’t involved somehow.  They fight with you, fight for you, help in the background, and even heal your Pokémon for you.  That’s what a true friend/rival is supposed to be.    Let’s look at each one of them separately though.

Cheren I honestly can admit is a little bit of an annoyance at first.  He has the generic dream of being the most powerful Pokémon trainer in the world and wants to fight you to see who is the better trainer while constantly being surprised when his devastatingly under leveled Pokémon fail him.  I truly thought he was going to be another vomit inducing bore fest till the both of you meet up with the Champ.   The champion of the region has a little chat with Cheren about the importance of life and goals and Cheren really takes it to heart.  He calms down, quits being annoying and really just becomes a bro.  Most of the second half of the game he chills out with the champion of the region and goes in with you to fight off Team Plasma and assist in saving the world.  Eventually he decides that his goal is not to be the strongest trainer but to be the next strongest trainer after you and Alder, the champ, just in case the Alder and you fail at stopping Team Plasma’s plans so he can step in and do whatever he can.  

Bianca… Her original name in Japanese was Belle.  Why couldn’t they have just kept that?  Was the Beast getting confused?  OK terrible jokes aside, Bianca is your other rival. She has a lot of issues in life which make her just this amazing character.  Her parents are the type of extremely overprotective overbearing parents that I have a personal distaste for in the first place.  Her father pretty much forbids her to go with you and Cheren but she does so anyway.  He later shows up in Nimbasa City to force her to go back home but thankfully the city’s Gym Leader Elesa shows up and informs him kindly that he’s being needlessly overbearing and to let her go about her journey if she wants to.  I’m not exactly sure why Bianca even fights you other than just for laughs really but she’s a fun character. At one point she actually gets her munna stolen from her which starts this whole quest involving you, Cheren, her and two gym leaders.  At the end of the game she has decided she will support you through whatever even though she’s nowhere near as strong as you.  She then decides to help out the Professor and stay there allowing you to challenge her on Saturdays so she can learn more about Pokémon.

                                                                The Pokémon

While the character selection and the rivals of the game are excellent points that need development, what you really need is an ample selection of desirable, powerful Pokémon to battle with.  We’re in luck because there are TONS of Pokémon in this game bringing us to a grand total of 649.  But, I do have to say… WHAT THE HECK Nintendo?   Most Pokémon fans, like me, watched as the Pokémon were revealed slowly in Japan, and most of us were generally outraged at how most of this generation’s Pokémon don’t really look like Pokémon.  They look like someone decided to give their five year old a crayon set and then just created whatever the child drew, like they didn’t really care about quality.  Let’s take a look at a few of them shall we?


 It’s nice to see that Jack McFarland could make a special guest appearance for us.  Somebody’s FAABULOUS!
[Why are Bert and Ernie in Pokémon and why are they dressed like Dojo masters?  This isn’t Pokémon this is a gimmick character from Street fighter.
Clown Construction Workers.  Just wrap your head around that one for a minute…. CLOWN CONSTRUCTION WORKERS.  WHAT??
                                                                OH MYYYY!
OK seriously this looks like a sphincter with legs.  The second I see a picture of this Pokémon and a tentacruel I’m retiring from the internet as a whole.
                                                  Just what exactly IS this thing???

                                                I'm frightened but I can’t look away…

                                                        GAH!!  GET IT AWAY!!!

Give me a break people.  I know we needed some fresh new ideas for this entirely new region, but some of this is just ridiculous! I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if someone on the design team was just walking around their house and decided to make up Pokémon on what they saw.

“Honey the trash needs to be taken out!”  “Ok I’ll get it in a minut……HEEEEYY there’s a great idea!!


“I’m hungry… what’s in the freezer?  Pizza Rolls, Frozen Fish, Ice Cream Co… ICE CREAM CONES????”


“MAN! I ran out of Pringles.  OOOO I know!!”

UGH that clock in the living room needs some new gears it keeps getting stuck.  New Gears eh?”

What is even going on anymore?  I know the creative team that originally started the Mother series was whacked out of their minds but I think something they smoked left some residual effects.  At least in previous versions they didn’t just find stuff lying around the house and make a Pokémon out of it. 
                                                   OH WAIT YES THEY DID

Now having given all that criticism, not every Pokémon I listed above are bad.  Several of them are quite good to have on your team.  There are some really inventive ideas and excellent looking Pokémon such as Druddigon and Hydregion in this region so it’s not all a complete failure.  And yes I do realize that when you get into 649 individual Pokémon you’re eventually going to have to come up with something subpar.  It’s going to happen but… why did you dump most of them in the same region????

At least we got some good evolutions from this generation!!

I mean take a look at those.  Most of them seem very logical and well thought out. They flow well.  I’m glad they finally gave luvdisc tauros and unown an evolution. They really needed it and… what was that? What?  Speak up I can’t hear you. 

  No 5th Gen Pokémon evolve from or to previous generations.

WHAT?!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  Another useless Pikachu rip-off?  You’re making unown continue to be a useless gimmick?  Tauros doesn’t deserve an evolution? And there’s NO WAY you can honestly sit here and tell me that Alomomola is not an evolution of Luvdisc.  I’m calling a severe foul here!

I also have to question the artistic integrity of some of this.  Some of these Pokémon are beautifully made and others…Well look at this
               This isn’t professional pixel art it’s doodling.  I could do better than that in Third Grade

                                          OK NOW YOU AREN’T EVEN TRYING!!!

For every good and well thought out Pokémon this generation there is at least two piles of snot to bring up the rear, and I think Nintendo realized this after they got the ball rolling.  So, they came up with a plan which I do have to admit is rather genius on their part.  They took out ALL previous Pokémon from the game till after you beat the Elite 4 for the first time.  This forces you to acclimate yourself to the new ones, and lower your expectation to accepting them for what they are and possibly getting rid of any pre-conceived prejudices about them based on their design.   The only way you can get some of your old favorites is to either have a friend, who has beaten the main storyline already, trade you a Pokémon/egg or to use what you have and beat the game yourself.  I wanted my heracross!  So I begrudgingly played through the game with the 5th gen only Pokémon so that I could eventually get my wonderful bug.  But it was somewhere around the second gym that I started realizing the potential several of these have and started really getting into them.  Darmanitan in particular became a major threat on my team.  So as the old moral goes, don’t judge a book by its cover.

                                                                GYM LEADERS

This wouldn’t be a Pokémon game without Gyms and Gym Leaders.  Now in my original review I spoke about each one of them individually, but I’m just going to give the highlights this time around.  Cut out any of the unnecessary and unfunny stuff.


This Generation, the gyms were still quite diverse as before, but the gym leader’s personalities are diverse as well.  Meaning that, you know, they actually HAVE personalities this time.  And you get to interact with most of them not only in their gym but outside of their gym and in the final showdown.   Now that’s taking care of business and getting to know these characters in a way we haven’t really seen since Giovanni or to a slightly lesser extent, Crasher Wake. 

The first thing I would like to point out is how amazing the first gym is.  First gyms have always been just OK.  This time around there are three separate gym leaders who see what your starter is, and force you to fight the one that has an elemental advantage against yours.  That’s breathtakingly fresh and the kind of challenge we haven’t seen since Yellow version honestly.

The rest of the gyms are your standard single type gym, with a slight alteration that all but the last two gyms have alternate identities as well.  First one is a restaurant, second is a museum, third is an art studio, fourth is a rollercoaster, fifth is a working mine, and sixth is an airport.  I absolutely love how they’ve integrated the real lives of these characters and the gyms they have.  It makes more sense for something like that to occur. 

As a complete side note, you may have noticed Lenora in the lineup of gym leaders.  I am happy to say that Pokémon Black and White are the first game in the series that has African American people in it, and Lenora is the first black gym leader.  The fact that racial diversity is starting to show in this series is really cool, and even though the number of black characters is small, they get props for trying.  However any praise I might have given the team for doing this is immediately tossed out the window due to how poorly they executed this as a whole.  Don’t believe me let’s take a look.  There are three black “main” characters.  Lenora the middle aged female gym leader, Iris a female child gym leader, and Marshal a middle aged male in the Elite Four (who is flipping awesome.)  Three out of Twelve isn’t bad at all.  Since there are black leaders there are sure to be regular people of African American descent right?   Brace yourself for this one.  There are, but all of them are male break-dancers who have monkey Pokémon.  Really?  Someone at Nintendo thought that was a GOOD idea?  Also why does Lenora look like an Aunt Jemima bottle given sentience?  Might as well have given them all chicken Pokémon with the way this is going.  Also aside from Iris who is a child, Lenora is the ONLY black female.  Where are all these male dancers coming from?  Does Mama Lenora get around a lot?   It’s at this point I remember my previous statement about how White appeared to be the superior game as far as selection and surrounding.  Coincidence?

Ah I kid this game a bit.  The stuff I said above isn’t really distracting unless you sit down and overanalyze something.  Which is something I would NEVER do right?  The other cool part about the gym leaders doesn’t come till right at the very end of the main storyline.  When you go to stop N, the six sages of Team Plasma appear to attack you all at once which would surely crush you.  But thanks to Bianca’s quick thinking on how to help you, she went around to the Gyms and asked the leaders to help.  One by one they file into the room and take on the Sages for you allowing you to head on up to fight N.  The only ones that don’t show up are the three from the first gym, which Bianca later explains that she just didn’t get to them in time.

 Now THAT’S what gym leaders are supposed to be doing in my book.  When team rocket attacked the world twice, what did the gym leaders of Kanto and Johto do?  Absolute Jack!  When Team Magma and Aqua stirred the world up, what did the gym leaders do?  Aside from Wallace and Steven… sat around in their cozy gyms!  When Cyrus called upon Giratina, only Cynthia was there to back you up and help you. Not these gym leaders.  These guys aren’t just faces to hand you badges.  For once they are important members of the world and they are here to make sure their mark is seen!  This is something I hope continues as the Pokémon games progress because it adds depth, and it makes it seem like the world really matters to the characters, not just you and the evil organization.

                                                                  ELITE FOUR

Now if we have gym leaders, we, of course, will have Pokémon League Members.  Again those of you who may have read this before will find this shortened.
As I’m sure you’ve gathered by now.  The Gym Leaders were a fresh idea and well executed.  They did perfectly amazing with them and I was glad for this change.  The Elite Four however, will not be receiving much love or glory.   I do have to give mad props to the designers of the 4 individuals’ rooms.  Each room is uniquely fitted to the style or personality of the Elite Four member and has very unique and amazing ways of reaching them.  The atmosphere of those four rooms made me excited to meet the Elite Four.   However once I met them, with the exception of one, I wished I’d never spoken to them, because they’re jerks.

Shauntal the ghost trainer isn’t even paying attention to you or the battle she’s reading a book.  Grimsly, the dark trainer, doesn’t care who wins or loses nor about anything in life really.  He’s too busy trying to project the image that he’s a vampire I’m half expecting him to sparkle at any minute.  Caitlin, the psychic trainer, is ASLEEP when you go into her room.  That’s right.. asleep!  Marshal, the Fighting trainer however is the only likable one of the bunch.  He’s tough but just a little generic.  It’s like if Bruno were suddenly a black man.  At least he doesn’t have a monkey though.

The thing that made me dislike them on top of their terrible attitude is that the villain INFILTRATES THEIR LOCATION and they do nothing about it.  They leave it to you, Cheren, the Gym Leaders, and Alder.  It’s like they were too high and mighty to move it.  Caitlin probably just fell back asleep. 

Now granted you do have to face them again after the first portion of the storyline to truly be the champion and beat Alder.  During this round, Shauntal, Caitlin, and Marshal become a little more likeable after that.  Shauntal wants to write a book about you next time, Caitlin says she loves battling you, and Marshal respects you.  So at least they redeemed themselves in the end.  Grimsly still sucks though… too much emo.

                                                                 CHAMPION
Every Elite 4 has to have a champion and this one’s champion is Alder.  Alder appears to be Native American which I honestly find epic since this whole region is based on America that an “Indian” would be the most powerful trainer.  Alder actually has a storyline to him as opposed to others.  I mean sure Blue’s storyline was the game’s storyline and that was decent, Lance was just out of nostalgia, Steven was around a little but not enough to make a big deal out of things, Wallace…..umm no,  and Cynthia though a fan favorite, also wasn’t around much.  A key factor to all of those previous champions is that you were left in the dark about their status.  It’s as if their champion status was some secret that you were supposed to be blown away by, and in Blue’s case it worked.  Not Alder, he comes right out and says it the first time you meet with him.  He works with you at trying to stop Team Plasma and helps Cheren realize he’s going about things wrong. 

The most interesting thing about Alder is his backstory.  He was chosen as the champion rather than earning the right.  He also had a beloved Pokémon who actually died.  WOW!  I mean I know we had the whole Lavender town thing but never have we had a main character come out and flat have a Pokémon die on them.  Don’t even start with that Blue’s Raticate argument either!  As Alder is grieving over the loss of his friend, he left the Pokémon league to search the world for meaning again and is still searching when he finds you and Cheren.   Despite his rocky backstory, he doesn’t waste time being a pansy.  This guy jumps off the edges of cliffs without so much as a scratch!  Chuck Norris eat your heart out!   The only thing offsetting about him is how he carries his pokeballs around his neck because he doesn’t understand the Pokémon box system.  Now there’s a chance that could just be a throwback to Native American’s and how they hold tradition sacred, but I’m just gonna call it what it is.  If you’re going to be mildly racist to the African Americans in the game, you might as well do it to any other racial minority.   In the end Alder returns to the Pokémon League to face N and is defeated by him.  He’s really a character that you learn to love with an interesting and dark story.  By far the best champion to date with Cynthia coming in a quick second.

                                                                 TEAM PLASMA

All games need Antagonists; bad guys to be around and generally mess up the world, and this game delivers.  But is this team all that it’s cracked up to be?  Can it live up to the teams of the past?  To answer that question let’s take a look at the teams of the past!
=======================================================================
=======================================================================

Team Rocket - This group was founded by Giovanni, the Eighth Gym Leader of Kanto.  What was their purpose?  Well nothing’s really clear but their goal is, obviously, to take over the world!
What did they do to continue their plan? At separate times they were making a lot money (Not even counterfeiting… just doing stuff to make money), held a man hostage, killed one Pokémon, and took over the Silph Company trying to get the top secret Master Ball.   As I grow older I realize that they failed because they were idiots with bad planning skills.  When they kidnapped Mr. Fuji is when they killed the Marowak.  However did they even NEED Mr. Fuji?  The answer is NO not at all.  Whoever’s harebrained idea that was failed miserably and was a waste of time.  Team Rocket was making tons of money, so why couldn’t Giovanni just BUY the Master Ball?  I’m sure he had plenty.  Taking over the world requires brains, people!   But I do have to respect them for being the first evil organization in the game and giving kids something to remember even if their whole agenda was stupid, weak, and highly corporate.

Team Rocket Post-Giovanni – This was the attempt to revive Team Rocket and get their leader to come back.  It was laughably weak and overall ridiculous.   All they did was chop off some slowpoke tails, tick off some Gyrardos with radio waves, and then hijack a radio tower just looking for their leader.   If Team Rocket still had so many members why not just SWEEP THE REGION ON A MANHUNT???  It’s not that difficult he’s in Tojo Falls; just go get him.  I give it a 9 for Nostalgia and a 2 for pertinence in the region.

Teams Magma and Aqua were our Third Generation baddies.  They were a jumbled cluster of a disaster to be perfectly honest.  One interesting aspect of Ruby and Sapphire is that whichever team was bad in that version you were helping the opposing team.  That changed with Emerald when they were both bad so who knows if these guys are really good or really bad in the long run.   Team Magma’s idea is to awake Groudon and cause the world to dry up and the land masses to increase.  Team Aqua’s idea is to awake Kyogre and cause the whole world to flood increasing the water even more.  Which at first sounds cool but if you really think of the logistics of these plans, these people are dumber than Team Rocket could ever think of being.  If Team Magma got their way, sure there is plenty of opportunity for the land to expand since most of the world is water, however doing such would also cause the harshest deserts to expand as well due to the extreme draught making larger placed where it’s almost inhabitable.  So they haven’t really expanded available living space they’re just sticking it to the fish.  Also no one is controlling Groudon at all.  So once they got to their desired land/water ratio what is to stop him from just continuing the drought and drying up the ENTIRE planet causing everything to die from lack of water?  Or even worse, let’s go with Team Aqua’s plan and flood the whole earth causing all the land animals to drown and contaminate the water to where it’s saltier than the ocean currently.  This also means no trees so nothing is converting the Carbon Dioxide into oxygen.  So eventually everyone who even made it on to a boat would die or the world would have so incredibly few people on it that it wouldn’t even be worth living in.  So yeah… they suck
And last but not least we have Team Galactic which was headed by Cyrus, the self-proclaimed Space Messiah.  Diamond/Pearl/Platinum basically had an entire religious aspect to the villains and the origin of Pokémon themselves.  Between Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina representing the beings of Time, Space, and Antimatter respectively, and them having altars to them on top of Mt. Coronet, it really brought an added scale to the villains that we hadn’t seen before.  It was especially amazing in Platinum when you went into Giratina’s Realm.  Cyrus’ plan to use Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina’s powers to destroy the entire world and rebuild it with him as the ruler was fresh and exciting.  It was absolutely insane but it was fun!  They were the best team in my opinion….emphasis on were.
=======================================================================
=======================================================================

Team Plasma DOES beat Team Galactic.   Now if you were following the news from Japan on this game, you like most everyone else was confused and uncertain about Team Plasma as a whole based on what their organization stood for… Pokémon Liberation!  Their policy is that Pokémon should not be trapped inside pokeballs and forced to serve masters.  They should be free and separate from human interference. Now this sounds exactly like something that would come out of PETA’s backside.
And just as PETA is full of massive hypocrites (don’t get me started on them) Team Plasma is full of hypocrites.  If they are after Pokémon Liberation, then why do they use Pokémon?  The old argument of “I have to use what I can to save the rest” is absolute bologna and everyone knows it.  So cut the crap, Team Plasma!!   Despite my annoyance at that, I still stand by the fact that they are the best team at least from a leadership point because there is a good reason their leader believes this.

Team Plasma is run by N, a young man about the same age as the Hilbert and Hilda or a couple years older, and Ghetsis his “father” figure.   It is N’s desire that all Pokémon be freed from their trainers and able to live their lives free and happy.  Away from the oppression and abuse that Pokémon trainers give the Pokémon.  He has been proclaimed the King of Team Plasma and he travels around the world with his team.   Ghetsis is the leading sage of the Seven Team Plasma Sages.  Wait… Seven Sages, that sounds familiar…. Where have I heard of seven sages before……..

                OH YES only one of the MOST SUCCESSFUL VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME!!!!

Ghetsis is actually a cunning and devious piece of work.  He had studied Team Rocket, Team Magma, Team Aqua, and Team Galactic before starting Team and swearing to not make their same mistakes.  He started up the team in complete secrecy and only once they were fully formed and ready did they ever act.  Quite possibly the crowning jewel on his cruelty is what he authorized to have happen to N which caused N to believe the way he does about Pokémon in general  

N was a small child with a wonderful gift.  He could talk to Pokémon and fully understand them as if they were speaking English.  Ghetsis found out about this boy and kidnapped him while he was still very young.  Ghetsis isolated N deep inside the Team Plasma Castle giving him no human interaction whatsoever other than Ghetsis himself.  In the place of human interaction, Ghetsis “rescued” Pokémon from abusive trainers and gave them to N.  N spent his whole life around Pokémon who feared humans or were resentful against them for the terrible mistreatment that they had encountered.  N had no idea that there were trainers who loved their Pokémon.  He only knew of the cruel acts which his Pokémon friends had told him.  Thus he grew up with that mindset.

Which brings up the next point…HOW CAN N SPEAK WITH POKEMON?  How is that possible?  Are we going to get some explanation as to how this great ability is given?  No?  You have no comment on that, do you, game?  Of course not; why should I expect a game to explain something slightly magical?  Speaking of which, how on earth can the chick from Pokémon Coliseum see the shadow Pokémon for what they actually are?
                        Got nothing to say on that either?  Of course not!  Why am I surprised?

One of the best/most disturbing things about the whole game, apart from N’s back story, is the fact that N still believes he is right.  He is fighting for his beliefs just as much as you are, and he actually LIKES YOU.  It’s always a little bit creepier that the main bad guy flat out tells you he likes you and that he wants you to be the one to fight him because he simply wants to see if his thoughts and dreams are stronger than yours.  The nonchalant nature of it all is a little unnerving at times.  He even flat tells you he is the leader of Team Plasma at the mid-way point of the game.  Not a single care is given in this fact.  He just wanted you to know.  In the end he gets control of Reshiram/Zekrom and defeats Alder where he waits for you to challenge him.   After your battle with N, Ghetsis reveals that the only reason this whole plan was started to begin with was so that the general populous would get rid of their Pokémon so that he and his team would be the only ones with Pokémon and therefore could overtake the world with ease.  Overall this team has a devious background, a creepy friendly main front, and a secret agenda that you don’t even know about till the very end.  They really knew what they were doing with this storyline.


Which brings me to the last section of this review, and I’m sure you’re thinking “it’s about time!”

                                                             STORYLINE

This game ACTUALLY has a storyline.  Sure there have been hints of a story before.  Stopping bad guys from taking over the world and so on but this one has a REAL true story.  Most people have a backstory and anyone important in any way makes repeat appearances.

The only thing I can fault on the storyline is that at times the history or a character or event is bigger or more exciting than the actual character or event you will witness during gameplay is.  The finale of the main storyline is slightly cliché as well.  The finale culminates with the history of Reshiram and Zekrom.  At one point the two dragons were one single dragon who could be summoned by two heroes of the world.  Slowly but surely the two heroes began to disagree.  One began to give more importance to ideas and ponderings, while the other kept importance on feelings and emotions.  This split the dragon into two different creatures, one following the other.  Now you can obviously tell where this is going.  N represents the hero who favors ideas while your character represents the hero who is true to his heart.  And, of course in the end heart wins like it always does.  While I don’t necessarily mind those clichés, and actually still love the ending anyway I guess I was just expecting something different.

                                                               CLOSING

So in the end, I do have to say despite the absolute garbage and weirdness at times, this game REALLY is the best of the bunch.  There are a lot of amazing features introduced in this generation that I didn’t even have time to cover such as GTS Negotiations, Rotation Battles, Triple Battles, and the PokeTransfer Machine.  TM’s are now reusable, and the seasons change with the month.   A lot of thought and effort was put into this and it shows.  This is, by far, the best Pokémon game to date.  Pokémon Black and White 2 are supposed to be coming out soon in the US (or has it already been released??? I don’t know) and I hope they continue the trend of excellence with those games. 

Thank you for reading all of this and I hope if you don’t already have the game… go out and get it.

This is Ghost, fading into the shadows.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
If you want to see my other Video Game discussions and reviews, click here!