class=”alignleft size-full wp-image-77596″ title=”pokemon black and white” src=”” alt=”” width=”239″ height=”193″ />With the Nintendo 3DS just around the corner, Game Freak have released Pokémon Black and White as one of Nintendo DS’ last big games.

Since their release last Friday, the latest installments have become one of the console’s biggest releases and one of the most well received titles in the franchise. After playing a few days with the game and exploring its features, I am happy to report that Nintendo have delivered a game that fans will enjoy and newcomers might find interesting.

The premise has not changed much from previous games, but the team have done some small, yet intriguing tweaks.
Firstly, you play an older Pokémon trainer who takes on his/her journey to catch ‘em all, collect eight gym badges and beat the champion of your region, Unova. But you will encounter your friends and rivals, Cheren and Bianca, who help to give you some characteristics for your silent protagonist. You each also get to choose a Snivy, Oshawatt or a Tepig and your rivals will get to pick the starter Pokémon that you did not choose.

Along your journey, you will encounter the evil Team Plasma, who want to “free” Pokémon from their trainers and let the pocket monsters run free through the world. While the evil teams in these games always want to steal Pokémon, the change of agenda that they gave Team Plasma is also another tweak that the developers have decided to do in order to give the familiar series some new features.

But it’s not just the story that has been given some fancy new changes. The graphics and presentation has also been given some much needed enhancing as well.
This time around is that the Pokémon now move, as well as the camera moving in and out to create a more exciting and engaging turn-based battle system. This much needed update is a very welcome addition among the graphical update that Black and White have gone through, albeit not as much of a change as some people might have been expecting, with the characters and the new Pokémon remain in their 2D sprites.

The new 150+ Pokémon are a very mixed bag compared to the designs of the numerous creatures that have been developed for the last few years. While Pokémon like Victini (which you can download to free now for a limited time), the three new starters, Blitzie and Lillipup are new and visually interesting to look at, some of the other designs such as Pidove, Timburr, Scraggy and Alomomola have been criticised for either looking like rehashes of old Pokémon or just weird choices. But then again, different Pokémon have always been liked more than others.

Online play hasn’t been Nintendo’s strongest service, with the grand exception of Mario Kart. However, the online system has been improved for Black and White, making trading, battling and connecting much more simple and smoother. It’s so good that you will eventually be able to find the Pokémon that you want from the other version and even perhaps the starter Pokémon that you didn’t choose.

With the last instalments on the DS smashing records and gaining positive criticism, it is safe to say that these are definitely one of the best games from the series. Granted, it is no Pokémon Gold and Silver, but they are definitely worth the money if you’re a long time fan or new to the games.

Gotta Catch ‘Em All! Again!