With another ten rounds done and dusted, the thirtieth round of Articles of Excellence has seen a two-in-a-row win for Dark Arcanine with his review of Pokémon Black Version. Despite some pre-purchase concerns and niggles he describes it as an overall great game, including a more mature and developed plot and impressive graphics despite original expectations of a 3DS release.

 Pokémon Black Version     Score: 4.5/5
 Genre: RPG

 With a story boasting a new sense of depth and maturity, the gameplay experiencing the usual slight improvements, a bucket load of content round every corner, and gorgeous environments supported by an impressive graphics update providing a whole new perception of what constitutes 3D gaming, Pokemon Black has managed to impress.

quote Dark Arcanine
Pokemon Black, alongside Pokemon White, sees the fifth generation of main titles into fruition and into a new decade. Unlike with the fourth generation, where I scoured the dark recesses of the internet for every scrap of information I could find, I took a comparatively relaxed view on Pokemon Black and purchased it with very little knowledge of what to expect. Despite my original anticipation that it would be released on the 3DS, I eagerly plugged the cartridge in wondering not just how far they’d pushed the Nintendo DS, but also the Pokemon franchise itself.

One thing that will never change is the basic premise of Pokemon. You still get to pick your starter Pokemon, while being asked to complete a Pokedex by filling it with information about all the Pokemon you meet while on your adventure; you still travel around the world, collecting Gym badges and becoming the number one trainer; and you still have an evil organisation, who you have to prevent carrying out acts of evil. What’s different about this generation is the new sense of maturity and the quality of the content which encompass the aforementioned premise.

The plot, for example, is the most detailed and engaging to-date. Following the hard decision of your name and gender (I know, I always forget mine too), you venture out from Nuvema Town into the new region known as Unova, with your two (yes, two) childhood friends Cheren and Bianca at your side. These two, unlike previous friends and rivals, are given the royal treatment; their characters appear much more often and, as a result, are far better developed. While Cheren is the whizz kid with an unhealthy focus on becoming the strongest trainer, Bianca is a laidback and quiet girl who just wants to have fun and make friends, with the two characters seemingly representing two halves of your typically non-speaking neutral character.
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