With the new Pokémon: Detective Pikachu trailer being released and the recent announcement of the new games, Pokémon Sword, and Pokémon Shield, Pokémon has lately been the most talked topic among many people.
Although the company has produced popular merchandise, 22 movies and the highly-played and addictive app, Pokémon Go, its most successful sector remains to be the Nintendo games that have produced a total of US$11 million so far.
These Nintendo Pokémon games cover seven generations of Pokémon and all of them have been outstanding in their own way.
However, out of all of these games, it seems that the Generation 5 Pokémon games, Pokémon Black, and Pokémon White, have always been overshadowed by their predecessors (such as the third generation’s Pokémon Ruby, Pokémon Sapphire and Pokémon Emerald) and their successors (such as the seventh generation’s Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon).
Pokémon Black and Pokémon White are based in the New York-inspired region of Unova that has 156 Pokémon, 30 diverse in-game locations and, depending on which version you buy, a version-exclusive place of the flashing kaleidoscopic metropolis, Black City (in Pokémon Black), or the peaceful arboreal White Forest (in Pokémon White).
What makes Pokémon Black and Pokémon White underrated?
First, these games introduced new subtle and fun aspects that fans unfortunately did not pay that much attention to such as the Dream World where players have the chance to capture Pokémon from previous generations, seasonal-changing locations (like Iccirus City and Driftveil City) and fluidly animated Pokémon sprites that move before battle.
Second, Pokémon Black and Pokémon White actually has an intriguing plot with a loathsome, yet captivating and tragic antagonist named N who leads a challenging villain team called Team Plasma. Whereas past Nintendo Pokémon games have had delusional and boring antagonists and easily beatable villain teams who sought high profit, unrealistic world domination through absurd methods and unnecessary recreation of the universe, N and Team Plasma have a relatively simple, yet controversial and philosophical motive to give freedom to Pokémon by separating them from their trainers. At some points in the main game story, both N and Team Plasma are so morally convincing and compelling that you sometimes find yourself siding with them even though you are supposed to be against them.
Third, even the non-playable characters in these games are engrossing as you have your intelligent friend rival, Cheren, who is not a pretentious and mean fool (like the rival in the first generation games) as he actually helps you defeat your enemies, your strong-willed friend, Bianca, who pursues her life-long dream of embarking on a Pokémon journey and the charismatic and wise wandering champion, Alder.
Last, these two fifth-generation Pokémon games have the best soundtrack if not one of the best Pokémon game soundtracks. From the fast-paced and energetic “Swords of Justice Boss Battle” track to the heroic and uplifting “To Each Future” track to the tear-jerking “Emotion” track, the music in Pokémon Black and Pokémon White makes you feel a variety of emotions (no pun intended) as it reminds you of the different stages of your virtual journey.
Admittedly, the game does have its faults such as some ridiculous Pokémon designs (Garbodor,Vanilluxe and Klingklang), being swarmed by endless Woobats (replacement for Zubats) every time you enter a cave, no fishing rod until you have beaten the main game, a difficult experience point system that slowed down the levelling-up process of Pokémon, pointless rotation battles and the absence of a Battle Frontier and Safari Zone.
Yet, it appears that the two games’ good points strongly overcome its faults enough to make players still have a fun time playing it.
Indeed, Pokémon Black and Pokémon White, were not the best Pokémon games, but it certainly has special qualities that fans tend to overlook.