Turn-based role-playing games have been around for a long time. Some of the most well-known being Final Fantasy from Square Enix, and Advance Wars and Pokémon from Nintendo. These games are single player and usually have no way to connect with one another. This is true for two of the franchises mentioned, but not Pokémon.
Pokémon has been one of the most successful turn-based role-playing games since the 1990s. A player gets a team of adorable little monsters who evolve into cooler monsters, who then help the player fight to become the best trainer in the world.
Pokémon gained global attention over the years with its widely-distributed turn-based games and its very successful spin-off games. It also draws attention from its own television show. Basically, Pokémon is a power house.
The Pokémon games have inspired various groups to create versions of monster-catching games, like Facebook games featuring tiny monsters that players capture and battle. It has even gotten some unwanted attention from groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), yet this has hardly deterred fans from picking up the latest copy of any Pokémon game.
For those who don’t know: As a beginning Pokémon Trainer, each player chooses one of the three “starter” Pokémon for their region. Since the beginning, the choice has been between a Grass-type Pokémon, a Fire-type Pokémon, and a Water-type Pokémon. Once the choice is made, the player embarks on their own journey to capture all the Pokémon and become a Pokémon master. These are about the only consistencies across all of the main Pokémon games.
Over the years, it became a standard for each region to have two different versions of the game available, each with its own unique set of Pokémon — meant to encourage people to trade with other players to “Catch ‘Em All.” At first, it was the original 150 Pokémon (151 if one includes Mew), and has since grown to offer more than 600 different Pokémon, or “pocket monsters,” to capture.
As games No. 18 and 19 hit the shelves, the Pokémon franchise is still going strong with “Pokémon Black 2” and “Pokémon White 2.” These two games are trying, just like their predecessors, to bring something new to the table.
The first example of this is the inclusion of four games in the Unova region instead of Nintendo’s standard three games. One of the biggest pulls for diehard Pokémon fans will be the addition of the World Tournament. In the battling facility, players can battle all of the Gym Leaders that have been featured in any Pokémon game and all of the Pokémon League Champions from any Pokémon game.
“Pokémon Black 2” and “Pokémon White 2” also have more of a story than the past games. Since “Pokémon Black” and “Pokémon White” had a more involved storyline than any of their predecessors, Nintendo decided to continue that story by creating “Pokémon Black 2” and “Pokémon White 2” as a story that occurs two years after the events in “Pokémon Black” and“Pokémon White” games. These new games use old characters and often reference things that occurred in Unova during the two-year gap between the games. The story is still kind of lackluster, but it is much better than previously.
The more story-driven aspect of these new Pokémon games also helps to make them more interactive. The feeling that a player is a part of a story instead of just the same journey for nearly 20 games really sets up “Pokémon Black 2” and “Pokémon White 2” to have a better replay value than any other Pokémon game to date. The main focus of the story is still the journey to the Pokémon League to become the next Pokémon master, but now the story has a cast of villains who are more believable than the past Team Plasma.
The games still retain some of their cuter aspects, like the inclusion of PokéStar Studios to create movies with your Pokémon and some of the actual Pokémon are still downright adorable, but this usually deters some gamers who believe the games to be childish. The cute parts of the games are what initially draw in younger players and the more strategic parts of the games, like battling and building a team, have kept older gamers entertained for years.
There are not many changes to the battle system of the newest installments, aside from all of the aesthetic changes to make the battle system run smoother. The actual battle moves have changed appearance and the Pokémon continually move throughout the battle, but, overall, Nintendo has adopted a don’t-fix-what-isn’t-broken attitude when it comes to this aspect.
The Pokémon franchise is still going strong. No matter if people say the games look too childish to play as a serious game; Nintendo has done a fantastic job at drawing in new players as well as keeping many die-hard fans interested.
Christian Moberg is a junior studying Japanese and computer science. Email him at [email protected]