Pokemania has, whether you like it or not, swept the nation once again with the recent release of Pokémon Black and White. Like millions of other children my monster enslaving career started while I was in elementary school with the first two games in the series Pokémon Red and Blue. I played the two sequels after the originals, Silver and Gold, before slowly losing interest in the series. The Pokémon series for the most part have all been incredibly similar games, with almost no drastic changes to the catch Pokémon, train Pokémon, beat gym leaders formula that was introduced in the originals. I never felt like I was really missing out on later games in the series, as they are all very similar with the exception of some new monsters to catch. However, my interest was piqued as I began reading up on some of the new additions to this new generation of Pokémon, and after a lengthy internal debate, and by lengthy I mean ten seconds, I decided I would pick it up.

Pokémon Black and White truly feels like the original Red and Blue, which I think was done intentionally. If any Pokémon game was going to catch newcomers or lure old fans back into the series it will be this one. Featuring a brand new game region cut off from the rest of the Pokémon world, a sense of excitement and curiosity fills the game. In previous game sequels, the older Pokémon would mesh with the newer ones, so as you played through the game you would encounter some familiar favorites as well as new Pokémon. In Black and White, just like the originals, every Pokémon is new. Caves are not filled with Zubats and Geodudes. Forests are not filled with Metapods and Kakunas. Rather they are all new Pokémon, which really captures the magic of playing a Pokémon game for the first time.

Another feature of Pokémon Black and White that I enjoy is the interesting story. While Pokémon games have never been held in high regard because of their stories, Black and White rises above all over Pokémon titles. The story works so well because the central theme is something that I am sure the majority of Pokémon players have contemplated while playing through the series: Are Pokémon happy being enslaved in this tiny ball? This question fuels the radical enemy group of the game known as Team Plasma, whose mission is to free Pokémon from trainers and create a new world where Pokémon and people live separately. Ironically enough they also use Pokémon in battle to further this goal. It really is an interesting question, one that I would not have expected a game marketed mainly towards kids to address.

Pokémon Black and White are games I would recommend to anybody who has ever played a Pokémon game or ever wanted to. I can’t imagine a better jump in point, as this game truly is a high point for the series. Featuring improved graphics, over 160 new Pokémon, a brand new region, and an interesting story, this generation of Pokémon may be the best yet.

Want to check out some of the new Pokémon? Check out the full list of pocket monsters here.

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