Author Topic: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White  (Read 5880 times)

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Offline pokepal148

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2019, 09:42:00 PM »
clay wiped me hard the first time. I decided to stick with a bad matchup instead of switching on Excadrill and it wound up just sweeping me after setting up hone claws one or two times.

Also is Bianca just ripping illegal HM copies now?
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Offline ClexYoshi

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #26 on: March 11, 2019, 04:01:21 AM »
I took a really bad spill on friday and haven't had much motivation to play pokemon over the weekend, but I'm heading to celestial tower. although Chandalure is a favorite pokemon of mine, I don't want to double up on fire types, so I'm interested to see if we have something fun lurking within like Duskull or Misdreavus or the like. it's been fun to see what they've mixed into the unova dex to spruce it up from BW. I'm also starting to FINALLy see some evolutions in my party, which is nice considering one of my main critiques of BW.


for some reason, weather it was a balancing choice made based on the way the EXP calculation scales or what, someone at gamefreak decided almost every Unovan Pokemon is an INCREDIBLY late bloomer.

Sure, some of your weaker varieties like the likes of lilipup, Pidove, and the starters are still relatively early, but even the early bug types are late bloomers. Sewaddle is your early game quickly evolving bug type that has low potential for a final evolution is 20 for Swadloon and Friendship for Leavanny. Venipede similarly is 22 for Whirlipede and 30 for Scoilopede.

these are the sort of numbers that most normal pokemon from earlier generations would hit their Evo at.

that's not even getting into the likes of Deino, who's stuck in it's base form all the way to 50 to get to Zweilous and 64 for Heidreigon. I'm of course using Larvesta, which doesn't get to become Volcarona all the way until LEVEL 70!!!

there's other ones like it too, such as Mienfoo at level 50 to Mienshao, 54 for Rufflet/Vullaby into Braviary/Mandibuzz, 52 for Pawniward into Bisharp, etc.!

if I have any big tip for you folks playing, it's that the trade evo and stone evo stuff in Gen 5 is very good because it's available so relatively early in comparison to everything else. in BW, I remember half of my team being the likes of Whimsicott, Conkeldurr, and Accelgor for that reason.

Offline lolmonade

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #27 on: March 11, 2019, 09:38:03 AM »
a lot of first party DS games in general have held on to their value for the most part. $25 is actually pretty good.

Heart Gold and Soul Silver are incredibly pricey.


Looks like you're right on $25 being the decent fetching price for Black/White.  I'll probably dip in this week. 

There was another DS set of Pokemon games that had a sticker price of $50-60 on the shelf too.  Forget if it was Sapphire or something else?  Just the sticker shock still taking me aback.  Man, they should really offer these older ones digitally if just to make them available for something other than bloated prices.
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Offline pokepal148

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2019, 12:21:34 AM »
$50-60 would probably be HeartGold and Soulsilver. Gotta dig into that gen 1 nostalgia somehow.
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Offline ClexYoshi

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2019, 12:28:39 AM »
a lot of first party DS games in general have held on to their value for the most part. $25 is actually pretty good.

Heart Gold and Soul Silver are incredibly pricey.


Looks like you're right on $25 being the decent fetching price for Black/White.  I'll probably dip in this week. 

There was another DS set of Pokemon games that had a sticker price of $50-60 on the shelf too.  Forget if it was Sapphire or something else?  Just the sticker shock still taking me aback.  Man, they should really offer these older ones digitally if just to make them available for something other than bloated prices.

the DS's lifespan encapsulated (at least as far as core games go, becuase I'm not going to list off every pokemon dash, mystery dungeon, conquest, torzei, typing tutor, and ranger game here.)...

Pokemon Diamond
Pokemon Pearl
Pokemon Heart Gold
Pokemon Soul Silver
Pokemon Platinum
Pokemon Black
Pokemon White
Pokemon Black 2
Pokemon White 2


I imagine between Nintendo never really discounting pokemon games, the reason these games retain their value so much is because of how interconnected their eco systems are. I remember at the realization that Diamond/Pearl/Platinum HM fodder 'defog' got a very strong buff to make it a competitive viable move that people scrambled to breed up viable pokemon in the gen 4 environment and then jump through the various hoops to get them transferred up.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2019, 08:18:34 PM by ClexYoshi »

Offline Shaymin

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2019, 08:29:29 AM »
Larvesta finally pops its evo at L59, and you can actually catch a L35 Volcarona in BW2 though it doesn't learn its best move until 59 anyway (Quiver Dance).
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Offline pokepal148

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #31 on: March 12, 2019, 06:53:41 PM »
I actually used Larvesta in Ultra Moon. Between the EXP share, it's absurd attack stat, and the fact that the evolite is a thing, it's actually really solid and you can reasonably evolve it before you reach Ultra Necrozma so your overpowered hell moth can help you with that, the last trial, Victory Road, and the Elite 4.

Anyways I'm exploring some side content right now. People complain about Black and White being painfully linear but there is a lot of side areas you can explore and things to do.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2019, 06:59:50 PM by pokepal148 »
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Offline ClexYoshi

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #32 on: March 13, 2019, 04:39:05 AM »
I actually used Larvesta in Ultra Moon. Between the EXP share, it's absurd attack stat, and the fact that the evolite is a thing, it's actually really solid and you can reasonably evolve it before you reach Ultra Necrozma so your overpowered hell moth can help you with that, the last trial, Victory Road, and the Elite 4.

Anyways I'm exploring some side content right now. People complain about Black and White being painfully linear but there is a lot of side areas you can explore and things to do.

yeeeeeeeeah, mine is Timid. :I still usin' Evolite on it, though. that's a really stupidly good hold item.

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #33 on: March 18, 2019, 07:26:13 PM »
We've hit our first loss everyone, The Game was sadly less relevant than 50 Cent. :( Someone did give me a Pansear though, but annoyingly they did so in a new location so I couldn't catch another critter there. Could've nabbed me a Purrloin, that would've been useful!

Anyway the first gym was a pushover since the game just up and gives you a Pokémon to counter whatever type the gym is running. Somewhat defeats the purpose of having the gym leader oppose your starting type...

Now I'm after Team Plasma, because their "setting Pokémon free" agenda has already given way to a cheap ploy to steal the 'mons of others. I hope this isn't how they side-step their central agenda for the rest of the game - frankly I'd be curious to see them write themselves out of this hole, but it looks like we're just outright ignoring it so far. Bummer.

Offline Order.RSS

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #34 on: March 19, 2019, 07:33:38 PM »
Double post, sorry, but I got a few questions.
- Does poison no longer affect your 'mons outside of battle now?
- What's the deal with the big mossy rock in Pinwheel Forest, or just nothing?
- Are Pokémon harder to catch in this Version? I wasted like 10 Great Balls on catching a Throh and had to keep healing myself between attempts, really quite a drain on resources.

GameFreak seem really proud of the Brooklyn Bridge they built, yeesh. And there's nothing to do there, perfect.
Thanks for the heads-up regarding leveling though, I spent a while grinding up 'Mons and while I think I came in slightly overleveled to the second gym, it's easy to see how that evolved Patrat could hypnosis your whole team asleep easily.

Currently I have a hella overpowered thunderzebra (dark, fire & lightning attacks, seriously?), and judo dude Throh as the main pillars of my team. Roggenrola is a third one, but he's not as speedy and powerful, and does often take big hits so I'm a bit worried with him going forward...
Pansear is already feeling useless, and I kinda wish I had either a grass or bug type at this stage. Woobats are cute too, but I didn't run into one yet, since I caught the Roggenrola in Wellspring Cave. Nuzlocke rules mean the entire Pinwheel Forest area just landed me the single Throh, that could've been a good area to catch a Petilil or one of the two bug types I've seen so far. Alas.

Offline Shaymin

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #35 on: March 19, 2019, 09:44:38 PM »
Double post, sorry, but I got a few questions.
- Does poison no longer affect your 'mons outside of battle now?
- What's the deal with the big mossy rock in Pinwheel Forest, or just nothing?
- Are Pokémon harder to catch in this Version? I wasted like 10 Great Balls on catching a Throh and had to keep healing myself between attempts, really quite a drain on resources.

- Black and White is where poison stopped inflicting damage out of battle, yes. (I think the Diamond/Pearl method of stopping at 1HP was better, but whatever.)

- Used to evolve Eevee to Leafeon once you can get a hold of one in the postgame

- Since Throh is a single stage Pokémon, it's got lower odds of catching than other things you might've ran into in that area.
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Offline pokepal148

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #36 on: March 19, 2019, 11:25:27 PM »
Ispent a while grinding up 'Mons and while I think I came in slightly overleveled to the second gym, it's easy to see how that evolved Patrat could hypnosis your whole team asleep easily.
Lenora's gym is set up to go like this: Herdier goes on a suicide run spams take down to punch holes in your team specifically so that Watchog can come in and lead with retaliate (which becomes a 140 base power move when used immediately after another pokemon in that same party faints) to murder whatever pokemon you decided to have out at the time and than use hypnosis to pick away what's left. If your pokemon is low on health and you decide to keep it in for whatever reason than it'll use quick attack to finish it off since that move is guaranteed to go first unless your opponent is also using a priority move.

Her gym is just absolutely merciless and I love it for that. It's honestly one of the best designed trainer battles in the entire series, marred only by the fact that the AI isn't guaranteed to use retaliate which kind of defeats the entire point of Herdier just going on a suicide run and intentionally killing itself off with Take Down's recoil damage.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2019, 11:30:11 PM by pokepal148 »
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Offline Order.RSS

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #37 on: March 20, 2019, 10:07:57 AM »
- Black and White is where poison stopped inflicting damage out of battle, yes. (I think the Diamond/Pearl method of stopping at 1HP was better, but whatever.)

- Used to evolve Eevee to Leafeon once you can get a hold of one in the postgame

- Since Throh is a single stage Pokémon, it's got lower odds of catching than other things you might've ran into in that area.

Ah okay cool, thanks! Bummer that Throh won't evolve, but that makes more sense then. I thought he was the Machop/Machoke/Machamp equivalent of Black/White but I guess he's closer to Hitmonchan?

Her gym is just absolutely merciless and I love it for that. It's honestly one of the best designed trainer battles in the entire series, marred only by the fact that the AI isn't guaranteed to use retaliate which kind of defeats the entire point of Herdier just going on a suicide run and intentionally killing itself off with Take Down's recoil damage.

That's pretty nifty yeah, luckily I took down Herdier with a rock smash and vital throw so he only got a single take down in. Throh was really useful in this fight, although I had to swap him out with some damage and hypnotised for Roggenrola and then again for my starter.

Offline Evan_B

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #38 on: March 21, 2019, 09:53:37 PM »
You'll not escape my wrath.

Black and White were one of the biggest disappointments to me as a Pokemon fan, and started my gradual departure from being a rabid fan. The post game attempt in this game was decent, but the narrative is awful and the world design suffers so greatly from its attempts at being a visual "spectacle." The game is only redeemed by its fabulous Pokemon designs, which suffer from being not as good as other gens, which would make the game harder in theory, except EXP scaling in this game is hot garbage. So yeah, it has a number of issues that Sun and Moon also share.

Have fun playing!
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Offline Shaymin

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #39 on: March 22, 2019, 09:19:56 PM »

Ah okay cool, thanks! Bummer that Throh won't evolve, but that makes more sense then. I thought he was the Machop/Machoke/Machamp equivalent of Black/White but I guess he's closer to Hitmonchan?


Basically, with Sawk serving as the Hitmonlee. The Timburr family is your Machop analogue.
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Offline Armak88

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #40 on: March 29, 2019, 01:01:55 AM »
I'm too busy and riddled with children to replay this along with you all, but I wish I could.

I'll share this story instead.

Pokemon Red and Blue came out when I was 10 years old. Pretty much the perfect age to be obsessed with it for the next 10 years.

Pokemon Black and White came out a few months before I got married. I had 7 groomsmen, since we had all grown up playing Pokemon together I thought it would be cool if I got each of them a version of Black or White as a gift for being in my wedding party.

Some of the guys were lapsed gamers, or not really into handheld games anymore, so they didn't have a DS of their own... So I scoured some local online classifieds and bought 3 used DS Lites on the cheap (in good condition) as well as 8 copies of Pokemon Black and White. A month before the wedding we were all together and I gave them all their copies of Black and White. Everybody was excited, and the three guys who didn't have DS's were happy but were saying, "now we need to pick up a DS so we can play with you guys!" Then I pulled out 3 DS's and gave them to those guys and they lost their mind. I had a lot of fun giving these to my friends.

All next month we were a Pokemon cult. We played and traded each other every chance we got, and on the wedding day, we all had our DS's in our suit jackets all day. There is a lot of waiting around while you get ready, prepare for the ceremony, take pictures and wait for the reception, so any downtime we all popped out Pokemon and played together.

Not everyone stuck with the game all the way to the end, but most of them did, and in the very least the first couple of months were a pretty special experience. I hadn't been that invested in a Pokemon game since Gold and Silver and had a great time with it. I always appreciated the bold move of going with all new Pokemon at the beginning of the game. It really lets you bond with the new Pokemon instead of relying on the old familiars.

Reading through some of the posts in this thread has reminded me of some of the things I love about this game and brought me back to that experience around what was already a really special time when I got married, so thanks!
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Offline Order.RSS

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #41 on: March 29, 2019, 10:58:17 AM »
Everybody was excited, and the three guys who didn't have DS's were happy but were saying, "now we need to pick up a DS so we can play with you guys!" Then I pulled out 3 DS's and gave them to those guys and they lost their mind. I had a lot of fun giving these to my friends.

Great moment right there haha! That sounds super fun, probably the best way you could play Pokémon when no longer a kid with a playground full of potential trade/battle partners and a line for the one kid with a Link Cable.

I really wish I could trade with someone on this run, just found out that the Boldore I have is basically locked from evolving without a trade, like Graveller or Kadabra. I'm really liking this pretty much blind run so far, I caught a Darumaka on Route 4 a few days ago. No idea if it will evolve or learn anything useful of course. The Sandile I encountered on the same route later probably is much more useful, but oh well.
Really reminds me of that time with Gold/Silver when my friend found a Delibird who we called Santa and for a week or two we were convinced he'd suddenly become mega powerful. We drew our own mock-ups for evolutions, speculated on what cool moves he could get.
(Of course Delibird did neither evolve nor learn anything remotely useful besides Fly HM, but the fun is in speculation.)

Offline pokepal148

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #42 on: March 29, 2019, 01:57:15 PM »
Darumaka is stupidly useful but he's also dangerously frail. I don't know how well he'll work for a nuzlocke run but I recommend keeping him on the EXP share until he evolves so hustle gets replaced with Sheer Force.
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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #43 on: April 08, 2019, 01:59:00 PM »
So getting back to this mess I got to the flying gym now. I just went through this game's graveyard area and can we just talk about how bizarre it is that there is a graveyard area in pretty much every Pokémon game? Like it's so weird because most western media that's marketed towards children avoids the subject of death like the plague but Pokémon is consistently willing to remind you that death is a thing in this universe.
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Offline nickmitch

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #44 on: April 08, 2019, 04:41:57 PM »
Gotta have some place for you to catch ghosts though.
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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #45 on: April 17, 2019, 08:51:13 AM »
All right I've made some progress again, out of the desert, rode a ferris wheel with a guy I should've swiped left on, had another fancy bridge cinematic to gawk at, and demolished the electric gym with ease - Zebstrika's pursuit just wrecks their volt switch strategy. Right now I'll need to do some grinding before taking on the Driftveil Gym unfortunately because...

Darumaka is stupidly useful but he's also dangerously frail. I don't know how well he'll work for a nuzlocke run but I recommend keeping him on the EXP share until he evolves so hustle gets replaced with Sheer Force.

...You weren't wrong here. Had an ill-fated run-in with some stupid biker called Charles who keeps buying out the local shops, and he knocked out not just Darumaka but my starter too.

Team's a bit in shambles at the moment, since I'm basically reduced back to Throh/Zebstrika/Boldore. Throh is stupidly overpowered in this game, by the way. Fighting moves are super effective against basically everything so far, just cleared out the local Plasma freezer without any effort.
Assuming the Driftveil Gym is ice types I'm not too worried since, again, those are weak to fighting and I have Zebstrika with lightning/fire moves too. But I would like to get a bit more coverage on the squad, right now I don't have any psychic/ghost/bug/grass/ice/water/flying/or steel moves.

What I have in the box that seems useful: Vanillite, Trubbish, Yamask. I think I'll start by training up Trubbish, because I like his design the best and I don't usually go for poison types. Yamask looks kinda cool too. In general I'm kinda low-key loving the designs of most of the new Pokémon here, they're such a step up from the last one I played (Platinum, wasn't a fan). I don't think I've seen any non-Gen 5 ones so far? Vanillite looks cuter than I thought he would, too, but I feel like I've seen his second form somewhere before and it's a really goofy Wheezing-but-ice-cream thing so not huge on training him up.

Offline Mop it up

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #46 on: April 17, 2019, 12:48:16 PM »
The Vanillite line is easily the best Mon from Gen 5.

The Route 10 tune is the best music to ever come out of the series.

That is all.

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #47 on: May 10, 2019, 04:39:03 PM »
So getting back to this mess I got to the flying gym now. I just went through this game's graveyard area and can we just talk about how bizarre it is that there is a graveyard area in pretty much every Pokémon game? Like it's so weird because most western media that's marketed towards children avoids the subject of death like the plague but Pokémon is consistently willing to remind you that death is a thing in this universe.

So I'm almost caught up to this part now. Really having a tough time working my way through the graveyard tower thing though. I basically have nothing useful against Ghosts except for Foongus who has a single Dark attack, but is weak to every Litwick out there. Zebstrika is pretty underleveled, but he has Pursuit so maybe that's a better option.

Been training a Klink in anticipation of the flying type gym, but just realised he's a Steel type instead of Lightning as I had assumed... Gotta say there's a lot of weird/interesting type combinations in this game.

Here's my team as it stands: Throh, Foongus, Boldore, Zebstrika, Trubbish, Klink. Only Throh is really good at the moment since he's basically carried me through the game, while the Exp Share has been dividing points over the others. Foongus is the second highest leveled.
Kinda wanna drop Zebstrika for a Litwick I just caught, because I really liked Chandelure in Pokkén Tournament. But with a Flying gym ahead and all these Ghosts, it's probably best to grind for a while with Zebstrika instead. Boldore is kinda limited in uses too I find, but maybe I'm not using him right?

EDIT UPDATE:
Well, the flying gym was the first one to give me a good challenge. Lost the Zebstrika there, and I didn't anticipate Swanna having water moves which wrecked my Boldore too. Klink was nearly lost to Swanna too, I thought Steel would resist Water but guess not... Narrowly eked out a victory with Trubbish, who evolved into a monstrosity afterwards, love it.
Past this gym though, it was smooth sailing for Throh & the rest once again. A cave with rock and ice monsters? Byeeeeee. Ice Gym was yet another one weak to every single fighting move. Seriously this whole game is really poorly optimised against Fighting moves.

After the Ice Gym though it's suddenly like the game remembers it wanted a bigger plot too. Basically out of nowhere they send you up another Tower, this time with a bunch of Plasma grunts (no points for guessing all their 'mons are weak to fighting too). Guess I'm chasing a Dragon now, ugh.
Really not loving this part of the plot; frankly it makes me wonder why Pokémon games insist on having Team Evil at all, when every normal trainer is already an adversary. Much preferred this game when you were just casually trying to work your way through the Gyms towards a League Pass. Every time they attempt drama, whether it's Cheren's about-to-turn-evil, or N's half-assed ideology, or now suddenly the entire world being in peril, it just completely falls flat for me.

Current team: MVP Throh, Amoongus, Garbodor, and then Klink, Litwick and Palpitoad are the weaker ones rounding out the squad. I won a second Exp Share in a Quiz Show though so I'm sure I can pull those up to par quickly.
I will say I'm really liking most of the Pokémon designs in this generation. Keep meeting new strange ones, like Mienfoo, Gotharita and Golett which I'd literally never seen before. There's not many Water types in this gen though, are there? Granted I've not surfed anywhere, nor do I have a fishing rod. Do you even need HMs in this game? I've used Strength maybe twice, nothing else.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2019, 08:27:01 AM by Steefosaurus »

Offline pokepal148

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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #48 on: May 19, 2019, 03:23:36 PM »
HMs are pretty much unnecessary outside of that one time you need cut.

But Ice is just a terrible type. You only get to resist other ice type moves and you get like eight weaknesses. It's surprising that ice is usually the 7th or 8th gym when it's such a terrible type.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2019, 03:47:36 PM by pokepal148 »
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Re: Forum Retrospective Playthrough #1: Pokémon Black and White
« Reply #49 on: May 20, 2019, 01:16:51 PM »
All right, wrapped up the main story and I think I'm done here. I wanna thank everyone in this thread who helped me with advice and questions, it's been so much more fun to figure stuff out or ask others than to consult GameFaqs. Great first Retrospective suggestion, Pokepal.
Final thoughts below (full spoilers, natch).

Context: Used to be a big fan of the first 2 Pokémon generations, as well as FireRed/LeafGreen, but I fell off the wagon pretty hard after Emerald and Platinum, both of which were very underwhelming to me. Black/White feels like a return to form in many ways, and although they're not perfect, they manage to pretty much hit all the beats I want out of Pokémon.

Positives:
- Really like that there's no previous generations during the entire main story. They've designed enough new ones to keep things surprising, even in the final fight with Ghetsis I saw 3 monsters I hadn't seen before (Zoroark, Eelektross, and a sort of sea turtle).

- The new designs are mostly inspired too. Sure there's duds like Patrat, and while I initially liked seeing Zebstrika, his design became an eyesore after a while. And a few just skew too much towards the Digimon realm of being overdesigned (both legendary dragons, the Golurk line and the legendary dogs I never met).
But there's loads I liked too. Trubbish is funny, I like Amoongus, the whole KlinKlang line, the Chandelure line, those crocodiles with sunglasses, and I even grew to like Scraggy and my MVP Throh even though I'm not huge on Pokémon wearing 'human' outfits.

- Semi-separating Black/White from the rest of the Pokémon games must have been a tough sell, but it's a great move I think. There's some very cursory mentions of other games, and of course a lot of mechanics are legacy stuff from previous games. But if this came out as the first Pokémon entry, you wouldn't be super lost I don't think. It also helps to project a feeling of confidence from the creators, in that they're adamant this game can stand on its own.
I'm sure the post-game brings in every single previous Pokémon, reference, etc., but the main story is spared those interruptions.

- The general feel of discovery. Travelling from place to place, finding new creatures, new gyms with weird gimmicks felt fresh again here. Might just be me, having not played Pokémon for a few years and going into this one mostly blind, but hey. I think this really demonstrated to me that Pokémon is a more-or-less perfect formula, and while some minor adjustments are always needed to keep things fresh, the foundation is rock solid.

Negatives:
- They go for a lot of visual flourishes in random places. Bridges lowering, ferris wheels spinning, castles rising up from the ground, dragons arriving. Every time these cutscenes just kinda clash with the souped up GBA aesthetic the rest of the game has. Not a fan.

- The game doesn't rrrreally force you to rotate your team a lot if you have a single fighting Pokémon. Fighting moves just steamroll over like half the gyms, everything Team Plasma ever brings to the table, and one of the Elite Four.
My final team had some very obvious flaws (no psychic, ice, rock, bug, flying moves at all, lots of uncovered weaknesses, and a massive reliance on Toxic), but this was almost never a problem save for maybe 3 areas. And if you don't play it Nuzlocke style you can be a lot more careless going into battles too.

- I feel like the inventory system has regressed a bit? Didn't FireRed/LeafGreen automatically sort everything into separate categories? Here they do so for key items, TMs, medicine and berries, but held items and regular items are chucked into one category together with all your various Pokéballs. If you're gonna give us 10 types of Pokéballs and mountains of 'rock gem/bug gem/etc gems', give us better sorting options than doing it manually one by one. Also, Rare Candy and stat-boosting stuff like Calcium shouldn't be in amongst medicines at all.

- The world map is pretty boring. It's just a circle! And you can almost never deviate from the path. The only instance where I did is when I cleared out the Desert before the story brings you there much later. In Blue/Red you can, with some creativity, almost completely decide the order of gyms 4-7 by yourself (although Koga must always occur before Blaine).
Now I didn't hate the linear progression here, since I have less time now then the 100 hours I sank into Blue back in the day, but it'd be nice to have options. Black/White give you the weakest excuses too, some guard literally says "there's something blocking the path ahead".
Maybe the field HMs become useful in the post-game, but I think I used Surf, Strength and Cut just once each. Just eliminate them entirely as field moves entirely then.

- The story is mostly just a nuisance disturbing any fun you were having. It's really annoying to constantly be on your toes in new areas in case you get blindsided by "N" or one of your stupid rivals demanding a battle. Then the entire Team Plasma storyline just goes nowhere, is utterly predictable from square one, and even the resolution isn't great.

The real bummer here is that everything starts out promising. Does GameFreak finally address one of the core complaints about the series? They seem aware that the 'this is cartoon hen fighting' criticism exists, but just have no clue how to address it. The Pokémon can't ever express their opinion except through the unreliable interpreter "N", and the human's arguments all revolve around selfish desires.
"Without Pokémon I'll be lonely!", "humans and Pokémon feel connected". Defending the status quo for no reason but emotionally charged arguments and "because things have always been this way I guess?" is a really poor choice here.

How I would do it: show that people are getting persuaded by Team Plasma. Make it so you occassionally bump into distraught trainers who released their 'mons. Team those up with your player character, encounter their released ones ('Ace Trainer's Ducklett appeared... it looks lost and lonely...'), you weaken them and the NPC re-catches their old Pokémon again.
Sure it'd be annoying and scripted, but I think if you do this 3 times max over various areas the point is clear enough. Of course the developers are never going to actually set free all the Pokémon from you Box like they allude to, but if you're not going to follow through on a 'threat', at least still try to make it tangible.

- About the story finale, it's this really weird Final Fantasy esque mess. Castle rises up from nowhere, suddenly stairs fly in from everywhere. In general from the Elite Four onwards they suddenly hit you with a lot of borderline supernatural stuff which I'm not sure fits so well the relatively grounded rest of the game. Ghetsis is a weird final boss too, I had most trouble with his Eelektross who took out two of my 'mons, but to end on a legendary(?) Hydreigon who goes down in one hit from Throh felt anti-climactic.

In conclusion:
While I've mostly complained here, I think that's more because there's a strong core game here with a lot of missed opportunities kinda weighing it down. Pokémon Black/White seem like great entry points for newcomers, and they're good for lapsed fans like me. Beyond working as very solid singular entries in the franchise, I also think they're subtly different enough from previous games to really stand out. Overall I'm very pleased to have played this, it's really shown me that Pokémon is still a good series - I just played a few bad instalments in a row. Maybe I'll try to borrow another DS cart from my friend.
Final rating: 4/5, this is one I'd recommend.

Stats
Pokémon seen: 136
Pokémon caught: 34
Pokémon lost: 9 (2 in the final battle).
Final team: Chandelure (lv 58), Throh (lv 54), Seismitoad (lv 53), Garbodor (lv 52), Amoongus (lv 51), KlinKlang (lv 50).