Generally favorable reviews - based on 63 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 62 out of 63
  2. Negative: 0 out of 63
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  1. Mar 16, 2011
    The fact that Game Freak dared to remove all the old pokémons from the main story line and replace them with 156 new ones is only one of the reasons for the series feeling fresher than ever. Pokémon Black and White is the most entertaining game yet, and is a must-buy for all Nintendo DS owners.
  2. Mar 5, 2011
    With slick and fast-paced battles, a more adult take on the traditional Pokémon concepts and an entirely new roster of characters, Pokémon Black & White is as close to a "reboot" as the franchise has ever seen, but it doesn't reinvent what doesn't need reinventing.
  3. Mar 4, 2011
    This new Black & White pair of Pokémon games take the necessary and welcome step further in evolving the series. The gameplay's more dynamic thanks to the combat in threes, 3D integration is perfect, new animations for the little animals are welcomed. Communications and trading are easier than ever thanks to new online features. And since the dialogs are better written, and often funny... No doubt remains, Black & White are able to paint new, revived colors on the famous licence!
  4. Mar 14, 2011
    Not much else can be said about Black and White that is any different from what I made clear in the first paragraph; these are the two best Pokemon games yet, and by extension, two of the very best Nintendo DS games ever released.
  5. Mar 8, 2011
    Fifteen years has gone by and Pokemon has evolved much like many of its Pokemon counterparts, into the best Pokemon version to date. With a whole new region to explore and 150 new Pokemon to discover between the two versions and the ability to play with any other trainer in the whole world, this will be hard to beat in the future. This is by far the best Pokemon ever released.
  6. Mar 7, 2011
    Pokémon Black/White is my favorite Pokémon game. That's my opinion. It's also the most robust, fully featured, polished Pokémon game on a technical level. That's an objective fact. Put those opinons and facts together, and you can only come up with one conclusion -- if you like Pokémon, you should go buy Pokémon Black/White. Like, right now.
  7. A beautiful refinement of a great series. Game Freak has surpassed itself - the best Pokemon ever. [Mar 2011, p.87]
  8. 93
    The new battle system and the big new Poké-world feel great. There are a lot of new Pokémon to collect and train. You've got to get used to some of them. Poké-Fans shouldn't miss the new Black and White editions.
  9. 92
    Learning from the past without ever taking his eyes off the present, this is the pinnacle of the series to date and proof that sometimes you don't need a revolution to give new life to a franchise.
  10. Mar 30, 2011
    The mere fact that this game has the power to rekindle those early feelings of PokéBliss in even the most seasoned-Pokémaniacs is a testament to its freshness and originality.
  11. Mar 8, 2011
    Pokémon Black and White is the pokémon experience you've been waiting for since Gold and Silver. Astonishing.
  12. Mar 4, 2011
    Pokemon Black/White is, without doubt, the best Pokemon ever.
  13. Apr 30, 2011
    Game Freak did it again. Pokemon Black Version is a masterpiece, delivering all the superb gameplay elements that fans of the series learned to love over the years. The only drawback is the dated technology it uses, something that will surely be addressed in the future versions for the 3DS.
  14. Apr 18, 2011
    Actually a Pokémon game with some news. The online modes have been polished, there's new pokémons, quick, better animated battles and better graphics.
  15. Apr 7, 2011
    One of the best generations of Pokemon titles to date, Black & White take almost all of the best elements from the series and then carefully craft it into something truly wonderful; recreating that same sense of adventure from the very first titles.
  16. Mar 31, 2011
    Almost a franchise reboot, Pokémon Black & White is your ultimate Pokémon experience. Overall better than previous generations by any means, this new installment manages to inspire on veteran players a sense of wonder and awe gone missing years ago. The new adventure flows better and is much more intriguing and challenging but of course you are not going to change your mind if you hate Pikachu and friends.
  17. Mar 29, 2011
    After playing Black and White only think about one thing: there's no turning back. From now on this is the way forward, but with even greater conviction.
  18. 90
    If you're into Pokémon, you likely already have the game. If you're not, then this game won't convert you. However, if you've been away from the series for a while, this might be the game to make a return to the series.
  19. Mar 14, 2011
    Pokémon Black is what a sequel should be. While the underlying formula of the game remains enticing and addictive, the improvements to both the gameplay and the multiplayer components make this a strong entry in the series.
  20. Mar 8, 2011
    Better graphics, more quests, more gadgets, more enemies and... more Pokémons! Black and White are, simply, the best Pokémon games of all time and two of the best RPGs available on Nintendo DS.
  21. Mar 8, 2011
    Pokémon: Black Edition is one of the best Pokémon games ever. The mix of good old gameplay and new fresh features is really cool and in my point of view this game is the best looking game on the NDS I have ever seen.
  22. Mar 8, 2011
    Pokémon Black & White are again the strongest additions to the series to date. Game Freak has succeeded once again in creating an even better Pokémon title than all previous iterations and has created another true Pokémon reboot.
  23. Mar 7, 2011
    Nintendo proves once again why Pokemon is not a franchise just for kids. While not the most innovative sequel, Game Freak keeps adding new layers of depth to their formula, once again delivering something truly special to the fans.
  24. Mar 6, 2011
    Game Freak has worked its socks off to ensure that Pokémon Black / White not only live up to the standards set by past entries in the mainline series, but have included a wealth of extra content to entice newcomers to the world of Pocket Monsters.
  25. 90
    With more than 600 Pokémon to catch, you won't be putting this game down any time soon.
  26. Mar 4, 2011
    Black and White are certainly up there with the best of the series: unlike HeartGold and SoulSilver they don't have nostalgia as their main attraction, but they come closest to recreating the sense of discovery felt when embarking on that first journey with Pokémon.
  27. Mar 4, 2011
    It may not break the Pokemon mold, but Black/White offers enough new content coupled with the series' classic, deep battle mechanics to make it endlessly playable. If you could only play one game for the rest of your life, this would be a wise choice.
  28. Mar 4, 2011
    If you have never played Pokemon, get off your ass and get Pokemon Black/White. Aside from a weaker lineup of monsters (largely an aesthetic complaint), this is the best Pokemon has to offer on every level, renewing my waning interest in monster battling. It proves that the Pokemon series is still rock solid after a decade and a half.
  29. Mar 4, 2011
    A great leap for the Pokémon series, but which comes when Nintendo DS is about to be "retired". A very complete and balanced Pokémon game, with more than 700 creatures to catch.
  30. Mar 4, 2011
    Quotation forthcoming.
  31. Mar 3, 2011
    It is, however, a considerable improvement on the existing template, to the point where it's hard to see how the series can avoid a fairly notable change in approach. This could – and perhaps should – be the swansong to the Pokémon formula we're accustomed to, but if it is then it'll go out at the very peak of its existence: teetering on the edge of feeling too familiar, sustaining an incredible feat of balance, but nonetheless still standing tall at the very top of its game.
  32. Mar 3, 2011
    Of course there's a lot that's the same. Of course there is. But with a great many small and well-placed innovations, a vivacious, inventive new cast and the biggest cosmetic makeover the series has ever seen, Pokémon Black and White makes it all feel new again. It reminds you what there was to love about Pokémon in the first place – and perhaps we all needed reminding.
  33. Feb 28, 2011
    If you're looking for a nourishing gaming experience sprinkled with the addictive sea-salt of Pokémania, then these games are for you.
  34. Nintendo Power
    Feb 26, 2011
    The Pokemon series's latest pair of adventures is as addictive as ever. [March 2011, p.82]
  35. Feb 14, 2011
    For all its added features and refinements, Black and White still rigidly follows the tried and tested formula. The leaps and bounds folks like me have been hankering after will have to wait until the inevitable 3DS version. Until then, however, rest assured in the knowledge that Black and White are damn fine games; the best the series has to offer.
  36. Mar 14, 2011
    Pokemon Black/White isn't bad by any means, but it isn't anything you haven't seen before either. It's just prettier and more intelligent than its predecessors.
  37. Mar 4, 2011
    Strip away the unmanageable bulk and Pokémon is a truly great RPG. Add it back on later and it remains a flashy, if conventional, entry in the franchise.
  38. Game Informer
    Feb 18, 2011
    Pokemon Black and White do a great job building upon already solid features and taking them to the next level. [March 2011, p.95]
  39. Mar 11, 2011
    If you enjoy deep RPGs and you're looking for a great time-killer--or just ask a lot from your video game purchases--you can't go wrong with Pokemon Black and White.
  40. Mar 9, 2011
    Retaining the classic role-playing and battle systems, Pokemon Black and White is treat for players old and new, with an engaging and lengthy adventure and countless new Pokemon to catch.
  41. Mar 8, 2011
    If you're looking for the very best Pokémon game yet, you'll find it in Black or White. The changes they've made tweak the formula in good ways and the all-new world in which the all-new Pokémon live in is worth exploring...If, however, you're hoping for a significant revamp that addresses the myriad of fiddly quirks the series has collected over its 15 years or simply brings the title inline with other modern RPGs, you'll be (yet again) disappointed.
  42. Mar 2, 2011
    Without a doubt, the raft of online features elevates Black and White to the height of pre-3DS Pokémon greatness. This is the biggest game in the series, and brings a wealth of tertiary additions that fans have been asking for.
  43. Mar 7, 2011
    It's highly likely that if you spent any energy at all anticipating Pokémon Black and White, you're going to be ridiculously pleased with whichever version you choose. For Pokévirgins who are curious as to what it's all about, this is a fine place to start.
  44. Mar 7, 2011
    It sure wouldn't hurt to shake things up a bit.
  45. Apr 7, 2011
    Overall Pokemon Black/White is still a great RPG that offers up the same addictive gameplay you've come to love, but don't expect anything new to entice you to catch 'em all again.
  46. Apr 2, 2011
    Few gaming series can steal as many hours from me, no questions asked, quite like Pokémon. I'm currently clocked at 28:37, which was enough to beat the Elite Four but not enough to lose interest. Is this the strongest entry to date? Probably not, nor is it the innovative leap that some gamers expected but you can cogitate all you like; there's a consistently enjoyable adventure to be found here, and that's all that matters.
  47. Mar 30, 2011
    It's not perfect and can still feel a bit over-familiar to veterans, but it's still a well-constructed and extremely addictive entry which is well worth checking out.
  48. Mar 26, 2011
    Game Freak wanted to reel people back in with Pokémon Black, and they have made an outstanding new addition to the series.
  49. Mar 23, 2011
    Developer Game Freak shows with Pokémon Black & White that they can appeal to the veteran as well as the starting Pokémon trainer. Although the game is way too easy for the veteran Pokémon trainer, it does offer completely new and beautifully crafted environments, with an overload of new Pokémon, techniques, strategies and the triple battles are a valuable addition to the game. But because they're still too basic, Black & White aren't better than Diamond & Pearl.
  50. Mar 22, 2011
    Pokemon Black/White does a terrific job of blending the old, tried-and-true gameplay systems of yesteryear with updated graphics, a mature story, and new features that bring Pokemon into 2011.
  51. Mar 14, 2011
    Pokemon Black and White doesn't mess too much with the tried and tested formula, providing an experience we know and love.
  52. Mar 14, 2011
    Some great new innovations for the franchise, Pokémon Black is a must-have for the serious monster collector.
  53. Mar 9, 2011
    If you are brand new to the Pokémon series, you are going to find Pokémon Black to be an incredibly involving RPG and darn entertaining if you enjoy the genre. It's definitely worth checking out and will probably keep you entertained up until the launch of the 3DS later this month.
  54. Mar 7, 2011
    It's a smaller world than HeartGold and SoulSilver's Kanto and Johto, but it's a new world that should be explored by any Pokemon fan, young or old.
  55. Mar 7, 2011
    The improvements do now leave the actual battles in conspicuous need of a visual overhaul (something for the imminent 3DS to tackle, perhaps) but at least fans will have plenty to occupy their time until that happens.
  56. Mar 5, 2011
    Pokémon is a series that never reinvents the wheel, but instead continues to polish the basic design until it sparkles.
  57. Mar 4, 2011
    Ultimately, though, these are the new trappings of an old, old game -- one you may have already played three or four times before.
  58. Mar 4, 2011
    While die-hards might still prefer the more expert-friendly features of HeartGold and SoulSilver, the fresh approach and fiercely impressive visuals, draped over a tried and true frame of addictive, highly nuanced battle and customisation, make Pokémon Black/White the defacto catch-all solution to monster collecting on the venerable DS.
  59. Feb 28, 2011
    It's not a real overhaul for the series, but it is the best version so far - and so by extension one of the best portable video games ever made.
  60. Feb 26, 2011
    Where next for Pokemon? Black and White don't suggest any answers, but they do remind us why we'd care in the first place. [Mar 2011, p.103]
  61. Mar 15, 2011
    Pokemon series had begun to be somehow tired, lacking serious innovations. To change the Pokemon names and renew their styles is not the way refresh the formula.
  62. Mar 4, 2011
    What it lacks in originality, Pokemon Black more than makes up for with a vast world to explore and an absorbing battle system that's heaps of fun.
  63. Mar 16, 2011
    In the end, the real question is whether Pokémon Black offers enough spark to justify buying another Pokémon game. True believers have purchased it already, and the vocal haters will continue their hating despite this review's best efforts. For everyone who's left, the answer is a solid maybe.

Awards & Rankings

#1 Most Discussed DS Game of 2011
#2 Most Shared DS Game of 2011
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 759 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Mar 6, 2011
    I told myself a long time ago, I am done with Pokemon. I now find myself eating my words. There are 150 new Pokemon, and while they areI told myself a long time ago, I am done with Pokemon. I now find myself eating my words. There are 150 new Pokemon, and while they are well... odd to say the least, it sure is kind of cool to see nothing but new creatures every time I get into a random battle. I like the camera angle here, it is really well done, and does a good job of implementing the 2.5D capability of the DS. Multiplayer... oh wow, they really created something else. The entire multiplayer experience is overhauled, with a feature similar to the 3DS' street-pass, a Pokemon dream world, and no more freaking Pokemon Centers to connect wirelessly. C-Gear is outstanding. I once rated HG a 9, but Black (and I suppose I can speak for White too), is so much more streamlined, improved, and fresh. I would call this among the top 10 DS games of all time. Full Review »
  2. Mar 10, 2011
    It's the same exact pokemon game you played years ago with a few graphic improvements. The new pokemon are new, true. But the gameplay isIt's the same exact pokemon game you played years ago with a few graphic improvements. The new pokemon are new, true. But the gameplay is still the same, story is still the same, puzzles are still the same, etc. etc. If you're a true pokemon fan, this game is for you and only you. Full Review »
  3. Mar 7, 2011
    Unfortunately, it seems Game Freak still hasn't worked out a few kinks in the Pokemon design. Like the previous generation, Pokemon Black andUnfortunately, it seems Game Freak still hasn't worked out a few kinks in the Pokemon design. Like the previous generation, Pokemon Black and White play at a snail pace. Your walking speed is atrocious and you're stuck with it until you're given the running shoes. I don't understand this design choice at all. Why disallow us from running in the first place? I've always found this to be a nonsensical milestone to meet in the games.

    Most actions and events are unnecessarily slow too. Transitioning from one scene to another (such as entering/exiting a building or a battle) still takes too long. Battle phases are still too drawn out as well. It should not take so long to show the attack you've used, the damage it has done and any multipliers or effects applied to it. This could all be remedied by simply showing all relevant information above the rival Pokemon (a la most RPGs), rather than the usual text boxes at the bottom of the screen.

    The new Pokemon are better than I expected, to be fair. I'd seen a lot of the official art of these new Pokemon a while ago and I was not impressed. Fortunately, as sprites, they look a little less hideous. Still, I consider them to be pretty weak compared to earlier generations (I didn't think much of Generation IV's new Pokemon either), but that could be nostalgia clouding my judgement.

    The story in this generation is slightly darker and more complex than the series has ever seen before, which is a nice touch. There are themes in this game I wouldn't have ever expected to see in the series and I'm glad they're there. In terms of story, this generation is far ahead of anything before it. However, don't expect to be enthralled by it - this is still a Pokemon game.

    I was hoping for more change in these games, honestly. I wasn't expecting these changes (I imagine straying from the proven formula too much could prove hazardous), but they would have been nice. That's about all I've got to say, really.
    Full Review »