Game of the month, March 2011

WINNER: Pokemon

This is the fourth time this month that we’ve written about the awesomeness of Pokemon Black and White (here,hereandhereare the previous three), which speaks volumes in itself (and please forgive us if we plagiarize ourselves occasionally). We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Pokemon is one of the deepest and most rewarding RPG experiences of all time, and Black/White adds to that proud tradition with new Pokemon, an absolutely beautiful presentation, and a respectable amount of new features.

The Unova region’s new Pokemon have been the most talked-about addition to this Pokemon generation, and for good reason. Game Freak has gone for both quality and quantity, with more new Pokemon than any previous generation, most of which are compelling fromboth abattlingand design perspective. GamesRadar’s Pokemon trainers are throwing together an informal interoffice Pokemon tournament in a few weeks, and many of us are having a difficult time narrowing our team down to just six Pokemon, even with a self-imposed Unova-only restriction. We all have different favorites too, so it’s not like there’s a handful of winners and the rest are just fodder.

And speaking of tournaments, Black/White also offers better multiplayer options than ever before in a Pokemon game. On the touch screen rests a local multiplayer hub called the C-Gear, which you can use to instantly connect with nearby friends for battling, trades, and a new feature called the Entralink (read ourreviewfor more details on that). The only thing that would have made the C-Gear better is if your friends list populated everyone that was playing on Wi-Fi, not just via local wireless. B&W does have plenty of Wi-Fi options though, and you can still battle and trade with both friends and strangers all over the world, as well as video chat with people on your friends list. You can also play ranked random battles over Wi-Fi similar to Street Fighter IV, and those global rankings will actually be used to seed the official championships later this year.

We keep hearing excuses from people hesitant to pick up Black/White – they say they’re afraid of sinking hundreds of hours into a single game, something their allegedly busy schedules won’t permit. While it’s true that you can easily spend hundreds of hours on B&W and still find more to do, it doesn’t require that kind of time commitment if you’re not willing. Even if you only put in a few hours occasionally, you’ll still get more enjoyment out of Pokemon than most other portable games, and surely it’s far superior to anything in the current 3DS line-up.

RUNNER-UP: Total War:
Shogun 2

Like previous Total War games, Total War: Shogun 2 offers a mix of real-time strategy combat and Civilization-style turn-based strategy. Set during the Sengoku (or Warring States) period in Japan, the RTS battles never looked better with multi-tiered castle fortresses and hundreds of detailed troops onscreen at the same time. But even if you’re not a fan of the game’s more methodical battles, you can always opt to auto resolve conflicts and focus on managing your empire from the game’s gorgeous world map of Japan.

Strategy fans shouldn’t hesitate to pick this one up. Everything’s been streamlined and polished to perfection, making Total War: Shogun 2 a great starting place for both longtime fans and newcomers to the series.

Mar 31, 2011

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Unambiguously continues the strong tradition of the series

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Beauty and violence clash on a massive scale in this excellent entry in the series

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We discuss the best exploits for grinding post-game and pay tribute to garbled bootlegs

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