Black and White
The first games in the brand new fifth Generation, Pokémon Black and White mark a new direction for the series and promise revitalisation of an ageing formula. They were released in Japan on the 18th September 2010, in Europe on the 4th March 2011 and the US on the 6th March 2011.
Setting & Plot
Set in Unova - designed using Manhattan as a base, Black and White are the first main games to be based on an area outside of Japan, and seem to adopt a more Western culture as a result. The main characters are, unlike past games, more like teenagers than the usual 10 year olds - though what actual impact this has on the game or story remains to be seen. Unova also features the first female Professor in the games, Professor Juniper.
New Gameplay Features
There are a number of new features introduced in Black and White that impact how the game will be played.
- 3 vs 3 Battles
- New to Black and White is the ability to battle with 3 Pokémon simultaneously, following on from the Double Battle mechanic introduced in Generation III.
- The Wonder Launcher
- For the first time ever, Black and White give players the ability to use standard items (such as potions and revives) during multiplayer battles. Earn points each turn and spend them on a variety of items, many of which that exist exclusively for the Wonder Launcher.
- Battle Subway
- At its core the Battle Subway is a spin-off of the Battle Tower, but with some nifty twists. Not only does the Battle Subway allow you to battle through trainer after trainer, rack up a win streak, and earn BP in order to purchase cool items and TMs, but now you can choose between two levels of difficulty for Single, Double, and Multi (partner) battles. Better still, regardless of what mode you're playing (excluding the WFC mode) you'll have the opportunity to face-off against some elite trainers: Subway Master Emmet, and Subway Master Ingo.
- What use this enigmatic feature will actually serve is still kind of unknown. Currently, we know that you can monitor and acutely control communication to and from your game including Infra-Red, WiFi and Local Wireless - all simultaneously. You can also upload your game save to the internet, though it's not currently clear what purpose this serves either.
- When the game is played on the DSi or 3DS, the player can talk to other players through a video chat. This works for four players locally and two players via Wi-Fi.
- When using the Entralink, players will be able to interact via local wireless and complete missions set by other characters. You can access the Entralink at specific areas around Isshu and depending on who's hosting the Entralink the world will be displayed differently. By completing missions you'll earn "Pass Powers" which can aid you in a variety of ways (ie. double the EXP your Pokemon gain, half the cost of items at the PokeMart). Some Pass Powers' effects can be shared with other nearby players using the C-Gear, and they can also be traded. You may also trade berries and items via the Entralink by leaving them on shelves for other players to check.
- Pokemon Musical
- Pokemon Musicals, which presumably replace contests, allow the player to dress up their Pokemon and make them dance to a certain tune. These musicals will take place in the Musical Hall and, much like with contests, an item called the "Goods Case" will be used to store costumes and other accessories. Little is currently known about how Pokemon Musicals are graded, but after the show is over you can receive gifts from fans in the audience.
- Random Matchup
- Instead of having to get another player's friend code and vice versa in order to battle, this new feature allows for the player to choose which battle style they want and be matched up with a random stranger to battle.
- Global Link
- This feature allows the player to upload their save file to the internet. This includes the ability to view statistics country-by-country, including their most 'tucked in Pokemon' (see Dream World), send your friends messages, customise your C-Gear and Pokedex and also take advantage of the two main features:
- Global Battle Union
- The Global Battle Union allows players to participate in ongoing tournaments, view rankings of Random Matchup players, upload your battle video codes and see who is battling (and which country they are from.)
- Dream World
- Obtaining Munna or Musharna allows for another new feature called Dream World. This allows the player to transfer one Pokemon into the Dream World, where it has its own room and can interact and play minigames with other Pokemon. If the player's Pokemon befriends another Pokemon, it may return to the game with it.
New Design Features
As well as changes and improvements to the gameplay, Black and White also introduces some design changes that mark a stark new direction for the look and feel of the Pokémon games.
- A 3D Environment
- Following on from Generation IV's use of 3D modelling mixed with 2D sprites, Black and White place the player in an almost fully 3D environment that can be navigated in a level of depth never before seen in the Pokémon main series. Although the camera placement is still fixed and centered on the player, it moves around with the player to navigate their surroundings, as well as changing angles and zoom for changes of scene, eg: entering a battle.
- Aesthetic Differences
- Following on from areas becoming darker and lighter according to the time, areas are now effected by the Seasons and game version. Routes have flowers blooming in spring and brown leaves in autumn. Some cities in Black have a more technological theme, whereas Cities in White have a more nature-based theme.
- More Dynamic Battles
- Battle scenes are now far more dynamic. Each Pokemon is now fully animated throughout the battle, and the battle scene zooms in and out depending on the action taking place. From footage seen so far, it also seems that battles occur at a faster pace - a major recurring criticism of the battle system in previous games.
- Deeper Character Interactions
- In some instances, you will talk to a character in a manner similar to Phoenix Wright's text-adventure games. So far we only know this will happen through the Live Caster, but it could also be used for other dialogue in-game.
- New Pokémon
- As always, a new Generation brings with it new Pokémon. Pokemon Black and White bring with them 156 new Pokemon, with none of them being related to Pokemon from the previous 4 generations. Additionally, there are no Pokemon from Generations 1-4 available pre-national dex, and even then very few roam Isshu. Some of the new Pokemon are based on the same animals as past ones are, meaning a fresh start.
- For more information on the new Pokemon, check our Cryptidex.
- New Wild Pokemon Encounter methods
- Aside from the usual patches of grass, there are now shaking Areas which often hold rare Pokemon, or Pokemon not usually found in the grass.
- New Moves and Move Changes
- Every new Generation brings with it a host of brand new attacks, and Gen V is no exception. No new HMs were introduced, but many TMs have been replaced with the new moves. See our Generation V TMs and HMs list for more information.
- Unlike subtle changes seen in past Gens, many previously existing attacks have received upgrades and changes to their power, PP, accuracy, and effects.
- New Items
- Just like each new year brings with it a number of diseases that will get the public in a frenzy for nothing, each new generation of Pokemon brings with it numerous new items, reinventions, and revamps of previous ones. Check out the Generation V Items page for a full list of the items to be found in Unova.
Battle between Zorua and Zoroark
Artwork of the Unova region