Pokémon Black and White are the first two Generation V games released for Nintendo DS. These games, like the other main games before them, introduces new features to Pokémon while keeping similar features from past games as well.
Each Black and White game case comes inside a box that has artwork of Zekrom or Reshiram with their tails illuminated. Depending on the version, the outer box has black or white patterns infringing upon the background.
These games feature 156 new Pokémon, more than any other generation before. There are no evolutions or pre-evolutions of existing Pokémon from past generations. Pokémon from other regions can only be found or transferred through the Poké Transfer after completing the main game.
They take the 3D attributes previously included in Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold and SoulSilver and take them to new levels by including things like fully 3D bridges and 3D cities.
The games are set in the region known as Unova. Unova is far away from the previous regions, requiring the player to get there by boat or plane. Unova is a predominantly industrialized region with various factories and train tracks existing in the various areas. The games also have the player playing as two protagonists older than the previous playable characters.
The game's story features the villainous Team Plasma, a team who want to liberate Pokémon from the hardship of battles and see owning Pokémon as a form of slavery. The player also has to battle the region's Gyms to obtain the eight badges needed to challenge the Pokémon League, just like the previous generations.
The games also introduce a variety of new multiplayer aspects including the Xtransceiver, a DSi and 3DS exclusive feature, that allows for video chat for people to use. In addition to that, the games can now connect to the Internet for access to a site called the Pokémon Global Link. The Global Link allows people to access Random Matches on the Internet as well as a section called the Dream World which will allow the player to obtain non-Unova Pokémon, some of which have new abilities or moves, and items that also cannot be obtained in Unova.
The Unova Region
Pokémon Black and White take place within the Unova Region (known as the Isshu Region in the Japanese version). Unova is far away from the regions of Sinnoh, Johto, Kanto and Hoenn and can only be accessed via boat or airplane. This vast distance between the other regions probably explains the lack of old generation Pokémon at the beginning. Unova is far more industrialized than the other regions and as such, is more vastly populated. However, there are still many woodland areas, and even a desert for people to explore. The map contains fourteen cities or other major landmarks and other smaller areas. Emphasizing that Unova is far away from the other regions in past games, the routes will start again from Route 1.
A list of the various locations in Unova can be found here.
- In battles in Black and White, Pokémon are no longer just static sprites on a static background. Instead, everything is in motion. The front and backsprites of each Pokémon move at all times during a battle, some even change movement based on certain scenarios. In battle, the music also changes like when the Pokémon's hit points is low.
- In addition to the moving sprites, the camera is also adaptive during battle. With many attacks, the camera will zoom out and show the entire Pokémon doing that attack. This feature is seamless and the battles go quicker than the ones in the past generations.
- There are now Double Wild Battles. The experience system has been tweaked; Pokémon defeating a higher-leveled opponent will gain more experience, whereas knocking out a weaker opponent means less experience. The player can also combine some moves to create a new one such as the Pledge attacks.
- Following on from the Double Battle style introduced within Ruby and Sapphire, Black and White introduces the evolution of the Multi-Pokémon Battles, Triple Battle, and Rotation Battles.
- Triple Battles involve players sending out half of his/her team against his/her opponents. The targeting in Triple Battles is determined solely by the position in the battlefield. The Pokémon in the middle has the ability to damage all the Pokémon on the field. However, the Pokémon to the sides can only target the Pokémon directly opposite and the ones in the middle. In addition, Pokémon in the middle will do more damage to all the other Pokémon when using an attack that damages all its foes than a Pokémon to the side.
- In Rotation Battles, like Triple Battles, three Pokémon are sent out. However, Pokémon are on a stage that can rotate. The player's Pokémon only battles one Pokémon with the other Pokémon pushed at the back. However, when battling, the player will have the ability of rotating the stage clockwise or counterclockwise making another Pokémon one of the main Pokémon in use. The player is only allowed to utilize the Pokémon currently based at the center of the trio. Rotations take up turns and the player may not continue, after rotating, to attack the foe.
- This does not take turns away and the player still has the ability to attack immediately with his/her new main Pokémon. The rotation appears to be the first thing that happens in the turn.
The Wonder Launcher
- The Wonder Launcher is a new option that has been brought into Multiplayer battles. Previously, during multiplayer battles, players couldn't use items. However, when both players in a battle have the Wonder Launcher option turned on, they then have the ability to use items in battle. However, items are not used in the conventional manner in these Wireless Battles, as they have to be earned throughout the battle. Whenever the player takes their turn, they will get a number of points, and the player can use these points to then purchase the use of the item. Like in the main games, this will take up the player's turn. There are many possible items to be used, including items such as Revive, as well as items exclusive to the Wonder Launcher.
- Black Version: Weedle, Kakuna, Beedrill, Murkrow, Houndoom, Shroomish, Breloom, Plusle, Volbeat, Honchkrow, Cottonee, Whimsicott, Gothita, Gothorita, Gothitelle, Vullaby, Mandibuzz, Tornadus, and Reshiram.
- White Version: Caterpie, Metapod, Butterfree, Paras, Parasect, Misdreavus, Poochyena, Mightyena, Minun, Machop, Gastly, Haunter, Gengar, Illumise, Mismagius, Petilil, Lilligant, Solosis, Duosion, Reuniclus, Rufflet, Braviary, Thundurus, and Zekrom.
A major new feature in Pokemon Black and White are seasons. Unlike the day/night cycle, the seasonal cycle is not completely based upon and dependent on the real world seasonal cycle. Instead, each season lasts a month. This cycle allows all of the seasons to be done within four months, so players have three opportunities to access each season in each year.
The seasons have several effects upon the game. Each season has a slightly different look, depending on what part of Unova the season is at.
The wild Pokémon in certain areas vary from season to season. For example, some Pokémon are common in the Summer, but rare in the Winter.
Several areas have new areas accessible within certain seasons. An example of this is Icirrus City where, in Winter, a snowfall allows the player to access areas previously inaccessible. It also affects some Pokémon such as Deerling which has different forms depending on the season.
Like all the previous games, Pokémon Black and White feature eight Gym Leaders that need to be defeated to obtain Gym Badges. These gyms follow the same principles but tend to have a variety of new features.
Elite Four and Champion
The C-Gear is a new feature within Pokémon Black and White. It sits upon the bottom screen in a similar manner to the Pokétch in the Sinnoh region games. It constantly looks for local Wireless, Infrared and Wi-Fi connections. A variety of features are provided by this gizmo, including access to the Pokémon Global Link and the Entralink. Through infrared, players can have speedy battles with up to four players and speedy trades directly from the player's party or PC box.
Pokémon Black and White has a feature called the Poké Transfer Lab, which allows people to transfer Pokémon over from the Generation IV games. It's only accessible after completing the main story, and is located on Route 15. Although you can transfer Pokémon to Black and White, you can't transfer it back to the game you got it from.
Entralink is a new feature within Pokémon Black and White which allows people to connect to the internet and walk around the various parts of Unova. This feature is done over local wireless. This mode is not connectible via the Pokémon Centers but on an island in the center of Unova. When the player is done hosting the Entralink, everything will look normal. However, when the player is the one joining somebody else's Entralink, he/she will enter a version of Unova that is in monochrome and appear as the multiplayer avatar of your game character. Here, he/she can create his/her own profile there. Things displayed include playtime for the game, badges earned, time spend in Dream World, and Friend List.
In the Entralink, you can walk around most areas and find your friend. You also get to find numerous support missions for you to compete to get prizes. You can team up with your friends to do these missions and other missions require you to face up against your friends.
In a similar manner to the Battle Towers of Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh, Unova has its own battle system, the Battle Subway. This place allows players to battle other trainers much like the Battle Tower. When the Battle Subway is accessed, the player enters a massive circular station. Here, various trainers are battled.
- Like the Battle Towers, the Battle Subway has three different battle methods:
- Single Battle - Simple 1 VS 1 Battles
- Double Battle - Simple 2 VS 2 Battles
- Multi Battles - Double Battles where people can battle throughout the subway.
- 6 vs 6 battle - 6 vs 6, all Pokémon in party out at once.
- Like the Battle Tower, the player battles seven consecutive opponents. Once the seven opponents are defeated, then the player wins the streak and earns Battle Points. Battle Points can then be used to spend on items such as Protein. Each Pokémon faced is Level 50 and there is one Trainer per carriage. It is revealed that if the player keeps winning in the Battle Subway, a new character named the Subway Master challenges the player.
Following on from Pokémon Contests the evolution of contests has come in Unova is labeled as a Pokémon Musical. In Nimbasa City, the player will find a Musical Theater where Pokémon Musicals take place. The Musicals, unlike Contests, do not feature any of the battling aspects within Pokémon Contests. Instead, they just enhance the original appeals process of Contests and take it to a new level. Players dress up their Pokémon, and when they're finished, their Pokémon can take part in the musical. It has a special backround, music, and dancing. If your Pokémon has hands/arms, then they can hold something, such as a scepter, and you can click on the 'appeal' button on the bottom of the screen. If you click on it, then your Pokémon does something with the held item, such as twirling it or throwing it in the air. When the musical is over, you'll receive comments from the audience through a man. Then you'll go back into the main room, and if you talk to the people, then they may give you a prop.
New Wi-Fi Features
Like the Generation IV games, Black & White include a variety of Wi-Fi features, some old and some new.
- The Global Terminal makes a return within Black and White. However, rather than being in an isolated building in one city of Unova, the Global Terminal is now accessible through via Pokémon Centers everywhere in Unova. The Global Terminal this time only has three features.
- Random Match: The Random Match feature allows for players to battle with random players across the world without the need for friend codes or prior communication.
- GTS: The GTS makes its return in this game as well. With a new feature that allows player to trade with a random or previous traded with trainer in the world.
- In addition to this, players also have the ability to upload his/her save file to Nintendo's servers. With this, the player can then access a site that will affect the player's game. One of the new features within Pokémon Black and White is the Pokémon Global Link. This feature allows the player to upload and save to the Internet to access a specific website in order to get features and Pokémon in the game.
- The player can also activate the Xtransceiver feature which allows the player to use the DSi's camera to talk to friends through video feed. Locally, the player can talk to up to four people, while over Wi-Fi, the player can only talk to two. The Xtransceiver will have a pen and stamp tool so the player can play with the pictures while using the video chat. Other people in the game will use the Xtransceiver feature to talk to the player as well.
Pokémon Global Link
One of the new features within Pokémon Black and White is the Pokémon Global Link. This feature allows players to upload their save to the Internet to access a specific website in order to get features and Pokémon in the game.
- To connect to the Global Link site, the player needs to Sync up with the website via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. This is done through one of two ways. First, the player can sync up using the Dream Smoke feature given by Munna and Musharna. In addition to this, the player can also sync up via the C-Gear. When the C-Gear is synced up, the player sends across just one Pokémon to enter the Dream World from his/her Box.
In addition to that, once the player has signed up on the Pokémon Global Link, he/she will have the ability to go in for Random Matches within the Pokémon Centers. Here, players can also get ranked based on their performance and the player's rankings will appear on the Pokémon Global Link website.
- Finally, access to the Global Link will allow people to get a variety of downloadable content. After the player connects to the Global Link, the player will be able to download some special backgrounds. Like previous games had backgrounds for boxes, Black and White expands upon this to give players downloadable backgrounds for the player's Pokédex and C-Gear. In addition to this, the player will be able to download new songs for the Pokémon Musical.
Main Article: Dream World
The Dream World is a new aspect of the games, shown as part of a website called the Pokémon Global Link. The Dream World is accessed by going to the bed in Fennel's house in Striaton City. From here, the player can use the Dream Smoke obtained from Musharna and sync his/her game up to his/her Pokémon Global Link account.
There are many different aspects of the Dream World to utilize, including access to Pokémon and items that cannot be naturally found within Unova.
- Within the Dream World, the player will occasionally encounter a variety of Pokémon. These Pokémon are not typically available within the Unova region and thus are mostly Pokémon that were previously native to the previous regions. These Pokémon, once befriended, will then be able to be encountered within a specific area of Unova. In this area, the player will be able to capture them with great ease.
- Many of the Pokémon within the Dream World will have abilities that the Pokémon the player transfers over from the Generation IV does normally have.
- In the region of Unova, berries do not grow. The only way to get berries is to grow them within the Dream World. Growing is done in a similar manner to in the previous main games and once the berries have grown, the player will have the ability to send them back to his/her game.
- The final part of the Dream World is the player decorating his/her own house. This house is on a floating island and the player has the ability to decorate it in whatever manner he/she wants. In addition to decorating them, the player will also have the ability to link up to his/her Dream World dwelling with his/her friends to allow the player's Pokémon to play with each other. This connection is required to allow people access to the items the player put on the shelves.
- Professor Juniper is the Professor of the Unova region and has a Minccino. Living in the same town as the player, Cheren, and Bianca, she gives them the Pokédex to start their journey. She will give the player and their friends the three Starter Pokémon. She pops up throughout the game to give the player advice.
- Fennel is one of the friends of Professor Juniper and will help the player at various points in the game. As a researcher, she is deeply involved within the Pokémon Global Link. She gives the player the C-Gear. She currently works to access the Dream Word by using a sample of Munna's Dream Mist.
- Cheren is one of the player's childhood friends and will receive a Starter Pokémon from Professor Juniper at the same time as the player and Bianca. The Starter Pokemon with advantageous against the Player's Starter Pokemon. He's extremely trustworthy and intelligent, and will give the player advice throughout his/her journey. Starting on his journey, he will appear throughout the game, challenging the player to battles often to keep the player's skills fresh. His goal is to be a champion.
- Bianca is one of the player's childhood friends and will receive a Starter Pokémon from Professor Juniper along with the player and Cheren. The Starter Pokemon Bianca chooses will be at a disadvantage to the Player's Starter Pokemon. She also starts her journey at the same time as the player and Cheren despite the protests of her father. She is a bit unreliable and will not crop up at the right times, but she will grow as the story progresses. She will still turn up and challenge the player at a variety of occasions.
- N is a trainer who will appear throughout the player's journey, challenging him/her to battles. He has a view that Pokémon are friends and should not be used in the manner they are. He wishes to separate Pokémon and Humans and is looking for the power in order to make his idea occur. Each time the Player meets N, he has different Pokemon from the local area for his team.
- Ghetsis is one of the Seven Sages within Team Plasma. He is first met in Accumula Town where he's running a speech to the locals about how Pokémon shouldn't be enslaved. He is also seen later throughout the Player's journey, trying to remove Pokemon from people by force or gloat about his or (as he soon corrects himself) Team Plasma's goals.
- Looker is a member of G-Unit. He did previous work in Sinnoh, capturing the commanders of Team Galactic. After N abandons his throne, the remaining Seven Sages are still on the loose. Looker gifts the Player with a Super Rod and asks for his/her assistance in finding the remaining Sages so that they can be brought to justice and interrogated about the workings of Team Plasma.
- The first two Pokémon revealed in these games and Generation V were Zorua and Zoroark.
- The three starters for these games are Snivy, Tepig, and Oshawott.
- Reshiram and Zekrom, the Legendary Pokémon, have to do with the Yin and Yang symbols, respectively.
- As shown on the map of Unova there are two sets of mountains, one on each side of the region.
- These are the first games to have a female professor.
- This is the first game to introduce the Cross-Trade evolution method, where you trade a certain Pokémon with another with the result being two entirely different Pokémon.
- The only difference between the two titles is it's setting: black takes place on a city while white, in a forest. There are also Pokémon that are not present in a version so trading is required to complete the Pokédex.
- These are the first Pokémon titles to have seasons.
- These are the first Pokémon titles to have aesthetic changes dependent on the version you get. Pokémon Black's cities are more urban, while Pokémon White's cities are more rural.
- Team Rocket Swag Master Mosh from HeartGold and SoulSilver that was in Cerulean City appears in Black and White.
- Even though until you get the national Pokédex you can only see generation V Pokémon there are several times you see images of Pikachu, like hedges outside of Straiton City and a Giant balloon in the theme park in Nimbasa City.
- This however may be due to Pikachu's popularity.
- This is the first Pokémon game to be released in the UK before America (UK: March 4th, US: March 6th) as it was released 2 days after.
- This is the first Pokemon Generation of Games to have a heavy concept put into it - the well-being of Pokemon and questioning if capturing and battling with them is wrong. Compared to the other versions, Black and White have upped the ante on game themes.
- Pokémon Black and Pokemon White are the only games that don't use Pokémon from other generations for its regional PokéDex.
- Pokémon Black and Pokemon White are the first games in Pokémon history that have sequels: Pokémon Black 2 and Pokémon White 2.