Pokémon Black/White. What to Expect.

It will have been out in Japan for half a year come it’s release date, but in March comes the next installment to one of Nintendo’s most cherished franchises. Pokémon will be released, for what may be the last time on the DS, in the form of Pokémon Black and White. But is it time for you to once again delve into the second best-selling gaming franchise and catch ’em all?!

Nintendo are aiming to please Pokémon fan’s all over again in March, Black and White are coming to your DS’s and there are a few changes. The first major change obviously is the new region, Unova. This region however breaks from tradition, usually Pokémon regions are based on Japanese locales, but Unova is different. It is based on New York. If you look at the map of Unova it is possible to see the resemblance. There is a large desert area in the center which has destroyed buildings and possibly airplanes, Ground Zero? Also above the center of the region is a large area that resembles New York’s Central Park.

The Unova Region

As with the other entries in the Pokémon series, a new region also means new Pokémon. Of course I could list all of them, but that wouldn’t make an interesting article would it. Here is a link to the list, types and abilities of all of the new Pokémon added in Pokémon Black and White: [link] There are a lot though, more than usual, in fact it’s even more than the franchise’s first game. 155 all new Pokémon for you to learn, catch and battle with. But wait, doesn’t that mean there will be a lot to use against the Elite Four pre-National Dex? No, Nintendo are breaking another Pokémon tradition and in Black and White, until you get the National Dex, you can only use the new Pokémon. Yes, that’s right, you have to wait before you can get your Pikachu.

There are also a bunch of new features added into the Black and White games. This ranges from graphical updates to update battle mechanics. Firstly is the graphical update. Black and White sports even greater graphical detail, updated speech boxes which allow more characters to talk at once, moving battle sprites and some impressive scenery which is in 3D (think more of the sort of 3D in a Wii platformer than 3DS 3D). Black and White is also the first game to expand further on the Day and Night mechanics that were introduced all the way back in 2000’s Gold and Silver, with the addition of a seasonal mechanic. Using the DS’s Clock and Calender Pokémon Black and White will not only change the scenery to reflect the actual time of day but also the season. This seasonal variance will do more than change the leaves colour though.  There are paths in the game which will be closed off in one season to another and Pokémon that change depending on the season, with some Pokémon only being available for capture depending on the season.

In terms of battle mechanics there are 2 major updates. 2 new types of battles: Triple and Rotation battles. Triple battles, much like Ruby and Sapphire’s Double battles, make you battle with 3 Pokémon at once. Unlike the Double battles though, your Pokémon’s position in the battle matters. With Pokémon on the ends being unable to attack a Pokémon on the opposite end of your opponents battle team. To solve this you can change the order of the Pokémon that are out, but like switching Pokémon all together this will use up the Pokémon’s turn. In Rotation battles, again 3 Pokémon will be sent out, but only the Pokémon positioned at the front will be allowed to make a move. This is because although there are 3 Pokémon on the field, in actual fact it is still a one-on-one battle. The twist is at the beginning of your turn you can choose to change which Pokémon is at the front without using up your turn. So you can change the battle quickly and unexpectedly whilst still attacking. Your opponent will not know that you’ve changed the front Pokémon until attacks start either. These new types of battles have been arranged in such a way that each version will also have them in different frequencies. Pokémon Black will have more Rotation Battles and White will have more Triple Battles.


The Unova starters: Snivy, Tepig and Oshawott (left to right)

The C-Gear is a new device which replaces Diamond and Pearl’s Pokétch. It allows players to control various wireless activities. These include infrared (battling, trading, friend codes, the “Feeling Check” function and communication whilst the game is in standby), the Xtranciever (a new video chat function) and Wi-Fi linking to the new Dream World which is managed using the Pokémon Global Link servers.

Transferring your old Pokémon to Black and White has changed too. For normal transfers the PokéShifter has replaced the Pal Park from Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold and SoulSilver. This feature is more of a mini game than before, with the player having to launch Pokéballs at the Pokémon being transferred within a time limit. Like the Pal Park this is only available upon receiving the National Dex. Another transfer feature, called the Transfer Machine, is used to transfer Pokémon such as the rare Zorua and Zoroark Pokémon which are obtained from special events such as the Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions film.

Other new features include:

  • Pokémon Musicals, similar to Pokémon Contests
  • The Battle Subway, similar to the Battle Towers and Battle Frontiers
  • Royal Isshu (possibly will be renamed to Royal Unova as Isshu is the Japanese name for Black and White’s region), which is a boat with a daily set of fights

Pokémon Black and White has so many more features, updates and interesting changes, but this article is already long enough. For more information head to serebii.net.

Pokémon Black and White will be released to the EU on March 4th, USA on March 6th and Australia on March 10th for Nintendo DS systems.

To transfer Pokémon between the older games and the new games, two features have been placed in Black and White. For normal transfer, the PokéShifter (ポケシフター Pokeshifutā?) feature is available after completion of the main storyline. Unlike the Pal Park feature that was in the Generation IV games, the PokéShifter is a mini-game in which after six Pokémon are transferred, the player uses the touch screen to launch Poké Balls at the transferred Pokémon which are moving about on the top screen to catch them within a time limit.[23] Another feature called the Transfer Machine is used to transfer the Pokémon given away in promotions for the Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions film so the player can activate the special events to obtain the rare Zorua and Zoroark Pokémon. Unlike the PokéShifter, this function is available before the main game is completed.

About Nick Duggan
I'm 19 an I study Computer Games Design at Staffordshire University. I'm a video gamer and also a Yu-Gi-Oh! collector/player. Twitter: @30DiedOnMars

3 Responses to Pokémon Black/White. What to Expect.

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  3. Gerald says:

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