Pokémon Black Version (JP) and Pokémon White Version (JP) are two Nintendo DS video games which are the first entries in the fifth generation Pokémon games. The games contain very few connections to the previous Pokémon titles, featuring 156 new Pokémon, brand new characters, and new gameplay mechanics. During the duration of the main game, none of the 493 Pokémon from the first four generations appear. Black and White are the first Pokémon games since Pokémon Red and Blue to use a color in the name instead of an element or precious gemstone.
The player chooses either a boy or a girl and sets off on their adventure. On the way, they will be able to acquire Pokémon through various different means. In the beginning of the game, the character will come in possession of a Starter Pokémon. Of the three available, they are only allowed to choose one.
The player can obtain additional Pokémon by capturing them in the wild or getting them through a trade. Battles in the game are turn based and involve the player's Pokémon. When a battle starts, the first Pokémon in the player's inventory (the player can have up to six Pokémon at once, though can store the rest in a PC to use for later) is sent out (in double or triple battles, the next Pokémon in line are sent out with it).
The player is then required to select commands for the Pokémon such as battling or using an item. In the wild, a battle is finished when the opposing Pokémon gets knocked out or when all of the player's Pokémon get knocked out. In a battle with a Trainer, the battle ends when either all of the opposing Trainer's Pokémon get knocked out or when all of the player's Pokémon get knocked out.
Catching and training Pokémon
Pokémon White and Black introduce 156 new Pokémon species to the series, more than any other game preceding it (including the original titles). Players can capture Pokémon through various different means. In the beginning of the game, the player can choose one of three different species of Starter Pokémon, which are Snivy, Tepig, and Oshawott.
Other Pokémon can be obtained by battling them in the wild and using a Poké Ball to capture them, trading Pokémon with a friend or with someone online via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, getting them through a story event, or evolving them (which produces a new species of Pokémon). In the wild, Pokémon can be found in tall grass, in wetlands, in caves, in deserts, and on or in the water. To catch a Pokémon, players must reduce the opposing Pokémon's HP and toss a Poké Ball at it. Imposing a status condition upon a Pokémon will also improve the chances of capturing a Pokémon. There are 14 different types of Poké Balls in the game, each with different effects. The Great Ball, for example, has a higher chance of capturing a Pokémon than a standard Poké Ball while the Dusk Ball works particularly well in caves and at night.
Once a Pokémon has been caught, they can be trained and leveled up. A Pokémon gains Experience Points by battling or by carrying an Experience Share (a held item that gives Pokémon experience points even if they have not partook in a battle). Once it gains enough Experience Points, the Pokémon will level up and its statistics will increase (HP, attack, special attack, defense, special defense, and speed). The higher the level of an opposing Pokémon is the more experience the user's Pokémon will receive. New attacks and moves can be learned by leveling up, using a Technical Machine or Hidden Machine, or having an NPC teach them a move. Some Pokémon will evolve by leveling up as well. Other ways a player can evolve a Pokémon is by trading it with another Trainer, using stones, enhancing the friendship of the Pokémon with the Trainer, and so on.
After the game is completed, Pokémon from previous generations will start to appear. Some Pokémon from previous games available in the wild in Black and White have never been available in the wild before (they could only be obtained through evolution or through a trade) such as the powerful Tyranitar, Dragonite, and Milotic. Pokémon from other generations can also be found in the game's Dream World and in White Forest (present only in Pokémon White Version).
Pokémon have special abilities that assist them in battle or on the field. There are several different types of abilities in the game, each having a different effect such as Levitate, which is often given to Electric-type Pokémon and prevents them from being harmed by Ground-type moves.
There are nine battle moves that can also be used on the field. Some of them are required in order to progress through the game (such as HM01: Cut) while others are merely optional, such as TM28 Dig. The following are the six available Hidden Machines and the two Technical Machines that provide assistance on the field in addition to battle:
|HM01||Cut||Cuts down miniature trees blocking passage ways.|
|HM02||Fly||Allows the user to travel to cities they've already visited.|
|HM03||Surf||Allows the user to travel on the water.|
|HM04||Strength||Allows the user to move large boulders blocking their way.|
|HM05||Waterfall||Allows users to travel up and down waterfalls.|
|HM06||Dive||Lets the user dive under the water.|
|TM70||Flash||Brightens up dark caves.|
|TM28||Dig||Allows the user to escape a cave without using an Escape Rope.|
All Pokémon have the capability to battle with one another. Each Pokémon has either one or two types. In all there are 17 Pokémon types including Normal, Fire, Water, Grass, Electric, Ice, Fighting, Poison, Ground, Flying, Psychic, Bug, Rock, Ghost, Dragon, Dark, and Steel. Like Pokémon, moves also have types though a Pokémon doesn't always have to be of a certain type to learn a move (though it generally is more likely for an Electric-type Pokémon to learn an electric-type move). Each type has weaknesses and strengths. Fire, for example, is strong against Grass, Ice, Bug and Steel-type Pokémon but weak against Water, Rock, Dragon and other Fire-type Pokémon. Some moves have no effect on the opposing Pokémon. For example, if a Pokémon uses an Electric-type move against a Ground-type Pokémon, it will have no effect, but if a Pokémon uses a Ground-type move against a Flying-type Pokémon or a Pokémon that has the Levitate ability, it will also have no effect. Move types are not the only thing that affect moves, as there are different kinds of moves as well including physical moves, special moves, and status moves. Physical moves are moves in which the Pokémon actually touches the opposing Pokémon when it attacks. These can be powerful, but also may backfire if the other Pokémon has an ability that affects the other Pokémon in a negative way if it makes contact with it. Special moves are different in that the Pokémon does not actually touch the other Pokémon. Status moves are moves that change statistics or the conditions of the battle.
After an attack is delivered, a message will appear describing how effective it was (if no message appears, it means the attack was successfully delivered but that its effects were normal). If the message says "It's super effective!", the attack has delivered 2 to 4 times the normal amount of damage. When a critical hit is delivered, it gives two times the amount of damage (a critical hit is very rare, but its chances can be increased with special items).
Seasons have been added to Pokémon Black and White. The seasons in the game change every month (for example, it will be spring in January and summer in February) and alter the game's world in several different ways. The two Pokémon named Deerling and its evolution Sawsbuck, for example, change in appearance depending on the season. In the spring flowers will start to bloom on Sawsbuck's antlers while in the summer it'll appear as if a bush is on top of its head. Those Pokémon aren't the only thing that change with the seasons, as the game's world will also be modified. In the fall the trees will have orange leaves while snow will cover the ground in the winter. In a few of the routes, the chances of wild Pokémon will shift depending on the season.
The following is a list of seasons and which months they will occur in.
|Spring||January, May, September|
|Summer||February, June, October|
|Fall||March, July, November|
|Winter||April, August, December.|
Unova is the location of the fifth generation Pokémon games. While the layout of Unova is based on Manhattan, New York, the geography is much different. There are two mountain ranges, several forests, a desert north of Castelia City, and numerous villages and towns dotting the landscape. Black and White each feature a unique location within Unova that is not present in the other version. White Forest, as its name implies, is found solely in Pokémon White while Black City is likewise featured exclusively in Pokémon Black.
Unova means "singletype". The developers of the game explained the reasoning behind this name by stating that New York City, the real-world city the location is loosely based on, is sort of a melting pot of all different cultures, races and religions that merge to create a "single type". Unova's cities and towns are separated by various different routes. In these routes, players will fight Trainers, collect Pokémon and ultimately progress through the game.
Pokémon Black and White feature enhanced multiplayer, which is one of most focused parts of the game.
One of the most notable multiplayer aspects is the inclusion of the C-Gear. The C-Gear is located on the touch screen, in place of the Pokétch in Diamond, Pearl and Platinum or the menu in HeartGold and SoulSilver. The C-Gear features three multiplayer options: Infra Red, Wireless and Wi-Fi.
The Infra Red aspects make use of the Infra Red panel built into the game cart (much like the one in HeartGold and SoulSIlver). The Infra Red connection allows you to exchange Friend Codes easily, check compatibility between the two players, trade Pokémon, or have a quick battle. You can have a normal single battle, double battle, triple battle or wonder battle. The wonder battle makes use of the Wonder Launcher, a feature that allows you to use items in a multiplayer battle.
The Wireless feature allows you to either visit the Entralink or use the Xtranceiver. The Xtranceiver allows you to have a video chat with other players nearby.
The Wi-Fi feature allows you to sync your save file to the Global Link website, a website on which the player can catch rare Pokémon, play minigames, grow berries and much more.
The Entralink is an area situated in the center of the Unova region. The only way the player can access this area is by using the C-Gear to warp there. From this area, the player can join other people's games and help them in their adventure. Just north of this area is the Entree Forest, a forest where you can catch the Pokémon you have obtained in the Pokémon Dream World.
Junichi Masuda, the director of Pokémon Black and White and previous entries in the series, stated that although he desired to create a new generation for the Nintendo DS, the primary reason they created the games on the handheld was in response to the tremendous success that the system had been blessed with. The team at Game Freak knew when developing the game that it had to be completely unique so as to differentiate it from the fourth generation of games.
Masuda revealed that Castelia City, the main location in the game, is based on New York, New York. This would be the first time that a Pokémon location was based on an area outside of Japan. The actual shape of Unova, the game's region, is strikingly similar to the shape of Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs. Masuda explained that he chose New York after a Pokémon musical, which toured throughout Japan in 2006, never managed to come to New York in America. He desperately wanted it to, especially since New York is considered a central musical hub due to Broadway. Because of this, New York City was constantly present in Masuda's mind, which led him to make Castelia City and Unova based on the city. Following this, he traveled to New York City and went to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) where he sat in the museum's garden area to finalize his ideas for the game's setting.
Pokémon Black and White were both nearly universally praised by both critics and players. In the United States, Nintendo of America confirmed that after two weeks the company managed to move 2 million units of the games (total includes both versions) following a substantial first week on sale. The game has done almost equally as well elsewhere around the world, particularly Japan and Nintendo's major European markets.
In August, about a month before the game released, Nintendo revealed that the game had achieved 1.08 million pre-orders in Japan alone, the fastest for a Nintendo DS game.
Japanese magazine Famitsu awarded the game a perfect 40 out of 40 score, becoming the 15th game to receive such a distinction, as well as obtaining the highest score ever given to a Pokémon video game by the publication.