Since the highly anticipated Pokémon Black and White’s release date is only four days away for those lucky yiffers in Japan, we should all take a moment to drool over some of the new features the development team at GameFreak will be laying on us in 2011. If you thought Diamond/Pearl/Platinum was full of ooey gooey Pokémon newness, it’s safe to say that the 4th Generation games will look like stale old bread crust once Black and White hits the US in early 2011.
Now, There Are More Ways To Rumble
The first thing players will notice when battling in Pokémon Black/White is that both the front and back sprites of every Pokémon will be moving at all times, and this movement may even vary depending on the situation. This is a big change from previous generations of Pokémon games, where Pokémon were basically motionless. Also, the camera is now dynamic and will reposition itself to grant players the best and all-encompassing view of the attack that is being performed.
A few new types of battles are being introduced, one of them being the Triple Battles. This battle involves you sending our three of your six Pokémon against your opponent, and will include new targeting mechanics. The Pokémon in the middle will have the opportunity to damage any Pokémon on the battlefield, but the ones on the end will be limited to the Pokémon directly across from it or the one in the middle. Trainers can opt to shuffle the order of their Pokémon at any time, but doing so uses up a turn. This new twist in battle is sure to add a new level of strategy Pokéfans have never seen before.
Like the Triple Battle, Rotation Battles have trainers in a 3 vs. 3 setting. However, now the Pokémon are placed on a platform that can be rotated. Only the Pokémon in front can attack or be attacked, and the platform can be rotated any time without using a turn. The rotations happen first in the turn, then speed gets factored in, so there is no real way to make sure you have the perfect counter move your opponent’s Pokémon. This will add yet another layer of difficulty and strategy to competitive battling that is sure to keep even the most seasoned PokéVeteran on their toes!
There is now a way to use items in a wireless battle for the first time in a Pokémon game, utilizing an item called the Miracle Shooter (insert obvious penis jokes here). Players will earn points over the course of the battle and can then use them on game-turning items like an X-Attack or a Revive.
Let Mr. Sandman Take You To Dream World
This is a feature that will allow players to upload their save file via Nintendo’s WiFi Connection. Once you’ve uploaded your save, you will be given access to very special features and Pokémon in your game. You use an item known as “Dream Smoke” or the C Gear, which is like the Pokétch in Diamond/Pearl/Platinum, to send a Pokémon from your PC box to the Dream World. Then you access a website on your computer where you can play some minigames with your Pokémon and even befriend new Pokémon. Most sources say these Pokémon you can befriend will usually be Pokémon from previous generations and will have new abilities.
For some reason we don’t yet know, berries will not grow in Black/White’s Isshun region. The only way you can grow berries is in the Dream World, and this is handled much in the same way that berry growing was handled in the previous DS games. Once your crop is ready you will have an opportunity to send them back to your game. In addition to all this, once you register for the Pokémon Global Link, you will be able to engage in random battles with other trainers via the WiFi Connection at any Pokémon Center. These battles will pit trainers against other real trainers without the need for the universally hated Friend Code system.
Adventure With Your Bestie Via The High Link
Even though visions of Pikachus and gravity bongs may be dancing in your head right now, this new game feature has nothing to do with cannabis. The High Link allows you to team up with another trainer via local wireless and complete various cooperative or competitive missions to win prizes. For players hosting the High Link, Isshun will appear normally. However, if you’re the guest player you will be immersed in a monochromatic version of Isshun and you will appear as the trainer that would represent you in any other multiplayer situation. This seems to be one of the few features on Pokémon Black/White that you don’t access via the Pokémon Centers.
Now Your Pokémon Can Be The Dancing Queen
The contest system in Black/White has eliminated all of the battle-based elements and now focuses solely on your Pokémon’s musical prowess. First you must dress your Pokémon in a crowd-pleasing outfit. Then you go and perform a song along with two other NPC opponents. The person who keeps the rhythm the closest will win, as well as whip the crowd up to a level of excitement that will make them throw gifts at you. Additional songs can be downloaded via the Global Link.
Adios, Battle Frontier
The Battle Frontier, which was introduced in Pokémon Emerald, has been a staple of post Elite Four gameplay since its inception. Admittedly, the setup has gotten a little boring and stale over the years. In Isshun, trainers will be spelunking for glory in the Battle Subway. The same battle types are present, with each one being hosted on a different train in the station. Winning a streak of seven battles will still earn you some battle points, which you can spend on rare and valuable TMs, or items like Rare Candy.
Two major complaints with the series will be fixed with the battle system overhaul and the new sprite animations during a battle. With fantastic and frantic sounding new battle modes, great new ways to interact with your Pokémon outside of the game, new options when it comes to connecting with your friends both locally and via WiFi, and improved in-game distractions like the Isshun Drag Competitions that have taken the place of the traditional contests, I don’t know why you’re still reading this instead of rushing to your local game store to pre-order a copy. These were just five new things I picked; there are a lot of other changes being implemented that should get you pumped, like the changing seasons. What else about Black/White has your interest peaked? Tell us all about them in the comments!