Nintendo DS

Pokémon Black/White Diary 9: Black City And The Return Of Familiar Faces


Welcome to Diary Entry 9 of our in-depth coverage of Pokémon Black/White (Japanese version). The aim of this series of weekly articles is to allow readers to understand what new features and changes they can expect to see from Pokémon Black/White without spoiling the experience for them. We hope you enjoy them!


Something we haven’t covered yet is the biggest difference between Pokémon Black/White: the version-exclusive areas, Black City and White Forest.


I’ll be mostly focusing on Black City, since Black is the version of the game I’m playing, but the two work in essentially the same way.


Black City is a technologically advanced, skyscraper-filled city crawling with trainers and fully evolved Pokémon ready to challenge you, while White Forest is covered with various patches of grass and teeming with low-level, pre-evolved forms of Pokémon. However, you’ll find that there isn’t a lot of to see at first; in fact, when I entered Black City, there wasn’t a building in sight.


Both of these locations are affected by the Entralink feature. Entralink allows you to visit a friend’s game and take on multiplayer missions together over local wireless. Do this enough and more trainers and Pokémon start trickling into Black City/White Forest. If you ignore the city and don’t visit it for long periods of time, trainers and Pokémon will start to leave, at which point you’ll have to Entralink with a friend again. Essentially, the state of this locale is based on your interaction with the location as well as with your friends.


In addition to the exploring, you also uncover some of the game’s more handy functions. Some are daily rematches, like Cynthia and Game Freak Morimoto (who have Pokémon going into the high 70s); the Royal Isshu, which is a timed cruise line where you can explore and battle trainers daily; the Pokémon Shifter, a device that allows you to transfer Pokémon from older generations (I’ll be going into this more in another article); the Undersea Ruins in Sazanami Bay, the only opportunity you have to use the Dive HM as you scour through a “timed” underwater maze for archaeological goods; and, of course, Legendary hunting.


Ah, Legendaries. There’s quite a few new ones, and there’s one roaming Pokémon that can be a pain to catch (although, you also luckily have precisely one Master Ball, hint hint), so it’s not like there’s a dearth of rare Pokémon to search for.


However, I do have a qualm with them. This is based purely off my speculation, but I think the catch rate for these guys has increased significantly. While I admit throwing ball after ball at a Legendary can be very off-putting (especially when the poor Pokémon struggles itself to death), being able to catch Legendaries with just 3 balls is a bit too easy, don’t you think?


After catching all the Legendaries in this game, I noticed the most number of balls I ever had to use was 6. Either I got really lucky or these guys are just that much easier to catch this time around.


Post-game is also when you get to meet new Pokémon. But who’s left? You’ve already met the majority of the Pokémon from this generation, and even though you’ve just been given your Super Rod, there’s not much to do with it.


This is where you’ll see the return of some familiar faces. The Pokémon from the previous generations are back, and they heavily — almost exclusively in fact — populate the new areas opened up in post-game.


This includes new areas connected to previously visited places as well as the eastern routes, which we covered last week.


Now, this might be a welcome change for some, but I personally didn’t like it. Despite the fact that I was a little wary of the new Pokémon before playing Black — I was among those who felt that the new generation wasn’t very “Pokémon-esque” — I grew to love them throughout the course of the game, and I felt that they were the ones who gave Unova its unique identity.


Once I’d grown accustomed to the new monsters, the old Pokémon just didn’t feel like they belonged here. Post-game, the older generation Pokémon are thrust into the new routes, ten new ones at a time per route, which takes away from some of the “freshness” of Pokémon Black. Overall, I feel that the two generations collided with a proverbial crash in Black/White.


All this being said, there’s quite a bit to do post-game, especially if you’re interested in carrying the “Gotta Catch ‘em All” tradition over to Black/White. More story, more exploring, more items to help you expand on your strategy, and let’s not forget that Elite Four and Champion rematch waiting in the horizon!


And with that, our Pokémon Diary series is nearly at an end. The game releases this week, so a lot of you will own it by the time our final entry goes up next week. All that remains is a few loose ends to tie up that I feel are worth a mention in the next and last diary entry.