Welcome to Diary Entry 4 of our in-depth coverage of Pokémon Black/White. 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 giving these a read!
Step into Raimon City and you’ll face Team Plasma. Winning the battle with Team Plasma netted me a Bicycle, given in gratitude by an old gentleman who was being harassed by them. Who doesn’t love freebies? No searching necessary — just go on with the story and you’ll find ‘em!
Raimon is a huge city, though not quite on the same scale as Hiun. There’s the usual residences and Pokécenter, but then there’s also an amusement park, the Musical Hall, the two sports arenas, and, most importantly, the fourth gym. Oh, and there’s also the Battle Subway, which brings you to a massive underground railway system that essentially functions like the Battle Tower of previous generations. I’ve always despised the Battle Tower, so I didn’t give the Subway too much of a shot.
The Musical Hall is home to a Pokémon musical, which is a part of the story the first time around, so l gave it a shot. I dressed one of my Pokémon up with the kit I was given and watched her dance across the screen. The whole experience was one I viewed with suspended disbelief and mostly tried to wipe from my mind afterwards. Belle, I curse you.
A journey to the amusement park resulted in a run-in with N, who challenged me to a battle. The fight itself was remarkably easy. The sports domes were cooler. They were home to a few trainers (one each), although I hear they have many more trainers with much stronger Pokémon later in the game.
The gym threw me for a loop. Time and time again, I find myself impressed with the combination of the aesthetic and the design of the gyms in Pokémon Black/White. In Raimon, the theme is Electric types, and the gym maze functions around a roller coaster, where you have to manipulate the tracks by stepping on switches.
There really isn’t much to do in Raimon once you’ve seen the sights the first time around, so for me, it meant proceeding on to the next route. The Hodomoe Draw Bridge is just as cool as all the other bridges in the game, and here there’s a new type of “rare encounter.” If you see a shadow on the ground and step on it, you’ll either get an item or a Koaruhi the baby duck (swan?) Pokémon. To my surprise, I got lucky with finding one.
Hodomoe City itself is home to a big marketplace, where you can find vendors selling various goods that are pretty rare elsewhere in Unova. It’s also the first time I ran into the Rotational Battle, one of the two new battle schemes in Pokémon Black/White. It really just runs like a simple single-Pokémon battle, except now you can rotate the battlefield (which consists of three Pokémon) clockwise or counter-clockwise.
The Pokémon attack after the rotation, and you can use the Pokémon immediately with no lost turn. It’s not too hard to get a hang of and honestly, doesn’t seem like it’ll affect the battles very much (although that’s mostly because I purely rely on the “brute force” method during the game; if you use actual strategy, things will probably be different) either.
This also presents a different breed of trainer. I had to talk to him in the city and he asked me whether I wanted to fight him. There have been some trainers that didn’t challenge me despite the fact that I walked right past their line of sight too. Some of them are just non-aggressive, I guess?
The Gym in Hodomoe is a bunch of lifts carrying you up and down, with rafters connecting between them. Hard to explain, but suffice to say it’s like a vertical maze. The theme is Ground, which luckily has plenty of weaknesses, including two out of the three starters. And even if you did choose Pokabu the Fire pig, he’ll prove useful against the Leader’s final Steel/Ground mole, Doryuuzu…at least, theoretically. So long as he can survive one attack, that is, since Doryuuzu is likely faster.
After the battle, Belle challenges you again, despite the fact that she’s not a very proactive Pokémon trainer. Her levels are also a lot lower than the Pokémon at the gym, so it wasn’t much of a challenge. Good news, though. I have Fly now! Looking forward to a great time abusing it from now on.
But almost immediately after — bad news! I have finally found something I hated with a fiery passion about Pokémon Black/White. High encounter rates, annoying Pokémon with Static (which either restricts you to non-contact attacks or makes you use a lot of Paralyz Heals), and high encounter rates with Pokémon that give you very little EXP. I despise the Electric Rock Cave.
Note to self: buy a lot of Max Repels and abuse, abuse, abuse. Escape Ropes are a nice investment too. Thankfully, Professor Araragi put a nice healing balm on those festering feelings of mine and assuages me with a Lucky Egg once I was through the whole ordeal. You are amazing, Professor Araragi.
Let’s take a quick look back at the list of freebies I’ve managed to acquire so far: Lucky Egg, Amulet Coin, EXP Share, Bicycle, Item Dowser, and Fly HM (it was easy before, but never before has a rival just handed it to you!). In addition, I’ve already seen the Breeding Center, Museum, acquired a fossil (which I can revive easily now that I have Fly), and a great place for aimlessly biking up and down to hatch Eggs (Sky Arrow Bridge).
See you next time from Fukiyose, home of honest-to-god airplanes!
(I will never stop being amazed by the presence of actual technology in Pokémon.)