Welcome to Diary Entry 8 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!
After the ordeal involving the Champion, past the door is a stairwell leading up to a platform. N sits regally on the opposite end, awaiting your arrival. Upon catching sight of you, he stands and heads towards the center stage as you make your way up as well.
Following a brief conversation, N calls for Zekrom, and the black dragon comes crashing through the back wall.
It flaps its wings a few times, hovering over the center stage before landing with a resounding thud. The turbine-like energy chargers on Zekrom’s abdomen start to whirl. With a roar, the dragon flings its head back and sends a wave of electrical energy pulsating through the room. Personally, I was surprised to find myself alive after an entrance like that. I mean, even the water surrounding the stage was all vaporized…
Before long, the presence of Zekrom results in the appearance of his white “yang” counterpart, Reshiram. By this point, one of the items you’ll have obtained during your journey is actually the latent form of your very own legendary, and with a resounding bang of its own, the dragon unfurls from fetal position and lands on the stage. Not to be outdone, Reshiram’s energy chargers whirl as well, and a burst of flames sweeps the room.
Reshiram’s not yours yet, though; you have to catch the Legendary right then and there! Don’t worry, you can’t fail this, and, as we’ll discuss later, the increased catch rate for the Legendaries makes this a cinch.
The ensuing battle is definitely one to be remembered, since it’s the only one where you’re required to use and to battle Legendary Pokémon against another trainer. Of course, after you get past the hulking Zekrom, you still have to deal with the rest of N’s team.
However, in the interest of leaving something to surprise you all, I’m going to leave out what goes on in the moments that follow.
Assuming you won the battle, the credits roll (and, amazingly, you can fast-forward through them by holding the A button) and once again, you find yourself back at home sweet home. Now that we’ve beaten the Elite Four once, it’s time for the post-game! There are still places to explore, Pokémon to see, people to catch … yes, I said that right.
Remember how Isshu is designed mostly like a circle, with the routes leading up to the Elite Four sprouting off the top of the map? A look at the map reveals that we still haven’t explored the three cities that lie to the east — Kagome Town, Sazanami Town, and Black City (or White Forest, depending on your version). Along the way are several cliffy routes with rampant waterfalls running between them, as well as sandy bay areas and two large bridges. One of these is its own town, Village Bridge (although there’s no Pokécenter there) and the other is Wonder Bridge, which connects Raimon to Black City. This was blocked off earlier in the game to prevent you from traveling this way.
And good thing that it was, because all the Pokémon are extremely high-level around this area. Interestingly, throughout the entirety of the post-game, all the wild Pokémon remain at the same level. However, they’re divided up into two tiers: the regular grass holds wild ones around level 53, while the double battle grass is home to Pokémon over level 60. Depending on what your current level is, you can choose where you want to battle…unless you’re exploring and you have to run through the tall grass, in which case you have to cross your fingers and hope that you don’t run into something too tough.
I didn’t particularly like this scheme because the jump between the two levels is huge, and I haven’t even gotten started on the Trainers’ Pokémon. It’s like the game decided to go, “Good luck!” and shoved you off a cliff. Where’s the gradual difficulty curve?!
Moving on, post-game Black/White comes with a bit of a story as well, mostly to do with the remaining members of Team Plasma.
They’re scattered all over Isshu, which encourages you to use all the HMs at your disposal and explore the old routes again to try and flush the former members out. Usually they’re located at the very end of pivotal dungeons related to the Team Plasma plot, but sometimes they’ve also made their home in the middle of one of the new routes. I remember one of them was even on a route connected directly to Route 1, near your hometown. The rewards for tracking them down aren’t great, and I’m not especially enthusiastic about the way everything is wrapped up, but if you want to see everyone captured and “face the justice they deserve,” Black/White at least grants closure.
Really, this is mostly an attempt to get you to re-explore old locations because, after your first victory against the Elite Four, new areas on older routes have opened up containing, yes, level 50-60 wild Pokémon and level 65 trainers. I remember my enthusiasm when I first discovered that I could explore deeper into the Ruins of Dreams near the beginning of the game, which was closely followed by horror at the fact that everyone, wild and trainer-tamed, was at a higher level and very capable of beating me to a pulp.
On the flip side, now that you’re capable (sort of) of exploring these areas more effectively, there are more items to be had, such as the wonderful Earthquake TM. Plus, it’s just satisfying, being able to travel to all the areas you couldn’t reach before because of a well-placed orange cone or boulder (which have all mysteriously vanished post-game).
Next time: we talk about Pokémon Black’s version-exclusive region — Black City!