First Look: Pokemon Black 2 and White 2

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Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 are the first true “sequels” in the Pokemon franchise, and will finally arrive in North America this fall (by the end of September). Fortunately for the diehard fans lacking the patience to wait that long (myself included), the Japanese launch (6/23) is just a few weeks away. Therefore, it is only a matter of time before we know every last detail about the new games.

As is normally the case, details about the sequels have been kept under wraps very tightly by Nintendo before launch. For now, here is what we do know about Pokemon Black 2 and White 2:

Going Back To Unova

Black 2 and White 2 return to the Unova region, roughly two years after the events of the original games. Players assume the role of a brand-new Pokemon trainer who comes from Aspertia City, located in the southwest area of Unova – territory that was completely unexplored in the original Black and White versions. In fact, the southwest side of the map has really opened up, while the entire northeast side of the region (and some of the northwest) appears to be covered in ice, as you can see from the map below:

You can see those two islands on the Town Map in Black and White; perhaps you can finally visit them through the new southwestern coastal area in Unova?

There’s always the chance that these areas will be unlocked later in the game, and Nintendo is just keeping them hidden for now – you can almost see through certain spots of the ice – but again, nothing is certain at this point. Apparently some of the previous areas will be slightly different than before, so you will still encounter plenty of new stuff in the older places. There appears to be a port-like city that may be able to take you to the pair of islands that rest between this new western side of Unova and Castelia City, the central metropolis of the region.

The new protagonist looks out over the Unova region from Aspertia City

The Cast

The story has been getting more “focus” from the developers – this was very obvious in Black and White, which had more cut-scenes and dialogue than ever before in the series. The sequels look to continue that trend, and will expand the cast of characters even futher. In addition to Professor Juniper (returning from Black and White), there will be a new Pokemon Professor – Professor Burnett – who actually makes her first appearance in the upcoming app/game for the Nintendo 3DS, Pokemon Dream Radar. With every new set of games comes a new Pokemon trainer protagonist, but there’s also a new rival (pictured to the left), who looks to be just as much a thorn in your side as his predecessors.

There will be plenty more fresh faces to meet in Black 2 and White 2, including new Gym Trainers that occupy the game’s brand-new set of Gyms. Currently we know about a handful, such as Homika, Shizui, and Cheren – who returns from the original Black and White versions as the leader of a Normal-Type Gym in the sequels. More familiar faces include the mysterious antagonist “N”, the Unova region’s former Pokemon Champion Adler, and Bianca, the friend of Black and White’s protagonist, who now serves as Professor Juniper’s assistant. Speaking of Black and White’s protagnoist, I am curious what his/her role will be in Black 2 and White 2 – will we see another challenging battle against the former hero, such as the one against Red in Pokemon Yellow? For now, check out the animated story trailer for Black 2 and White 2:

Expanded National Pokedex

The Unova region in Black 2 and White 2 now features some of the Pokemon from previous generations, so the “National Pokedex” in the sequels has been expanded to 300 – meaning that you will be able to catch some of the older Pokemon from the beginning of the game. This is actually one of the new features of Black 2 and White 2 that I’m not as excited about, as I enjoyed the need to learn all the new Pokemon – but I guess this means that we will be able to enjoy more of the new moves and abilities that were previously unavailable to the older Pokemon.

I would love to see Lucario in Black 2 and White 2, and I would be happy with Metagross as well.

New “Sacred Beast Formes”

There will be new “formes” of certain Pokemon, though it appears that most of these are limited to Legendary Pokemon. As you can see from the boxart for Black 2 and White 2, Kyruem has two new formes – Black Kyruem and White Kyruem, featured on the cover of Black 2 and White 2, respectively. Additionally, the Pokemon Dream Radar features “Sacred Beast” formes of Tornadus, Thundurus, and Landrous, the three “legendary genies” from the fifth generation. These Pokemon can only be captured in the Dream Radar app and transferred to a copy of Black 2 or White 2, so it appears that anyone wanting to see all the new Pokemon formes will need a 3DS (or know someone that owns one). I’m all the more curious why Nintendo didn’t release the sequels on the 3DS, but that’s another issue entirely.

Will there be more Pokemon exclusive to the 3DS Dream Radar app?

PokeWood – Shoot Videos of Your Pokemon

Pokemon games have always featured additional distractions that have little or nothing to do with the main quest, and the latest versions are no different. This time around, rather than performing Pokemon musicals or beauty contests (oh, the horror), you will be shooting videos of your Pokemon in the new “PokeWood” mini-game (a play on “Hollywood”, obviously). I’m not thrilled about it yet, but we will see what Nintendo and Game Freak do with this new game mode.

I can only hope this turns out better than Beauty Contests.

The World Tournament

Nintendo has revealed that Black 2 and White 2 will featured something called the “Pokemon World Tournament”, where trainers can battle against the Gym Leaders, Elite Four members, and Pokemon Champions featured in the past Pokemon games. Fans of the classic titles will be happy to see the likes of Brock, Misty, Blaine, Giovanni, Lance, Blue (aka “Gary Oak”), Volkner, Steven, Janine, and Cynthia.

You can see some of the classic characters from this scan of a Japanese magazine article

These are all the details we currently know about Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 – but we will be sure to fill you in whenever we hear more about the game. We are very excited about the multiplayer features and the general improvements to the game; it’s only a matter of time before we know what all of those things happen to be.