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Music video by Rihanna performing Rehab. YouTube view counts pre-VEVO: 19591123. (C) 2007 The Island Def Jam Music Group.
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Music video by Rihanna performing Pon de Replay. YouTube view counts pre-VEVO: 4166822. (C) 2005 The Island Def Jam Music Group.
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|Pokémon Black and White|
Box art for Pokémon Black, depicting the legendary Pokémon Reshiram
The Pokémon Company
|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game|
Pokémon Black Version and White Version (ポケットモンスターブラック&ホワイト Poketto Monsutā Burakku & Howaito , "Pocket Monsters: Black & White") are role-playing games developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS. They are the first installments in the fifth generation of the Pokémon series of role-playing games. First released in Japan on September 18, 2010, they were later released in Europe on March 4, 2011, in North America on March 6, 2011 and Australia on March 10, 2011.
Similar to previous installments of the series, the two games follow the journey of a young Pokémon trainer through the region of Unova, as they train Pokémon used to compete against other trainers, while thwarting the schemes of the criminal organization Team Plasma. Black and White introduce over 150 brand-new Pokémon to the franchise, as well as many new features, including a seasonal cycle, fully animated Pokémon sprites and triple battles. Both titles are independent of each other, but feature largely the same plot, and while both can be played separately, trading Pokémon between both of the games is necessary in order to complete the games' Pokédex.
Upon their release, Black and White received positive reviews; critics praised the advancements in gameplay, as well as several of the new Pokémon introduced. Reviews, however, were divided on some of the character designs, and some critics felt that the games did not innovate as much as expected. Nevertheless, the games were commercial successes; prior to the games' Japanese release, Black and White sold one million consumer pre-orders and sold five million copies as of January 2011, making it one of the best selling DS games to date. As of March 2013, the games' combined sales have reached 15.42 million, putting the titles amongst the best selling games for the Nintendo DS. Sequels to Pokémon Black and White, named Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, were released in Japan for the Nintendo DS in June 2012, with October releases in North America, Europe, and Australia.
Pokémon Black and White are role-playing video games with adventure elements, presented in a third-person, overhead perspective. There are three basic screens: an overworld, in which the player navigates the main character; a battle screen; and the menu, in which the player configures their party, items, or gameplay settings. The player begins the game with a single Pokémon, and is able to capture more using Poké Balls.
When the player encounters a wild Pokémon or is challenged by a trainer to a battle, the screen switches to a turn-based battle screen where the Pokémon fight. During battle, the player may fight, use an item, switch the active Pokémon, or flee (however the player is not permitted to flee a battle against another trainer). All Pokémon have Health Points (HP); when a Pokémon's HP is reduced to zero, it faints and cannot battle until it is revived. If an opposing Pokémon faints, then all of the player's Pokémon who participated in defeating it receive experience points. After accumulating enough experience points it may level up. A Pokémon's level affects its battle statistics, and some Pokémon will evolve upon reaching a certain level threshold.
New features 
The graphics were further improved from previous games, and include more cutscenes. When talking to people, the dialog box has been changed to speech balloons, which appear over other characters' heads, allowing more than one character to speak at once. In addition to this aesthetic change, Japanese players will be given an option to switch to having kanji appear on screen, rather than just hiragana and katakana. During battles, the sprites of the Pokémon are fully animated and the camera changes position to highlight specific parts of the battle.
In addition to the day and night cycle first introduced in the Gold and Silver games, Black and White introduces a seasonal cycle, with the seasons advancing every month, cycling every four, rather than being linked to the actual calendar. Outside areas appear differently depending on the season, such as changing of leaves in autumn or snow on the ground in winter. Certain areas are only accessible during certain seasons, and different Pokémon can be found in the wild in winter where others are encountered in the other seasons. In addition to these features, the Pokémon Deerling and Sawsbuck were designed to change their physical appearance along with the seasons of the game.
There are two new battle mechanics in Black and White: Triple Battles and Rotation Battles. In Triple Battles, both teams must send out three Pokémon at once. The Pokémon that can be targeted by any specific attack is dependent on the position of the Pokémon in the line up; Pokémon on the left or right sides can only target the Pokémon directly opposite of them and the two Pokémon in the center position on both sides, while Pokémon in the center can target all Pokémon in the field. Positions can be changed, but this uses up the player's turn. In Rotation Battles, both sides send out three Pokémon at once, again, but instead of a three-on-three match as seen in Triple Battles, it is a one-on-one match where the Pokémon in the front can be switched with either of the two other Pokémon sent out without using up a turn. Depending on the game version, one of these two new battle types will be found in greater quantity than the other, with Black having more Rotation Battles than Triple Battles, and vice versa in White. Related introductions are the Combination Moves; the starter Pokémon from any game can be taught one of the three moves that can be used in combination with each other to produce more powerful attacks. Another battle mechanic is found in the wild, where differently colored and styled tall grass enable Double Battles against wild Pokémon.
A new Pokémon capture mechanic was also introduced in these games, referred to as "phenomena" in supplementary materials. Occasionally, the player can find rustling patches of grass and rippling water. If the player enters the tile that featured the phenomenon (or uses the fishing rod on the tile), they can encounter either a rare Pokémon, a Pokémon more common in the other game version, or the highest evolutionary form of a Pokémon that can normally be found in the area. This method is the only way to capture Pokémon such as Audino, Emolga, and Alomomola. In addition to these, dust clouds in caves and the shadows of flying Pokémon on certain bridges can also be entered to either find a rare item or encounter Drilbur, Excadrill, Ducklett, or Swanna, none of which can be found in the wild otherwise.
In addition to the standard battling and Gym challenges, the player can compete in Pokémon Musicals, a side-game similar to the Pokémon Contests of previous games; the Battle Subway, similar to the Battle Towers and Battle Frontiers of previous games; and on the Royal Unova,[Note 1] a cruise ship that the player can ride daily and fight various trainers aboard to win otherwise rare items.
Connectivity to other devices 
The C-Gear (Cギア Shī Gia ) is a new mechanic that replaces the Pokétch on the Nintendo DS's second screen. It allows the player to control the various wireless capabilities of Black and White. These include connecting to other players through infrared communication (battling, trading, friend codes, and the "Feeling Check" function), wireless communications with friends in the Xtranciever[Note 2] video chat or access to the Entralink to transfer content from the Pokémon Dream World, connecting to the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection to sync with the Pokémon Global Link servers, and the new Pass By mode which allows the game to communicate with other games through infrared (IR) when not being played.
The Feeling Check (フィーリングチェック Fīringu Chekku ) function tests the compatibility between two players, awarding them with one of two items depending on the level of compatibility. The Pass By feature is another side game in which the player answers various survey questions, and depending on how many other games are interacted with, the players receive an item. Another new feature is Random Matchup, where the player can battle a random other player. When playing against other players online or in IR battles, a new mechanic called the Wonder Launcher[Note 3] allows for items to be used in battle to heal or improve the status of the players' Pokémon.
To transfer Pokémon from the older games, Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, and SoulSilver versions to the new games, Black and White, two features have been placed in Black and White. For normal transfer, the Poké Transfer[Note 4] feature is available after completion of the main storyline. Unlike the Pal Park feature that was in the previous games, the Poké Transfer is a mini-game in which after six Pokémon are transferred, the player uses the touch screen to launch Poké Balls at the transferred Pokémon which are moving about on the top screen to catch them within a time limit. Another feature called the Relocator[Note 5] is used to transfer the Pokémon given away in promotions for the Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions film so the player can activate the special events to obtain the rare Pokémon Zorua and Zoroark. Unlike the Poké Transfer, this function is available before the main game is completed.
Unique to Black and White is the Pokémon Dream World, a game mechanic that is dependent on the official Pokémon Global Link website. In this, the player can befriend Pokémon not normally obtainable in gameplay with unique abilities, which are later captured in an area known as the Entralink.[Note 6] This is done after syncing the game back with the Dream World, in a mechanic similar to the Pokéwalker used in HeartGold and SoulSilver. The player can also maintain a house in the Dream World that other players can visit as well as grow berries. In addition to allowing players access to Pokémon acquired in the Dream World, the Entralink also enables players to interact with each other and perform side games which award points that can be traded for "powers" that improve normal gameplay, such as increasing experience, improving capture rate, or lowering prices of items in Poké Marts.
Black and White are set in the Unova region, a continental mass located far away from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn and Sinnoh. Unlike the previous regions which were based on locations in Japan, Unova is modeled after New York City, an idea developed by game director Junichi Masuda when he visited the city for the launch of Diamond and Pearl. One particular example of this is Castelia City, which served as the region's central metropolis and had such inspirations as its "Brooklyn Bridge-style suspension bridge" and its "huge skyscrapers". Masuda also wanted to convey a "feeling of communities" in Castelia's streets. Unova is host to large urban areas, a harbor, an airport, an amusement park, several bridges, and several mountain ranges. In addition to a diversity of new landscapes, the Unova region is also home to a diversity of people who vary in skin tone and occupation. The region's Japanese name "Isshu" (イッシュ) is derived from the Japanese words tashu (多種?, meaning "many kinds") and isshu (一種?, meaning "one kind"); the many kinds of people and Pokémon seen up close look like only one kind of life from afar.
Like previous Pokémon games, Black and White both follow a linear storyline; the main events occur in a fixed order. The protagonist of Pokémon Black and White is a teenager who sets out on a journey through Unova to become the Pokémon master. At the beginning of the games, the player chooses either Snivy, Tepig, or Oshawott as their starter Pokémon as a gift from Professor Juniper. The protagonist's friends, Cheren and Bianca, are also rival Pokémon Trainers who occasionally battle the player. The player's primary goal is to obtain the eight Gym Badges of Unova and ultimately challenge the Elite Four of the Pokémon League, and its Champion, to win the game.
In addition to the standard gameplay, the player will also have to defeat the games' main antagonist force, Team Plasma, a Knights Templar-esque group who claims that Pokémon are oppressed by mankind and seeks for a means to liberate them. Team Plasma is led by "N", a young man who was brought up alongside Pokémon and sees them as friends rather than tools for sport. Throughout the game, the player has some encounters with N, who claims that by capturing one of the legendary Dragon Pokémon of Unova and defeating the Pokémon Champion Alder, he will be recognized as Unova's hero and will be able to convince the humans to part with their Pokémon. Depending on the game version, N will capture the Deep Black Pokémon Zekrom in Black or the Vast White Pokémon Reshiram in White. After the player defeats the Elite Four and enters the Champion's chamber, he or she finds that N has defeated Alder and has become the newest Pokémon Champion. Soon after, he summons a large castle that surrounds the Pokémon League, challenging the player to find him to take part in one final battle. When the player finally reaches him, Reshiram in Black or Zekrom in White appears before the player, and the player must capture the legendary Pokémon before challenging N. After his defeat, N laments the possibility that his ideals are mistaken, as Ghetsis intrudes and angrily reveals that his true intentions were to use N to ensure that he would be the only human left with control over Pokémon and use them to rule the world. In his rage, Ghetsis challenges the player to battle. After Ghetsis's defeat, he is arrested, allowing Alder to resume his position as the Pokémon Champion of the Unova region. N then thanks the player for helping realize his mistake about the nature of the relationship between people and their Pokémon before leaving the castle on his captured Dragon Pokémon to a far-off land.
After Team Plasma's defeat, Looker arrives in Unova and tasks the player with finding the remaining Sages of Team Plasma, so they can be brought to justice. The player can also challenge the Elite Four once again, and challenge Alder, ultimately becoming the Unova region's new Pokémon Champion. The player also gains access to the eastern portion of Unova, which contains Pokémon from the previous games in the series, as well as access to an area unique to each game version: the ultra-metropolitan Black City, home to powerful Pokémon trainers; and the White Forest, home to humans and Pokémon living in harmony. Cynthia, a former Champion of the Sinnoh region, is also found in this area of the game and can be challenged. A non-player character named after Shigeki Morimoto, a Game Freak programmer, creature designer, and the director of the HeartGold and SoulSilver games, can also be found and battled in the game.
On January 29, 2010, the Pokémon Company announced that a new game was in development for the Nintendo DS to be released later that year. Director Junichi Masuda stated that several aspects of the series were being revamped for the new generation. On April 9, 2010, the Japanese website updated with the titles of the versions as Pokémon Black and White, and announced a Q3 2010 release date. The games feature an improved visual style from other Pokémon games, with an increased use of 3D computer graphics than any other of the handheld series. It also has a special feature that allows the user to upload their saved game to the Internet, allowing them to do certain things on an official website.
On August 3, 2010, Masuda announced on his blog that the Black and White game versions will initially only contain brand-new Pokémon to evoke a feeling of it being a brand-new game, like when the original Pokémon games were first released. In all of the games following the first generation, there were a series of new Pokémon introduced interspersed with Pokémon from the previous generations. For example, Pikachu was introduced in Red and Green, and was obtainable in Blue, Yellow, and all subsequent main series games; however, Pikachu will not be obtainable in Black and White from the start of the game. It was later confirmed that Black and White are region locked on the Nintendo DSi.
Game director Junichi Masuda stated that to keep the games fresh, he looks at every previous element to decide what to adapt to the new game, stating "people may not like what they like in the past, trend wise". He explained the new battle styles, stating that while triple battles take more strategy, rotation battles take more luck to win. Masuda stated that their goal when making the games was to make it fun for new players, but they also wanted to get players who have not played the series in a while to come back. He said that it was hard to find that balance to satisfy both kinds of players. For the new players, there is good explanation in how to play, while for old players, they incorporated the C-Gear, which makes the ability to trade and battle easier. When asked about the decision to introduce over 150 new species of Pokémon, Masuda stated that they did this so old players would not be able to know what is a good Pokémon to use, and it would level the playing ground for new players.
Promotion and release 
Japanese release 
A silhouette of a new Pokémon was shown by Junichi Masuda on the February 7, 2010 episode of Pokémon Sunday, stated to be in the film for the summer and to be identified in a future episode on February 21. This new character would also be featured in the March 2010 issue of CoroCoro Comic available on February 15, and is the start of the fifth generation of the Pokémon franchise. Since then, the character has been named "Zoroark", and it evolves from a character named "Zorua". Both were featured in the film Pocket Monsters Diamond & Pearl The Movie: Phantom Ruler: Zoroark. For pre-order ticket holders, an alternate-colored Raikou, Entei, or Suicune was available for transfer to their Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, or SoulSilver games. At the theater, players would be able to download a Celebi to the same games. Both of these Pokémon would activate special events in Black and White involving Zoroark and Zorua, respectively.
On April 18, 2010, the episode of Pokémon Sunday showed game footage of a player character walking around in a 3-D environment and a single screenshot depicting a battle between the player's Zoroark and an enemy Zorua. Host Shoko Nakagawa made note of how the player's Zoroark's sprite was a full body sprite as viewed from behind, when in the past all such sprites only showed a smaller portion of the player's Pokémon's body. On May 9, 2010, the episode of Pokémon Sunday revealed silhouettes of the three Pokémon available to choose from at the beginning of the games, which were later revealed to be the Grass Snake Pokémon Tsutarja, the Fire Pig Pokémon Pokabu, and the Sea Otter Pokémon Mijumaru. Other information revealed is that the game takes place in the Isshu Region which includes the Hiun City metropolis. On May 16, 2010, the episode of Pokémon Sunday showed game battle footage, illustrating the new in-battle animations and dynamic camera positioning; also described were Zoroark's Illusion ability and the special Zoroark acquired by the movie ticket pre-order gift Pokémon.
On May 28, 2010, both the official Japanese and English Pokémon websites revealed names and designs of the two major Legendary Pokémon of these games, who also serve as the game version mascots: the White Yang Pokémon Reshiram for Pokémon Black and the Black Yin Pokémon Zekrom for Pokémon White. The July 2010 issue of CoroCoro Comic revealed the C-Gear wireless interactivity features, the ability to upload game data to the internet and the player's computer, several brand-new Pokémon, new Pokémon moves, Reshiram and Zekrom's Pokémon types, details on the Celebi/Zorua event, and a new character: Professor Araragi, the first female Pokémon professor to appear in the video games. The June 27, 2010, episode of Pokémon Sunday, made the announcement of the release date as September 18, 2010, and a yet-to-be named character. The June 28, 2010, episode of Oha Suta, showed a trailer, which included its release date, new gameplay footage, several new characters, more new Pokémon, and a three-on-three battle system. The August 2010 issue of CoroCoro Comic elaborated upon many new game mechanics: the three-on-three system, the online Global Link system, an online Dream World that can allow for access to other Pokémon, access to an area that uses the Wi-Fi called the Hilink (similar to the Underground), a special feature called the Live Caster for video chat on the Nintendo DSi and Nintendo 3DS, kanji support, aesthetic differences between the two versions of the game, areas exclusive to the game versions, new characters, new moves, new abilities, and new Pokémon.
The July 25, 2010, episode of Pokémon Sunday introduced the new phantom Pokémon Victini, which initially appeared in a trailer for the 2011 Pokémon film that was shown with screenings of Phantom Ruler: Zoroark. It is noted to be Pokémon No. 000 in Isshu's regional Pokédex, and is only accessible by downloading a special item from Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, DS Stations, and Nintendo Zones (such as those found in Japanese McDonald's restaurants) to a game save. This was initially available for a month following the games' release date. Another promotional Pokémon given out after the games' release is a Kumasyun, a Pokémon that is difficult to find in the games unless it is during the games' winter season.
On the day of the Japanese release, Nintendo of America sent cease and desist letters to two English language Pokémon fansites, PokéBeach and Serebii, after they published screenshots and various other media from the newly released games. Nintendo claimed the posting of the media was infringing copyright and noted their intention to shut down the websites under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act unless the media was removed. The screenshots were subsequently taken down from both websites. Luke Plunkett of video game blog Kotaku initially speculated that Nintendo of America issued the cease and desist letters over the belief that the images were illegally obtained via a ROM image, however Jon Sahagian of PokéBeach stated the images in question had been obtained from the Japanese forum 2channel. Charlie Scibetta, Nintendo of America's senior director of corporate communications, later stated that it was the choice of images that were of concern to the company. In a statement to Kotaku, he said "Nintendo supports and appreciates the efforts that Pokémon fans go through to create fan sites. In most cases there is no issue with the content that is posted, but on this occasion we had to contact a select few websites to ask them to take down confidential images."
International release 
The foreign promotion for the games began on November 22, 2010, when the official website for the North American, European, and Australian markets was updated, including the localized names of the starter Pokémon (Snivy, Tepig, and Oshawott in English, Dutch, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, and Spanish markets) and the setting (Unova Region). Floats of version mascots Reshiram and Zekrom accompanied the Pikachu balloon during the 2010 edition of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 25, 2010, the following Thursday.
On December 27, 2010, the official websites for the international releases updated once more, revealing the English names for many of the first Pokémon revealed during the promotion for the Japanese release. In addition, the English names for the game location Hiun City and the character Professor Araragi were revealed to be Castelia City and Professor Juniper, respectively.
Starting on January 3 and lasting until January 9, 2011, in the United States, players of Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, and SoulSilver were able to visit GameStop stores to download the special shiny Raikou that was previously given out for Phantom Ruler: Zoroark pre-order ticket holders in Japan. Similar downloads would be available for the shiny Entei (January 17 to 23) and shiny Suicune (January 31 to February 6). All three of these Pokémon will still enable the event for Zoroark in the North American Black and White versions. These three Pokémon were later distributed via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection for European, Australian, and North American markets (for a second time) starting February 7 to 13 with Raikou, again, with subsequent staggered releases for Entei and Suicune throughout February.
The Celebi event was run in North America and distributed through GameStop stores from February 21 to March 6, 2011, or it can be acquired from the tour promoting the Black and White games that began on February 5, 2011. In France and Spain, this same Celebi will be available through various retailers from February 1 through March 3, 2011. Italian players can get this Celebi from specific video game retailers from January 21 through March 3.
The event to distribute the item to allow players to capture Victini was also be run following the games' release internationally. North American players were able to download the item from Nintendo WFC from March 6 to April 10, 2011. European players were able to get the item from March 4 to April 22. Australian players will be able to download from March 10 to April 28, 2011.
To commemorate the opening of the Pokémon Dream World feature, players were able to play a game on the Pokémon website that would determine which evolved form of Eevee they would receive upon the activation of the Dream World and Global Link features.
Nintendo DS Pocket Monsters Black and White Super Music Collection (ニンテンドーDS ポケットモンスター ブラック・ホワイト スーパーミュージックコレクション) is a four-disc soundtrack featuring the games' music scored by Junichi Masuda, Go Ichinose, Shota Kageyama, Hitomi Sato, Morikazu Aoki, Minako Adachi, and Satoshi Nohara. The soundtrack was released on October 20, 2010 in Japan. Go Ichinose was in charge of directing all Pokémon voices for the game while Minako Adachi produced all sound effects.
Critical response 
(Based on 41 reviews)
(Based on 63 reviews)
|Official Nintendo Magazine||95%|
Pokémon Black and White have received largely positive reviews by critics, having an aggregate score of 86.35% on GameRankings and 87% on Metacritic (indicating generally favorable reviews). Japanese magazine Famitsu Weekly awarded the game a perfect 40/40 score, becoming the 15th game to receive such a distinction, as well as obtaining the highest score ever given to a Pokémon video game by the publication. Game Informer's Annette Gonzalez remarked that "Pokémon Black and White do a great job building upon already solid features and taking them to the next level." VideoGamer.com's Jamin Smith criticized the games for not innovating as much as some people would have liked, but stated that "rest assured in the knowledge that Black and White are damn fine games; the best the series has to offer." Official Nintendo Magazine referred to them as "A beautiful refinement of a great series [...] the best Pokémon ever." Nintendo Power expressed that "the Pokémon series's latest pair of adventures is as addictive as ever. " Edge acknowledged that "where next for Pokémon Black and White don't suggest any answers, but they do remind us why we'd care in the first place."
IGN gave the games a 9/10, a higher rating than any of the other Nintendo DS Pokémon games. The review praised the games for renewing interest in the series, though criticized some of the new Pokémon designs, explaining that "aside from a weaker lineup of monsters (largely an aesthetic complaint), this is the best Pokémon has to offer on every level, renewing my waning interest in monster battling". Jeremy Parish of Retronauts criticized Black and White, commenting that shortly after beginning, he grew tired of it, feeling like it was like all the games before it. He further goes on to say that EVs and IVs, invisible mechanics in the game, are not necessarily good. By contrast, he noted that it would be great to new players. He also compares it to the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games and Final Fantasy XIII, arguing that they all share the common element of being bad before they get good. Fellow Retronauts contributor Justin Haywald criticized the games' release on the DS, which had received two main Pokémon series games published before them. GamesRadar editor Carolyn Gudmundson stated "It may not break the Pokemon mold, but Black/White offers enough new content coupled with the series' classic, deep battle mechanics to make it endlessly playable. If you could only play one game for the rest of your life, this would be a wise choice."
Commercial performance 
In August 2010, one month before the games' release in Japan, Pokémon Black and White gained a total of 1.08 million pre-orders, becoming the fastest game on the Nintendo DS to break the one million mark. In the first two days on sale, it sold more than 2.6 million copies, becoming the biggest launch in the series history in Japan. By November 3, the games had sold over 4.3 million copies in Japan. As of January 9, 2011, the games became the fastest DS titles to sell five million copies.
Upon release in the UK, White and Black took the #1 and #2 spots respectively in the UK overall sales charts, with White becoming the second fastest-selling DS game ever in the UK after Professor Layton and Pandora's Box, selling 13,000 more copies than Black. Combined, their sales became Nintendo's third biggest ever launch in the UK, behind Wii Fit and Mario Kart Wii, and the biggest opening weekend ever for a pair of Pokémon titles.
In the US, Black and White sold more than 1.08 million copies on day one, breaking the previous day-one record held by predecessors Diamond and Pearl of 780,000 copies. According to the NPD Group, Nintendo sold 1.3 million units of White and 1.1 million units of Black in March 2011, making them the #1 and #2 top selling games in the US for the month. In April 2011, Nintendo's financial earnings report confirmed that Pokémon Black and White had sold 11.5 million copies worldwide, making them the highest selling DS games for Nintendo in the 2010-11 financial year, and third overall, behind only the Wii games, Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort. As of March 2013, the games' combined sales have reached 15.42 million.
Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 
|Pokémon Black 2 and White 2|
Boxart for Black 2, depicting Black Kyurem
|Publisher(s)||Nintendo, The Pokémon Company|
|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game|
Pokémon Black Version 2 and White Version 2 (ポケットモンスター ブラック2&ホワイト2 Poketto Monsutā Burakku Tsū & Howaito Tsū , "Pocket Monsters: Black 2 & White 2") are sequels to Pokémon Black and White, released in Japan for the Nintendo DS on June 23, 2012, with early October releases in North America, Europe, and Australia. They are the first direct sequels in the franchise and the final games in the main series to be released for Nintendo DS. The games were first revealed on the February 26, 2012, episode of the Japanese television program Pokémon Smash!, followed by an international confirmation on the Pokémon official website. The games feature the new Legendary Pokémon identified by Junichi Masuda as Black Kyurem (ブラックキュレム Burakku Kyuremu ) and White Kyurem (ホワイトキュレム Howaito Kyuremu ).
Black 2 and White 2 are set two years after the events of Black and White, and much of the beginning events take place in new locations on the western side of the Unova region. These new locations also feature several Pokémon that were previously unavailable in Black and White, featuring a total of 300 unique creatures available from the start of the game, including Psyduck, Mareep, Metagross, and Riolu.
A new game mechanic introduced in Black 2 and White 2 is the Pokéwood (ポケウッド Pokeuddo , "PokéStar Studios" in the English release) side game, where the player character participates in the filming of a movie involving Pokémon and other actors. A character named Brycenman ("Hachikuman" (ハチクマン) in Japan) also appears, as Brycen (Hachiku) from the original games has returned to his movie career. Another new mechanic is the Pokémon World Tournament (ポケモンワールドトーナメント Pokemon Wārudo Tōnamento ), where the player battles powerful trainers from the previous games in the series, ranging from Gym Leaders Brock, Misty, Volkner, and Giovanni to Champions Cynthia, Steven, and Lance.
Black 2 and White 2 are also compatible with two new downloadable games for the Nintendo 3DS, Pokémon Dream Radar (Pokémon AR Searcher (ポケモンARサーチャー Pokemon Ē Āru Sāchā )) and Pokédex 3D Pro (Pokémon National Index Pro (ポケモン全国図鑑Pro Pokemon Zenkoku Zukan Puro )). Pokémon AR Searcher introduces the character Professor Barnett (バーネット博士 Bānetto Hakase ) as well as alternate forms for the Pokémon Tornadus, Thundurus, and Landorus, which can be transferred to Black 2 and White 2 after being captured in AR Searcher. The July 2012 issue of CoroCoro Comic revealed Keldeo's new form, called the Resolution form.
The player and their rival begin their Pokémon journey on the western side of Unova in the new Aspertia City, receiving their starter Pokémon from Bianca, an NPC that served as one of the player's rivals in Black and White. The player also meets Cheren, the other rival character, who is now a Gym Leader in Aspertia City. Much like other Pokémon games, the player travels around the region, battling Gym Leaders to acquire eight Gym Badges, and then goes on to challenge the Elite Four of the Pokémon League and its champion to win the game.
The plot of Black 2 and White 2 once again features the antagonistic Team Plasma, whom the player first encounters while running an errand, and later when traveling to the first other major city where the team announces its plans to take over the world and steal others' Pokémon in front of the player, the rival, and new Gym Leader Roxie (Homika (ホミカ) in Japan). At the behest of Iris, the player helps Burgh track down more Team Plasma members in the sewers of Castelia City, where the player meets Colress (Achroma (アクロマ Akuroma ) in Japan) for the first time, who claims to be a researcher of the strengths of Pokémon. Later, it is revealed that the new Team Plasma has stolen a Purrloin the player's rival was planning on giving to his sister, which makes the rival angry towards the organization, including its reformed former members. After learning about the legendary Pokémon Kyurem, which arrived at the Giant Chasm years ago, the player discovers that the new Team Plasma is working to use Kyurem to take over the world, harnessing its power to freeze large portions of Unova, including Opelucid City. The player tracks Team Plasma to Humilau City, home of the final new Pokémon Gym led by Marlon (Shizui (シズイ) in Japan), where he helps the player battle Team Plasma to remove Kyurem from their grasps, and to help the rival retrieve his Purrloin, which has since evolved into a Liepard that is used in battle against the player and rival. The battle reaches its climax in the Giant Chasm, where the player discovers Colress has sided with Team Plasma to learn more about the capabilities of Pokémon, and that Ghetsis is planning to use Kyurem, the "empty" Pokémon that is left over from when Zekrom and Reshiram split apart hundreds of years ago, by filling it with his ambition to rule the world. After battling the Shadow Triad, and the player's rival receiving the Liepard back, the player enters the inner sanctum of the Giant Chasm where he or she finds Kyurem and Ghetsis. N appears with his Zekrom (Black 2)/Reshiram (White 2) to try to talk sense into his father Ghetsis, but N's legendary Pokémon is defeated by and fused with Kyurem, transforming it into Black Kyurem (Black 2)/White Kyurem (White 2), and forcing the player to battle it. After defeating Kyurem, it separates from N's Pokémon and the player faces Ghetsis, who upon defeat is stunned that he has been defeated again. N tries to talk sense into him, but Ghetsis leaves, and N thanks the player for his assistance in defeating Team Plasma once and for all. After defeating Team Plasma, the player is finally able to battle the Elite Four and the New Champion of the Unova League, Iris, and win the game.
After the game, the player is able to challenge N who has taken up residence in his former castle, where upon the defeat of his legendary Pokémon, it turns into the object that once held its essence and N gives it to the player. The player can then bring the item to another part of Unova where it transforms back into the Pokémon and the player can then capture it, and then later capture Kyurem, which can be transformed into Black Kyurem or White Kyurem with a unique item depending on which of the other Pokémon the player has. Also after completion of the game, the player can battle former Unova Champion Alder, who has retired to his hometown, Sinnoh Champion Cynthia (as in Black and White) at her vacation house, the former Striaton City Gym Leaders, and take on the Black Tower or White Treehollow challenges in Black City or White Forest. Through use of a unique game feature called "Memory Link", the player can access new content and side quests dependent on the original Black and White games, such as references to the player's name in the previous game, flashback sequences, the ability to capture unique Pokémon, and battling two unique characters that knew the player character of the previous game. Also, a new addition to the game is the Pokémon World Tournament. It consists of many different round where the player can challenge different kind of trainers, including strong trainers from the Unova region. In addition, the Gym Leaders and Champions from the previous games also make an appearance, competing in the tournament in the 'Gym Leader Tournament' and 'Champion Tournament' rounds respectively.
An official soundtrack of the game titled Nintendo DS Pocket Monsters Black 2 and White 2 Super Music Complete Network (ニンテンドーDS ポケモンブラック２・ホワイト２ スーパーミュージックコンプリート) was released on July 25, 2012. The four disc soundtrack was once again composed by Junichi Masuda, Go Ichinose, Shota Kageyama, Hitomi Sato, Morikazu Aoki, Minako Adachi and Satoshi Nohara. It also includes music from Pokémon Black and White, Pokémon Emerald and Pokémon Platinum.
Famitsu magazine awarded Black 2 and White 2 a point total of 36/40, lower than their perfectly scoring predecessors. The game also received a 9.6/10 on IGN, praising the overall changes from the game's predecessor. As of January 2013, Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 have combined sales of 7.63 million copies worldwide.
- In the original Japanese release, this is named the Royal Isshu (ロイヤルイッシュ号 Roiyaru Isshu-gō )
- In the original Japanese release, this function is called the Live Caster (ライブキャスター Raibu Kyasutā )
- In the original Japanese release, this function is called the Miracle Shooter (ミラクルシューター Mirakuru Shūtā )
- In the original Japanese release, this function is called the PokéShifter (ポケシフター Pokeshifutā ).
- In the original Japanese release, this function is called the Transfer Machine (てんそうマシン Tensō Mashin )
- In the original Japanese release, this area in the game is called the Hilink (ハイリンク Hairinku ).
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