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| Generation V
| Title screen of Pokémon Black Version
The fifth generation of Pokémon is the fifth installment of the Pokémon series. Like previous generations, the first installments, Pokémon Black and White, were released as a pair. However, unlike previous generations, the games were followed by two sequels—Pokémon Black 2 and White 2—instead of a third version. For the first time since Generations I and II (following the internal identification of Pokémon Gold and Silver rather than the advertised console), the games were released on the same platform as the previous generation's core series titles, in this case the Nintendo DS.
Unova, the new region introduced in this generation, is known to be far away from the regions of previous generations. Unlike the past four, Unova is based on an area outside of Japan, drawing inspiration from the New York City metropolitan area.
The Generation V games are able to communicate with the five Generation IV games in the same way that the Generation IV games can communicate with the five Generation III games, with players able to transfer Pokémon via a method similar to Pal Park. Pokémon caught in a Generation III game are able to move forward to Generation V by passing through Generation IV games.
Black and White occur an unknown amount of time after Generation II and Generation IV. The Team Rocket Grunt who stole the Machine Part makes a cameo appearance, saying that while he had intended to revive Team Rocket upon returning home, he instead fell in love and had a son. Cynthia mentions visiting the Distortion World and being defeated by a young Trainer as Sinnoh League Champion.
Black 2 and White 2 occur two years after the events of Black and White.
Advances in gameplay
Being the first games on the same console as their predecessors since Generation II, the Generation V games enhance the Pokémon experience on the DS in several ways. Advancements introduced in Generation V include:
- The addition of 156 new Pokémon, bringing the total to 649. No new evolutionary relatives of previous Pokemon are introduced, and in Black and White, no Pokémon from previous generations can be caught in Unova itself until after the National Pokédex is obtained.
- The addition of 92 new moves, bringing the total to 559.
- The addition of 41 new Abilities, bringing the total to 164. Many older Pokémon are allowed to have new Abilities, including some that were introduced in Generation III and Generation IV, by transferring them from the Dream World. This effectively gives most Pokémon three legitimate abilities, rather than the two which have been standard since Generation III.
- Yet another region to explore, the Unova region, far away from the previous four and based on New York City, rather than a region of Japan.
- A new villainous team, Team Plasma, whose goals include separating the worlds of Pokémon and humans to make a black and white world.
- Triple Battles and Rotation Battles are now a part of gameplay, which are variations of battling like Double Battles.
- The introduction of the Wonder Launcher, a new battle mode which can stack with double, triple and Rotation Battles.
- The introduction of dark grass, where Double Battles against wild Pokémon can occur.
- The introduction of phenomena, occurrences which involve wild Pokémon or items moving and making sounds to indicate their position, somewhat similar to the Poké Radar.
- The introduction of seasons, which alternate every month.
- Expanded variance in camera placement, making the cities and towns of Unova more realistic and lifelike. There are also curves in places like Castelia City, Dragonspiral Tower, and the Skyarrow Bridge.
- The Poké Mart is now combined with the Pokémon Center.
- Introduction of the Entralink, which allows players to visit each other in-game in Black and White, rather than just inside of the Union Room or the Underground.
- The new Pokémon Global Link, which allows players to connect their games to the internet to view statistics or download some changes to the games, such as the design of the Pokédex. This also grants players access to the Pokémon Dream World, where players may befriend Pokémon and send them over to their games.
- Weather conditions and the current time are now displayed on the bottom screen during battle when making selections as to what to do during the turn.
- One new variant of Poké Ball, the Dream Ball, retaining the 25 found in previous games.
- The Apricorn Poké Balls and the Sport Ball are inaccessible without hacking and do not function as Poké Balls even if acquired; however, Pokémon caught in these Poké Balls in HeartGold and SoulSilver retain them when sent to a Generation V game.
- Pokémon battle sprites now animate constantly, rather than simply animating upon exiting a Poké Ball as in previous generations. These animations are reminiscent of those of Pokémon Crystal, rather than the two-sprite distortion method that has been the standard since Pokémon Emerald. The speed at which Pokémon move slows as the HP goes down and with most status conditions (frozen Pokémon do not move at all).
- When a Pokémon is affected by a status condition, in addition to slowing movement, it also glows a color depending on the status condition. Sleep does not have a color, but uses a different sprite that depicts the Pokemon with its eyes closed.
- The back sprites of Pokémon show the Pokémon's body in full, with their poses and animations being the same as the front sprite, but as seen from behind.
- This enables dynamic camera movements during battle, e.g. it can zoom in or out and focus on specific Pokemon as the battle progresses.
- The battle music changes under certain conditions. When one of the player's Pokémon on the battlefield has less than 25% of their HP, the music changes to a faster, more suspenseful music. When battling a Gym Leader's last Pokémon, the music also changes.
- The overworld music also changes in certain circumstances. Almost all the routes now have instruments that differ between the seasons, and layers that activate and deactivate when the player walks or stops, respectively; while music that plays in some towns and cities have layers that can be added by talking to citizens. These people can be seen playing different musical instruments like piano, guitar, etc.
- In the Japanese version of the game, the option to display kanji in game menus and text is available, in addition to hiragana and katakana as in the previous four generations.
- In international versions of the game, Pokémon names are displayed with only one capital letter, rather than having all capital letters, as it was prior to Generation V.
- The number of boxes in the Pokémon Storage System has been increased from 18 to 24. However, players only start with 8 boxes. Additional space is available once the player has placed one captured Pokémon in each of the 8 boxes, then receiving an additional 8 boxes for storage, bringing the total to 16. This cycle continues until the player finally has 24 boxes, for a storage total of 720 Pokémon.
- TMs have expanded from 92 to 95. Many of the 92 TMs found in Generation IV contain different moves.
- In addition, TMs now have infinite uses, like HMs.
- To prevent repeated usage of TMs for the purpose of PP restoration, when a Pokémon forgets a move in order to learn from a TM or HM, the move learned takes on the current PP of the move replaced (up to its own maximum).
- The number of HMs has been reduced from eight to six. The first four remain the same as during the first four generations; HM05 is now Waterfall and HM06 is now Dive.
- The trading process has been upgraded: players may now trade Pokémon directly from their PC boxes, without having to place offered Pokémon in their party first. The Global Terminal also allows players to trade using this method. Furthermore, players can trade outside of the Pokémon Center via infrared.
- The expansion of key item registration: Multiple items, and even several menu screens, may be registered simultaneously. Pressing the Y button now brings up a quick access menu of the registered commands.
- While the framerate for the overworld is still 30, the framerate has been increased to 60 for battles, the title screen, and 2D menus. However, the opening only has a framerate of 15.
- When Pokémon are sent out, there is a sound effect and visual effect as they land which varies depending on the weight of the Pokémon (unless it's a Pokémon that stays airborne like Hydreigon, Ho-Oh, or Goldeen; or it is Diglett or Dugtrio).
Alterations from Generation IV
- The abandonment of Pokémon Contests and the Pokéathlon in favor of the Pokémon Musical, a different type of competition which does not factor in a Pokémon's moves.
- Seals and Ball Capsules are no longer available for use on Poké Balls.
- The ???-type does not exist in this generation. Instead, Curse is now a Ghost-type move.
- Rotom's appliance forms are now no longer Ghost-type Pokémon; instead, they are Electric and the type of their special move.
- Pokémon in the party can no longer follow the player outside of battle in any point of the game.
- The abandonment of encounter rate differences based on the time of day.
- The option to have the Running Shoes on at all times, as in HeartGold and SoulSilver, has been removed.
- In the Wi-Fi Club, there is no longer an option to set all Pokémon at level 100.
- Items are displayed in a list format rather than the six-cell pages that were seen in HeartGold and SoulSilver.
- Mixing records is no longer a feature.
- The persistent bottom-screen menu from Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver is no longer present, as that screen now displays the C-Gear. The menu is brought up on the touch screen in the same way, though, with X.
- The way some key items are used, such as the Dowsing Machine, has been altered.
- Poison no longer inflicts damage outside the battle.
- Badges are no longer necessary in order to use HM field moves.
- The Elite Four no longer have to be battled in a set order.
- Shiny Pokémon no longer sparkle if they break out of a Poké Ball.
- Many Pokémon have their experience yield changed, which is no longer limited to 255.
- In the Vs. Recorder's Browse Mode, it is no longer possible to change the interface's color to the previous color in the line by tapping the left border of the touch screen. Tapping either border will change it to the next color in the sequence.
- Nintendo DSi systems connected to an Internet router requiring the "advanced setup" option are now compatible with online features, such as the Global Terminal.
- Battle-only forms, such as Cherrim's Sunshine Form or Castform's weather forms use now their own minisprites, rather than using default form's minisprite. Additionally, Cherrim's Sunshine Form minisprite is different than the one used in HeartGold and SoulSilver.
- The HP bar now empties as soon as the move animation ends, simultaneous to the animation of the Pokémon's body "blinking" between visible and invisible. Previously, the HP bar did not empty until after the "blinking" animation was finished. Additionally in Double Battles (and Triple Battles) when move hits multiple targets, the HP bar now empties for all Pokémon at once rather one by one - first on player's side, then on opposing side. Due to this, messages have been changed to include the Pokémon (eg. A critical hit on the foe's <Pokémon>! or It's super effective on <Pokémon> and <Pokémon>!). If a multi-target move misses one opponent (for any reason) but hits another, a <Pokémon>'s attack missed! message will appear first (if it was due to something else than immunity or protecting itself, otherwise the usual message like It doesn't affect <Pokémon>... appears), before the move's animation executes, and the missed Pokémon will not react to the animation.
- When an Ability is activated during battle, it is shown as a green-blue arrow for the player's side or a red-yellow arrow on the opposing side with the text <Pokémon>'s <ability> instead showing it activated on the battle text. (eg. Pikachu's Static and the message The foe's Meowth is paralyzed! instead of Pikachu's Static paralyzed the foe's Meowth! on the battle text). This has been changed to a black arrow for both sides in Black and White 2. Additionally, if the Ability is changed, the arrow appears, reflecting the Ability change that took place.
- During breeding, offspring now have an 80% chance to have the Ability slot corresponding to their mother, unless it is a Hidden Ability; for example, Venomoth with Shield Dust is more likely to breed Venonat with Compoundeyes than with Tinted Lens.
Additions in Black 2 and White 2
- A sequel pair to the original pair of games, with an all-new story.
- Pokémon from previous generations appear more often in Unova, even from the start.
- The New Unova Pokédex includes a Habitat mode, allowing the player to select a specific area or route in Unova and view what Pokemon are known to inhabit it.
- Entralink missions are replaced by Funfest missions, and can be played with or without connecting to other players.
- New attractions, such as Pokéstar Studios and the Pokémon World Tournament.
- All opponent Trainers now have fluidly animated sprites that move before battle.
- Players can now use a new feature called the Unova Link, which lets the player make the game easier or harder, switch between Black City and White Forest, and cause certain events to happen by connecting to Black or White.
- Watchog's EV yield is changed from 1 Attack to 2 Attack.
- Players can now move held items between Pokémon in their party.
- Main article: Unova
Like previous generations, another new region, the Unova region, is introduced in Pokémon Black and White. Unlike the previous four regions, which are relatively close in respect to one another, Unova has been revealed to be distant from them, with the only way to travel between it and the other four being boat or airplane.
The starters of the Unova region, like the starters of the previous four regions, follow the Grass-Fire-Water trio, with Snivy the Grass-type, Tepig the Fire-type, and Oshawott the Water-type.
Discussion of Generation V
Generation V is seen as a major departure point for the series. While the Generations preceding it often adhered to the formula Generation I had established, Generation V did several things that broke the mold. Setting itself in a region where Pokémon from previous generations could not be caught as well as putting out dual sequels instead of a third version like previous generations had done are several examples of how this generation broke the mold, inspiring future generations of Pokémon to do the same.
Unova thematic motif
The fifth generation of Pokémon games focuses on the relationships between opposites, such as nature and industry or humans and Pokémon. This comes from the concept of Yin and Yang, which the legendary mascots of Pokémon Black and White, Reshiram and Zekrom, are based on, with another reference being that Reshiram is the mascot of Black and Zekrom being the mascot of White—both are opposite colored to the game's color, while version mascots beforehand had always matched. The Swords of Justice also represent this theme as they are trying to prevent Pokémon from losing their natural habitats to human industry. The generation's main antagonists, Team Plasma, also fit in with this theme, as their goal is to separate Pokémon from humans. Some of the cities also reflect this theme by being aesthetically different depending on the version of the game; two major examples of this are Black City and White Forest, two version-exclusive locations. The Dream World, which is supposed to combine dreams and reality, also fits into this theme.
Japanese title screens
- The Japanese logo of the Pokémon games was redesigned once again for Generation V's releases; the first logo was used in Generation I and Generation II, and the second during Generation III and Generation IV.
- The text for the English boxes also received a new design.
- Generation V introduced the most new Pokémon to the series, with 156 (five more than Generation I introduced).
- Generation V introduced the most Gym Leaders, with 14.
- In addition, not counting remakes, this is the first generation to introduce more than eight Gym Badges (ten, due to Black and White 2 replacing two of them).
- Generation V is the first generation since Generation I not to introduce any baby Pokémon or cross-generational relatives.
- Generation V is also the first generation where the number of legendary Pokémon introduced did not increase from the previous generation. In this case, Generation V introduced 13 legendary Pokémon, and Generation IV introduced 14 legendary Pokémon if Phione is considered a legendary Pokémon, or 13 legendary Pokémon if it is not.
- Generation V is the only generation in which:
- Generation V is also the only generation that did not introduce:
- Generation V is the first generation in which it is impossible to complete the National Pokédex without transferring Pokémon from a previous generation, even if a player owned all versions in the generation and all Event Pokémon were acquired.