In this month's preview, it's all about more new forms, more new features, and more new analysis.
In our preview for Pokémon Black and White 2 last month, we covered things like the new Kyurem forms, protagonists, and more. This month, we'll provide updates for that information and go over all of the new stuff. A lot of the information from the first preview is still relevant, so you might want to read that first. We'll also run one more preview next month, right before the Japanese launch.
Since we began by talking about new forms last month, we'll start there again. In addition to Kyurem, Tornadus, Thundurus, and Landorus are getting new "Sacred Beast" forms. Tornadus' form carries a special focus on Defense, Special Defense, and Speed; Thundurus has a focus on Special Attack; and Landorus has increased attack. Although there is potential for new signature moves, I have a feeling this will be more of a Deoxys situation, where looks, stats, and a few moves change, but nothing else.
The other interesting news about the forms is that they are going to be available exclusively in Pokémon AR Searcher, now called Pokemon Dream Radar. I expect them to be difficult to obtain, but you can read more on that in our preview on the upcoming eShop companion software.
In another instance of old becoming new again, Pokémon Global Link is making a return in the sequels, Dream World and all. For players with either Black or White and Black 2 or White 2, it appears a special feature will become available on the Global Link website, though further information is not yet available. Compatibility with Black and White 2 will come alongside an upcoming update, giving the entire website a massive overhaul. One long-awaited feature is the Global Trade Station, which allows players to check statistics like GTS usage.
On the topic of characters, some key ones will be making a return for sure. Bianca makes an appearance, giving the player (and their rival) a starter on behalf of Professor Juniper (whose return is uncertain but somewhat unlikely). Cheren returns as a normal-type gym leader, who seems to have an outdoor gym. Champion Alder returns to some extent, though aside from an appearance early on in which the player is tasked with following him, details of his involvement are scarce. N, our antagonist-turned-sort-of-good-guy, is all but confirmed to make a return. New artwork of the character was released, along with a screen from CoroCoro stating that no one knows where N is (which would be a silly thing to put in a magazine unless N was bound to make a return). N also appears at the beginning of the recent animated trailer.
A new feature allowing battles with past gym leaders and champions was also revealed. Called Pokémon World Tournament, these events, in which players battle various trainers in either single or double battles, are organized by Champion Cynthia. There is no word on what teams trainers will have or how battles are decided, but we do know new trainers will be downloadable into the games through Wi-Fi. The amount of work seemingly put into this makes me think we're looking at the replacement for Battle Frontier, maybe even down to winning points after battle victories, which can then be spent on rare items (obviously, this is speculation). According to Serebii, other trainers slated to return include Brock, Misty, Lt. Surge, Erika, Janine, Blaine, Giovanni, Blue, Lance, Steven, Volkner, Cynthia, and the mysterious Akuroma. Unfortunately, none of them look much older than they did last time.
Even considering new forms and re-fighting old foes, I think the antagonist dynamic is the most interesting. As far as everything goes, I think we can confirm that Team Plasma is returning. Specifically, in the new animated trailer, Akuroma blatantly references Team Plasma, stating that he disagrees with their goals. Furthermore, the villains originally mistaken as a potential return of Team Rocket (or a new team) are seen donning Team Plasma logos on their uniforms (once again, seen in the animated trailer). Whether these outfits are the new standard among Team Plasma is unknown. Speaking of Akuroma, we have no idea what his deal is. Although he definitely appears to have a Team Plasma connection, I have no idea how strong this connection might be. In addition, his role in World Tournament raises the question of whether we are looking at our new champion or not.
One more feature we need to go over: PokéWood, the new movie-making feature long-hinted at for the new games. Acting as the new "Pokémon activity" (like musicals and contests before it), PokéWood takes place in a building where the player can make films of multiple scenarios. When making the movies, the player walks into an area with a green screen, facing a person in a motion capture suit (though this might not always be the case). At that point, a battle scene begins in which the motion capture person's Pokémon begins to battle the player's. From there, the player gains a series of script options to follow and uses these determine the course of the movie. After completion, the player can then watch their creation. The existance of a ranking system similar to the one in Pokémon contests is unknown, but I have a feeling this may be inconsequential to the entire experience, and simply acts as a bonus mode.
There isn't much information on new locations that hasn't already been mentioned. Hiougi City, the starting city, will now be localized as Aspertia City—one of the first tidbits of localization information we've seen. In other localization news, we now have North American box art!
Finally, it wouldn't be a monthly Pokémon Black and White 2 preview if I didn't take a chance to over-analyze the biggest video of information we have seen. In this case, it's the aforementioned Black and White 2 animated trailer. Once again, we have no idea if everything in this trailer represents events in the game, but since it's in promotion of the game, and we can see things in it that likely will appear in the game, I think analysis is in order.
Right from the start, we see N. Once again, I'm almost positive he will make a return of some kind in the games. At the 0:45 mark, the male protagonist and his rival are on their way to get their first Pokémon from Bianca. This is the first of two instances in the trailer that have me convinced their relationship will be far more civil (perhaps even friendly) than the classic rivalry between Blue and Red. At 1:25, the protagonist is seen talking to Akuroma, who states that he disagrees with Plasma's initiative to take Pokémon out of the hands of trainers. Not only does this suggest Plasma's return to the sequels (which is pretty much confirmed later in the trailer), but the way Akuroma states this suggests he may have some connection to Team Plasma we don't know about yet.
At 2:25, the protagonist, Cheren, and the player's rival are on a ship clearly occupied by Team Plasma members (with brand-new outfits to boot, though the extent of these are unknown). The battle with a Plasma-owned Seviper immediately after (and the teamwork between the two) further suggests a positive relationship between the protagonist and his rival. 3:24 is important, since it gives us a glimpse of what the frozen areas may be like. They appear to consist of an ice coating over the area (rather than a total encasing, originally suggested on the new Unova map), with spiky ice structures coming out of the ground at various locations. In addition, the scene reveals the return of the Shadow Triad. After that, the rest of the trailer consists of cool shots of the new Kyurem forms.
That's it for this month, folks. Expect more next month, when CoroCoro and Pokémon Smash surely blow the lid off of more Black and White 2 information. Also, you should expect the final preview right before the Japanese release on June 23, as anything after would likely consist of spoilers. And once again, North American Pokémon fans can expect the release of Pokémon Black and White 2 later this fall.
Animated trailer screens from Serebii