To those of us in the Pokémon scene, many of us could tell that Pokémon versions Black and White had their own potential to be great, albeit with some draws that made it come off as mildly unappealing. With the dawning of obnoxious “fans” claiming that the first generation of the Pokémon games, as well as others that came before Black and White which kickstarted an almost hate based campaign against the newer works, claiming that they were “unoriginal, uninteresting knock-offs with no real draw towards them” to summarize as best I can. In many respects, I could understand that the guys over at Game Freak decided that if their game wasn’t seen as “good enough” to the fans, then they had no recourse other than to improve. In all likelihood though, this thought could be a mere conjecture on my end.
Pokémon Black and White 2 on the other hand could be seen as a revised attempt at trying to make their prior attempts at the game better by making something that takes place just a few years after the events of Black and White. In Black and White 2, we have our standard main characters, but we have alongside us a friendly and interactive rival who practically follows us along the way, providing encouragement, assistance and encouragement along the way. I guess we’ve come quite some way from “Gary was here, Ash is a Loser!” Personally though, I think that’s still true since Gary actually got it together towards the end.
Moving along to the plot of the game, we have our standard introductions and apparently taking a word from the fans actually included an option to skip past the instructions for everything in the beginning! It pretty much follows like this:
“Have you been on a Pokémon journey before?”
“So you pretty much know how the game is, yes?”
“OKAY! THEN LET’S GET YOU STARTED!”
*skipping through exposition*
“Alright, so you’ve got a pair of Running Shoes, you know how to use them, right?”
“Then I won’t bother you with the petty details. Now go get your Pokédex.”
“So you’ve got your Pokédex, do you know how to use this?”
“Well alrighty then; go on and fill that sucker up.”
THEN OFF YOU GO. The game doesn’t drag you around any more than necessary and in many respects is a very refreshing change of pace. The fact that one could actually go through and skip through the nonsense to just get into the game was a good draw; as well as knowing that the standard hand-holding is still there as well also shows that the game accommodates both new and veteran players alike.
Moving into the game, we get our starter (either Snivy, Tepig or Oshawott) and our rival has his hatched from an egg AND IT JUUUUUST HAPPENS TO BE THE ONE WITH A TYPE ADVANTAGE. Seriously. What in all the hells. Afterwards, we get to go on our journey as a Pokémon trainer and at many points along the way, we talk with and interact and help a slew of NPCs that all seem to want to work towards helping us with our goal, and of course to fight against the remaining members of Team Plasma, much like how in Gold and Silver, we had to fight against the remaining members of Team Rocket.
For new elements added to the game, one of the more peculiar draws would have had to be the Dream Theater function, in which the player could actually become a part of a movie. That’s right, you read right; a movie. While it’s still kept a bit more on the low key end, showing a general battle mechanic with some “snazzy” dialogue to help spruce the whole thing up and add to the element of being a quasi-cinematic feature. It’s a bit of a fun twist, and the movies require us to work with a set of stock characters before we can manipulate and use our own Pokémon to spice things up. As our movies get better and grow more successful, we can see their ratings and rankings as film, even showing us what their net profits were, so as to try and push us towards getting an even better film ranking.
Lastly, Black and White 2 had hopped onto the achievement bandwagon by introducing medals. I’ll repeat; medals. Black and White 2 decides to go down the route of console gaming by implementing medals to award the player for various tasks and/or challenges completed. While some are more mundane such as walking certain distances or visiting the Pokémon Center enough times, others are more demanding, such as requiring the player to evolve x amount of Pokémon or to beat x amount of trainers. It definitely adds more of a draw to the game, I’ll give it that much, although at the same time, I felt as though it was a bit of a cop-out approach to find something that would just happen to sell. It did alright though, so I think it’s something that can be glanced over in the long run –a nice plus, but something not entirely necessary in the end.
As months passed, the industry decided to make plenty of Pokémon available over the Mystery Gift option from the main menu at the beginning of the game including Pokémon such as Keldeo, Genesect and just recently, Meloetta. In many respects, it does add some light incentive to continue playing after completing the game as many fans look toward and use these new wireless additions to add to their team or to test the bounds of their skill and test out the worth presented by these newest additions.
All in all, I think that the newest installment did a good job in improving the franchise, although it’s a shame that its prior installment had come under such fire to begin with. I think the game did quite an impressive job in providing an overall entertaining experience and in many respects, reminded me why it is that I like playing Pokémon to begin with. As for whether or not we could be looking at a Gray version any time soon is starting to appear less and less likely, although in time, I would like to see a slight twist to these two installments to tie everything together, although there’s nothing I can terribly complain with for Black and White 2. Altogether, it was impressively made and did help rekindle my interest more in the genre. Honestly, since I’ve been working at playing my copy of White 2 more often, it’s really helped me look forward to the upcoming releases of Pokémon X and Y --slated for October of this year.
Reviewer Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewed by: Kaz