The lights are on
Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 mark the first time a main line Pokémon title has ever seen a direct sequel. Taking place just 2 years after the original, you start your travels in Aspertia City, as opposed to Nuvema Town. Just like Black/White you, a brand new trainer in the Unova region, go off in hopes of filling your Pokédex with all kinds of Pokémon and becoming the best there ever was.
What I Liked
It’s A Pokémon Game
No matter what I have to say about the game in the rest of the review, this is still a Pokémon game. You select your starter Pokémon from Fire/Grass/Water, defeat other trainers and wild Pokémon to level yours up, collect 8 gym badges, and conquer the Elite Four. If you’re in the mood for some Pokémon,Black 2/White 2 will give you at least 50 hours of fun gameplay.
Rotation and Triple Battles Are Commonplace
One big innovation I highly enjoyed in Black/White was the introduction of Rotation and Triple Battles. They introduced a brand new way to battle that felt very fresh, but you only did them a handful of times throughout the course of the game. In Black 2/White 2, once you get about half of the badges, you’ll be entering into these every 10 trainers or so, with some even popping up in gyms. They help keep the random trainer battles fun during your adventure and force you to try out brand new strategies.
They Brought Back Pokémon From Previous Generations
In Black/White, finding a good mix of 6 Pokémon wasn’t the easiest task in the world, especially when certain Pokémon, like Patrat and Woobat, were all you could find and the best of the rest weren’t available until the latter stages of the game. This time around, you’ll be able to catch some of the best pre-evolved forms of Pokémon from past generations such as Riolu, Growlithe, Magby (White 2), Elekid (Black 2), or Trapinch within the first few hours. Gamefreak made a great decision by nearly doubling the amount of Pokémon to 300, giving fans new and old the chance to choose from some great Pokémon.
It IS Different
The developers could have easily just re-used everything from the original game, not done anything new, and it still would have sold millions. Though not by a huge margin, the sequel is different. You start in a completely separate area of Unova, with new towns and gym leaders (Cheren from the original games is the first one you’ll face). The older towns have all seen some sprucing up and completely new areas are opened up for you travel through within the older towns.
Aside from game world changes, other changes have been made. There are move tutors everywhere who will teach your Pokémon strong attacks in exchange for shards. Though not a graphical powerhouse, they do take a few liberties by creating some more background actions, and you’ll even see a battle played out by two Legendary Pokémon in real-time (it’s really cool, but only lasts a few seconds).
Lastly, my two favourite tweaks, the game asks you if you want to use repels when they run out and HM’s are rarely used. For repels, you no longer have to go into the menu every time one runs out of steps, you just simply push A when prompted and you’ll keep wild Pokémon at bay for another 250 steps. As for the HM’s, until you get to Victory Road, you won’t be required to use Cut, Strength, or any of the other annoying ones seen in previous games.
Pokémon World Tournament
Located due south of Driftveil City, the Pokémon World Tournament is opened up after just a few badges, and it is awesome. You use your current Pokémon (downgraded to level 50 if they’re over), select if you want to fight in a Single, Double, Triple, or Rotation battle, and can battle against gym leaders from around the world.
I spent a lot of time battling the various gym leaders from past games (even Giovanni from Red/Blue makes an appearance), enjoying every second.
Lots To Do After You Beat The Elite Four
There’s a tonne to do after you beat the Elite Four, and here’s a taste: You can build and maintain an avenue (kind of like an Animal Crossing-esque time filler), participate in the Pokémon World Tournament, fight the Elite Four again, climb the very tall Black Tower in Black City to defeat Alder’s grandson, revisit N’s sunken Castle, catch the large amount of Legendary Pokémon, fill up your Pokédex, go to the Entralink to complete various missions, and battle trainers around the world via W-Fi.
Needless to say, there’s a lot to do after you beat the Elite Four.
What I Didn’t Like
After N took you on a romantic Ferris wheel ride and then tried to free every single Pokémon from their Pokéballs in the first game, only to be defeated by you, the world is now populated by Old Team Plasma and New Team Plasma. The Old Team Plasma is trying to atone for their past mistakes by helping people, essentially leading a very boring life. The New Team Plasma tries to repeat what N attempted two years ago, but it all comes off as the same bad guy storyline seen in every other Pokémon prior to Black/White.
Better Than Pokémon Black/White
Though it isn’t anything close to being revolutionary, Black 2/White 2 refines the Pokémon formula to the best it’s ever been. The addition of Pokémon from past generations, reduction of HM usage, utilization of rotation/triple battles, the Pokémon World Tournament (among other things) help push this one past the original. The story may not be anywhere near as good, but all the other aspects make up for it.
I can't wait for the game. Good review!
Fantastic review, much better than GI's own.
Good review, just one criticism: Elekid is in White 2 and Magby in black 2. But great job otherwise!
Awesome review :D
Magby is available in Black 2 to catch while Elekid is available to catch in White 2.