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Review

Pokémon Black and White 2 Review (DS)

The definitely finished swan song.

Pokémon Black and White 2 are different to any other Pokémon games before them; they’re direct, fully-fledged sequels to Black and White, rather than just an upgrade in the vein of Yellow, Crystal, Emerald or Platinum, and they’re not a complete generation jump as the original Black and White games were to Diamond and Pearl.

They’re not all that different though – White 2 (the version I played, and the one we’ll be looking at) is still permeated with all of the staples of a handheld Pokémon game: hundreds of battle-ready Pokémon; eight gyms and badges; a story involving an evil organisation, the Elite Four and the region’s Champion; and, of course, one-of-a-kind legendary Pokémon.

Info:
  • Out now across the world.
  • Full sequel to Black and White.
  • Two versions available: Black 2 or White 2.
Set two years after the events of Pokémon Black and White and taking place in the same region of Unova, the sequel builds on what is one of the best games in the series. There’s a plethora of new things to do and new places to visit – both the storyline and Unova itself have been completely revamped.

You’ll start in an entirely new area on the western side of the map, where you’ll pick your starter Pokémon, as you’ve done in previous games, and then go on to face an all-new first gym, headed by a familiar face from Black and White. In fact, all of the gyms have been completely redone, making for new mechanics to find your way around them – some of which are absolutely brilliant, with roller coasters, colossal dragon statues and many other puzzles that you’ll have to make your way around.

There’s something really amazing about the first several hours of the game, as you set out on your big adventure and train up your freshly caught Pokémon in order to take on the first few gym leaders. It’s something that the Pokémon games have always managed to keep, drawing you in and making it feel all the more worthwhile thirty or forty hours later when you’ve become the Champion using a Pokémon you’ve raised, levelled up and evolved from a very low level.

Of course you will catch other Pokémon along the way, but there’s nothing like raising your starter or a low levelled Pokémon that you found in the first grassy patch you walked through. It’s a type of character development, a friendship even, that can be found in no other game and it’s something that’s been there for over fifteen years, since Red and Blue. The games deserve a lot for the way you bond with the Pokémon you catch.

Certain Pokémon from previous generations are available to catch from the very start, so there’s no need to worry about not being familiar with the newer additions. However, there are no brand-new Pokémon added, only different forms.

Team Plasma, who you might know from the preceding games, are back and hell-bent on liberating Pokémon from their trainers once again. This time, however, Plasma seem genuinely insane and many previous workers have defected, leaving only the worst of the lot for you to fight against. Plasma play a very large role in the story and although their plan is quite odd, they’re very fun villains.

The soundtrack is solid, too – some tracks have been subtly remixed from Black and White, yet they’re still reminiscent of the classic games and there’s sometimes nothing better than blasting the music to help you through that final, epic battle.


It's not the greatest looking game, but it works.
Since it’s a DS game, however, the visuals aren’t anything spectacular, but the vibrant colours are still wonderful and the 2D sprites in an almost 3D world simply works. Battle animations are better than ever, however, with some real depth, even though they’re completely two dimensional.

There’s an abundance of new features to stand alongside the tried and tested formula of the games, including a new Medal system, with which you’ll be rewarded medals for doing certain tasks, much like in-game achievements and Hidden Grottos, which are small, secret areas containing rare Pokémon and items, hidden in between trees.

Completely new attractions and areas exist, too – we won’t spoil the surprise entirely but there’s a movie studio where you’re able to star in battle movies and even a full World Tournament, which is absolutely brilliant, along with many other new places aside from gyms and the Elite Four to battle other trainers. There’s also a lot more to do after completion, something which Black and White missed out on.

Pros

  • It has everything that makes Pokémon such a good series of games.
  • The world of Unova has been reworked and is better than ever.
  • It manages to innovate and differ from Black and White, despite being set in the same world.
  • There’s a lot to do throughout the game and after completion.

Cons

  • It isn’t as much of a jump as we’ve seen before.
  • The storyline doesn’t match the heights of the previous games.

With a combination of nostalgia, riveting gameplay and a deep world full of Pokémon, Black and White 2 manages to keep you drawn in throughout, from your first steps into the tall grass to your last steps into the hall of fame, and beyond. There’s so much to do, even after the first fifty hours.

Game Freak have transformed the world of Unova into a wonderful playground for Pokémon fans and it’s a level up from Black and White; the perfect swan song for the DS titles before the series evolves into the next generation of Pokémon games, which we can hope to see big things from.

Score: 9/10

10 Comments
  1. ProjectJAY
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    Good review! I logged almost 300 hours on White, and I still find White 2 refreshing. It’s the little touches, like the Medal Box, the Habitat List and the Memory Link that matter to me the most; to me, Pokémon is the embodiment of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” :)

    Comment posted on 15/10/2012 at 15:11.
  2. wolf-OF-chaos
    Member
    Since: Feb 2012

    I’m 20 and still love these games. The problem i had with white/black is the pokemon design, they are clearly running out of ideas(there’s a freaking ice cream cone pokemon). Generation 1 and 2 were the best by far.

    I chose tepig again(fetish for fire pokemon) i called her porkkky

    Comment posted on 15/10/2012 at 15:24.
    • Louise
      Member
      Since: Dec 2009

      Ahhh… i admit i also have a fetish for fire pokemon :P But i just don’t like Tepig, or it’s evolutions. My Snivy is still hanging in there even now, but i know i will replace him!

      I’ve just caught a Growlithe, so that’s my fire pokemon sorted :D Unless i run into a Houndour… or an Eevee :)

      Comment posted on 15/10/2012 at 17:00.
  3. matthangzhou
    Member
    Since: Sep 2010

    We should rename this site 9/10. Just really amazing to see 5 games in a row (I think) score so highly. Glad I don’t want this as I have way too many games to get through already! Nice review Blair.

    Comment posted on 15/10/2012 at 15:26.
  4. Louise
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    I’ve just got the second gym badge, and i am really enjoying it. Very nice review :)

    One thing i don’t like, is how when you’re in a battle, the back of your pokemon you’re fighting with is heavily pixelated. They really could have improved that. I’m used to it now, but when i first turned it on, it did jar me a little. I mean, one they’ve done with the opposing pokemon sprites is really nice, with all the animations, and because they’re usually viewed from further away, they look fine. It’s just the back view of the pokemon they could drastically improve!

    Comment posted on 15/10/2012 at 16:58.
  5. An-dz
    Member
    Since: Oct 2010

    Seems like they took all the little things that bugged people with B/W and mended them for this.

    Comment posted on 15/10/2012 at 17:25.
  6. RocketSOL
    Member
    Since: Oct 2008

    The Pokemon games are the only reason I’d consider buying a DS. I always get the urge to play them again. The last one I bought and played was the original gold version…so I have no idea which ones would be the best to purchase!

    Comment posted on 15/10/2012 at 18:58.
    • ProjectJAY
      Member
      Since: Aug 2009

      I bought a DS just for White. I did not regret it ;)

      Comment posted on 15/10/2012 at 19:19.
    • Blair Inglis
      hisnameisblair
      Since: May 2009

      Heart Gold, maybe? The remake, for nostalgia.

      If you want something newer, though, then go for this.

      Comment posted on 15/10/2012 at 19:22.
      • RocketSOL
        Member
        Since: Oct 2008

        Thanks for the replies from the both of ya! I shall make a mental note of these two games if I decide to purchase a DS.

        Comment posted on 15/10/2012 at 21:42.

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