Last year’s Pokemon Black/White version were a step forward in the series, as the games added things to the franchise, but left people wanting more with its lackluster after game, thankfully, the sequel remedies those problems, but the series is in need for a serious innovation shot, as the core formula is obviously dated.
But for now, Pokemon Black 2/White 2, the first numbered sequels in the franchise, bring some changes that as small as these are, help the game from giving you a feeling of “been there, done that.”
The story begins with your main character, as always, you can choose from the guy, or a Princess Leia/Sailor Moon look-alike, as you begin your journey, in a city, which is one of the minor aesthetic changes the game is bringing, soon after your mom gets a call from Professor Juniper and basically FORCES you to take part on the journey, you go outside and meet Hugh, your friend/rival who then accompanies you to meet Bianca, who in turn gives you your first Pokemon as your first step to beginning your journey.
Both versions run on the same engine the predecessors did, with only minor graphical enhances, some may not notice them, but the changes are there, although, the Pokemon still being just sprites kind of takes you out of it, this problem will probably be resolved in the next generation, but going from a 3D environment to a 2D sprite, it just feels off switching between both styles, but that’s just me.
The music is your usual Pokemon road/city fare, as it fits with the area you are in, such as the music being “mystical“ in caves as well as sounding “adventurous” in the more open areas , the music in battle is certainly a better thing though, with remixed versions of the Gym themes, and Wild Battle themes, and quite a few surprise remixes for those who will keep playing after the story is long over, to the awesome new themes, such as your Rival’s, and this has got to be the best soundtrack in the series.
The core mechanics of the games are essentially the same, turn based combat with only the minor additions that the previous versions have brought, such as double battles, separating the type of moves into physical and special attacks etc.
You will have to battle gym leaders, a returning Team Plasma (shocker) and a new villain called Colress that is surrounded in mystery, as well as battling other trainers, but you won’t be alone, as there are more than 300 Pokemon for you to chosse, so if you are one of “them” you have some variety and can other creatures besides the ones the 5th Gen brought.
Even though the battles are the main focus, there is some addition that helps the game a bit, you can make movies (sort of) even if you are more of an actor, (apparently green screens effects are so advanced that even your outfit and pose changes) and it’s fun figuring out the puzzles that they give you to figure it out on the scripts, that become more complicated as you go on, and I have to say that’s the only good extra addition (I don’t consider much a “battle” more of a follow the scripted moves and others) and there is the other thing; the Pokemon musicals, and those are as underwhelming as before.
But wait, there are more additions, with the Global Link, and its Dream World, that allows you to use your computer to play with a Pokemon you send to sleep from your DS game, the only obvious disadvantage is that you have to have internet.
As I mentioned before, the game has some extra additions and minor details, such details are things like Max Repel running out and the game asking you if you want to use another one, which helps stops the game from breaking the pace, there are also other additions such as the hidden grottos that contain Pokemon with special abilities and other rare items, you can see flashbacks (if you connect any of the original versions with the game synch mode) as well as capturing N’s Pokemon he released in the previous games, that is a cool detail added to this game.
The game has tons of after game content, you can catch the legendaries that are all around Unova; fill your Pokedex, build your perfect team, and go to the Battle Subway, but the best addition is obviously the World Tournament, which allows you to battle Gym Leaders and Champions from past games, and even if this is just fan service, it’s REALLY good fan service.
When you finish the main quest, you unlock “keys” that you can transfer to a friend in order to unlock extra content, such as easy mode, or even better Challenge Mode, that gives you the ability to play the game with your enemies’ Pokemon having a higher level, or Gym Leaders having an extra Pokemon, other keys unlock different areas that you can change from the main menu, the only way to receive all the keys is if you have someone else with opposite version of the game, of course, you got to have friends, the same goes to trying to complete the monstrous amount of Pokemon in the Pokedex.
Some extra additions that come only with people who will play this on their 3DS, as they will have access to the Dream Radar (which will allow the ability to capture Pokemon to transfer to the games) and Pokedex 3D Pro (which will contain every Pokemon along with moves and other information) this being an incentive for every 3DS user.
In all honesty, this is one of the best games in the series with so much to do, and if your mind isn’t clouded with nostalgia, and even if you are drugged on it, the inclusion of past Pokemon will probably make you love it, but if you aren’t a Pokemon fan and you never liked the series to begin with, this isn’t a good addition, since the core of the franchise hasn’t really changed that much.
I give this game a 4 out of 5 because even with the extra content, is still an expansion (less than before of course), but Game Freak is moving in the right direction with this, and hopefully we will see some surprising changes for Generation 6.