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Gotta Catch Em’ All….AGAIN! : Pokémon Black/White 2 Worth Every Penny

Way back in 1996 Game Freak coupled up with Nintendo to release one of the most influential handheld titles, Pokémon Red/Blue. This RPG/Adventure game thrilled gamers and went on to become one of the most successful franchises in Nintendo history and one of its most iconic titles. The simple premise of catching monsters to raise and evolve and battle against other players, blew the doors off of the portable world. It defined a generation of kids growing up in the 90’s and turned playgrounds into battlefields, and the words “You are out of usable Pokémon…You blacked out” spelled the shame of crushing defeat.

16 Years, 650 Pokémon, and 4 Generations later, Nintendo has only improved on its simple concept, bringing big graphic changes, improved game play elements, and bridging players across the world in new and exciting ways.

Pokémon Black and White were a decent addition to the Pokémon series. They added over 150 new Pokémon and were set in an exciting new region for players to explore. However the games fell short. The end game doesn’t have that much to offer once you complete the main storyline, which meant that it feels kind of bare. Also, as great as having a new set of Pokémon to learn about and train, being able to find some of the old familiar ones is something the game misses. Many players have favorite Pokémon from previous generations and the lack of selection there is slightly disappointing.

BW2_tournamentPokémon Black/ White 2 improve on much of what was missing from its generational predecessors. Battles feel smoother, the graphics are a bit better, and richer game play elements have been added. The end game contains much more to do than its predecessors, with awesome challenges such as the Battle Subway making its return, along with new challenges for players such as the Pokémon World Tournament. This arena allows players to fight against all sorts of trainers including gym leaders, champions and old friends from past games. Another great challenge is the White Treehollow(White 2) and Black Tower(Black 2). These huge training grounds are excellent places to level your Pokémon and offer an exciting challenge to climb or descend all 10 levels.

Another great feature of Black/White 2 is the ability to collect various keys throughout the game, and trade those with other players. This allows players to adjust different settings in the game, and open up new areas that are otherwise inaccessible. This clever use of the trade feature gives players the chance to play the games however they would like.  The challenge key in particular, offers players a far more difficult experience and really forces them to get down deep into the gameplay mechanics.

While nothing new, the ability to train your Pokémon depending on what stats you desire, and what abilities you wish them to have is also present in this iteration. EV/IV training (which is incredibly complex and I won’t go into detail about here) has become a cornerstone of competitive play, with entire websites dedicated to finding the best combination of stats/natures/abilities/moves to achieve multiplayer dominance. Players have the ability to breed their Pokémon once more in this title, helping them to achieve that desired team. These features, which were added in the second and third generations, have added needed complexity to the series and expands the simple premise, offering a richer experience.

Much of my criticism of Pokémon Black/White 2 comes from the end game. While the games offer a much richer experience in general, the back end of the games still leaves something to be desired. I thought long, and came to the conclusion that I wish the story had more depth. Though the main story brings you right up to the mid level 50s’ and  rematches with the games final bosses available at much higher levels, the game still feels like there is room for a deeper and more lengthy narrative. It could really benefit from the treatment of a second region with either an overhaul of an older region from a previous title, or a second new continent with more difficult challenges. Gold/Silver and their remakes really nailed this on the head, giving you 8 more gyms to conquer and another region to explore. But what about a second set of end bosses? Ones much higher in level, nearing the level 100 mark. That would provide a nice finality to the title, and allow those who wish to continue with the multiplayer, a team of Pokémon that would be close to  level cap. This would bridge the gap between multiplayer and single player much more effectively.

For me personally, having grown up with the series, and been in and out of touch with it through the years, Black/White 2 has been one of the most complete Pokémon experiences. It stands alone enough from its predecessors that you can skip Black/White and not be lost. Also, I was happy to be able to catch many of the Pokémon I grew up using, or even ones I didn’t get to use back in Red/Blue. I had a blast playing through the region, (which has grown in size since Black/White) and the end game content is more robust than some of the past titles. Black/White 2 offers a great experience for anyone from the most casual player, to those looking for a complex competitive play experience.  Despite its faults, this game ranks as one of my favorite Pokémon titles, and has enough content to keep anyone going for at least 40+ hours. If you’re new to the series, or an avid fan looking for a new challenge, Black/White 2 will satiate your desire to Catch Em All.

Sources:
http://www.videogamesblogger.com/2012/07/02/pokemon-black-and-white-2-wallpaper-hd.htm for banner picture.
http://www.serebii.net/black2white2/worldtournament.shtml Tournament Picture

I currently work in telecommuncations, which sounds flashy, but really, I just sell phones. I spend my free time gaming. Started playing back in the days of the original Nintendo and haven't stopped since.

One comment

  1. Roxan says:

    I caught them all , when there was 150 pokemon to catch. The new versions get uber confusing :) Great collection!

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