Review by skeletorissatan
"Pokemon Black 2, a surprising success"
To call Pokemon a runaway success would be a slight understatement. To call it an absolute titan in the gaming world, and an absolute showpiece of what the gaming world can accomplish over the space of fifteen years would be more realistic, but still would miss the overall picture. What Pokemon is, in fact, is a generation. If you were to ask any child or teenager of the past fifteen years what video game he or she has played and consistently enjoyed and grown up with throughout the course of their life, the answer would most likely be one or multiple of the installments in the franchise. Pokemon is much more a household product than a gaming experience these days, and in 2012 said product returned with its latest installment, Pokemon Black and White Version 2.
Pokemon Black And White 2 have been released in Japan and are currently awaiting an October release date in the UK and USA, and has enjoyed good sales since release, and great reviews.
In an unprecedented move, Game Freak decided to release a direct sequel to Pokemon Black and White, which has already revolutionized the series, and proved that Pokemon is still the number one gaming franchise out there, no matter how many Call Of Duty or Diablo games are released. Everyone played the first two, and many people thoroughly enjoyed them. But the first question that must be answered is this- was a sequel really necessary? What could realistically be added to the games to keep it feeling fresh despite the fact that the Unova region has already been explored to death in the first installments.
The answer would be a resounding yes, it is necessary, and Pokemon Black and White prove exactly how a sequel should be done. Sequels should build upon and improve their predecessor, and this is exactly what Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 accomplish. Though the plot is nothing entirely new, it remains fun and very much enjoyable, and builds on that of the first games. Team Plasma is divided, but from the ashes new characters arrive, such as the mysterious Akuroma. To thoroughly enjoy and understand the plot of the sequels, one must first experience the originals, but the game ensures that any new comers will not be disappointed either, by keeping the story simple, so that the new comer need not worry about missing plot details.
The sound for this game truly is a step up, and brings the sound in Pokemon games into their own category full stop within the gaming world, topping even the elite sound tracks such as Final Fantasy. Pokemon Black 2 contains some truly incredible pieces of music, and much of it is completely fresh. There are even some songs on here with actual words to them, although very simple and not very detailed. This really would be one of the finer points of Black And White 2, as the sound has always been a problem with the Pokemon games that has finally been remedied. It is a shame it took Game Freak so long to catch on, but they have corrected one of the major errors with the Pokemon games.
The graphics on this game are the Holy Grail of all DS games. There is not a Nintendo DS game out there that can hope to top Pokemon Black and White 2 in the graphical department, with detailed sprites, killer 3D cut scenes, and some ingeniously painted created environments, that ensure the game world the player travels through is as enjoyable and immersive as can be found in a gaming experience. This was another issue that had needed an address, and was partially responded to with the shift in view point on Black And White 1, but has finally been fully corrected.
Game Play wise, this is pure gold. There is neither as addictive nor as thrilling a game on a handheld console that has been released today. This is perfection incarnate, where every progression throughout the game brings new elements and ensures the game feels as enjoyable as the first Pokemon games did more than a decade and a half ago now. This is how a handheld game should be made, with real care and time put into it. The formula of the game is completely unchanged, you capture monsters and use them to battle one another, but it is done even better than before, with nice new elements added.
The Gym Leaders are even more interesting than before, with the usual rock, paper, scissors elements found in every Pokemon game present here and in perfect working order. If a formula isn't broke, then there is no need to fix it, and Pokemon may as well be the poster child for this phrase. Pokemon has always had a fun but shallow battle system, and here it is found better than ever, with the usual host of attacks to use on your opponents Pokemon. This is the most fun I can honestly think of having in any game made in a long, long time, and straight away warrants an immediate purchase.
The most notable thing I could find from this game was how the ante had been upped in terms of triple and rotational battles, two new battle styles that were introduced in the games previous to these. Throughout Pokemon Black and White 1, there was around 5 triple and rotational battles to engage in, and I honestly felt that this was really undermining the new game mechanics. However, this has been fixed in the new versions, where the player can engage in triple and rotational battles fairly regularly, which was nice to see.
The multiplayer on this game is, as usual, flawless. Pokemon has always had a fun, deep multiplayer experience that just adds to the plethora of fun, interesting things to do inside the game, and Pokemon Black and White 1 managed to hone this to perfection. Black and White 2 use much the same mechanics, and they really do work to the point where the player wonders whether this game truly could be made any better. This is where the real replay ability has always been found in a Pokemon game, and it is no different in Black and White 2.
The actual style of the game is much the same as found before. It is still an adventure RPG, where the player travels on a journey with creatures known as Pokemon to challenge the Gym Leader in each town, fight off an evil faction (in this case, Team Plasma), and then do battle with the Elite Four, the best trainers in the world. Throughout your journey there are countless Pokemon to encounter and add to your ever growing roster, and then decide a team of 6 from them all, and raise that party, gaining experience points through battles and raising your level, thereby increasing the statistics of each Pokemon. This really could not be built upon, and remains the most solid example of an RPG ever made.
Pokemon Black 2 proves that a game series almost 20 years old can still kick it, and really is a worthy addition to any game players collection. Perfection comes very rarely to the gaming world, but in the case of Pokemon Black and White 2, Game Freak proves once again why they are on top of the gaming pile.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 10/02/12
Game Release: Pocket Monsters Black 2 (JP, 06/23/12)
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