Review by Psalm51

"Please release me, let me go..."

Well, that's it for the DS then! Pokemon Black/White 2 (referred to as White 2 from now on) is the last major release on the DS. I still have one of the original silver DSs. The original DSs are referred to as the phat or clamshell. As most of us know, over time they were improved in a variety of ways and we ended up with the DS Lite, DSi and last of all, the DSi XL. So, that funky revolutionary handheld that was first available here in the UK/EU way back in 2005 is now officially old tec. I can say that my DS phat from 2005 has served me well and I don't think that I have experienced any serious game glitches while playing on it. Anyway, respect to Game Freak for releasing a game in Fall 2012 that still works on the original DS. They have done a good job with the technology available to them and the game works a treat. More on the graphics and sound later but I just want to start by saying that Game Freak deserve a lot of respect for making their last DS title work so well on the original DS from 2005.

Introduction - This is my second review of a Pokemon game and, in that sense, I am still new to playing Pokemon games. I played and completed one playthrough of Pokemon Platinum and rated it 7/10. Perhaps the Pokemon bug passed me by but I simply ran out of enthusiasm after investing sixty hours with Pokemon Platinum. It is the same with White 2. I completed the main SP story of White 2 in sixty hours but the game still wanted more from me. I had NOT defeated the Elite Four and even travelling Victory Road was a chore! The problem here is that when game content is locked (like it is with all of the main Pokemon games) until well after the main SP story is finished, then you can end up buying and playing only part of a game. Unless, of course, you are willing to invest more and more time to unlock the extra "post game" content. As it happens, I don't feel cheated but I do feel that the game is like a possessive lover and is simply unwilling to let me go. So, be warned if you are new to Pokemon games that once you start playing White 2, the game will not want you to stop playing it...full stop!

Gameplay - 9 out of 10. I have to say that the Gameplay in White 2 is very nearly perfect. The turn-based collecting and battling with Pokemon is legendary and does not need any introduction. Game Freak introduce new Pokemon and game enhancements with every game they release and the same is true here. I was especially impressed with the improved way Repel works and the placing of healing Trainers was perfect. The placement of healing Trainers made some of the longer inter-town and dungeon journeys a treat! Special mention here goes to the eight main Gyms and the Gym Leaders. The Gym levels are short, punchy, interesting and never frustrate, like some did in Platinum. The game also drops the extended tutorial design of previous games and even makes the first Gym Leader a challenge! In fact, I'd say that the first Gym is the most difficult Gym in the game. My only complaint here is that the final main SP battle is mis-handled, with no inter-battle save. I also think that difficulty of the final main SP battle is borderline brutal...and that's me with an overlevelled team of Pokemon!

Story - 5 out of 10. Ahhh... Story in computer games... Discuss! The story in White 2 goes like this... Young Trainer; here is a world for you to enjoy, so go out and enjoy it! That works initially and then along comes Team Plasma... Boo, hiss! Then the story reverts to chase-me, chase-me, but don't forget to enjoy yourself, young Jedi (Trainer!) I get the feeling that Game Freak are actually poking fun at the gamer and only put the Team Plasma bit in to get the Critics off their back. It is true to say that many gamers don't care about story in games and, if that is the case, White 2 is THE game for you. But, if you want to care about your avatar/team and are looking for a story in your games, then don't play this game.

Graphics/Sound - 8 out of 10. As discussed above, Game Freak made a decision to release this game as a DS title (which can obviously be played on the 3DS as well) and produced a best possible game, with the technology available to them. The 2.5D graphics work well and the few panned out city and landscapes are a delight to the eyes. The 2.5D graphics are not as stunning as those found in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn and Dragon Quest IX, but they are good enough to impress. Sound too is well done and the variety and quality of the Gym theme tunes is stunning. My only gripe with sound in the game is that there is no variety in the main battle music. Sadly, for a game that sounds great, the lack of variety with the main battle music will force you to play chunks of the game with the sound turned off...not really what Game Freak intended!

Play Time/Replayability - 9 out of 10. As mentioned, it took me sixty hours to complete one playthrough and my Pokemon were at Level 50-55 by the time I stopped playing. I'm no expert and I would expect competent Pokemon gamers to complete the game in half this time. Sixty hours is easily long enough for one playthrough, and yet I hadn't unlocked the post-game content! As for replaying the game... Well, of course, Pokemon games are meant to be played through multiple times and there is every reason to do this. With upwards of five hundred Pokemon to catch and develop, and only six that can be in your party at any one time, then you will want to play the game again and again and again...

Final Recommendation - 8 out of 10. So, my final score is 31/40 and I am rating this as 8/10 - 80%. Pokemon Black/White 2 is pretty much the perfect version of a game that was released in (very) good shape way back in 1995! If you don't care about story in games, then you can add 1/10 - 10% to my review and call it a must buy and keeper. For myself, I do care about story in games and don't like it when a game won't let go of me. Pokemon games have a lot to give but should be content to let you go when you complete them. This doesn't happen here and I have to mark the game down for that fact alone. Perhaps one day I will be bitten by the Pokemon bug but, until that day comes, you will get clear unbiased reviews from me! Nuff said...

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 01/07/13

Game Release: Pokemon White Version 2 (EU, 10/12/12)

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