Pokémon Black and White 2 Review
Pokémon Black and White 2 is not your average Pokémon sequel. That is to say, it’s not the same exact game as the original Black and White.
You see, for over a decade, the Pokémon franchise typically did very well with the following formula: release a game with an entirely new set of Pokémon, then release essentially the same exact game with a new paint job a year or so later (see Pokémon Yellow, Crystal, FireRed, LeafGreen, Emerald, Platinum, HeartGold, and SoulSilver).
While very few of the game mechanics have changed from Black and White (and some would argue, since the original Blue and Red versions back in 1998), Black and White 2 does actually have its very own convoluted storyline. In this new installment, all of the events take place in the same Unova region that last game did, only two years later. As a result, your character (you can still choose whether to be a boy or a girl) completes their journey somewhat in the shadows of the hero from the last game.
While in past Pokémon sequels, you made your journey through nearly exact cut and paste jobs of the prior game, that’s only partially true here. There are some entirely new areas to grind through in Black and White 2, and most of the remaining areas have either been changed in some way or given some new significance in the new game. Some characters from the past game have even matured (as much you can imagine they could in a Pokémon game) and taken on new roles in the new installment.
Still, very few people have ever played Pokémon for its epic storyline, and the new game’s premise is still nearly identical to every other game in the series: Get all the badges, thwart the evil organization’s plan to enslave a legendary Pokémon to take over the world, beat the Elite 4, become a Pokémon master, and so on. This is largely nothing you haven’t seen before.
So, what does this game have going for it? Well, at its core, Pokémon is still the same addicting game. If you’re into RPGs, this is still one of the classics, because you certainly do feel a sense of accomplishment when you level up your Pocket Monsters (that’s the unabridged Japanese translation, by the way). If you liked the previous Pokémon sequels, or haven’t played Pokémon in the past, this would be a fine place to jump in.
Still, as with most Pokémon games, there’s not a ton of innovation to talk about. Yes, there are some gimmicky mini-games that have been added, but none of them stand out as being particularly enthralling. What you need to know is that the Pokémon formula is still profitable, and it’ll remain the same until whenever that ceases to be true.
Bottom line: This still a fun, long, grinding game; it just hasn’t changed much since you last played it in 2011, or 1998.