Pokémon Black & White Version 2
It hasn’t even been two years and we
already have the second instalment in the fifth generation of Pokémon
games, Pokémon Black & White Version 2. It also serves as the
first direct sequel to a game in the series, set two years after the
events of the original Black and White. Every Pokémon game ever
has always had hype surrounding its release, but has the Unova region
faced any drastic changes in two these years to warrant going back to
catch ‘em all once more? Not really.
the first Pokémon game was released back in 1998, it was praised for
being an easy to play yet extremely deep and engaging RPG. Well, the
developers over at GameFreak must’ve heard word of this praise, because
they’ve been recycling the same core gameplay mechanics for nearly 16
years. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, I’ve been an avid fan of
Pokémon ever since it came out and thoroughly enjoyed every rendition
thus far, but now that I’m nearing my twenties this simple form of
gameplay doesn’t stand up to the other RPGs out there right now.
the hundredth time I was woken up by my Mum and told to find a professor
who would give me a Pokémon, given a map to my rival, been shown around
the local town and told what element works best against the other, in
order to beat the gym leaders along my journey. These drawn out
tutorials are obviously essential for the constant newcomers the series
gains with every rendition, but for someone like me who’s followed the
series for so long, it feels so monotonous and slow that it’s hard to
pay attention at the beginning of the story. While there have been some
new and quite decent additions to the gameplay in Black & White
Version 2, such as Nintendo 3DS exclusive capabilities, challenges
(which is the game’s equivalent to PS3 trophies or X360 achievements)
co-op side missions and a revamped online mode, they don’t prevent the
overall Pokémon experience from feeling dated, linear and repetitive.
came as a surprise to me that GameFreak developed Black & White
Version 2 on the aging DS, when the 3DS’s popularity has soared over
the past year. It still encourages that you use the 3DS to gain extra
features oddly enough, however if you are to play it on the 3DS, the
dated pixelated graphics will only look worse than they would on the
smaller DS screen. While the game’s colours do pop and look quite pretty
when the brightness is turned up all the way, the presentation of the
game is very similar to the one on display back in 2007 with Pokémon
Diamond & Pearl, aged.
biggest problem with Black & White Version 2 is that apart from a
handful of newcomers, you’ll be catching the same Pokémon that you
caught in the first Black & White Version, which in my opinion is the
worst looking generation to date. The majority of them are uninspired
parodies of real life items (like an ice-cream...or a pile of trash,
literally), which are rather unattractive to look at, and coupled with
the previously mentioned pixilation it was hard to motivate myself to
add them to my growing collection. The environments in the game look
decent, but it would’ve worked a lot better if they adjusted the size of
the sprites that populate the numerous towns. Their heads are just way
too big, and some of the hairstyles the developers have chosen are just
plain odd and distracting.
always will be the weakest point about Pokémon. While the background
music during your exploration of Unova and your battles with foes is
exciting and engaging, it’s certainly nothing you haven’t heard before.
The Pokémon’s cries when they are released from their poke’ balls are
still as excruciating to listen to as they were 16 years ago. It seems
odd that the audio in Pokémon games hasn’t seen drastic improvements
like the graphics once had, but it will be interesting to see where it
will be headed once it makes the leap to the 3DS’s far superior quality.
For the meantime, keep the volume set to mute.
are an avid Pokémon fan, what you get with Black & White Version 2
is a true Pokémon experience. It’s an extremely lengthy game as always,
and there’s plenty to do in the region of Unova for the second time
around, including discovering hundreds of Pokémon and battling trainers.
It’s the classic formula that fans all over the world have grown to
love, however it suffers from feeling way to familiar; perhaps a longer
development period between games could have seen bigger changes, rather
than this surprisingly, and I hate to use the word, lazy edition of
Pokémon. This looks to be the last version we see being developed for
the DS, and hopefully with the 3DS’s capabilities in GameFreak’s hands,
we can see a brighter future for this beloved series.