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Pokémon Black & White Version 2 DS Review - -

Gameplay 6.0
Graphics 5.0
Sound 4.0
Value 7.0
Distributor: Nintendo
Cameron Grimes


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.


When 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.

For 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.


It 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.

My 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.


Is and 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.

Final Thoughts

If you 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.


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