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Game Review: Pokemon Black Version 2

January 5, 2013

(Warning: Spoilers Present In This Review. Proceed at your own risk. Please also note that this can also be used as a review for Pokemon White Version 2, as the differences between the two versions are mostly in exclusive pokemon, as well as some areas looking different. Gameplay/Story in both Pokemon Black Version 2 and Pokemon White Version 2 are identical though.
Also, please note that both versions are compatible with the 3DS, and this particular game was played with a 3DS, as it is backwards compatible with all DS games. The Dream Radar Feature, exclusive to the 3DS, was NOT purchased and therefore will not be covered in the review. It is available on the 3DS eShop for those who own the system.

One Final Note: This game is compatible with Pokemon Black/White Version 1. You made trade with those versions at anytime. Following completing the main story (by defeating the champion) you will be allowed to trade with Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold and SoulSilver versions. Despite being a DS Pokemon game, the game is NOT compatible with Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, or Emerald, as well as FireRed and LeafGreen. So players with the original Nintendo DS (Version with the GBA backwards compatibility), please be aware you can NOT interact with these versions of the game.

Sequel to last year’s “Pokemon Black/White”, which was the 5th Major Titles in the main Pokemon Franchise, Pokemon Black Version 2 continues the storyline set up in the original titles. Taking place two years following the ending of the first game, you’ll be playing as a new player, who will interact with both new and old characters from the original version (as well as classic characters from previous generation versions). It is up to you to beat the 8 gyms, the elite four, and the champion as per usual. You’ll also need to confront the rise of Neo Team Plasma, under the leadership of Ghetsis, and stop Neo Team Plasma’s plot to conquer the region, and (of course) the world. It also goes without saying that you’ll need to catch every pokemon to fill-up your pokedex. If you’ve played at least one pokemon game in the past, you know all this already and it was pointless to tell you this. Let’s move on:

Gameplay/Battle Features: If you’ve played the games before, you know the drill. You’ll have options to attack opponents, use items, ect. It’s RPG gameplay, and it will be up to you to choose the right attacks, equip the right items, make the right team, ect to make it further in the game. The battle screen was re-designed for the version, but shouldn’t be very hard to get used to at all.

Differences Between Black Version 1 and 2: Alright, let’s list these off…
– As per usual, there’s a new opening. Keeping up with the tradition of awesome, the legendary pokemon you’re trying to obtain is shown on the title screen, and like in the last version, is in a full 3-Dimensional Graphic. This franchise totally needs more 3-Dimensional Graphic scenes. I expect this from you come Gen 6 for the 3DS Nintendo/Gamefreak! Don’t let me down!
– The Stat Bar for each Pokemon has apparently been re-designed (although it’s not very noticeable, I had it pointed out to me).
– New Cities and Towns have been added
– New Characters have been added, including a new rival.
– Some Gym Leaders have been replaced, and the Champion has also been replaced (but still appears as a character)
– Gyms have been re-designed and given re-mixed music.
– Black and White soundtrack was re-mixed for this game.
– Some characters received new sprite designs.
– All Trainers have fully animated, individual sprites
– Some attacks have new battle animations
– New Battle Screen (See comments above)
– C-Gear was redesigned (However, was not used very often in playthrough.)
– Pokedex expanded for older pokemon, has a slightly new look and has the Habitat List added (although this feature wasn’t used often during playthrough.)
– Route 4 and Victory Road have been changed for this version
– Cold Storage is now the Pokemon World Tournament Area, which allows you to face off with many trainers, including old generation gym leaders. The tournament looks very flashy and is awesome. Highly recommend checking it out (although you’ll end up visiting it once due to the story, I suggest checking it out again later on.)
– Opelucid City will be frozen at one point in the game, and will stay that way until you defeat the Champion.
– A Challenge Mode and Easy Mode have been introduced
– The Kami Trio has new forms, and (besides trading from Black/White Version 1) can ONLY be obtained through the Pokemon Dream Radar (NOT COVERED IN REVIEW).
– Old Generation Pokemon can be caught before defeating the champion, unlike in Black Version 1.

And those are the main ones really. Also, the animation in this game looks really, really nice. I have high expectations for the Sixth Generation of Pokemon games.

Graphics: The game is running the game graphics engine as Black Version 1, for obvious reasons. Still looks great though!

Story: It is great to see a follow-up to the Black/White Version storyline, which was one of my favorite Pokemon storylines to date (And yes, I know, saying they are “storylines” is a little too much, but whatever.) Seeing what happens two years later and seeing the region changed up gives me fond memories of Pokemon Gold and Silver. For awhile, I always found it a shame that new versions didn’t continue the story (like Gold and Silver did) considering they were sequels. Maybe they didn’t need Team Rocket, but lacking a connection to previous titles felt like a downgrade. So something like this is a nice touch.

Still, it is somewhat disappointing that there isn’t an option to continue with your old character. I suppose for the purposes of the story, it makes sense. And there is an option (if you connect your old game to this one) to get special scenes, but it is somewhat disappointing that you can’t continue with your old character. Then again, Gold and Silver did the same thing, so I can’t exactly complain about that, can I?

I will say that while the story is nice, I did find the storyline a bit more interesting in the first game (especially considering after you face the elite four in the first game, you see the champion defeated by N, and are forced to run through N’s Castle and begin the final confrontation with Team Plasma. This time around, the lack of something like that is disappointing. It was such a fantastic conclusion to the game that I wish more Pokemon Titles had it.

Final Verdict: Pokemon Black Version 2 is a fantastic pokemon title that Pokemon Fans will love. However, I don’t think it is better than Black Version 1 (except on a few key features.) I still feel that Black Version 1 was the game that I’d recommend to people who only played Red/Blue and Gold/Silver who were looking for a reason to get back into the series. That being said, this is by no means a bad game, or even decent. It is a fantastic title, and a great follow-up to Pokemon Black/White Version 1. I just feel like it’s lacking something to make it the superior version to the original version.

I give Pokemon Black Version 2 a 4/5, and highly recommend you check it out. The game is the final major title for the Nintendo DS, and one of the top titles to have from the Holiday 2012 season. I look forward to the Pokemon Team’s attempts with the 3DS, which I have no doubt will be awesome. In the meantime though, check out Black/White Version 2 and give it a try today!

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