Eleanor Jayawant looks at the latest entry in the Pokemon series
Breaking the trend of mid-generation expansion of Pokémon games, Pokémon Black & White 2 are direct sequels to Pokémon Black & White. Although the story feels less established than previous Pokémon games, the little things that have been added along with the ever-present theme of becoming region champion make the newest addition to the Pokémon family a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
The story in Black & White 2 is stand-alone, allowing new players to understand the game without any previous Pokémon experience. However, the Memory Link function allows Black/White veterans to sync the games, providing insight into the mind of N, the troubled rival from B&W. The cutscenes shown are often touching, and nicely bridge the two games for those who played B/W.
Like B&W, B&W2 have 2D sprites in a charming 3D world, which works surprisingly well. As the in-game seasons change, the world around the player changes, and some areas are quite pretty considering the graphical capabilities of the DS. The soundtrack captures the essence of Unova, while subtly keeping classic Pokémon themes that everyone knows and loves.
The brilliant Habitat List separates the Pokédex into routes, displaying a stamp once all the Pokémon in an area have been seen. It breaks the Pokédex into manageable chunks, helping hopeful Pokémon Masters catch (or at least see) ‘em all. This is particularly useful as B&W2 boast the biggest regional Dex so far, with almost 300 Pokémon to catch. Other welcome new features include the introduction of Hidden Grottos – secret areas containing rare Pokémon or items – and the Pokémon World Tournament. The PWT allows players to battle prominent trainers from previous games with multitude of battle styles.
The Medal system is an achievement system within the game. With over 200 medals, B&W2 are jam-packed with things to do for even the most ambitious completionist. Medals are awarded for all sorts: simple tasks such as cycling for the first time to more complex objectives like completing the National Pokédex.
Pokémon Black & White 2 have something to appeal to Pokémon fans old and new (especially as it is possible to catch Pokémon from previous generations in the wild, unlike in B&W). The games feel like bigger, better versions of B&W, with more to do, new challenges and a totally revamped Unova.
Pokemon Black and White 2 are published by Nintendo and the Pokemon Company and are out now on the Nintendo DS