Pokémon Black Version 2

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Pokémon Black Version 2 Box Art
System/s: DS/DSi
Developer: GameFreak
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: RPG
Players: 1
GD Score: 93
Press Scores
Release Date:
N. America: Oct. 7, 2012
Europe: Oct. 12, 2012
Australia: Oct. 11, 2012
Japan: Jun. 23, 2012
ESRB: Everyone

"An Excellent Double Dip into the Land of Unova"

REVIEW |

Author: Peter Grimm  

I’ve been away from the core Pokémon series for a while, but most recently, I invested time into the Generation I remakes FireRed and LeafGreen. Since then, I’ve kept track of what has been going on with the main games, but I never got back on the Pokémon bandwagon. That is, until Pokémon Black / White Version 2, one of the two first ever direct sequels to core Pokémon titles (as opposed to the expanded-upon "third" version that previous generations have gotten).

After all this time, I found myself getting into the exploration of a vast land, the discovery of new and diverse Pokémon, and (most of all) the intensity of Pokémon battles. While it may not be the revolutionary step forward for the series that some have hoped for, it takes what has worked in the past and refines it, making for a wonderfully-executed game.

Pokémon Black Version 2 / Pokémon White Version 2 (DS, DSi) Review Screenshot

Pokémon Black and White Version 2 returns players to the Unova region, and while it has them going through the same setting as the original Pokémon White, much has changed between the games, with some locations (like gyms) revamped completely, while brand new settings make it so even veterans of the original have a thing or two to discover.

Tying into the plot of the original, the story in Pokémon Black / White Version 2 takes place two years later, involving you in the conflict between the reunited Team Plasma and its former members, who disagree with their power-hungry ways. It works well throughout, playing out enjoyably all the way to the end and providing a good close to the Black White arc.

While collecting Pokémon, battling trainers, winning gym badges and journeying to be the very best are still the main objectives, Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 come with plenty of other things to do if you want to take a break and do something different. Pokéstar Studios, which tasks you with making mini-movies with your Pokémon, adds a fun (if somewhat superfluous) diversion. Meanwhile, the Pokémon World Tournament offers you a chance to test your skills in challenging tournament battles against classic gym leaders and champions from past games -best part: you can engage in a tournament whenever you want. A new medal system (basically this game’s version of achievements or trophies) provides further incentive to go off the beaten path and try out the game’s many different elements.

Pokémon Black Version 2 / Pokémon White Version 2 (DS, DSi) Review Screenshot

Along with those, there is Join Avenue, an area that is populated by the avatars of trainers that you’ve connected with through the game’s various forms of communication (IR, wireless, and online). Not only can you interact with them, but you can encourage them to open a variety of special shops, providing you with plenty of unique goods to buy. The DS’s communication capabilities also come in handy with the revamped Entralink and its new Fun Fest Missions. Featuring objectives ranging from collecting berries to catching Pokémon, the truly impressive thing about the missions in Pokémon Black / White Version 2 is that they allow up to 100 players to connect locally and explore Unova together simultaneously.

These diversions may be fun, but like I said before, the main objective of Pokémon Black / White Version 2 is to collect and battle Pokémon, and in that the game does not fail. Sporting nearly 300 Pokémon from all five generations inhabiting the region, there are a lot of them to catch. Luckily, the game makes it easy to keep tabs on your ever-growing Poké-collection through a new and ingenious feature for the Pokedex: the Habitat List. This feature allows you to keep track of the Pokémon you’ve encountered in each area and which you’ve caught, making it super easy to go about clearing an area and filling up the Pokédex in the process.

Most importantly, the Pokémon battles are well handled here. Once again, the series provides us with another expertly done display of turn-based RPG combat, which, while it's familiar enough for any Poké-fan to get into with ease, it plays with an enjoyable intensity whether you’re engaging in either a single, double, triple, or rotation battle. The detailed gameplay is such that even at the very beginning, as you’re pitting your Pokémon against low-leveled wild critters, you’re aware of type advantages / disadvantages, the Pokémon’s status condition, and a number of other variables. To sum up, the combat never fails to entertain.

Pokémon Black Version 2 / Pokémon White Version 2 (DS, DSi) Review Screenshot

With excellent combat, a fun story regardless of whether you played the original, and plenty of new and revamped content to keep returning players happy for a while, Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 more than justify the move to go full-on sequel instead of the traditional "third" version that people had originally expected. There’s something here for everyone. For new players, it is a highly-refined spin on the legendary Pokémon gameplay, and for those who played the original White / Black Version, there is enough new stuff to make a second trip to Unova easily worth it.

GameDynamo's Score for Pokémon Black Version 2 (DS/DSi)
Graphics
The fusion 2D sprites and 3D backgrounds take the classic series look and improves on it as far as the DS hardware enables it, while sprite animations in battles give energy to even the less spectacular battles.
Sound
Revamped classic themes are again enjoyable to listen to, while lively new battle themes serve to enhance the experience.
Gameplay
The collecting / battling gameplay that has long defined the series continues strongly here, enhanced further by new features and things to take up your time.
Play Value
With nearly 300 Pokémon, a vast region with all new secrets, and a gripping story to invest in, you can easily part with dozens of hours for this game. And that's not counting all the extra stuff you can have fun with.
 
Final Score  93Editors Choice
If this is the last great game for the Nintendo DS, then it is a good way to end the impressive lifespan of an excellent and incredibly successful handheld.

Posted on 11/01/2012 | Game Played on: DS
Peter Grimm

A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.

The views of GameDynamo's writers are not necessarily the views of the website as a whole. However, we support freedom of speech and enjoy diverse opinions about video games. Hopefully you do too!

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