By Laura . August 9, 2012 . 5:37pm
Welcome to our in-depth coverage of Pokémon Black 2. The purpose of this series of articles is to provide a well-rounded account of what you can expect from Black/White 2 without spoiling the actual experience for readers who intend to play the games themselves. We hope you enjoy it!
Previous Pokémon Black & White 2 Diaries:
The Marine Tube, one of the more advertised new areas in Pokémon Black/White 2, is impressive in its graphics, on par and perhaps even more impressive than Sky Arrow Bridge, simply because of all the Pokémon roaming around. There isn’t much to speak of in terms of exploring, though, so I shuffled past it and quickly made my way to Seigaiha City, home of the final Gym.
Seigaiha is unusual in its layout in that the bottom half is a beach and a long waterway with only the Pokécenter as its mark of civilization while the top half is a village built on decks and piers. Unfortunately, other than the Gym, Seigaiha doesn’t present anything exciting other than being the only major town you trek through as you go back and forth between one dungeon and then another to hunt down the remnants of Team Plasma in the final confrontation.
But first, the Gym. The best way to describe this Gym would probably be to say it’s like an Ice Gym—what with all the sliding—but on lily pads and bridges. This Gym, for some reason, was hard for me to work through, but I think it was more of a brain block than any difficulty the Gym may have presented puzzle-wise. Trainer-wise, there are plenty wandering around, so they should be a good enough boost to prepare you for the crazily-cheerful Marlon.
Marlon was really just to kill time, though (sorry, man, but Hugh said as much), as Hugh soon shows up saying that the Team Plasma ship that’d been blasting Opelucid City with ice has been spotted. A cave and a hop later, Team Plasma’s frigate ship sits in an isolated bay.
The ship itself is a callback to good ol’ Saffron… but not to the Saffron building, where Team Rocket had originally situated itself once, but to the Gym with its teleportation devices through several nearly identical rooms until you find four switches that turn off a barrier that allows you to pass into the next level. I can’t say I was overtaken by nostalgia (I don’t think that’s possible for a place that annoyed you), but it was a nice touch. The area certainly did have a strong “last dungeon” feel.
There are plenty of Grunts standing in your way to the core of the ship, and at the end of it all, a confrontation with one of the main antagonists. Luckily, in Black 2 some opponents are nice enough to allow you time to organize your party, heal up, and possibly even leave to stock up on items (I haven’t tried) before you talk to them and initiate the battle.
I must say, though, having the “boost your stats six times with bulky Pokémon until you can wipe the floor” is a cruel trick to use against players. I swear I will never use that tactic against opponents again… or not.
By this time, your Pokémon are about on par with Trainers’ Pokémon, but in place, they like to take advantage of whatever strategy they can. In fact, I don’t know if it’s luck or not, but one of the Pokémon actually started trying to predict when I would switch out and would use attacks to try and counter that. It could just be luck, and maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it almost ruined me, so I think I’m a little entitled to it.
One villain down, but he is hardly the last boss as the ship actually takes off (not before shunting you and Hugh off the ship onto the beach) towards Giant Chasm which is, returning players may remember, where Kyurem resides.
After this is one climactic event after another that I won’t reveal for spoiler reasons, but I will say that it comes with one impressive battle scene rendered entirely in 3D. Here I had enormous trouble because there are two battles in a row without rest and the final antagonist is hard.
With the story now over, all that’s left is to take on the Elite Four and the Champion… after you trudge through Victory Road first. And if you are a fan of exploration, you’ll love this place because I spent hours on this route alone, and it has everything from mountains, caves, rivers, waterfalls, forests, etc. Apparently, the old Victory Road collapsed for some reason (Age? Natural disasters? Pokémon-induced disasters?) and you can still see the remains after your long climb, littered with rocky wreckage.
After the previous battle and the plethora of trainers camping out on Victory Road, the Elite Four are almost a joke. Their arena, though, is much more animated than in the past, though, and I was fairly impressed. Ghost Trainer Shauntal’s area is dancing with floating books and dancing lamps. The stairs leading up to Dark Trainer Grimsley’s dais has blood-red claws snapping in and out of place after you. Marshal has a typical fighter’s arena, but now it’s surrounded by a wire cage and floodlights. Caitlin, the Psychic Trainer, is now asleep in a giant white rose that disappears into a flash of sparkles before she challenges you.
Least impressive, ironically, is the road leading up to the Champion’s stage, but mostly because it remained the same. The ever-moving background when you finally meet her (Yes, it’s not Adec anymore, but it is a familiar face) is kind of cool, and I like the way it snaps in place like a key and opens to reveal the Champion’s Room after you’ve beaten her.
As an aside, her fight had the most un-Champion Champion battle music ever. It was almost ridiculous in its cheerfulness… but I guess that just means she really likes to beat you into the ground if you give her half a chance.
Finally, my (or the protagonist’s) long journey from Aspertia City to Pokémon Champion is complete and all that’s left is to sit back and enjoy the cute epilogue that plays during the credits, showing the protagonist meeting each of the Gym leaders and other important characters on his run back to his hometown. Drayden is in Opelucid bulldozing away the ice. Back in Nimbasa, Elesa gives a show to the protagonist. Burgh gives you the parade of a lifetime, etc. Very cute tidbits, overall.
I really appreciated the touch in the epilogue. It brought me back down to home after the incredibly hard and wild rush of battles combined with exhausting dungeon crawling (or it would’ve been had I not brought massive amounts of Max Repels). In the end, the protagonist is done with his journey, and nothing speaks of that larger than his return home and running up to his mother, who ushers him back into the house.
While the main game is over with, though, there’s still much to explore—tournaments, movies, two cities that were barred off in the main game, and Legendaries to capture. The game is far from over, as if there’s anything Pokémon Black 2 foreshadows, it’s that it has a lot of post-game content.
Images courtesy Serebii.net.