Pokémon Black 2: So Many Pokémon, So Much To Do

By Jenni . October 10, 2012 . 12:13pm

The time has come again to start obsessing over natures, IVs, EVs, Eevees and all the other intricate details that factor into important Pokémon decisions. Pokémon Black/White 2 take players to the Unova region once again, with a new story and Pokémon. As the first direct sequel, it’s clearly a game designed with Pokémon Black/White players in mind, as it expounds on the original game and offers a bit more of a challenge than the previous titles.

 

Pokémon Black 2 begins as all Pokémon games do. You are a teenage man or woman who’s reached the age at which parents kick you out of the house and send you around a whole continent to look for Pokémon, fight gym leaders and do the work of some Pokémon professor who should probably be out doing his or her own research instead of sending kids to do it for them.

 

In this case, you’re a young man or woman from Aspertia City whose mother, a former Pokémon Center nurse, happens to be friends with Professor Juniper. Professor Juniper calls your mom to enlist you as her newest gopher. She’s already decided that you want to explore the world with Pokémon (saying you aren’t interested to your mother prompts her to press the issue until you say yes) and has sent her assistant Bianca to drop off a Pokédex so you can begin your journey.

 

Of course, you aren’t alone in your quest. A childhood friend named Hugh (or whatever you wish to call him) is also determined to explore the Unova region for his own reasons. Both of you receive Pokédexes from Bianca and set out on your quest. Naturally, this involves battling tons of wild Pokémon, fighting gym leaders and bouts against a branch of Team Plasma led by Ghetsis with the goal of stealing Pokémon and taking over Unova… and the WORLD.

 

Yes, Pokémon Black 2 has abandoned the three-friends-on-a-journey formula and maybe-not-evil Team Plasma from Pokémon Black to go back to the Pokémon tropes of one rival and one actually-evil team.

 

You can’t talk about Pokémon Black 2 without talking about how Unova has changed, so let’s start there. The region has expanded and almost every existing city is somewhat different. The general paths are all the same, as are a few of the dungeons, but there’s enough new to show how time has passed. The biggest change are five new cities, a few of which players encounter quite quickly. Others have been improved, as Driftveil is now more of a tourist trap and Nimbasa is even bigger than it was before. Not to mention the area between Castelia and Nimbasa is now actually developers with homes and houses, making it more of a suburb than an actual route your character passes through. Yes, you can still visit the desert and the Relic Castle, but you can see that the construction that began in Pokémon Black is wrapping up and now that stretch of land is a developed area.

 

There also appears to have been some kind of mass migration, because there are tons of Pokémon in Unova that weren’t there before (Hence Professor Juniper’s new research). There is an extraordinary number of Pokémon in Pokémon Black 2. The official number is just over 300. When you’re used to seeing about half that in a game, having twice as many is just going to offer too many options and possibilities. I have a whole box filled with Pokémon that I absolutely, 100% intended to use, but have never taken out of the computer (Not even to heal them after catching them!). I’m so attached to my main party of powerhouses that I can’t even bring myself to keep a flying type in my party so I can Fly around Unova to revisit past areas on a whim.

 

I think part of the problem is the Habitat List feature of the Pokedex. The game keeps track of which Pokémon you’ve encountered in each area and there is often someone near by who will reward you for dutifully battling each Pokémon in that area to create a list of which Pokémon live in that habitat. I’d like to say that this is a devious move on Game Freak’s part, since most people who play Pokémon already have some kind of obsessive-compulsive tendency (“Gotta catch ‘em all!”) and providing another form of collecting inside a game that already promotes collecting is criminal. Up until Nimbasa, I was actually going around and completing every Habitat List possible, which meant I ended up catching a lot more Pokémon than I intended.

 

With that many Pokémon, it means you’re going to spend a lot of time leveling up your favorites to ensure they’re ready battle. Fortunately, it feels like there are more opportunities to level grind in Pokémon Black 2. I’ll admit that in other Pokémon games, I would get lazy. I’d do the minimum amount of leveling to get by a certain gym leader and proceed. I couldn’t get away with that in Pokémon Black 2. The AI for the gym leaders and even general trainers is better. They’re more likely to use buffs efficiently and follow up with attack skills that would put the hurt on whatever Pokémon you’re using. I have never died to a normal gym leader before this entry, yet Cheren the Normal gym leader and Clay the Ground gym leader both beat me the first time around.

 

The abundant level-grinding opporunities are part of a larger Pokémon Black 2 plot. When it comes to Pokémon, I usually play until I beat the Elite 4, pretend I’m going to keep playing after that and usually end up actually breaking out the game whenever a new legendary is distributed over the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case for a lot of Pokémon players. The number of things you can do after the main game in Pokémon Black 2 is almost ridiculous. Pokémon musicals return and are joined by Pokestar Studios, which allows you to go through scripted events to attempt to garner a loyal fanbase. It’s fun and quick, especially if you look ahead of time and make sure you have the right Pokémon for the battles. You can manage your own Join Avenue mini-mall. After you beat the game, you can swap “Keys” with people to make the games’ trainers easier or harder. Most importantly, there’s the Pokémon World Tournament.

 

The Pokémon World Tournament is an incredible extra resource that is designed to help you perfect your battling style and Pokémon team. You basically get to go through a wide assortment of tournaments against both new and familiar trainers in an attempt to earn Battle Points for goods and become the champion. You don’t get experience points for the Pokémon competing, but it’s still a good experience. To keep it fresh, Nintendo is even offering downloadable tournaments to offer a little extra variety. The first one won’t be available in North America until October 22, 2012 though, so unfortunately I didn’t get to experience any downloadable battles.

 

I did, however, go through some standard tournaments and found they’re about as challenging as gym leader battles, which helps you practice strategies for fighting against more powerful AI or real world trainers.

 

Basically, Pokémon Black 2 is a game for people who already like Pokémon, are familiar with the world and want another, more challenging, go at the Unova region. The best way to describe it is that Game Freak has given us more of what we already know we like, and it’s up to use to make the most of it. It’s probably not the best place for Pokémon beginners to start, but it’s a great adventure for people who already know what to expect from the series.

 

Food for Thought:

1. I really dug the trainer animations at the beginning, but it’s one of those things that are neat the first time you see them, but you gloss over after the first half hour of play.

 

2. Game Freak did a pretty good job of making sure you have the option of building a well-rounded team by the third gym leader.

 

3. I would have liked to have seen a little more interaction with Join Avenue. I think making it more of a full fledged mall management sim would have been a better addition than the retention of Pokémon Musicals.

 

4. I preferred the relationship between the player, Cheren and Bianca in Pokémon Black to that of the player and Hugh. I just never cared about his storyline and it felt like he was there to boss my character around.

 

5. I highly recommend using the Unova Link to transfer over Pokémon Black/White data. The extra memory sequences are a nice extra and worth the trouble of either going online or finding an extra DS to borrow.


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  • protofox

    2 badges so far :D, walking though game, talking to every person in each town to enjoy this game thoroughly :3 glad to go back 1 rival kinda story and him being kind of a prick… good memories of blue..or.. gary..whatever we call him now 

    • AuraGuyChris

      Hugh is certainly not a prick to you. He’s got an overwhelming trust in you…because he’s got the power to tell you what to do, namely face an evil organization against your will. He’s the indifferent friend who makes you do crazy stuff for his satisfaction.

      • protofox

        still sounds like someone who would be annoying lol

        • Asura

           He is probably the least annoying “rival” yet.

          • Christopher Nunes

            So who’s the most annoying rival to you?

      • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

         Now that you put it that way, so true XD

        I know I compared him with Green before, but while there are aspects of Green in him, it’s also true that you two ARE friends, and not just rivals (I think Green only becomes a friend towards the end?) as was the case in RGB.

  • http://burnpsy.wordpress.com/ burnpsy

    “Not even to heal them after catching them!”

    If they went to the PC, they got healed automatically.

  • AuraGuyChris

    So I’m not the only one who thinks Hugh bosses me around! He’s all like “DIE TEAM PLASMA DIE, YOU BACK ME UP!” all the time he appears…

    • Neophoton

      Have to agree it’s rather annoying… I much preferred the interaction between the player, Cheren, and Bianca compared to Hugh.

      • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

        Hugh … bothered me in that he was much less relatable than Cheren and Bianca.  And he was like a parrot.  I’m sure his simplicity will make him easy to understand for the younger audience, though.  And he does improve later.

    • http://www.facebook.com/gigglymonkey2011 Tina Haag

      lol i know right thats funny when he dose that lik he’s all pissed off and stuff hehe

  • キロ

    When I first bought the game in June, my favorite part was the movie making XD this trainer abandoned her quest to become a Pokemon master in favor of becoming an actress! ^^/

    • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

       I have a headcanon where my character is a movie star and is only saved by the squealing masses by his use of a headband (because those things work in anime-world).

  • CirnoLakes

    I got my copy of Pokemon White 2 in the mail today.

    It made me happy.

    • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

      Yeah another pokeplayer who get Poke White there.^_^

  • RaikageV

    I totally forgot that it’ll be released in two days (Europe). o.O
    yay xD

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    got it on day one <3 can't wait for the Hoenn remakes 

  • ParaChomp

    I know, it actually feels even more like a traditional RPG with a massive amount of side-quests.  Nonetheless, Pokemon has and will forever shine for its multiplayer gimmick.

  • Anime10121

    Been playing Black 2 non-stop since I got it yesterday, just now at Virbank city with a Lucario and trying to get my Azurill to evolve into Maril!  Also probably gonna evolve my Pidot and Snivy before taking on the gym :P  This game is SO AWESOME!  I skipped Ruby/Sapphire, and didnt like Diamond/Pearl, but I am SO glad I came back for Black/White, these are VERY addicting games!  If this game allowed for more than one region i.e. Gold/Silver, it would replace them as my favorite Pokemon games!  While I still prefer the first 250 Pokemon themselves, Black/White would by FAR be the better games!  I just wish they’d put in more regions like Gold/Silver.

    • http://www.facebook.com/gigglymonkey2011 Tina Haag

      hey anime10121 i need help on pokemon black 2 i got throw some prarts but idk how to get to a new town can you help me

  • Göran Isacson

    Sounds interesting. Is there something in the game I’ll be missing out on if I’m not at least familiar with Pokemon B&W’s plot, though?

    • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

      BW2 builds off the story from BW, such as who Team Plasma are and what happened to them, N, the Dragon legendaries, and also the final climatic battle at the end of the main game for BW.  If you really don’t care to get BW, though, BW2 explains what happens enough, I think, such that you can extrapolate the necessary information.

  • SirRichard

    Got it Day -2 today thanks to Amazon shipping early, and I gotta say I’m enjoying it so far, especially the increased diversity in monsters to play around with. First few areas aren’t particularly Oshawott-friendly, but the challenge is nice.

    Though, I gotta ask, seeing as I’ve got a 3DS and DSi kicking about; what’s this Unova Link thing you mention in the end bit there? “Extra memory sequences”, does the game actually change cutscenes based off your old team and such?

  • Yvonne Tsang

    Though Cheren and Bianca were OK characters, they wasted way too much of my time jabbering. At least Hugh kind of shuts up after a few lines.

  • TruSpindash

     I’ve been really enjoying this game so far. And I seriously love the Pokémon variety, I was extremely surprised to find a Riolu and Elekid so early in the game.    

  • Mazdian

    Wow, I’m amazed at how far Pokemon’s advanced since the last time I played (Red/Gold/Silver). *sigh* I miss playing Pokemon so much plus all this new stuff sounds like a lot fun. x.x

  • http://amc9988.deviantart.com/ amc99

    A question for those who have played the game Eng or Jap version, Will the first BW protagonist make a cameo??

  • Jazlynn Lim

    Bugging my cousin to get his copy of Black 2 ASAP and beat the Elite Four first so that I can start White 2 on Challenge Mode right off the bat when I actually get around to buying it (currently saving up).

  • http://www.facebook.com/JLeezy06 Jordan Lawal

    lmao this guy thinks you need to take pokemon out of the computer to heal them?? what

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