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. We hope you enjoy it!
Nothing tells of the difference between Pokémon Black & White and their sequels quite as strongly as seeing the desert in Route 4 covered over with buildings. Sure, there are new towns and new areas, but seeing the vast area of nothing transformed into what could almost be a city has an impact all of its own.
Most of the buildings are empty, and there’s still construction equipment (from the first game, remember?) lying around, and there’s still a bit of sand where you can find the wild Pokémon like Sandile and Darumaka, but the expansive patches of sand that have probably frustrated many a player (I’ve known at least one person who’ve stopped playing because of this area) are gone.
(Those who rue the loss of this area can still enjoy the desert surrounding the ruins in this area, although the ruins themselves are inaccessible at this point in time.)
There wasn’t much for me to do here other than fight and train, so as soon as I could, I moved on to Nimbasa City. The city hasn’t changed a lot. The sports stadiums are still around with their constant supply of trainers, and the Ferris wheel is still operational—you can even have a ride with a trainer provided you battle her (or him?) once. In fact, even the old Gym’s still around and you can ride the roller coasters just for fun (and to fight some Rich Boys).
There’s not much to do otherwise, though, until you step into the Gym. I was kind of excited about the Gym when I’d read about it in articles before playing the game; however, it turned out to be rather lackluster (ironic, given that it’s a fashion show). Instead of a puzzle or anything along those lines, you just walk down a long runway with three required battles. At the end of the walkway, Elesa waits for you, and that’s that. Nothing special… just a straight walk.
There’s more Plasma action after the battle, but the next Route was nothing special. I did find the introduction to Hidden Hollows interesting, though. I wonder if there will be players who obsessively check every tree to see if there’s a nook to crawl into to meet a rare Pokémon? I can see it happening…
The only road connecting Nimbasa and Driftveil City is the drawbridge, which is still as empty as ever and devoid of any trainers or Pokémon other than Ducklett. However, things are different the moment you step into Driftveil. The city has been dominated by skyscrapers that are hotels, I believe, and the Cold Storage area to the south has been converted into the Pokémon World Tournament Arena, which I’ll get further into later.
First, though, is the Gym. Oh, the horrible, horrible Gym.
I both love the changes the Gym has gone under, what with the new puzzle, and despise it for turning me around in circles. Now, instead of a vertical maze with lifts going up and down, there’s a very extensive, very expansive maze with conveyor belts shucking you off from one end to the next. A few of the platforms have switches that allows the platform to float for a few seconds so you can get a better glimpse of the area.
It actually took me a few tries to find Clay. I have to say, I’d never actually been lost in a Pokémon Gym before. There’s no rest after your fifth Badge, though, because almost immediately afterwards you’re herded down to the Pokémon World Tournament building, which I enjoyed immensely.
The Tournaments include many different kinds of tournaments, but for now, there’s only a 3-on-3 Singles battle. The fights were fun, although I’m sure I haven’t explored half of what it has to offer, but what I’m really looking forward to are the Gym Leader battles and the Champion battles in the future.
I think it’s because I’m already in my sixth city with my fifth badge and I’m still learning about new functions the game has that it feels like Pokémon Black 2 is going all-out in aiming for both a nostalgia trip and a “let’s stuff this game with every feature we’ve previously included” effect.
It’s working, too. I really can’t wait to finish the game now so I can enjoy the post-game goodies.
Food For Thought:
1. You meet up with an interesting character in Nimbasa City—the male or female protagonist, the one you didn’t choose. His or her primary purpose seems to be being your partner in the double battles down in the Battle Subway.
2. By now, you’re probably tired of hearing me be under-leveled, but I do find it amusing that I can almost (not quite, but almost) catch up through the course of the Gym. This is kind of fun—sort of like seeing how much grinding I can avoid before I start getting my butt kicked.
3. Industrialization is a natural way to change and develop Unova—make things bigger and more expansive than before. However, I wonder if this will affect the theme any? After all, all the poor Sandile and Darumaka that used to live on Route 4 were technically displaced…
4. There are indeed two factions of Team Plasma—the black and the white. Interestingly, this is also the first time I’ve seen the Sage’s battle sprite. There’s not much to say about the plot yet, though, other than that I’ve learned Hugh’s motive and he’s still running around like a rabid dog.
Previous Pokémon Black & White 2 Diaries:
Screenshots courtesy Serebii.net.