Pokémon is back and is bigger than ever. The Pokémon games have always been a big part of Nintendo’s handheld game line-up and this title is no exception, by having the “prequel” of the Pokémon Black and White games, this allows Pokémon Black and White 2 (Pokémon BW2) to take the world into other areas that other Pokémon games just couldn’t.
At its core, this new Pokémon game is just like every other Pokémon game, you have your starter Pokémon, the battles, gym leaders, elite four, evil team etc, its always been like that, but what makes the Pokémon games special is their ability to make you not care about this and draw you in anyway. It is worth noting however that certain parameters like the rate to catch specific Pokémon, hatch Pokémon and train Pokémon have been changed (for the better). Another new addition to the series is this games continuing narrative, the first real one of its kind in the Pokémon series which is pretty interesting to experience and be a part of.
The rest is pretty much the same, the Pokémon animate nicely and the world is HUGE and still looks great for a game on the DS and the music is a real joy to listen to, even the sound effects sound much better. This is the amazing thing about the Pokémon series but also its curse. Everything in the game is exactly like in the previous titles just improved. The phrase, “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” is very appropriate here, but does this mean that these Pokémon games are bad?
Well, no actually. They have included some new elements to the games in order to mix up the gameplay more than normal. I was pleasantly surprised to learn about a final new addition to these games, difficult modes. As well as the standard game you can now unlock and select Easy Mode and Hard Mode by connecting with other players, this adds a whole new experience to the game. I started the game in hard mode and was actually being challenged to complete the game! The enemy AI became smarter, the opponents Pokémon became higher levelled and their move sets became similar to real competitive level teams, this made the game much more interesting to play as now, I really had to train and be careful about how I played.
This new way to play and experience the game really made the whole experience really fun for me to play, I really got attached to my team and I really enjoyed grinding my levels and taking on skilled opponents by after a while I decided to try out the easy mode of the game to see how far the differences are. This did exactly what you would expect, the exact opposite of hard mode, but for me disliking it I understood its place. Younger kids playing these Pokémon games may get stressed out if they cannot progress using the teams they want or the way they want to play, easy mode gives them the ability to do this without the game coming down hard on them for it and I really believe including it was a good idea, but it was not for me.
Another big new element included is the Pokéstar studios mini games, this is where you can get your Pokémon into in game movies were the catchphrases are almost as simply and childish as the battles are. You use special Pokémon and must correctly battle the opponents Pokémon to eventually win; your battle is then recorded and turned into a small movie which you can then watch back later on. By doing more movies you unlock more films to star in. While fun at first this new mini game does get old fast and doesn’t yield anything useful for doing it so is really just a little timewaster for you to do in gaps when you have nothing else to do in game.
The last new addition is the Pokémon World Tournament (PWT), this is like the battle domes and course from the previous games but the main difference here is that all the original gym leaders, elite fours and champions from all the older Pokémon games are your opponents! This is very fun to take part in as you can battle anyone from Ash (Red) from Pokémon Red/Blue to Cynthia from Pokémon Diamond/ Pearl and win points that can be used to improve your Pokémon’s stats and/or training capabilities which is very worthwhile!