Pokemon Black 2 was a decent game, but it wasn’t perfect. As a direct sequel to the original Pokémon Black, one would assume that it should improve upon things found in the first game. I did not find this to be true, however, as it fell short in some aspects, but succeeded in others in comparison to its older brother. With that being said, Pokemon Black 2 was an enjoyable game, and I’m glad I played it all the way through.
It probably goes without saying that the purpose of B2 is to choose a starter Pokémon and embark upon a journey to defeat the 8 Gym Leaders and eventually the Elite Four, stopping whatever evil sect you find along the way. This time, the evil sect is known as Team Plasma; the same bunch of villains from the original Black. *Spoiler Alert* The group is somewhat in a state of disrepair and confusion after the fallout following the first game in the series, but Ghetsis, a scientist named Colress, and their still-faithful followers still give you a hard time as they try to take over the world, this time with the help of Kyurem.
One thing I noticed quickly enough is that the game doesn’t hold your hand quite as much as B1 did. With that being said, the intro was still pretty long, and I suppose it seemed rather cliché because I’ve played a few Pokemon games now. You get a Pokedex from a professor, choose either a fire, water, or grass Pokemon, head into the world, and level up for about 30 hours. I wish something would happen to break this mold; maybe offer differently elements for the start Pokemon, or explain why on earth your dad isn’t around, or maybe even create a different story that doesn’t have to do with a scientist giving you a Pokedex. C’mon, this feels redundant after a few quite similar titles.
In any case, I went into the game concerned that trekking through the same cities would be very boring since the game takes place in Unova, the same region as in the original Black. However, the gyms are redesigned, new buildings take the places of old ones, there are a couple new gyms, and overall, the landscape feels similar enough to be familiar, but it’s different enough to feel new and engaging. For example, in B1, one city wasn’t very urban, but in Black 2, this same city now houses lots of hotels and is somewhat a tourist destination; it’s interesting to see how the region has changed in the two years that have passed between the titles.
The music is basically identical to the original score, and although it’s redundant, I absolutely love Pokemon music. Seriously, it is so nostalgic for me, that I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of hearing it. The music sets the tone perfectly for B2, so I’m not complaining.
Something I am going to complain about, however, is the storyline. The story in B1 was very prominent; Team Plasma was important the whole way through the game, and you were made very aware of this importance. The story was well rounded and fleshed out; I was genuinely surprised by this. In B2, however, the team Plasma storyline was very unimportant and hardly even talked about throughout almost the entire game. Whereas you’d encounter Team Plasma in seemingly every city in B1, they were only found sparingly in B2, and this wasn’t really due to or explained in a plot point. Then, all of a sudden, the importance of Team Plasma exploded near the last couple of Gym Leaders, and nearly everything you did stemmed from needing to destroy the group. It made the storyline a little awkward because it was unclear why the Team Plasma’s importance abruptly surged near the end.
It’s almost as if they realized the Team Plasma storyline hadn’t been stressed much, and decided to make up for it by cramming a ton into the end of the story. It didn’t work; sorry Game Freak.
The acquisition of some of the legendary Pokemon was a bit unconventional and it was a nice change and an unwelcome one at the same time. They literally jump out at you while you’re walking, and you just save the game, walk up to the sprite, engage it, and catch it. Cobalion, Terrakion, and Verizion all did this; it took the fun out of searching for them, but it also was a good change in pace at the same time. A few other legendaries must actually be found, however, so the searching element is still definitely in Black 2.
I think that covers everything, so in the end, I can’t say that B2 is really all that different from other Pokemon titles, which is a shame, because Pokemon is pretty stagnant (though I haven’t played X and Y). True, the legendary capturing process is different, but everything else is pretty much the same as other titles; the leaving home storyline, fighting the 8 Leaders and taking down the bad guys, looking for a few legendaries, and leveling up your Pokemon. I feel like there wasn’t enough done to really separate B2 from other Pokemon games and make it a standout title, and for that, I can’t give it more than a 7.5 even though it offered me 30 hours of play and an overall enjoyable experience. It was enjoyable, but it was too familiar; I was hoping for something a tad different from Black 2.
With that being said, I am glad I bought Black 2, I won’t be trading it in, and it’s definitely on a level playing field with other Pokemon games… it just doesn’t excel or advance them any.
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Gotta Catch ‘Em All!