Everything Old Is Unova Again
The Pokémon series is one that sticks close to tradition, so it was no surprise that 2011’s Pokémon Black Version and White Version were followed up by a “third version” one year later. In a small break from tradition, though, Pokémon Black Version 2 and White Version 2 won’t simply be slightly-enhanced repeats of the original titles, but actual sequels set two years after the events in the first games. Players will return to Unova two years after the events in Pokémon Black/White, playing a new character and experiencing a new story.
Make no mistake, many of the locations in Pokémon Black 2/White 2 will be the same as those in Pokémon Black/White, with subtle changes to show the passage of time. Players will start the game in a previously unseen section of Unova, at least, but history teaches us that when developer Game Freak claims that something is “new,” the difference from the old can be very subtle indeed. There are apparently a few new dungeons and other minor features in the parts of Unova that players have previously visited, but don’t expect much more than that.
The new plot for Pokémon Black 2/White 2 is married with a new feature. Non-native Pokémon have been migrating to Unova, and the player portrays a young boy or girl who has been chosen to help catalog these new species. Yes, that means that unlike in the original Black/White, players will be able to catch both old and new Pokémon from the beginning of the game. As always, the player’s ultimate goal is to become a Pokémon master, so the usual progress of winning gym battles and challenging the Elite Four remains. There will be a number of new gym leaders to battle, several of whom will be familiar faces to Pokémon Black/White players. In fact, a good number of characters from the first game(s) will return in these sequels, having moved up in the world since their adventures two years prior.
As for the “bad guy” Team Plasma, it has splintered into two factions since its defeat at the hands of Pokémon Black/White’s protagonist. The player will most frequently be squaring off against the Team Plasma that is run by Ghetsis, the most clever of Team Plasma’s Sages. Ghetsis has a clearly sinister goal this time around, aiming to freeze all of Unova so that he can steal all its Pokémon. The morally ambiguous “N” is back as well, and the player will be encountering him numerous times throughout the game.
A few major features have been added to differentiate Pokémon Black 2/White 2 from their predecessors. Pokéstar Studios, which is located in southwest Unova, allows players to create movies with their Pokémon, indulging in fanciful battles against things like Mecha Tyranitars. A Pokémon World Tournament, located near Driftveil City, allows the player to participate in a tournament versus characters from the history of the Pokémon series.
Several minor gameplay features have been added to the games as well, many of which reflect their placement as same-generation sequels. The new Unova Link feature allows players to unlock various things such as an “easy mode” or “hard mode” in the post-game, various nostalgic encounters that can be had by linking Black 2/White 2 with a copy of the original Black/White, and several legendary Pokémon battles.
Players who have a Nintendo 3DS have the option to enhance their Pokémon Black 2/White 2 experience with two programs that will be for sale on the 3DS e-shop. The Pokémon Dream Radar is an augmented reality game that allows players to capture Pokémon in their real-life surroundings by using the 3DS camera feature. These Pokémon, some of which are unique or have special abilities, can then be transferred into Pokémon Black2/White 2. There will also be an expanded version of the 3D Pokédex that was formerly available for free on the eShop. This new Pokédex, the Pokédex 3D Pro, will contain entries on all Pokémon instead of just the Unova ones, but it won’t be free of charge.
Is Pokémon White Version 2 or Black Version 2 the game for you? Poké-fanatics will certainly want to pick it up, as the new plot and new Legendary Pokémon will be worth it to them. Casual Pokémon fans who have already played Pokémon Black/White 2 may wish to wait and see exactly how new this experience turns out to be.
I’m personally more interested in the next generation of Pokémon games that will be native to the 3DS, but I have to admit that one fact about Black 2/White 2 has piqued my interest. I have been told that those horrible Emolgas from the Electric Gym that spam Double Team until you want to throw your DS aren’t present in Pokémon Black 2/White 2. Knowing I don’t have to deal with them again just might draw me back into the world of Pokémon this October.