|Dev: Game Freak|
|Pub: Nintendo/The Pokémon Company|
|Release: October 7, 2012|
|Players: 1 + Multiplayer Activities|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Comic Mischief, Mild Cartoon Violence|
My favorite improvement is that the Xtransceiver now allows the player to call other characters like Pokémon Professor Juniper. These characters give very useful information about type match-ups, how to evolve Pokémon, and a current Pokémon's friendship level with the character. Much of this information wasn't easily available in previous games, leading to players using online resources instead. It's great to see Game Freak making the game more user-friendly in this way.
The look and sound of this sequel has changed little. While the graphics are fairly nice for a DS game and the animated battle sprites are a nice touch, the fact that the battle camera zooms in on the sprites and turns them into a pixellated mess ruins the effect. We can only hope that the next main Pokémon game will make use of the lovely 3D models that have been shown off in the Pokédex 3D program. As for the sound, I found the new ditties in Black/White 2 catchier than many of the musical pieces that are left over from Black/White. The effects are the same as the previous games, and I don't know if Game Freak is ever going to replace the horrible Gameboy-era sound effects from the early generations of Pokémon.
Unfortunately for gamers on this continent, Black 2/White 2 continues to have the C-Gear interface on the bottom screen. This rather ugly interface (especially when it's hot pink for a girl character, ugh) is aimed at helping players interact with passers-by who are also playing the game. Of course, most people in North America run into others playing the same game next to never, so in order to avoid draining our batteries, we turn the C-Gear off, rendering the bottom screen completely useless until the X button is pressed to bring up the actual main menu. If only the main menu would pop up on the bottom screen when the C-Gear was off, things would be so much better. Instead, accessing basic game functions takes more time and button pressing than it should. Most unforgivably, the ability to set the main character to auto-run, which was available from the main interface in HeartGold/SoulSilver, is still absent, forcing everyone to hold down the B button or use the bicycle in order to avoid moving at a dreadful crawl. This makes me want to smack Game Freak on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.
Still, the many improvements make this sequel worthy of a recommendation. Pokémon Black/White Version 2 is a better game than the original Black/White. It features a more cohesive story, a more diverse array of Pokémon, more activities to engage in, and a better implementation of several features. It's definitely recommended for those who skipped the original Black and White. As for those who played Black and White, the question is: how much Pokémon can you take? If you're rearing to play another Pokémon game, this is a good one. If you're feeling apathetic about the series as it stands, Black and White 2 are not going to change your mind. Wait and see what the next generation, which will be native to the 3DS, has to offer.
Date: October 9, 2012