Despite the release of five iterations (and my ever-increasing age) I am still a fan of Pokémon. The collecting and battling can get a little tiring after a while, but with every new game I’m excited to see what new Pokémon are introduced. Pokémon Black and White especially caught my interest because of its completely new roster of Pokemon. It was like discovering the game all over again. That being said, Pokemon Black and White 2 seems to be just a little different. The only new things in the game come from ancillary features around catching and raising Pokémon.
One addition that blew me away was an achievement-like system that implemented by Game Freak. By doing certain things, you can unlock medals that you can attach to your trainer card. You can get medals for things like: walking 5,000 steps; saving 10 times; catching Pokémon. What blew me away about this was not its innovation and creativity – but the plainly exposed “me too” mentality of the feature. It’s no secret that achievements and trophies have become a staple in games; but it feels pointless in Pokémon. At the end of the day it doesn’t take away from the game and only adds a feature for the die-hard fans. This may be an indication that Nintendo is really trying to modernize its franchise; but really, when held up against the rest of the game, it clearly demonstrates that there really isn’t anything new here.
The old beauty pageants of previous games have been replaced with Pokéstar Studios, which is a movie studio that you can enter to make movies with your Pokémon. I was intrigued by this because it seemed like a really neat addition; but it turned out to be a fairly shallow experience. In the Pokéstar Studios you are given a scenario to perform using your Pokémon. When I started it up, a villain was attacking innocent people and I was required to stop him. I chose which attack to initiate and even what kind of banter that I wanted to use throughout the movie. At the end of it all, I premiered my film to an audience and they scored it according to how well I did*. The frustrating thing about the Studio experience, though, is that if your Pokémon doesn’t have a certain move, then you can’t score as high as you’d like at the end. This makes playing the Studio game at the beginning of the game very disheartening; because of this I rarely went back to it in the later parts of the game.
The thing about Pokémon is that Nintendo and Game Freak can throw all this fluff at it, but none of it can take away from the simple fun of battling and collecting. At the end of the day, Pokémon Black and White 2 are fun games: they features all of the awesome and rich turn-based battling that you would expect from a Pokémon game – but all of the extra stuff might not be as interesting. You also get a mixed bag of recent and classic Pokémon; so if you play the games for the excitement of finding new Pokémon you may be a little disappointed. Overall, the game is still the same fun that you’re used to! Nothing new here people, take that as a good thing or a bad thing, it’s up to you really.