Developer: Game Freak
Release Date: October 7th, 2012
It’s not just Pokémon White 2’s uninspired title that shows just how much this series is crumbling from a lack of innovation. This latest installment not only adds even more boring features, but it’s also the first Pokémon game that “focuses” on a Legendary Pokémon that nobody gives a damn about.
The “New” World Of Unova
The Pokémon games have always had an intrinsic, if generic, sense of adventure to them, and even though that’s true here, small changes condense the world and make it feel like something no Pokémon game should be: Lifeless.
Too many pathways are lazily blocked off by construction workers and dancing clones (seriously), and you eventually encounter ludicrously high level Pokémon in the wild as well as trainers who have level 60 Cascoons, Trubbishs or Lillipups, so the journey feels uncomfortably linear and ‘advanced’, almost like you started in New Game +, if it had one.
Amenities like Pokéstar Studios, Battle Subway, Battle Company, Battle Institute, Pokémon World Tournament, Medals, Big Stadium, Small Court, Musical Theatre and Passerby Analytics HQ are still excruciatingly dull, and the amount of displays, buildings and bridges exacerbate one of the biggest issues the series has nowadays:
The Pokémon universe has simply become too technological and ‘shiny’
The Pokémon universe has simply become too technological and ‘shiny’, and it’s hard to find a quiet spot to admire the untouched wilderness when you just came off a rollercoaster.
Hidden grottos, the Village Bridge and the White Tree Hollow do help the land feel more ‘untainted’, but they don’t really serve any meaningful or unique function other than aesthetics, especially hidden grottos that just give you pitiful items like a single Great Ball.
And I still don’t think the switch to 3D was a good idea, as it makes the increasingly tangible dimensions of the land look weirdly unrealistic, like how a 9 metre building has 23 floors.
Even the story is flashy and meaningless. Not only do people treat you like some Chosen One for no reason, but you don’t get that much of a sense as to why events are happening, since character guide you to the next objective pretty hastily, and you don’t have a journal to remind yourself what to do. So, if you return to the game after a few days break, you’ll most likely wander around a bit before accidently bumping into the next task.
However, even though the story is needlessly vague and the climax just abruptly drops off into nonexistence, the events that take place after defeating the Champion are mysterious and atmospheric, mainly because you’re independently exploring unknown caves and ruins and not visiting towns and listening to people say worthless crap like “I love bridges…”.
…I Guess Anyone Can Be A Trainer Now
Trainers are dumped into each Route like trash on a sidewalk
Pokémon Trainers are dumped into each Route like trash on a sidewalk, and it didn’t take me long to despise battling anything. Their abundance and repetitive ‘battle intro’ (Except Team Plasma’s music which is still awesome!) makes what should be an adventurous hike through the wilderness feel like tip-toeing through a minefield. This goes for wild encounters too, which wasn’t a big problem for me since I used about 160 repels in 23 hours.
Still more tedious, and even patronizing, is the fact that healing your Pokémon is just too easy. Backtracking to a Pokémon Center and completely reviving your party costs nothing but time, and there are even random doctors placed between areas. Even the infamous Victory Road has a doctor halfway through which completely undermines the whole goddamn point!
It’s easily one of the most condescending games I’ve ever played. Several legendary Pokémon practically beg you to capture them, you’re given TWO Master Balls (eventually), Team Plasma grunts have pathetic Pokémon and everybody says you’re amazing even though you’ve been a trainer for…like…three days.
You’ll easily find a Pokémon worth using
Pokémon Battles are as stagnant yet serviceable as they’ve always been, and by now Pokémon White 2 has the resources to provide you with a surprisingly generous selection of Pokémon and moves. You’re not going to flippantly catch a pathetic Normal or Bug Type Pokémon just to not train it and toss it later. I was able to get a Psyduck and Magnemite within three hours of starting and the latter I used all the way to the Champion and beyond.
You’ll easily find a Pokémon worth using, at least for a satisfactory amount of time, and you rarely feel incapable of battling due to an unfairly weak team (Don’t catch a Sunkern!).
Pokémon White 2 is just Pokémon again, warts and all.
Pokémon White 2 is just Pokémon again, warts and all
It’s easily the loudest and most patronizing Pokémon game in the series, with swarms of wild Pokémon encounters and pathetic trainers that say things like “Are you even human!?”, and even seemingly harmless structures like bridges just comes off as an obnoxious way of reminding you it’s in 3D.
But, it’s still got a lot of the good stuff these games bring, like varied Pokémon and a big world, so it’s a relatively fun and adventurous ride, for the most part. It’s also one of the only games I’ve reviewed this year where I kept on playing after writing about it, but that’s probably because I was being overly conservative in my playthrough by not using TM’s or Legendary Pokémon since I’m just using White 2 as another box to dump my Super-Awesome-Invincible-Fighting-Pokémon-Team into. But first I need to get two DS’s, which is ridiculous. But when I finally do, do you think you could defeat my level 100 EV trained Crobat? I thought so…
Pokémon White Version 2 Score: 7.9
Why so high?:
- You can capture and train capable Pokémon very early on
- A wide selection of Pokémon and moves
- A relatively lengthy and adventurous journey, I guess.
- The Team Plasma Remix is arguably just as awesome as the original
- The music is also pretty good, especially this
- Some pretty cool things happen after the “story”
- It’s Pokémon!!!! WOOOOO!!!!…….…I won’t do that again
Why so low?:
- The franchise is clearly stagnating and running out of ideas
- The land is lacking in beautifully untouched natural wilderness. Too many human settlements
- Too many noisy wild Pokémon encounters and trainer battles. Stock up on Repels
- It’s extremely patronizing
- Story is pretty dull
P.S. The Ruby and Sapphire remake better happen! Seriously! Do it!