Pokemon White Version 2

Michael Bryant
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Pokemon Black and White Verison 2
Let me begin by saying that you already know if you’re going to buy Pokemon Black/White 2. You know it because you already have all of the previous incarnations and are secretly reading, hoping that an online review will bring back old members of the Poke League who fell from the fold. Well it won’t. Just like the person you work with who remembered playing it as a child but didn’t come back when you told them how good the new games are (don’t lie you know you did), my opinions here wont either.

That’s not to say that I don’t think it’s a good game, it is. The only problem here is that I’m already part of the fold. A paid up member of the inexplicably large number of adults who still find enjoyment in playing a Pokemon game. So here’s to my exceptionally biased review.

We’re back in the Unova region which is apparently based on New York Cit,y not that you could actually tell. As is the benchmark of the Pokemon series, you have hit 13 and your mum kicks you out of the house to go wandering the land and fighting strangers. In reality you’d call Social Services or Childline, but here you’re happy to run off and abandon the woman who raised you (she probably didn’t do a good job though as she never calls just to chat).

The fact that we are back in Unova becomes very apparent a little into the game as the whole place is just copied and pasted from Black/White with some minor changes here and there. It’s like trying to pass off  a Christmas cake from two years ago by adding some new icing and a precariously placed decorative snowman. It’s a nice try Nintendo, but it just isn’t going to work.

Although it’s the same region as last time, you start in a different area that didn’t previously exist and everyone is quick to point out that Unova has undergone a massive shift in the last  few years and that the Pokemon have all mass migrated with new ones taking their place. It may just be my natural cynicism, but if we are to believe that Pokemon are basically animals then wouldn’t a massive exodus of almost all of the native species cause some kind of environmental collapse, not to mention give rise to crackpot apocalypse/conspiracy theories? What’s happened to the bees…?

At the point of writing I’m about half way through playing (you may call that unprofessional  but I call it f*** you) and so far I cannot find anything distinctly unique about this game compared to any of the previous DS entries in the series. And yet I play on. It’s clear that we are now pushing the DS to the limits of its capability and it’s also very clear that these limits are not all that impressive anymore.  The game world is massive and mini-games are in abundance but it all feels so tired and boring. When Soul Silver and Heart Gold came out it was exciting to be back in an old game environment updated for modern times but this isn’t an update of an old game IT’S THE EXACT SAME GAME AS LAST TIME.

One area that reviews have commented on improvements is the C-Gear, but in all honesty it’s still so utterly confusing that I just turn it off and pretend it isn’t there. I’ve read that it had all sorts of changes but I never used it last time so I damn well won’t be this time.  Team Rocket’s less famous cousin Team Plasma is back, and although I haven’t completed the game yet, that annoying green haired twat from last time hasn’t shown up yet. In fact there’s absolutely no hint as to why they have shown up at all, they were thoroughly defeated last time and all their leaders incarcerated so it’s to be assumed that Pokeworld has a lax justice system and they are all back for the sheer hell of it.

Pokemon is a series that I love and for better or worse I’m probably a part of the problem. If we want innovation in a Pokemon game instead of just adding another 100 or so new ones then it’s time we all sat down and agreed not to buy the next game and hope that jolts Nintendo into action but I shan’t be holding out any hope. All of this ties in nicely with what I said at the start, you already know if you’re going to buy this game and most likely already have it. Congratulations on making Nintendo that little bit richer for doing f*** all, pat yourself on the back.

About Michael Bryant

Michael is the Director of Vada Magazine. In his spare time he is a massive geek who obsesses over retro video games, Doctor Who and A Song of Ice and Fire.