Developer: Game Freak
Release Date: 10/7/2012
Available Exclusively On
The Good: Great gameplay, fun post-game, exciting story
The Bad: Poor pacing, flawed execution of good ideas
I am Champion of Unova, I’ve caught Reshiram, and Team Plasma lies in ruins…again. It’s time for my Final Thoughts of Pokémon White 2. Warning: this review contains minor spoilers. A lot has happened since my First Impressions. There’s more to cover here so I won’t be going through everything scene by scene like last time.
You get involved with Team Plasma when your rival, or childhood friend (whatever), asks you to help him get back a Pokémon stolen from his sister years ago. Unsurprisingly, stealing a Com Mon isn’t something that sticks out in one’s memory. All conversations with Team Plasma members result in the same “Nope, sorry kid. We were stealing so many Pokémon in those days, and then that stuff with the dragons…we were kinda distracted” conversation. This continues throughout the entire game with absolutely zero head way being made until the climax. While it was nice to give the rival a character and a clear motivation, this repetitiveness made the storyline go stale, and the end where (spoiler) he gets back a Liepard fall flat.
Speaking of falling flat: Colress. He shows up with his cool design and cryptic talk about discovering Pokémon’s true strength and you become very interesting in his story. Whose side is he on? How does he fit in with the story?
It turns out that he’s a scientist for the new Team Plasma working to discover how to “bring out the entirety of Pokémon potential”. I have no idea what that means, it is just vague enough to be completely meaningless. Colress could have been a really cool character if given a proper reveal and motivation, but he just comes off pretty one-dimensional.
At least Team Plasma was fun. . In the two years since the first game, Team Plasma has split into two factions: those that follow N’s dream of equality between humans and Pokémon, and those that follow Ghestis’ dream of taking over Unova. I enjoyed seeing the diversity between the two groups and seeing how these people were affected differently by the events two years prior. One of my favorite points of the game was gong to ‘good’ Team Plasma’s head quarters and listening to everyone’s story. Some are repentant and horrified by the things they did, others believe that what they did was the right thing to do to achieve interspecies equality, others are just hurt that they were lied to for so long. These were the first background characters in a Pokémon game to get an emotional reaction from me.
The ‘bad’ Team Plasma plan is wonderfully diabolical. Their plan is to use Kyurem to freeze the world…for some reason. The initial attack against is actually pretty dramatic and tense. The climax with you and N vs. the leader of Team Plasma is honestly one of the…coolest moments in the Pokémon franchise. I can’t go into further detail as these are no small spoilers. Just trust me that it’s really awesome.
The pacing of this game can be problematic. There’s a good introduction with solid pacing that lasts until you get to Nimbasa City. Then it just stops. Every city thereafter is
“Hey, player. It’s me, Cheren/Bianca/Professor Juniper. I’ve looked more into that mysterious thing from before and can confirm that there is definitely something mysterious going on. Get the next badge and let’s go!”
It continues on in this way until you get to Opelucid City, a whole six towns later. This game’s plot is definitely expansion pack material. It’s short, with high stakes and some nice new characters. The problem is they decided to make this a sequel and full-blown game without expanding the story to match.
The gameplay perks I mentioned last time are still applicable: more varied Pokémon, better use of the 3-d, the Memory Link, new trainer battle animations, and helpful info via the in-game phone all remain useful and appreciated throughout the game.
But let’s talk about my absolute favorite gameplay addition: White Treehollow (Black Tower). My biggest complaint of finishing the Pokémon games was that there was no one else to fight. I have many Pokémon and nowhere to level up. The ending areas only go to about level 55 and wouldn’t have much variety. Same with the Elite Four, except with a higher level cap and more repetitive battling. There are multiple tournaments which would provide the varied challenge I was looking for, but with no experience or money. This teaches tactics but doesn’t let you get stronger. The White Treehollow (or Black Tower) fixes this. The challenge involves going through a maze of sorts finding the gate trainer and then moving on to the next stage. Levels range from the 40s to the 70s, so there’s an appropriate stage for every team. The location of the gate trainer changes every time as do the teams of the other trainers you meet. This was what I’ve always wanted, a place for varied and fun battles where I could train all my Pokémon post-game. This, plus the Sports Arenas, makes the endgame a lot more enjoyable.
I really enjoyed the gameplay of this version even though the story was lacking. I got a wide variety of Pokémon, some fun mini-games, and a mission I cared about completing. Again, my biggest problem was the pacing and a few neat ideas that never really paid off. I liked the direction they went in, but White 2 was a long way from outstripping SoulSilver as my favorite Pokémon game. That being said, it is still a solid Pokémon game, and will keep any fan entertained for many, many hours.