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Pokepark 2: Wonders Beyond review

Pikachu and pals are back for another run around the Park

Despite remaining a huge, money-spinning beast, Pokemon has never really had much presence on the Wii in the system's five-and-a-half year history. Other than the limited Pokemon Battle Revolution and a couple of WiiWare titles, there hasn't really been much for Pokemon fans to sink their teeth into on the big screen.

There was one other exception, of course: the disappointingly basic PokePark: Pikachu's Adventure. While its clunky controls and repetitive tasks left much to be desired, the strength of the Pokemon name still ensured that it shifted plenty of copies. That we now have a second PokePark game, then, is no surprise and - a few little additions aside - it's more or less business as usual.

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PokePark 2's story is loosely based on Tolstoy's War And Peace (we may or may not have just made that up). It tells of a mysterious portal that's turned up in the lush PokePark and is catching the attention of many of the nearby Pokemon. The portal leads to Wish Park, a dreamy and gloomy other dimension where things don't look so safe, despite all the cakes lying around. It soon emerges that these cakes are cursed and Cofagrigus is using them to brainwash Pokemon. The cad.

After an initial battle with Cofagrigus within the game's first half-hour, Pikachu and Oshawott manage to get back to the portal and return to PokePark, but in the kerfuffle Piplup and some others are left behind. It's up to Pikachu and Oshawott to befriend a bunch of other Pokemon wandering around PokePark so they can build an army big enough to head back into the Dream World and rescue the unlucky Piplup. Just like War And Peace.

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Friends Reunited

Of course, all this is just a daft plot to justify bringing back the same old 'make friends with Pokemon' concept from the first game. And that's not strictly a bad thing, as it does become compelling trying to fill your friend book and figure out how to make acquaintance with each of the Pokemon in the game.

It ends up feeling like a more cordial and pleasant Pokedex, in which you 'catch' your fellow Pokémon's hearts with love, rather than cruelly detaining them in red-and-white spherical prisons.

It's a shame, then, that the process of winning them over doesn't really differ much from that of the first PokePark game. Each time you meet and talk to a Pokemon wandering about, nine times out of 10 you'll be told exactly what you need to do to be their friend.

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Sometimes you'll have to play a simple game of Chase, or you'll go into a good-natured battle with them. Or alternatively you'll be asked to go on a fetch mission and retrieve something for them.

On odd occasions you'll need to do something special that didn't feature in the previous game - maybe you'll have to get from one end of an area to the other while avoiding various Pokemon's projectiles, for example - but for the most part it's either a chase, battle or fetch quest. Finding and befriending Pokemon, and adding each one to your book, is the heart of the game.

Where PokePark 2 really differs from its predecessor is in its choice of lead characters. While the original game featured Pikachu in the sole starring role, PokePark 2 also introduces Pokemon Black and White's three starter characters - Oshawott, Tepig and Snivy - at various points throughout the game, having them join your team and allowing you to switch between them as you see fit.

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Comments

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  1. lunakitty Thursday 22nd Mar 2012 at 12:07

    I guess you can call me a die-hard fan then because I've pre-ordered this, and 17 isn't exactly a kids age :L

    I loved the first game, and I honestly could play it through all over again 10 times, I never understood why no one liked it. Regardless, the lack of attractions/mini-games in this is worrying, but I'll still probably enjoy it!

  2. King Slazo Thursday 22nd Mar 2012 at 12:50

    I loved the first game, and I honestly could play it through all over again 10 times, I never understood why no one liked it.

    Stadium 1 / 2. Snap. Puzzle League. Colosseum. XD. All of those were home console Pokémon games that took the world created by the handheld adventures, and ran with it. Games worthy of the franchise. Then we got PBR, a game with barely 10% of Stadium's content, and PokéPark, which is in essence the mini-games of Stadium 1 / 2 with a poor "story" tacked on.

    Basically, for Pokémon games, the Wii has been beyond terrible, and this is the final nail in that particular coffin. Here's hoping the Wii-U comes up with some cool new takes on Pokémon, like the DS has done so many times with Link, Mystery Dungeon, Ranger and Noabunga's Ambition.

  3. imbusydoctorwho Thursday 22nd Mar 2012 at 13:31

    I kinda wan't this,I always wanted to try the original but I never got round to getting it.
    But with Kid Icarus out Tomorrow,and Rhythm Thief,and Pandora's Tower coming soon,I'd rather wait for them.

  4. ThePokekid78 Thursday 22nd Mar 2012 at 16:48

    I loved the first game, and I honestly could play it through all over again 10 times, I never understood why no one liked it.

    Stadium 1 / 2. Snap. Puzzle League. Colosseum. XD. All of those were home console Pokémon games that took the world created by the handheld adventures, and ran with it. Games worthy of the franchise. Then we got PBR, a game with barely 10% of Stadium's content, and PokéPark, which is in essence the mini-games of Stadium 1 / 2 with a poor "story" tacked on.

    Basically, for Pokémon games, the Wii has been beyond terrible, and this is the final nail in that particular coffin. Here's hoping the Wii-U comes up with some cool new takes on Pokémon, like the DS has done so many times with Link, Mystery Dungeon, Ranger and Noabunga's Ambition.

    Agreed, agreed, agreed!

  5. wii andy Thursday 22nd Mar 2012 at 18:19

    The Cake is a Lie!

  6. ollieski28 Saturday 24th Mar 2012 at 08:40

    This game looks wicked i wish i had it now i have completed pokepark pikachus adventure and i loved it so i hope i love this one to! :D

  7. alinktodapast Wednesday 28th Mar 2012 at 16:51

    i realy dont like pokemon at all

  8. benjymc Thursday 29th Mar 2012 at 20:26

    I was quite exited about the game but them my friend had to spoil it by saying its the worse game he'd ever played :(

  9. bigmanboy Monday 9th Apr 2012 at 17:45

    i dont think this game is as good as the first oneXD :D

  10. Accelgor7 Friday 13th Apr 2012 at 11:46

    I can hardly read this review knowing chris is leaving for nintendo gamer :cry: :cry: :cry: i'll miss u chris

  11. Phantom George Saturday 19th May 2012 at 08:49

    I bought Pokepark 2 on realease day(as it was my b'day)and completed it!Its almost better than galaxy 2!

    My score:92%

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