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Pokemon Black and White 2 review

Are the first direct Pokémon sequels are highly evolved, or not very effective?

We've written many thousands of words about Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 in the build-up to their release, but one thing we've perhaps not touched upon is the sense of finality they generate. These are games that feel like a full-stop, or a line - two, even - being drawn in the sand.

Playing them is like attending a brilliant farewell party, a celebration of all things Pokemon to which a number of familiar faces have been invited to wave off the series as it sets off on a voyage towards a brave, new world. Or perhaps just the same old places in shiny, futuristic 3D-o-vision.

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Whatever awaits the series in the future - don't worry, it's not disappearing, even if this spells the end for the game in its current form - Game Freak has ensured this will be one hell of a party to remember. It's a close-run thing, but we might even be tempted to put them ahead of Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver as our favourite Pokémon games ever.

Those who read our Pokemon Black and White review will know that each got a higher mark and you may be thinking, how come the sequels get a lower score. Well, you should know that we agonised over the tally for these two. The main problem with Black 2 and White 2 is that they represent refinement, rather than revolution and the former is never the more exciting of those two.

It might be the one you settle down with, but you'd always choose the other for a whirlwind affair. Black and White represented a fresh start for Pokemon, a new beginning, a reboot that kept what everyone liked about the older games, while giving it a bit of spit-and-polish for a contemporary audience. Black 2 and White 2 are more like a really good director's cut: the changes and additions are all great, but it's an experience you have had before.

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Boldore And The Beautiful

It's only fair to point out that they offer the most significant changes in a generational follow-up. Yellow, Crystal, Emerald, Platinum: good games, all, but they were retreads with a few fresh features and a couple of new locations. Black 2 and White 2 see Game Freak throw in a brand new narrative, a number of different gym battles, several new forms for selected Pokemon and a welter of asides and additions that make these the definitive Generation V games. If you didn't play Black and White, you can happily jump straight to these two, safe in the knowledge that they beat their immediate predecessors in almost every way that counts.

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So what ways are we counting here? Well, for starters, there's a much bigger regional Pokedex. You've got 301 Unova Pokemon to be precise, including all the newcomers from Black and White and a generous selection from other regions. They're solid picks, too, even down to the weaker monsters. Low-level Pokemon are rarely worth hanging onto for too long, but when Mareep, Psyduck and Riolu are leaping out of the grass at you in the opening hour, you might be forced to reconsider your prejudices. Sure, venture into the sewers and you'll experience that familiar sinking sensation in your stomach as you encounter hordes of Rattata, but your stay underground is mercifully short.

It's quicker to get started, too. Previous games have been a little too eager to show you the ropes, then show you them again, before checking that you're totally sure that you understand the ropes and are capable of handling them. Here, newcomers are still catered to, but explanations are much briefer, and you're sent off into the big wide world without even a hint of being patronised. Well, not much, anyway.

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  1. Targey Monday 1st Oct 2012 at 13:34

    If I recall correctly, you gave Diamond/Pearl and HeartGold/SoulSilver higher scores than Black and White 2. So how can you call these games the best Pokemon games ever?

  2. tomonm Monday 1st Oct 2012 at 13:39

    If I recall correctly, you gave Diamond/Pearl and HeartGold/SoulSilver higher scores than Black and White 2. So how can you call these games the best Pokemon games ever?

    Have you read the review? It is explained in there! Chris thinks (and we agree) that it's a better game than Pokemon Black and White but doesn't have the same impact because it's not all-new like they were. However, it is a better game than Black and White 2.

    Regarding scores, I always say this. The actual percentage is down to the individual reviewer and he can only give it the score he thinks it deserves at that particular time. He can't predict what's going to come in the future. So Chris Schilling gave Pokemon Black and White 2 91% because that is what he thinks it deserves. Chris Scullion gave Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver 94% because that's what he thought the games deserved at the time. That doesn't mean that Pokemon HG/SS is better - just when he reviewed it two years ago, he thought they deserved that score. Since then we've had Black and White and Black and White 2 but that doesn't mean we should give Black and White 95 and Black and White 2 96. It would get silly.

    If it's getting confusing, I think the easiest way to think about it would be that we're gave them both 9 out of 10 as that's what 94 and 91 essentially are. They're both brilliant. We trust all our reviewers and recognise that scores are important and giving a game 90+ percent is a big deal. However, when you start getting into the difference between 91 ad 94, it's up to the individual writers.

    Hope that helped.

  3. lrwr14 Monday 1st Oct 2012 at 14:05

    We'd also like to take special time out to thank the person at Game Freak who finally decided we could use a new Repel spray without having to dip back into the menu each time. That single prompt has got to be worth an extra one per cent on its own, we reckon.

    That brought a smile to my face. I've been wanting that since I've started playing pokemon. Hell even if they gave you the option to register repel would be good.

  4. Bexie Monday 1st Oct 2012 at 14:17

    I have one question...

    CAN YOU CATCH STARYU IN THE MAIN GAME? Or do you have to wait to get the National Dex?

    *continues with her Starmie obsession*

    ... I can't help it. I feel weird unless I have a Starmie. xD

  5. Accelgor7 Monday 1st Oct 2012 at 14:19

    I cant wait for these games!!!!!! Pre-ordered them both through game!!!!

  6. pokemaniac 212 Monday 1st Oct 2012 at 14:20

    Staryu is in the unova dex, but I don't know how early in the game.

  7. Tamzily01 Monday 1st Oct 2012 at 14:20

    I'm thoroughly looking forward to getting Black 2 next week. Could possibly be the best Pokemon-related purchase I've made all year, and this is from someone who's so far bought the soundtrack for the games (excellent as ever btw) and a Mudkip hat. :P

  8. Bexie Monday 1st Oct 2012 at 14:29

    Staryu is in the unova dex, but I don't know how early in the game.

    Awesome. That means I'll be able to catch one at some point. I don't mind how early, as you usually can't get them until a fair way in anyway.
    That means I probably won't pick Oshawott as my starter like I did in B/W, though. I love Samurott, but if I'll be using a Starmie after a little while, it seems like a waste to pick the water starter and have it sitting in the PC for the rest of the game. I'll probably pick Snivy as I don't have many grass types I like using, and if you can catch Psyduck pretty early, maybe I'll use one of those until I find a Starmie.

    Aside from Starmie, I'm going to try and use some different pokemon. I tend to use the same ones every time I play through it, so it might be good to try some other ones. I'll likely have a Lucario, seeing as they can be caught early on, I've never actually used one before as you don't get them until quite late. By then I usually have an established team, and they can be hard to train at that point, too.

  9. DynamicPunch202 Monday 1st Oct 2012 at 14:39

    We all knew it was going to be a good review, and I was gonna get these regardless of the score. And when I do, I guarantee you wont see me again for at least 3 months!!! I can't wait for them!!! :D

    I haven't a clue what team I'm gonna have, but it WILL include a Lucario and an Arcanine. How early on do you get Growlithe?

  10. shy guy 64 Monday 1st Oct 2012 at 14:58

    main series pokemon games are all ways great

  11. Bexie Monday 1st Oct 2012 at 15:02

    We all knew it was going to be a good review, and I was gonna get these regardless of the score. And when I do, I guarantee you wont see me again for at least 3 months!!! I can't wait for them!!! :D

    I haven't a clue what team I'm gonna have, but it WILL include a Lucario and an Arcanine. How early on do you get Growlithe?

    According to Serebii, you can catch them at the Virbank Complex, near the city with the 2nd gym, so pretty early I'd guess.

  12. torterratrainer Monday 1st Oct 2012 at 15:03

    LACKING IN FRESHNESS!!!!!!

    couldn't agree more :)

  13. Tamzily01 Monday 1st Oct 2012 at 15:04

    We all knew it was going to be a good review, and I was gonna get these regardless of the score. And when I do, I guarantee you wont see me again for at least 3 months!!! I can't wait for them!!! :D

    I haven't a clue what team I'm gonna have, but it WILL include a Lucario and an Arcanine. How early on do you get Growlithe?

    According to Serebii, you can catch them at the Virbank Complex, near the city with the 2nd gym, so pretty early I'd guess.

    Yeah, but they've only got something like a 5% encounter rate. Same goes for Riolu at Floccesy Ranch. Not stopping me from including them on my team though.

  14. Pyron12 Monday 1st Oct 2012 at 15:14

    Was one of the criticisms about B/W to do with length. This should've deserved 93% instead of 91%. Lacking in freshness is a fair point but for the first time ever, they have add a new section to a region plus made lots of old pokemon new before the end of the game. I mean come on, just Unova pokemon until the post ending? Seriously sucks and B/W's story was godd but a tad too short.

  15. bennyt Monday 1st Oct 2012 at 15:17

    Great review, sounds like Pokemon are going out with a blast on the ds.

    Blue will always remain my favourite but I'm really glad with the extras the devs have thrown in especially with the post game content-making/directing films, musical bits, re-battling gym leaders...can't wait to battle Brock and Misty again. Loving the selection of pokemon available early on to, especially Marill (my favourite), Riolu, Growlithe and Eevee!!! :D My team line up right there


    This, dream radar app, new pokedex in Nov and a mystery dungeon game for the 3ds, we're being spoilt!

  16. thenintendoer Monday 1st Oct 2012 at 17:39

    ironic that a series that has alot of evolving involved in its games dosent evolve as a series that much

  17. Riverlution Monday 1st Oct 2012 at 19:06

    You know what? I can't wait. I've been playing since Red and Blue and am still as excited as ever with each new mainstream release. I always love that brand new adventure.

  18. fisher2007 Monday 1st Oct 2012 at 20:03

    I probably won't pick tepig as my starter like I did in B/W and I'll probably pick Snivy.

  19. imbusydoctorwho Monday 1st Oct 2012 at 20:41

    Looking forward to this ever since it first was announced.
    I'd probably go for Black 2,if I get this.

  20. wizardgamer94 Tuesday 2nd Oct 2012 at 11:49

    A very reasonable score. If this is truly the last of the classic Pokemon then I think Game Freak couldn't have done a better job. I'm really looking forward to the throwbacks of the old games (battling old gym leaders etc). If this isn't the last classic game then, to really give the old games a send off, Game Freak should remake Emerald in all its glory. That would be an awesome send off :D

  21. toffeeman30 Tuesday 2nd Oct 2012 at 12:54

    nintendo holds 2 special events to celebrate the launch week of pokemon black & white 2. really?

  22. Pyron12 Tuesday 2nd Oct 2012 at 15:12

    If this isn't the last classic game then, to really give the old games a send off, Game Freak should remake Emerald in all its glory. That would be an awesome send off :D


    Couldn't have said it better myself :)

  23. ThePokekid78 Tuesday 2nd Oct 2012 at 16:14

    'The best Pokemon games ever'
    Well, obviously - they're new Pokemon games, therefore they automatically become the best ever :lol:

  24. Yinyanreshiram Wednesday 3rd Oct 2012 at 15:43

    It's good to see that the DS's lifespan will end on a high note!. :D
    I honestly cant wait for these games to come out 9 days is just too far away

  25. The_BAAD_Man Wednesday 3rd Oct 2012 at 21:14

    Aaaah, I really want this! It seems I'll need to wait a long time though, so I'll most likely miss any event Pokémon in the process :( Good review!

  26. Layton link Saturday 6th Oct 2012 at 23:39

    Odd...me and pokemon just...dont seem to talk anymore..its sad..because i loved soulsilver to death...that was and still is one of my favoruite games for the ds..and my all time favourite pokemon game..everything about it was...polished..perfect...amazing.When i picked up my copy of black i was pumped to play it..i had sunk so many hours into black...so much time getting my little trogdor(yes i named my totodile drogdor dont judge me) i was so happy to jump in and battle my way through the hoards of trainers with my little alphones(....yes i know its a stupid name for a tepig..just...ye).
    From what i played..i really liked it...just liked.I got around...the 4th gym i belive..me and my little team of alphones and...i belive there was a dog..and a ..leaf..monkey..for some reason i just...stopped playing.I have no idea why..i guess i just got bored.I really should revisit you one of you these days pokemon black...since playing ya i have kinda found pokemon creepy(been watching to many creepy pasta things about pokemon..should really stop that) but...maybe i should just get back to it and try and find that innocent and brilliant world of pocket monster..

  27. Pallaton Monday 8th Oct 2012 at 04:43

    This looks like such a good game!! The first one was a lot of fun! I am currently tossing up whether to get this, when it comes out on Thursday, or Skyward Sword.. What to do..

  28. koopa_kicker Monday 8th Oct 2012 at 17:32

    Pokemon Black/White Cynthia sometimes says: "Once every few years, the Champions of each region gather and compete to see who is the strongest! An interesting idea, don't you agree?" Anyone else think this is a reference to the Pokemon World Tormament and it was maybe planned back when Black/White was being made?

  29. littlemaxie Tuesday 9th Oct 2012 at 11:32

    wait im confused is the pokemon games ending forever or just on the ds and then coming out on 3ds ? :?

  30. King Slazo Tuesday 9th Oct 2012 at 11:40

    wait im confused is the pokemon games ending forever or just on the ds and then coming out on 3ds ? :?

    This will be the last Pokémon game on DS (unless they announce yet another spinoff), with future games and Gen6 appearing on the 3DS. The review was more referring to this game symbolising the end of an era.

  31. littlemaxie Wednesday 10th Oct 2012 at 11:36

    sorry to trouble you but i dont get how you put that can you pleaz explain it a easier way?? i just dont want pokemon games to end so is it like done for good or just done with b2 and w2 ? :?

  32. King Slazo Wednesday 10th Oct 2012 at 11:57

    sorry to trouble you but i dont get how you put that can you pleaz explain it a easier way?? i just dont want pokemon games to end so is it like done for good or just done with b2 and w2 ? :?

    ...

    Black 2 and White 2 will be the last Pokémon games on the DS. Future handheld Pokémon games will be on the 3DS.

  33. littlemaxie Thursday 11th Oct 2012 at 06:30

    fanx man your the best :D

  34. Ai64 Friday 12th Oct 2012 at 10:11

    Black and White sequals are still fantastic. Lots and lots to do and loads of battling to be done.
    They are like Grey version but slightly different.

  35. Xikelle Monday 15th Oct 2012 at 16:54

    For some time I've been deliberating over whether to get a copy of black/white or black2/white2 or one of each.
    At the moment I'm thinking that it would be either of the latter two.
    Admittedly the fact of possibly getting more out of the story, a distinct soundtrack (apart from the probability that the soundtrack for locations would stay constant) and some sense of revisiting (different from that felt when I played Diamond having not played a pokemon game since blue) might be motivation enough.
    Though then again, I might just get the next mystery dungeon game and wait awhile.

  36. pokefan2012 Tuesday 16th Oct 2012 at 17:34

    i've got pokemon black 2 but whats the difference between the two???? :?

  37. TheMasterSword12 Wednesday 17th Oct 2012 at 16:51

    The game looks amazing but which is better black or white???

  38. mercury9 Sunday 4th Nov 2012 at 06:38

    What's that big black building? I was obviously asleep at that part of the game :shock:

  39. Mew3 Thursday 15th Nov 2012 at 16:52

    I have one question...

    CAN YOU CATCH STARYU IN THE MAIN GAME? Or do you have to wait to get the National Dex?

    *continues with her Starmie obsession*

    ... I can't help it. I feel weird unless I have a Starmie. xD

    I saw this guy's walkthrough on youtube and he had a starmie. And I think he had it in the first quarter of the game so you should be able to get it soon

  40. pikachu101 Sunday 9th Dec 2012 at 23:24

    No doubt the best pokemon game ever made, so many new features and ideas. Great storyline after defeating elite four aswell, Im 14, and this was no doubt the best game ive ever played :)

  41. wilfrefanguy Thursday 14th Mar 2013 at 14:40

    I did enjoy this game but not as good as the others... it should have got 75 to 80 percent

  42. ProfPikachu Tuesday 4th Jun 2013 at 18:47

    I have to admit, Pokemon Black 2 gave me quite a hard time when I first started playing it. It's still just as fresh as it used to be in Pokemon Pearl... Those were good days...

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