Backlog Quest II – Sidequest: Pokémon White 2 – Same as it ever was

01-19-13_bq_2_sidequest_pokemon_white_2

Dear journal,

I wanted to be the very best, like no one ever was. But I failed miserably.

Sure, I caught a lot of them and trained them competitively and defeated the Elite Four, but I cannot catch 650 Pokémon in a reasonable amount of time. Pokémon White 2 was a completely new story – innovative ideas, exciting storyline and game changing mechanics.

Yep; it is completely new. I began my journey off in some small town with some Pokémon professor nearby. I then made my way off to tediously defeat eight gym leaders all the while being harassed by some rival and a renegade group that wanted to capture/ steal Pokémon. Finally, I defeated four elite trainers and a current champion. And the game ended. Hmmm… that sounds vaguely familiar. Almost formulaic.

poke-white2-1

For the main game, Pokémon White 2 is essentially Pokémon Blue with some spackle and a new coat of paint. Sure, the end product looks a lot nicer, but it is essentially the same thing. In my personal opinion, if you are going to re-hash something for the umpteenth time, just give me Chamander and Squirtle and let me go to work on the bad guys, instead of having me trek through the wasteland of re-hashed ideas with Tepig and Snivy. Cause I always thought the point of nostalgia was to bring back the aspects people enjoyed, and people enjoyed stomping down Prof. Oak’s grandson with a beefy, old Charizard and Blastoise with a nonchalant Alakazam in tow. Maybe throw in a Dragonite for good measure… and a Zapdos. Yea; a Zapdos and that silly egg one… uh… Exeggutor. Yep; that one. That was a good time. Or maybe a Swampert. And Mewtwo. How could I forget Mewtwo? Pikachu? Pssh. How is it the face of the franchise?

poke-blue-1

Ah. The memories. Wait. There are only five guys there.

Ahh. I seem to have found myself on a tangent. Sorry about that.

But I did have a point, I promise. One thing Pokémon White 2 did I especially enjoyed was the inclusion of previous generations of Pokémon prior to defeating the Elite Four. Black and White had the newest generation of Pokémon exclusively in the wild until beating the Elite Four to give fans the same sense of curiosity and awe they had about the Pokémon types when the first games came out. The idea was interesting at the time, but as with many of Nintendo games, part of the majesty of the game is in its own backlog. The previous generations of the Pokémon are what fans fell in love with, not just the brand. So, while I was not exactly thrilled to see a Psyduck and Magnemite early on in the game, I was happy to know some familiar faces would be in store for me later on – like Arcanine and Tyranitar.

poke-white2-4

While the premise is a tired one, Pokémon White 2 is fun, especially if, like me, you are a Poke-addict. But that is akin to saying a Star Wars fan really liked Phantom Menace because it had light sabers.

Pokémon White 2 does have many more redeeming qualities than Phantom Menace ever will, however, and to be frank was more enjoyable than other entries in the Pokémon franchise. The gym battles, ever the focal point of the series, are extraordinarily well crafted and the environments are creative to say the least. The gyms actually feel like the embodiment of the particular gym leader and it is kind of neat to see a Pokémon series take better advantage of the graphical capabilities of the DS. Additionally, Pokémon White 2 added some tweaks and side games like a movie creation aspect, and the game utilized more of the rotating and triple battle formats introduced in the previous game.

poke-white2-2

Pokemon White 2 has a movie making process available.

Pokémon White 2 is pretty much the equivalent to Pokémon Yellow, Sapphire, Emerald and Platinum, where the game is a bridge between the previous iteration and the upcoming game. Nintendo pretty much uses the same story/ designs of the old game and puts out a new package to tide over fans and Nintendo’s pockets, till Game Freak can pump out the next game. In Pokémon White 2’s defense, it is a legitimate sequel of its predecessor, whereas the others were the same thing with new wrapping. Sure, the map and everything is the same, but the story was tweaked and many of the locales took on new looks, almost as if two years actually had passed.

poke-white2-3

The story continues two years removed where Pokemon White ended and revisits the N and Ghetsis story line.

While I would personally say SoulSilver and HeartGold are superior Pokémon games on the DS, the integration of multiple avenues to continue playing the game up until beating the Elite Four, and after, are truly redeeming qualities. Many previous games felt empty after conquering the Elite Four plus champion, but White 2 has more gameplay available for those that want to continue.

And as always, you can try and catch ‘em all.

Final Rating: 8/10

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On
: 3DS
Time to completion: 19 hours
Pokémon Caught: 93
Price Bought at: $34.99
Current Price: $34.96 at Amazon
Recommend Purchase Price: $30 – Unfortunately, Pokémon games never tend to go on sale.
Why you should buy it: If you have ever played and enjoyed a Pokémon game, or cannot wait until October when Pokémon X and Y are released.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: If you dislike the Pokémon series, abhor the thought of using creatures to fight each other for sport or do not want to consider collecting 650+ things.

Check out all the Backlog Quest II journal entries!

Check out all the Backlog Quest II journal entries!

avatar

About Steve Lesniewski

Steve lives in Chicago and recently graduated from the University of Illinois. He has been fascinated with video games since his ninth birthday when he received a Gameboy Color and Pokemon Blue. He loves following sports and cheers win or lose for the Bears, Bulls and the Fighting Illini, who include the 2012 men’s gymnastic national champs as well as the 2011 women’s volleyball national runner-up.