Pokemon White Version 2 Review

Despite being plenty of fun and sporting a few new tweaks, Pokemon White 2 fails to outshine its predecessors.

by

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The core Pokemon games are notorious for sticking to a tried, tested, and very familiar formula. After all, it's a formula that works, and that people enjoy, and one thing you can never accuse the main entry Pokemon games of is forgetting their roots. White 2 is pretty much exactly what you'd expect, then. Given that it's the first numbered sequel in the series, it's even less of a version shift than seen in previous games. It's not exactly the same as its predecessor; there have been a number of tweaks, functionally and aesthetically, and the plot's (sort of) new too. The problem is that, despite the additions, a weak plot, poor pacing, and an overabundance of easily-defeated Pokemon mean it's just not as good as the games that came before it.

Most of the initial changes you notice are far from revolutionary. You start in a large city, rather than a small town. You're given a Pokemon by Black/White's Bianca, rather than by a professor. You're given 10 Pokeballs instead of five. For the Pokemon fan, there are plenty of neat little variations to the tried-and-tested formula, and it's pretty clear that for the most part this is who White 2 is aimed at: Pokemon fans who want another Gen 5 game really quickly.

Other changes include new areas that weren't accessible in the game's predecessors, including a few new towns and cities, as well as redesigned routes, and a few all-new dungeons. The gyms have all been changed, with a few past gym leaders making way for new challengers (including previous pal Cheren). Unfortunately, with the gym redesign the excellent room-spanning puzzles found in Black/White have been scaled back and replaced with unchallenging puzzles that can be solved with minimal effort. Even the most challenging of the gyms are still incredibly simple compared to their previous counterparts, which is disappointing.

The difficulty curve is off too, and it takes a long time before you reach an area where you can catch any decent Pokemon. It's entirely possible to blitz the first few gyms using just Oshawott, Snivy, or Tepig, something the previous games didn't allow, which encouraged better team building. Then, toward the end of the story, there's a vast section spanning a couple of gyms and a couple of plot-related dungeons in which the levels of your opponents' Pokemon barely increase at all. Unless you're training up loads of Pokemon at once, this means that by the time you face your most fearsome foes, you're almost guaranteed to have a few team members that can wipe the floor with them without breaking a sweat.

It's hard to shake the feeling that White 2 is simply going through the motions. The plot's a direct continuation of the Team Plasma/N storyline, although rather than expanding on any of the concepts, it retreads them. Team Plasma blathers on about liberating Pokemon again, only this time there's no moral debate whatsoever; you and everyone else know they're plain evil, and it feels like they're simply shouting into the wind. At no point does the plot reach the heights it did in Black/White, and it often feels like a postgame quest strung out over an entire adventure. For those who charged through the originals, there's an odd sense of inconsistency as the characters wonder about the existence of legendary dragon Kyurem, a Pokemon that you very likely already caught in the previous game. You can transfer or trade your Black/White team directly into White 2 from very early on too, so it's entirely possible to defeat Kyurem with Kyurem, which is amusing in the context of the narrative.

There are plenty of functional additions, however, although none are particularly revolutionary. There's a neat minigame in which you get to star in movies, performing Pokemon battles to a script, and a Pokemon World Tournament that lets you compete in tiered championships against gym leaders and champions from all regions and past games. Again, the additions are little more than fan service, but they are nice inclusions nonetheless. There's also the ability to transfer your Black/White save into the game, which unlocks plot flashbacks and special events within White 2. And for those who missed acquiring Zorua, that Pokemon now appears regularly in the game, as do legendaries from previous gens. Sadly, though, the Gen 5 Kami Trio (Tornadus, Thundurus, and Landorus) are absent and have to be acquired from Black/White.

Elsewhere, the music has been ably remixed, the battle menus have been slightly redesigned to make them more intuitive to access, and the C-Gear bottom screen is now much better looking and easier to read. There's also an adjustable difficulty level, accessible only after you become a champion, which is a pointless inclusion so late in the game. Perhaps the best change of all, though, is in regard to repels. Once you use a repel, when it runs out, the game asks you if you want to use another. It's a minor change in the grand scheme of things, but it's a welcome one when you're trekking through a cave of low-level Pokemon, which in this game happens a lot.

Beyond that, this is the same Pokemon you've played many times before. White 2's biggest downfall is that, despite the tweaks, it's worse than the original Black/White. The plot's not as good, and will be largely meaningless to new players. The progression isn't as natural or as exciting this time around. The gyms are functional, instead of feeling like epic challenges. White 2 is a game for those who have already played Black/White thoroughly and are after more, but there's a nagging sensation that it's all too soon and that it's pushing fans' goodwill to the limits.

When it comes down to it, though, Pokemon White 2 is--well--Pokemon. It still has the same excellent battle system and the same charm; it's still chock-full of things to do; and there are still hundreds and hundreds of Pokemon to catch, train, and battle with. Plus, there's loads of postgame content and plenty of optional activities too. But there's no escaping the fact that the Pokemon formula is wearing thin now, and it's clearly time for a change. White 2 tries to cash in on fans eager for more, and just highlights how derivative the franchise has become.

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The Good
Training and battling are as enjoyable as always
Fun optional activities
Plenty of in-game Pokemon to catch spanning all gens
The Bad
An incredibly weak plot, even for Pokemon
Some of the layout changes are for the worse
You've played better versions of this before
An overabundance of low-level Pokemon make the game too easy
6.5
Fair
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roddray
roddray

i need help with pokemon white 2

Kryzeth
Kryzeth

I think what I hate most about this review, is that they scored it LESS than White. The sequel is a thousand times better. It does everything that was left out of the original, there's loads more legendaries, and Much more post-game content . It is what it is: White, v2. It's everything White was, and sooooo much more. Plus, no mention of the ability to catch non-unova pokemon, which consistently hampered the experience of the original. I also loved the story so much more than the first; it follows the divide between Team Plasma, many of them wondering what is right, what is true, and what is virtuous. They question their own morals, and they feel regret for what they did.

Although now that I think about it, the game can't really stand by itself.... The original is a requirement to enjoy this game to the fullest, especially the memory link. But I think that's what makes this game so much better.

mrzisawesome
mrzisawesome

The backgrounds used in the Pokestar studios minigames should have been used in the actual battle system.

SoulSlayer64x
SoulSlayer64x

This review is more bass ackwards than.. Well.. I don't have any western phrases.. But still, saying this game as a weak story? I wanna know what these people are on, because I need to go burn it in a fire, it's just too dangerous. This game has the strongest story of the handheld games, as far as I can remember at the very least.

 

And I personally found the difficulty to be just fine, not to mention there is indeed a way to raise the difficulty.

 

And if you want to talk disappointing, then look at pokemon black and white. They added what they should've had in the last two games here, and I liked that. If you want to say you've seen this before, as it is pokemon, then you can do that. But that shouldn't affect the score.

steeltongued
steeltongued

Sorry, but this is just a bad review.

 

The reviewer wastes too much time on non-essential stuff (the epilogue is practically two paragraphs, and an item tweak -repel- takes as much as half a paragraph).

 

Also, mr Raze mysteriously fails to mention at all Pokemon Dream Radar, a 3DS spinoff game, which is deeply intertwined to White2/Black2, and, actually, could be considered an add-on (as many pokemon must be obtained through this app in order for pokedex to be completed).

 

Elsewhere, while the low difficulty is mentioned, the reviewer chooses not to mention the ability to change the difficulty later in the game, which is a first in the franchise. Unova Link as a feature is generally not mentioned (which is really weird, as it contains the biggest change since BW), and Memory Link, which is also a first, is also missing.

 

Don't get me wrong, I don't care about the score, the pluses or the minuses, this is just a badly written review. 

 

This may seem too much of a rant, especially considering the type of the game reviewed, but I typed gamespot on my browser expecting a high quality text, and this is worse than a kid typing in a blog.

Fox-13
Fox-13

I like the Game. It has a good number of upgrades and new features to it and I think Game Freak did a good job once again.

Lex151
Lex151

A awesome game, I was actually scared about this one because of the "2".

It's the first time a Pokemon game is a actual sequel, unless you count silver and gold, but those were different, they just din't want to destroy the story from previous games.

I had the feeling they kept this region just to have less work :), but when I saw all the new places and remodeled places, I could't really say anything.

I also like the fact for wilds Pokemon are hiding near the first town, making me able to create a powerful team at the beginning.

I'm glad I din't waste my money on this game, good purchase, good game of course, a good childhood memory for me :D

-Good day!

hunner676
hunner676

I haven't played it yet, but I know these games have easy, normal and hard modes, something new to the series. I wonder if the reviewer tried all of them? Or even if he knew they existed, since he didn't even mention it. Well, about the plot, it's no surprise: it's always been shallow in the series. Now I wonder if I should try it or not. I think I'll save the money for a 3ds game.

snake63
snake63

Now that I played Pokemon Black Version 2 all I can say its deja vu all over again. This should have been downloadable content when you play the first Black or White all over again. It does deserve a 6.0 rating.

Coco_pierrot
Coco_pierrot

I like GS way of reviewing games. I find other website to be very kind to many games.

GS always give a lower score when they just reskin a game ... if they at least do something new or modify the menu to make them better, well they will have a good score. If they put many bugs and just reskin or do something not that great ... don't expect a very high score even if the game is fun... the score never show how fun the game is ... it just tells it technical aspect.

Xeronus5824
Xeronus5824

Pokemon fans going into full defensive mode is the most amusing thing so far today, just face the fact that you keep paying for the same game a hundred times and don't blame the reviewer. Not his fault you don't want to hear the truth.

TPlushGumbo
TPlushGumbo

dont base it just on this review, IGN gave it a 9.6!!! look at metacritic for a better overall understanding!

captainwonton
captainwonton

Hey reviewer could you like, dump a rom or something?

tuffj68
tuffj68

I haven't listened to GameSpot ever since Soul Silver. That is my favorite Pokemon game to date, and they gave it an 8!

 

They also graded Soul Silver and beyond rather harshly.

I enjoyed Soul Silver a lot. (GS: 8)

I enjoyed White a lot. (GS: 7.5)

Hell, I even enjoyed Pokemon Conquest! (GS: 6.5)

I logged in well over 100 hours on each game (especially the first two).

 

Also, every critic on Metacritic has a higher rating for this game than GameSpot... Still getting this game for sure!

ferna1234
ferna1234

last time i cared for pokemon there were just 150. i guess now there's like a million

Monsj
Monsj

Played this when it released in Japan. I don't recommend it, waste of money.

misternathan
misternathan

And here we have the deluge of the blind otaku fandom ready to back up all of the stale, non-innovative, well-worn copy/paste efforts by developers who know they'll do exactly that.

Good job, guys.  Way to prove to Japanese developers that the best thing they can do is release the same exact crap year after year.  Even Madden NFL gets more work than this, and Madden is the picture-perfect example of phoning it in.

Come ON.

game-ster23
game-ster23

Still looking forward to this sequel this weekend.

bigbadmamajama1
bigbadmamajama1

This review comes from a real gammer... Pokemon is repetative, money hungry bullcrap of a game... You would think people would boycott them to at least make them put both games into one game... If it wasnt for the fan support it would prob get a score of less than 6.5

Stealth_Knight_
Stealth_Knight_

Please fire this reviewer too, gamespot needs a clean house.

 

 

 

Zetsu20wii
Zetsu20wii

this suppose to be the game to beat all pokemon games. the developers at gamefreak just want this game to please fans. meaning updated fighting system new challenges new features and for the real fans a more in depth story. gamefreak knows no pokemon game can surpass red blue yellow gold and silver. btw adding a difficulty setting automatically makes these 2 games top in the series. 1blue 2sapphire 3white2 4silver 5platinum

 

ProdjectAUSM
ProdjectAUSM

Aw, this is disappointing. I liked the story in Black and White, it had depth and had the main character very involved. I thought they would do better this time around.

Masenkoe
Masenkoe

I didn't like Black very much. Doubt I would even bother with this. 

ggregd
ggregd

 @hunner676 He said: "There's also an adjustable difficulty level, accessible only after you become a champion, which is a pointless inclusion so late in the game."

SoulSlayer64x
SoulSlayer64x

 @snake63 Are you really bashing this game for that reason? Don't you know the DS games don't have DLC? You sicken me, get outta here.

ewolf9368
ewolf9368

 @Xeronus5824 yeah but why wont gamespot call out CoD for rereleasing even more identical games no bad reviews there, huh?

Kronical42
Kronical42

 @Gelugon_baat  "Come on, die-hard Pokemon fanboys/fangirls" So if your not a Pokemon fan then why have you been coming here since last night talking all over the comments section? Sounds to me like we have a secret pokemon fan over here. Or your just that big of a loser you gotta come on here and talk trash and not even be good at it :)

Llama345
Llama345

 @tuffj68 What's wrong with a 6.5 or an 8?  Those are perfectly good scores.  If the world is filled with games that all earn a 9+ then why even have reviews. I would liken this game to be an 8, but since the reviewer STRESSED the fact that nothing is new in this it got points taken away. I would say 4/5 people who come on to post dont even read the review as to why it got the score that it did. I havent bought a pokemon game since yellow, but I am comfortable enough with this and IGNs review to make this my next purchase. 

Infinite_713
Infinite_713

 @tuffj68 You don't listen to Gamespot but you keep showing up here to read their reviews? You want gamespot to be nice? Sissy, beat it! I love the honest, well written, non biased, accurate reviews on this site.

dwdwdw6
dwdwdw6

>Doesnt play the game.

>Still comes here for some reason to bash the game and people who play it.

Thats the definition of a "loser".

JudgementEden
JudgementEden

 @misternathan Says a person that hasn't actually played Pokemon since Red and Blue.

 

I'm curious, why do some people bother to give their opinions about games they haven't even played? Your opinion is invalid.

SolidSnakeFan
SolidSnakeFan

 @Stealth_Knight_ Well this certainly doesn't tell me that you're underaged and don't have a job; otherwise, you wouldn't be saying such a thing as that.

 

And over a review you don't agree with. Jesus, dude. Get your priorities straightened out.

kkxtrouble
kkxtrouble

 @ProdjectAUSM Instead of expanding the game they just changed the story for the worse and changed a few locations. Very dissapointing. When the news came out i was so excited because i thought to myself  " Hey since it's the second game of the black/white series maybe they will make it with 16 gyms again." I was very dissapointed when i saw there were barely any changes.

Coco_pierrot
Coco_pierrot

 @ratchet200

 Seriously I don't know, they may think there is enough new stuff like new menu, sharper control to worth a good score. But if you look it up, many game in the same franchise that is essentially the same, with the same menu the same everything, just get a worst score. This is how they do it.

tuffj68
tuffj68

 @Infinite_713 Lol I just don't take their reviews to heart. I still respect their opinion, which is why I read the reviews. I know that the franchise needs to be reinvented, and they are definitely right for pointing that out. Should I be called a sissy if I believe what you believe? Takes one to know one.

 

I never said Gamespot needed to be nice; they did what they were supposed to do. They graded three recent Pokemon games (Soul Silver, White, and this) with honest analysis and opinion. However, the first two are also some of my favorite games, and are apparently worth more to me than the reviewer(s). By grading harshly, I meant in comparison to me.

 

Also, one review doesn't speak for the whole gamer population. If that is the case, then people are sheep.

 

P.S. Your comment tone makes it more obvious to see that you only like this review because you agree with it.

dwdwdw6
dwdwdw6

 @Gelugon_baat I know, gotta feel bad for gamespot right? Also your sadness really knows no bounds O_o

Coco_pierrot
Coco_pierrot

 @Vince21C  @ratchet200

 I really don't give a fuck about score. I prefer to read or hear what they have to say and judge by myself after renting the game ( unless I think it will be great ). It is just a score ... also GS said it a few years ago that they do their score that way.  It may ahve changed since then but still it is just a score ... do you have that Pokémon game ? If so, do you played it ? Did you enjoyed i ? Did that score spoiled the fun of that game for you ? If you said yes to the last question then you put to much emphasis on the score

dwdwdw6
dwdwdw6

>Blatantly admitting to being a troll. Be a little subtle at least >_>

moonlightwolf01
moonlightwolf01

 @Gelugon_baat  @Stealth_Knight_ I love pokemon but frankly this review isn't biased or unfair most of the gameplay 'innovations' of black and white were gimmicks or moves in the wrong direction and black and white 2 actually seems to have made them worse. Pokemon fans should be up in arms about the devs feeding us this low quality reskin instead of a true sequel (coloured rather than numbered) instead you're all bludgeoning a reviewer for telling you the truth you'd rather not hear.

Kronical42
Kronical42

 @Gelugon_baat  AHAHA, so you are basically telling this guy to shutup and stop bashing a reviewer..but you are not willing to shutup yourself..ok 15 year old.

dwdwdw6
dwdwdw6

And damn deleted my comment by accident heheh.

Pokemon White Version 2

  • DS
Pokemon White Version 2 brings players back to the Unova region, two years after the events of the original Pokemon Black Version game where you can explore new areas, discover gyms with new leaders and see how everything has changed in the last two years.
ESRB
Everyone
All Platforms
Comic Mischief, Mild Cartoon Violence