Pokémon is up there with one of the most successful media franchises of the modern gaming age. Its movies, countless TV shows, merchandise, and trading card games can be recognised around the world, and its games have sold hundreds of millions of copies worldwide. The video games are currently in their fifth generation, with Pokémon Black and White Version 2 being the most recent releases for the main series until Pokémon X and Y comes along.
Pokémon Black Version 2 is one half of these paired sequels to the original Black and White versions, and could be argued to be the best Pokémon experience yet. With more Pokémon than ever before, a new adventure to embark on in the familiar territory of Unova, and yet another fierce rivalry with a fellow Pokémon trainer, Pokémon Black Version 2 encapsulates everything that is great about Pokémon in a brand new, redesigned package.
The gameplay of Pokémon Black Version 2 will be instantly recognisable by Pokémon fans since it follows the same successful format as always. As a Pokémon trainer, you must set off on an adventure in the Unova region to become the best that you can possibly be by capturing, training, and engaging in turn-based battles with both wild Pokémon and also the Pokémon of other trainers in the region. There is also a good vs. evil storyline that holds everything together, with the devious Team Plasma causing some trouble again and also raising questions and concerns about the morality side of keeping Pokémon captive and using them in battle. You begin with a choice of one of three starter Pokémon (Snivy, Oshawott, or Tepig), and from here you must grind Pokémon levels, learn new moves, capture new Pokémon, and generally build a strong, balanced team in order to be able to face off against the gym leaders of the region and eventually the elite four to become the Pokémon champion.
Besides the process of catching all the Pokémon you possibly can, it is the battle mechanics of Pokémon that makes the series so addictive on a grander scale to Sam and Dan’s Pokemon TD. The different Pokémon types all have various strengths and weaknesses against each other, putting emphasis on you building a well-rounded team consisting of many types with a variety of different damage-dealing and status-effect moves. Your choice of starter Pokémon will always be met with your rival choosing a type that is super-effective against yours, giving you all the more motivation to build a varied and balanced team; having a diverse set of Pokémon also benefits you when going up against the 8 gym leaders of the Unova region, who all specialise in training a certain type of Pokémon.
Pokémon Black Version 2 delivers to us the same basic framework that has been the backbone of the main series of Pokémon games. The capture/train/battle format is a tried-and-tested format that is unlikely to ever change in a dramatic way since it is such a successful and hugely addictive formula. Pokémon Black Version 2 has the usual version-specific sets of Pokémon, as well as ‘Black City’ that can be unlocked towards the end of the game (this is the antithesis of White Forest that is exclusive to Pokémon White Version 2). The changing of the seasons is also a wonderful touch in recent generations of the games, with some areas only being accessible at certain times of the year. Pokémon Black Version 2 while not taking advantage of the Nintendo 3DS’ three-dimensional capability, delivers the most entertaining Pokémon experience in a dual-screen system that makes you wonder how the series ever managed with the single screen of the Gameboy.