So I got my copy of Black 2 not too long ago and I’ve been absorbed in the game for these past few days. I don’t know what it is about Pokemon, but I find the games down right addicting. Even though I readily admit that the basic premise of the games has stayed the same, I still cannot get enough of it. So here is a collection of my initial thoughts on the first ever official Pokemon sequel (and yes spoilers ahead, if you haven’t played and don’t want the particulars spoiled, don’t read further):

  • Black 2 starts in another part of Unova, one that is new to the game. This time Aspertia City is the MC’s hometown. It’s quite big for a starting town and it even has a gym! I also liked the new song that played in Aspertia. It has a nice calming melody that feels perfect for a theme song of your hometown.
  • Professor Juniper makes a return as the Pokemon Professor, which keeps with the tradition of a new professor for each new region. She hasn’t relocated to Aspertia though! I am happy Game Freak didn’t relocate her because that would have felt a bit forced.
  • Instead Bianca comes to deliver your first pokemon (cause your mom and Pro.Juniper are good pals). I’m rather happy to see Bianca make a return and I think being a Pokemon researcher really fits her~
  • Cheren also makes a return~ He’s the gym leader in your town. Albeit you have to do a mini side quest before he arrives and you can challenge him.
  • Alder also makes a cameo quite early in the game. I wonder if you will be running into him throughout the game like in Black, or if this will be his only cameo.
  • I’m probably way too happy about having access to pokemon from all the different games, and more than I should be. xD But there is just something nostalgic about running into Mareep early on again. ;P

    He doesn’t look very friendly, does he? But he is.

  • I was pleasantly surprised with the rival. His character design makes him look very aloof so I thought he’d be a lot like Silver, but he’s a lot more emotional and caring. His pokemon’s welfare comes first and he gets angry when people don’t take care of their pokemon. I really like him. There are also hints that something happened to him that involved Team Plasma and I’m looking forward to learning what that was, even if I think I already know what it was.
  • Speaking of Team Plasma, I’m looking forward to seeing the resolution of N’s story. I thought Black ended things well but it left a lot of loose ends. Like Ghetsis got away and N went off to see the world. I’m also happy that the battle music for Plasma got a remix~ (and it sounds more sinister too!)
  • Back to the rival bit, Hugh is a pretty unusual rival since he doesn’t consider you competition and you team up with him as well. I think it’s such a nice take on the rival deal. There have been so many antagonistic rivals (even your childhood friend in Diamond and Pearl, Barry, considered you competition and there was never much comradeship between you and him even though you were supposedly childhood friends), so this is a nice change. I’m also surprised that the other MC (the one you don’t pick) isn’t in the game. I guess ever since Sapphire and Ruby started the trend, I’ve always expected at least two rivals, one of which is the other MC (or in B/W’s case another NPC). Not really a big deal, especially since the other MC tends to get overshadowed by the official rival (I do think N overshadowed Cheren), but it is a surprising twist that the second rival was dropped this time.
  • I like how there are so many little story bits at every little turn. So far I’ve been at four cities and there have been 3 mini event scenes. First one was at Floccesy Ranch before the gym opened up in Aspertia (although it also tied into the mini event with Adler too). Then the second one involved the PokeStar Studios at Virbank City and came right after you finished the second gym and the final one was in Castelia City and dealt with you and Hugh teaming up in the sewers to search for Team Plasma.
  • I also like how much extra areas have been packed into the game. It really feels like Game Freak are trying to really expand Unova. I’m only at the fourth city and already I’ve run into many sub-areas: Floccesy Ranch, Virbank Complex, Liberty Island, and Castelia Sewers.
  • Also looks like Victini is automatically unlocked in Black 2 as the boat to Liberty Island is accessible from Castelia. (edit: Yeah, no Victini at Liberty Island. Such a tease! :[ )
  • And I love the theme for Virbank City. It’s so lovely~
  • Pokestar Studios is an interesting experiment. I wasn’t expecting a direct sequel to have any new side activities, so this is a nice surprise. Also for some reason, I find it very amusing that Brycen has given up his gym leader duties to become an actor. xD
  • The acting is a bit restrictive (well the little that I’ve tried) since it basically plays out like a battle, but still amusing  and I hope it makes a return in the next game.
  • Looks like there are a lot of new ships at Castelia, which makes me real happy. I was disappointed with how little there was to interact with on the docks in Black. Besides the ship that takes you to Virbank, there is also the Liberty Garden ship which returns from Black and two new ships: Royal Unova and one that takes you to Unity Tower. I haven’t tried either of them yet, but the Unity Tower ship looks to be locked out for now because the person at the ship only mentions where it takes you, but not whether you can go and how. There is also a fifth ship that seems to be plot related too~
  • As for Castelia itself, it is pretty much identical to how it was in Black, except the building that belonged to Team Plasma has been made into a regular building that houses the Medal Office. I was disappointed that the theme for Castelia didn’t get a remix. I think a remix for the old tunes would have made a better impact. I spent so much time with those tunes in Black that I’d like to hear it sound a bit different to give me a real feeling of rediscovery.
  • Minor grips aside, I’m loving the mix of old and new so far!

–SW

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