No portable console was as much successful as the Nintendo DS. Since 2004 it's unbelievable, how much it broke trough the whole videogame industry. One of the biggest series, which found it's start on the Game Boy, never had as much games as on Nintendos double screened handheld. We are obviously talking about Pokémon. After Diamond, Pearl, Platin, HeartGold, SoulSilver and Black and White now follows, only one year after Blacke/White was released, Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. There are for the first time in the history of Pokémon two games in one generation.
Two years have passed since what happened in Unova – a far away region which resembles New York – and you are going to play with a new character. Though you started in the southeast of the region in B/W you are going to start in the southwest in a completely new area now. Once again you can choose one out of three starter Pokémon and it's your goal to collect all 8 batches and defeat the Elite Four. The battle system also didn't change much.
Now that we talked about what remained like we know it, let's get to the interesting part: What's new? It's the first time to have so much new aspects in a special edition like Black 2 & White 2. Since you always started in the same city and with the same character it's now the first time you don't. You are going to spend the first hours in a completely new area with three new cities. While cities like Pallet Town and Littleroot Town are pretty small and insignificant, Eventura City – which is the name of the your new hometown – is really huge. There's not only a Pokémon Center, but also the first qym. But you can't just rush there and challenge its leader of course. You need to visit the next village first and meet one of the characters from the first game. While Bell, a friend of the protagonists from B/W, gives you your first Pokémon, Alder is there to help you with the mechanics of the game.
Soon you will have some new Pokémon and fight your first gym battle with someone you will be familiar with: Cheren. Strangely, his Pokémon are pretty weak now but it's obviously better this way since you wouldn't have the slightest chance against him otherwise. After that battle you are going to receive your C-Gear, which still has its old functions but a new design. It's kinda like a ship's radar now. Later on you have to fight the new criminal organisation - Neo Team Plasma. They obviously don't have something good in mind, but I don't want to talk about that and spoil it for you. Let's just say that you are going to visit the cities in a completely different order than you did in the first game.
The biggest change in Black 2 & White 2 is the enormous size of Unova. It was already pretty big in Black & White but its size increased a lot and most of the old places are still there. For example I want to point out the sewerage of Castelia City. Furthermore, the west of Unova is connected via a giant system of caves. Alot of those little details are everywhere. And the construction works in the desert are finished too. A new feature is, that you will find modern buildings in Black 2, while you will have some ancient buildings in White 2. Just look at the map of the games and compare it with the first ones. The old gyms have been redesigned. But the puzzles didn't get more difficult, they just fit in more now. For example Elesa's gym is more like a catwalk on which you have to battle some wannabe models to reach her.
The graphics didn't change much. Every single Pokémon animation has been worked on and finally the trainers also move. Sadly, the sprites are still kinda pixelated. Some story related cutscenes play sometimes and still look nice. Overall, the engine didn't change much. This shows how old and weak the DS hardware has become. Lags appeared from time to time, because dialogs and areas have to be pre-loaded. But it's not that bad and not really annoying.
Lots of fans complained about the fact, that 3 vs 3 battles were rare during their adventures. Game Freak fixed that and now you will have the chance to fight 3 vs 3 more often. Even some new facilities have found their way in the game. So for example there's the Pokémon World Tournament, short PWT, in which you won't just fight new but also characters from older Pokémon games. You can challenge every single gym leader and Champ from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn and Sinnoh. And here's the kicker: The music is still the same as in the old games but a new remixed version. So you are still able to listen to the gymmusic from Johto or Cynthias battletheme.
Pokéwood ist new, too. You have to shoot a movie of a script you get and then watch it afterwards. You've got different genres which you can choose from, but sadly it sounds more exciting than it actually is. You just have to choose the right attack from a Pokémon and here and there the correct phrase that the trainer should say. But you still have the musical in Nimbasa City.
In Black and White you only found new Pokémon until you finished the story. This changed now. You will step upon Enton or Azurill pretty early, which makes the regional Pokédex pretty big with around 300 Pokémon you can find. When you found all of those Pokémon, you will get a little surprise. Once you've cought all of them, you are going to receive an awesome gift. Believe me, you will love it.
A completely new feature is the Unova Link. Once you've played trough the game you'll receive a special key, which unlocks a new difficulty. In Pokémon White 2 you'll get an easier mode while Black 2 offers a more difficult mode. Then why do you receive this only AFTER you finished the Elite Four? That's because you can send those keys to other people and also players who just started the game. This way they can enjoy a more difficult/easy adventure. What changes then, is that all in all only the levels of your enemie's Pokémon change and the AI is better or worse. But still it's a feature a lot players wanted and now we finally have it.
Furthermore, you can exchange the Black City /White Fores key. This way you are able to visit the Black City in Pokémon White 2 and the White Forest in Black 2. There also exists a legendary trio you can only catch with this function. After you've caught your first Pokémon you'll also receive a key. You can use this key to catch the second Pokémon, but you can also send it to your other version and catch the third one. This is an improved way of trading Pokémon since you don't have to trade exclusive ones and can keep your poketmonsters, but share the experience with others either.
While we are talking about legendary Pokémon, I also want to mention that you can catch more legendary monsters than before now. You can catch Legendaries from older games. They won't run away so easily anymore and they kept their themes, too. The music is still based on the sound engine from HeartGold and SoulSilver, which makes the songs sound fantastic. The themes of the gym leaders stand out and are really awesome. Even better is the battletheme of Black Kyurem / White Kyurem. The first 20 seconds kinda sound like they took it from a Metroid Prime game.
One of the biggest discussion about the games is about the design. The fans want to have a completely three dimensional game but in my opinion it's okay the way it is now. I can understand why people want to see Pokémon fight in 3D and that it'd be a huge improvement. The games look nice, but the concept hasn't changed since the first games. With Black and White they wanted to change the mechanics of the game but they didn't really manage to do so. You can use TMs all the time now and the battles got more dynamic, but it's still “just” a new world with new Pokémon. With Pokémon Black and White 2 they wanted to come up with something new, too. For example through the use of the Unova Link or the Memory Link which I haven't talked about yet. The Memory Link expands the story in these new games on the basis of Black 2 and White 2.
New things like that you are able to choose if you wanna use a new repel when it runs out give you the feeling that you are holding a great and new Pokémon game in your hand. I really like Black 2 & White 2 because I simply love the concept and the graphics. In my opinion they are the best Pokémon games on Nintendo DS. But if we take a closer look it's once again „just“ a new game with the typical elements and no big changes. Only the concept around special editions has been improved with some new content, that's all.
Conclusion (9): I really love Pokémon Black 2 & White 2. Every single Pokémon fan who loved Unova will still love it in the new game, that's out of question. But once again it shows that Pokémon still has some flaws and is very repetitive. It just doesn't change much. People who didn't like the games until now won't change their opinion about Pokémon with the new games. Pokémon fans who didn't like Unova also won't like B/W 2. In conclusion Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 by Game Freak are awesome Pocket Monster titles but still “only” good RPG games.