Screenshot of Pokemon Black 2, courtesy of Nintendo

Archived Story

Joystick: A second dose of ‘Pokemon Black and White’

Published 10:36am Thursday, August 9, 2012

If you’ve never played Pokemon, consider yourself lucky. Or terribly sheltered. The Pokemon games are without a doubt one of the most addictive series known to gamers. They keep hold of you, teasing you, prodding you ever-onward on your neverending quest to “Catch ‘em all,” while Nintendo developers hide smirks. They know that in the real world, Pokemon catches you.

It’s arguable that before “Pokemon Black and White,” the latest entry to the series, the monolithic franchise was growing a bit stale. Travel here, catch that, train this, etc., etc. The games even tried to add fashion contests as a potential hook to keep you in the game — a hook that became incredibly frustrating.

“Black” and “White” marked a big change for the series, which held to its childhood roots with a firm grasp before last year. The new games felt a bit older, more mature, with more interesting sidequests and challenges to achieve. Sure, there were still dopey contests you could take part in if you really wanted, but “Black” and “White” created a sizeable endgame for those who beat the main story and didn’t have much left to do. New ways to battle, new ways to interact with people in ad-hoc and online modes, and a large amount of repeatable trainer battles meant “Black” and “White” are the first games where more people than the simple hardcore gamers had a reason to keep playing.

That’s why, with the arrival of “Pokemon Black 2” and “White 2,” I’m starting to fear those cute pocket monsters. I hear good things about the game, from a whole new section of the Unova region to accessories that make grinding levels and training Pokemon easier. Even the mini-games don’t sound as terrible, as a new movie studio feature reportedly lets you star in your own Pokemon movies. What’s more, apparently you can go off script and get ridiculous with your movie, which will apparently use test viewings to tell you how well you and your Pokemon did.

There’s also more Pokemon to feed your obsessive quest to fill out your Pokedex. Aside from the disheartening fact that you will probably never truly catch them all, having more Pokemon does make the first true Pokemon sequel more interesting.

So get ready for more Pokemadness, as the games are set to release in October. Or, more likely, get ready for the games to catch you this fall.


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