Trash Bags, Fire Pigs and Foetuses: The Future Of Pokemon

I have been a Pokemon fan for fifteen years. I bought every single game released, I had the trading cards, I watched the anime. When Black and White were released, I decided that it had all gone too far, and I didn’t show any interest.

I thought that the whole franchise had gone too far, especially with the introduction of all these spin off titles, such as Pokemon Ranger and more recently, Pokemon Conquest. But what upset me the most about Black and White was the new set of creatures. To me it just seemed like the art designers had either completely ran out of ideas, or they’d managed to get hold of some really strong weed.

However, I heard nothing but positive reviews about Black and White. Apparently the story was a massive improvement on the generic beat-team-rocket-and-the-pokemon-league thread that had become the norm for the series. The gameplay was said to be on the up, and there was lots more to do than ever before. I still didn’t buy it, I stuck to my guns with Soul Silver.

When Pokemon Black and White 2 were announced (once I had gotten over my annoyance at the laziness of the numerical title), I decided I’d give this one a chance, especially when I heard the rumours of old favourite characters such as Brock and Misty making an appearance. Ignoring the strange looks and “aww” comments I received from co-workers, I went ahead and bought it on launch day, and I have to say… I’m really enjoying it.

My feelings towards the new set of Pokemon hasn’t changed. In my opinion, the choice of starters has been on the decline ever since Ruby and Sapphire, but these ones are just a bit of a joke. We have the choice of a pig, a stuck-up serpent and a sad-looking cross between a panda and an otter. I went for the otter, just because I thought it was the best of a bad bunch.

The wild creatures I encountered didn’t get any better. My early team consisted of a meerkat, a rubbish version of rattata, and a grass-type which I grew quite fond of. But I cannot describe how excited I was when I came across a GROWLITHE! YES! A POKEMON I RECOGNIZE AND LOVE FROM GENERATION ONE!

As I progressed through the game, I stumbled across more and more of the classics, which instantly made me fonder of the game. It also allowed me to find the newer Pokemon funny as opposed to annoying, but some of them are just plain disturbing. I’m gonna show you The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. 

                                           The Good

#570 Zorua: Dark

“It changes so it looks just like its foe, tricks it, and then uses that opportunity to flee.”

One of my favourite new additions is Zorua, the adorable little dark-type you’re given to look after by one of the ex-members of Team Plasma in Driftveil City. His ability is really clever too, when sent into battle he appears in the image of the Pokemon in the last slot of your team. This fools your opponent, and the illusion is only broken when he takes damage.

I’m also very fond of another Pokemon you recieve as a gift, Deerling.

#585 Deerling: Grass

“Their coloring changes according to the seasons and can be slightly affected by the temperature and humidity as well.”

Just look at this thing! It’s like Bambi, but without the cynicism that comes with witnessing the murder of your mother. So damn cute!

I really like the way its colouring changes with the seasons; pink in Spring, green in Summer, golden in Autumn and brown in Winter. Plus, its evolution is really cool. Sawsbuck appearance changes even more dramatically with the passing seasons.

The Bad

#519 Musharna: Psychic

“The dream mist coming from its forehead changes into many different colors depending on the dream that was eaten.”

Now is it just me, or does that thing look like a foetus? It’s got the umbilical cord and everything. I think it’s just a bit wrong. Apparently it is based on traditional Japanese incense burners called “koro”, which are used in tea ceremonies. I just think it’s creepy.

The Ugly

#568 Trubbish: Poison

“Wanting more garbage, they follow people who litter. They always belch poison gas.”

This thing is taking the piss. A bag of trash? Really Game Freak? I couldn’t believe it when I first encountered one of these. Its Pokedex entry isn’t exactly filling me with confidence either. “They always belch poison gas”? Ugh. Its evolution is just as awful… it’s called Garbodor, and it is hideous. So hideous in fact that I don’t want to include a picture, so click this link if you dare.

So, now that I’ve got that out of my system, I can tell you how much I’m enjoying Pokemon White 2. There is so much to do in this game it’s almost overwhelming. I still don’t quite understand what’s going on with the Entralink, but I get constant updates telling me there’s a new mini-game for me to play there.

In addition to the usual gym leaders, there is the Pokemon World Tournament, which I think looks so cool. This is how I always hoped the Pokemon League would turn out to be, just as it is in the anime. Plus, you get the chance to battle previous gym leaders, and even Gary Motherfuckin’ Oak! It’s basically a souped up version of the Battle Tower from Diamond and Pearl; you can earn Battle Points, and there are a variety of different tournaments you can take part in.

If all this wasn’t enough, you can make movies starring your Pokemon (not as crap as it sounds, honest), take part in theatrical productions and play dress up with your team.

One of my favourite new features of the game is the Habitat List. It’s a very clever system in which you can check which Pokemon in an area you have caught, and which you have yet to capture. It makes catching-them-all a much more feasible task, and it saves a lot of time in googling the location of the creatures you’ve missed.

To sum up, I’m enjoying Pokemon White 2 much more than I expected. I do believe that we’re nearing the end of the series’ lifespan, however. Maybe Game Freak should put their energy into creating one final game which incorporates all of the regions into one cartridge. Take a look at Andrew’s review, and let us know what you think!

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