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Pokemon Black Version 2 & White Version 2 - Preview

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Release Date: 28/07/2012

Thought You Caught 'em All?

The Pokémon franchise has been by far and away the biggest-selling ever on the DS handheld, spawning tons of great little role-playing adventures, and winning places in the Guinness Record Books for the most successful RPG (role-playing game) series ever.

Pokemon Black Version 2 for Nintendo DS and DSi at GAME

As general gameplay goes, it remains the same winning formula with you training your creatures in gyms and squaring them off against each other in battle tournaments. But there's something extra special to this latest outing: it could to be the last ever Pokémon game with two-dimensional visuals. As Bob Dylan once crooned (although presumably not about Pokémon!), the times they are a-changing.

Return To Unova

A sequel to the 2011 game, Pokémon Black Version 2 And Pokémon White Version 2 feature all the series' classic gameplay and also feature a competition called Unova's Pokémon World Tournament, where you test your talents against a host of familiar rivals and champions from around the Poké globe. But while that may sound very Bruce Lee and Street Fighter-esque, it isn't - Pokémon's gameplay is turn-based and strategic, and is tailor-made for playing against human opponents. There will be both single and double battles, plus the opportunity to download additional trainers via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Oh, and not to forgot the number of returning familiar faces, including Giovanni, Lance and Volkner.

Looking for extra developments? Stay calm, there are plenty. For a start, there's a movie studio feature called - wait for it - Pokéwood, which allows you to make your own little battle 'movies' and then watch them afterwards. Budding Poké directors can put their Pokémon characters in motion-capture suits, and follow a series of scripted set-pieces to make the battles more exciting. These replace the musicals of its predecessor, which - let's face it - weren't overly thrilling.

Pokemon White Version 2 for Nintendo DS and DSi at GAME

Cloudy, With A Chance Of Catching 'em All

There are also new 'formes' of Pokémon, such as the Cloudy Trio who can transform into sacred beasts with enhanced abilities. For example, one character - the Tornadus - can turn into a bird with improved speed, defence and special defence. All of these are available exclusively to 3DS owners, who can catch them in the Pokémon AR Searcher app, renamed the Pokémon Dream Radar for European release.

In the online Pokémon world we're also promised special unlockables and a revamped Global Link, which should result in a larger online Dream World to visit, and you'll be able to trade your own Pokémon at a Global Trade Station. As online communities go, the world of Pokémon is not only fascinating in itself but unsurpassed in a handheld.

We're very excited by Black Version 2 & White Version 2. The new features seem to be genuine improvements - the movie studio looks like great fun, trading Pokémon should be far easier, and its floating cloud gods look awesome in their beastly guise. And there's also that great gameplay of yore, too.

For any existing Pokémon addict, this is a game that should be keeping you awake through sheer anticipation, while any curious newbies should be able to dive in and see what all the fuss is about. We reckon this could well be the most comprehensive Pokémon game to date, making it a top introduction to the crazy world of Pokémon.

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