Pokémon Black 2 journal - entry one

At present, I am a little over four hours into Pokémon Black version 2. The controls and menu setup are largely unchanged, though there are a few new features that are convenient, like the habitat readout on the Pokédex, which informs you of all the Pokémon that can be encountered in landmark areas in Unova. Nintendo and Game Freak have done a great job in streamlining the experience so far. Instead of spending a lot of time on tutorials, you are given an option to skip past most of these if you are familiar with the previous Black or White versions. Also, you are given Pokéballs before you even leave your hometown, and the first gym leader battle (against Cheren from Black/White) serves more as a benchmark than a full-fledged battle - Cheren only uses two Pokémon, but it is a good idea to grind just a little bit before facing him, which will in turn aid a natural experience progression in the areas that follow (and on to the second gym). That isn't to say that Black 2 is slow-going right out the door - in fact, the introductory events move much more quickly than with its predecessor.

The opening credits suggest that N will play an important role in Black 2/White 2, and already the people of Unova have made mention of his actions from two years ago. Team Plasma made a brief debut, and I will be interested to see what has become of them since their defeat in the first two games (odds are they haven't wised up to using more powerful Pokémon than Patrats and Woobats, but whatever). The first two gyms were relatively quick, with the latter's rock-concert venue being something strikingly different from past gyms, and honestly pretty darn cool. The fact that these gyms were host to Normal types and Poison types respectively hopefully indicates a more natural progression in the game's difficulty (the gym battles being among the few complaints I had about Black/White versions).

Fire types have traditionally been my go-to starters, and using Oshawott in White version proved a different (though not wildly so) experience. This time around I chose Snivy as my starter in the hopes that it provides me with a slightly higher degree of challenge than with past Pokémon games. Honestly, I've hardly ever used any Grass types before - though Bug and Poison types are not completely foreign to me, I anticipate using a Grass type will take some getting used to.

As for the rest of my party, I've been capitalizing on the fact that there are so many Pokémon from previous generations now available for use in Unova. As I mentioned in some of my previous postings, I have never played any of the core games from Generation III or IV (i.e. - Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Diamond, Pearl, Platinum), it is nice to have access to Pokémon like Riolu and Azurill so early on. For the most part, the Pokémon currently in my party are single element types, which makes for a substantially different experience than I had anticipated when compared to all the dual types I had in my party throughout most of White version. To be honest, it's kind of like a throwback to my experience with Soul Silver. I am going to try my hardest to avoid overlap from my party members in White version - I may train another Chandelure, and I do intend to catch Zekrom by the endgame, but I want the rest of my part to be different than the last time around.

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