Tag Archives: Pokemon White Version 2

Wrapping Up and Summing Up Pokemon White Version 2

I made it to through the final four and defeated Iris, the Unova champion, the evening after my last Pokemon post.

Iris awaits

Chamber of the final battle

It was pretty much inevitable that I would win sooner rather than.  I had already made it through the final four to Iris on my second attempt.  It was just a matter of tuning up my team a bit.

I used some of the stat increasing items I picked up along the way on my team, and bought a few more at the department store on Route 9.  I trained LazTel my Azurmarill the Ice Beam move, which was a key weakness in Iris’ lineup.  I used a few PP Ups to increase the number of times I could use key moves.  As an example my only grass attack, Giga Drain on Wibla my Verizion, only had five uses, which was not enough.  And I tossed out a couple Rare Candy level ups and made sure everybody was holding an item that would boost key aspects of their abilities.

All that, plus knowing now which abilities to use against which opponents meant that the run was pretty smooth.  My victory was not in doubt.

My winning team

My winning team

I still need to work out the best way to take pictures, but I think I am getting a little bit better.  There, from the 6 o’clock position, moving clockwise, are:

And there we are.  The last great battle, the main story arc is over, and roll the credits.

That last item is literal, when you finally defeat the regional champion, the game saves and then shows you the credits.  It is one of the conventions of the series.

Of course, the game is not done yet.  Not by a long shot.  Technically, you are not even done with the story yet.  There are still remnants of Team Plasma to encounter, some more key battles to fight, half a dozen key locations to visit, and legendary Pokemon to catch.  In regards to that last, Pokemon White Version 2 was a bit stingy compared to its immediate predecessor, which let you catch one of the legendary Pokemon before the championship battle.

This is generally where the official guide book for a given Pokemon game tends to become very useful to me, as a lot of the end game stuff can be… obscure, for lack of a better word.

I know with enough patience I could figure a lot of it out.  12 year old me would have had no problem, current me is no longer motivated enough for that sort of thing.  For example, in Pokemon X & Y, one of the legendary Pokemon you can catch post-story is Moltres, who has been around since the original games.  You run into him pretty readily if you are stomping around in the tall grass where Pokemon show up.  However, he flees immediately upon entering battle, so you cannot catch him.  The “figuring it out” bit is that you have to encounter and lose him eleven times… and you can only find him once per day… before you can go to a specific spot for a chance to catch him. (And I only get Moltres because I chose Froakie as my starter Pokemon.  It is convoluted, but that is part of the appeal of the series.)

I did not buy the official guide this time around, but the internet knows all.  You can find guides in plain text, HTML, pictures, and even in video format.  I just can’t sit over on the couch or in bed, away from my computer with the game in my hand and the book at my side, which is one of the aspects of the handheld console gaming I enjoy.  Well, I can with the iPad in tow I guess, but I find web navigation much more efficient with a keyboard and mouse.

The upshot of this is that there is still a pile of Pokemon in the game to be caught.

And then there is the moving of Pokemon from the older DS generation games into Pokemon White Version 2 so I can use the Poke Transporter to send various Pokemon on a one-way trip to Pokemon Bank, where the 3DS generation Pokemon games will be able to access them.

Pokemon Bank - $5.00 a year

Pokemon Bank – a deal at $5.00 a year

Getting the Pokemon out of Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, or SoulSilver is a process that requires two Nintendo DS consoles. (Not a problem in our house, where we have five)  You download a special game from the DS running one of the Pokemon Black and White series, pick six Pokemon you want to move over (usual restrictions apply, no Pokemon with hidden moves… never train hidden moves on your legendary Pokemon…), and then play a little game where you have to catch your chosen Pokemon before they will be moved over… because nothing is ever easy.

Aim and catch

Aim and catch

This involves shooting Pokeballs at the Pokemon who are hopping around the screen or hiding behind bushes.  There is a timer, and anything you don’t catch goes back, though you can load them up and try again.  It seemed like it might be a chore at first, especially since the more rare Pokemon seem to move a lot faster.  However, since I have never failed to catch all six in half the time allocated, it is probably okay.  And you can do it as many times a day as you like, unlike the .  Now I just have to figure out which Pokemon I really want to move over and where they are.

So Pokemon still to catch and Pokemon to move.

Along the way I think I also figured out why the DS generation Pokemon games are in short supply, with unopened copies selling for a premium most places.  One of the things that Nintendo did as part of the changing of hardware generations was turn off all of the back end services for those games back in May.  There is no Global Trade Station or other online content available for them any more.  If you try to access anything like that… and by the time they got to Pokemon Black & White Version 2 there were quite a few features that required back end support… you just get an error indicating that the service is no longer available.

Unfortunately for Nintendo, all of those online features are heavily advertised on the various retail boxes and the sites dedicated to the various titles.  So I suspect Nintendo decided to cut whatever liability it feels it might have in no longer supporting those online features by no longer shipping any of those titles.  That Amazon is blowing out their back stock of Pokemon White Version 2 hints, at least to me, that Nintendo might have future plans for those titles.  We shall see I suppose.  But if you want a new, in box copy of one of the other DS generation Pokemon games, be prepared to pay a premium.

Finally, I returned to Pokemon Y to pull some Pokemon over from the Poke Transporter app, which led to some odd moments.

I said a while back that the new rendered graphics style of Pokemon X & Y felt pretty natural when I picked up the game.  Then I went back to finish up Pokemon White and then Pokemon White Version 2, which involved a few weeks of binge playing.  That transition wasn’t too bad either.  I quickly got used to the sprite based graphics again.  Visual closure is a wonderful thing and their overly blocky look on the bigger XL screen soon seemed quite natural.

Then, after all of that, I went back to Pokemon Y and it really felt strange.  I think the most noticeable difference is that it just doesn’t feel like you see as much of the world around you as you do in the earlier games.  That and your character and everything else is so much bigger on screen.  It was a little disorienting upon my return.

However, after about 20 minutes my brain settled down and accepted the game as it was and I got back into that groove.

Now it is just the clean up and catching and breeding and such prep work while we wait around for Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire to come out this November.  My daughter and I have already turned in our coin jar for an Amazon gift card and pre-ordered the titles.  We’ll just need to find time to play them.  November is going to be a busy month for releases.

The Pokemon Binge Continues in Unova

Avoidance is a wonderful thing.  You can accomplish so much when you are trying to avoid doing what you are actually supposed to be doing.

I am not ready to admit defeat on my run for the Loremaster achievement, but I must admit that my current focus on the little Nintendo 3DS XL screen is related to my reluctance to face another round of questing in The Blade’s Edge Mountains.  Outland has worn me down some.  So, while I did log in to run through Darkmoon Faire, most of my gaming time lately has been spent in New Eden or the Unova region.

The Unova region is the setting for both Pokemon Black and White as well as Pokemon Black and White Version 2…. the latter I maintain are, if not the least creative game names ever in the Pokemon series, at least the most awkward.

I followed up on last week’s Pokemon post and used an Amazon gift card I had sitting around to pick up Pokemon White Version 2 which, as I mentioned, was much more reasonably priced than Pokemon Black Version 2.

Amazon Pricing Differential

Amazon Pricing Differential

In fact, looking quickly online, it seems like all of the DS series Pokemon games… except Pokemon White Version 2, are selling for well over original list price.  That seems odd.  Back when the Nintendo DS Lite was king, and had that Game Boy Advance cartridge slot in the front, all of the GBA versions of Pokemon games remained available in health supply at pretty much suggested retail price.  It actually sort of irked me that they weren’t marked down a bit back then.  That was last generation stuff!  But at least nobody was suggesting I pay a premium for them.

Now, however, the last generation stuff… which, as before, still works in the current 3DS hardware just fine… seems to be in short supply.  I am not sure what this means.  I haven’t walked by a GameStop to see what is on the shelves, but when everybody online is selling well over list price, it raises questions. Is Nintendo converting them all to sell directly in the Nintendo Store?  Is something else afoot?

Anyway, that is an investigation for another time (though if you know the answer, clue me in via the comments please!), I am here to talk about actually playing Pokemon.  Joy!

I got the game and started off.  As with its predecessor, it starts off with a rather direct and somewhat abbreviated introduction to the game.  That isn’t bad, but clearly somebody missed the slower unfolding of your own story, as they went back to that for Pokemon X & Y.   You start with your own name.  For me that is always Wilhelm.  And then you are asked to name the person who essentially becomes your rival in the game.  The default name is Hugh, but I always give it a more interesting name.

This time, because I happened to have just gotten done with a fleet op, I went with an EVE Online theme.  Actually, more of a CFC theme.

I named my rival Mittani.

More after the cut because of excess verbiage.

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And Then I Totally Binged on Pokemon…

Raptr sends me a report every Monday telling me how many hours of video games they tracked me playing the previous week.  When yesterday’s report indicated I had played less than two hours in the last week of August, I should have been quite skeptical.  It had me playing an hour and ten minutes with the Strategy Group on Friday night, with a bit of World of Warcraft, and about enough time in EVE Online to account for logging in to update skill training queues.

Last week was a bit problematic for Raptr.  They pushed a new version that doesn’t seem keen to log into the system, and so never goes live and never tracks any game time.  This sort of pushes my “Why am I using Raptr again?” doubts to the forefront.  But even if Raptr had been working, it probably wouldn’t have caught much more play time on my PC because I was busy playing Pokemon.

I mentioned that I starting to prepare for a potential run at the National Pokedex when Pokemon Alpha Ruby and Omega Sapphire come out later this year.  So I have been playing some Pokemon Y fairly regularly in order to catch Pokemon unique to it.  I could stuff those in the Pokemon Bank and bring those in when needed in the new game.

However, I still had a large number of Pokemon stored away in older versions of the game.  Rare Pokemon that I am unlikely to get in trades or be able to catch in the new versions.  The only path t0 being able to bring those forward was to finish Pokemon Black, White, Black 2, or White 2.  You can transfer from the Pokemon Diamond and Pearl forward into those four, and from those four there is a one-way ticket available into the Pokemon Bank, which will make them available to the Nintendo 3DS generation of Pokemon games.

Pokemon Bank - $5.00 a year

Pokemon Bank – The Black and White route

So I got out my Pokemon White cartridge to see what could be done.

According to the tracking on my copy of the game, my character (always named Wilhelm) started his journey on March 6, 2011.  That was launch day back in 2011.

Pokemon Black and White

Pokemon Black and White

My wife even incorporated the whole black and white theme into my birthday.

Black and White all over

Black and White all over

The haul included the games, a black and white Wii remote, and the special edition, hard bound copy of the guide book for Pokemon Black and White.

My daughter and I went straight into the games, with her playing Black and I playing White.  As usual, she got out in front of me quickly using her usual plan of just leveling up her lead Pokemon as much as possible and hoping like hell that it can take on all comers at each gym battle.  I tagged along, always a gym badge behind, trying to balance out my party and level up a full set.  So she usually goes into gym battles way over level and wins straight up… unless the gym is focused on her main Pokemon’s weakness, which means a water gym because she always picks fire… while I tend to go into gym battles with a full party that is somewhat under level for the attempt.  But I mostly muddle through.

Somewhere along the way we lost interest though.

The game shows that I picked up the 5th gym badge on April 23, 2011.  I know I played a little more after that, but I started to lose interest.  I think it was in the ice caves.  There are always ice caves in a Pokemon game.  There are always a bunch of standard events or locations in a Pokemon game, and I think that was starting to wear on me.  By this point I had played through Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, and SoulSilver in pretty quick succession and might have started to tire of the specific tropes of Pokemon games.  Plus this was about the time that middle-age eye sight issues started to show up.  I started needing reading glasses and the little screen on the Nintendo DS Lite is pretty small.  So I doubt I continued to play past May of that year.

So here it was, more than three years later and I was going to try to carry on and finish the game.  Hey, I had five of eight gym badges, so I just needed three more.  Then it was the final four, the regional champion, with a side trip to finish off Team Plasma somewhere along the way, and I should be set.

Of course, first I had to shoot myself in the foot.

I didn’t have to look far to find my Pokemon White cartridge, because it was already in my 3DS XL.  I had already decided to play with Pokemon Bank and had vacuumed up every Pokemon in my storage boxes in White.  So when I went back to play I only had the six Pokemon in my party.

Blitzle!

Blitzle!

Not a bad set of Pokemon I suppose.  That group could probably take down the final four without too much effort, carried by Reshiram and Mewtwo alone.  But I was only just done with the 5th gym badge, and one of the things that gym badges bestow upon you is the ability to control Pokemon over a certain level.  I was currently good to level 50, and would be good to level 70 with the next gym badge.  But for the moment I had to deal with two of my team that would only do what I wanted maybe 20% of the time.  That is what happens when you have a Pokemon over level.  They won’t do what you ask during a battle.  And while, certainly in the case of a level 100 Reshiram, they generally aren’t in any danger of dying, it can take some patience as the loaf about, fall asleep, or otherwise ignore you.

In no danger of dying

In no danger of dying

And I also had to be careful not to level up Zoroark, as if he hit level 51, he would join the uncontrollable contingent in my party.  But I managed to muddle through.  I dropped Blitzle at the earliest opportunity and picked up a Mienfoo in the Dragonspiral Tower, who hit 45 by the time we were headed into the final four.

Mienfoo - Fighting Pokemon

Mienfoo – Fighting Pokemon

I named him Chow Fun and he turned out to be quite the asset to the party, though after the final four he hit the point where he evolved into a Meinshao, which does not look nearly as cool.

After the 8th gym badge I made my way up victory road, which is always a bit of a maze… yet another Pokemon trope… and was able to take down the final four.  Then the game surprised me a bit by deviating from the normal resolution.  First I had to capture Zekrom (which I managed on the third try without using my master ball), at which point I swapped him in for my Tranquill, which was an Unfezant by then, but which hadn’t kept up in levels.  Then it was time for the final battle and victory.

While Reshiram was the ace in the hole, Mewtwo actually carried the day through most of the fight.  Mewtwo didn’t have moves quite as powerful Reshiram, but all of his moves allowed 10-30 uses, unlike Reshiarm, whose key moves were set at 5 a piece.  Actually, three big attacks at 5 runs each would probably have been enough, but I put in my other guys just to get them the exp.  In the end I won.  See the horrible picture of the screen taken with a digital camera because you still cannot take screen shots in Pokemon.

The winning team

The winning team

So, step one was complete.  I finished the main storyline. And one of my key worries was dispelled.  I thought that, after growing used to the rendered look of the series in Pokemon X and Y, that I would find going back to the old, sprite based graphics difficult to look at.  But, as with playing Diablo II on my big monitor, while it looks blocky at first, visual closure has you covered and you stop noticing it pretty quickly unless you are trying to see it.  And the nice screen on my 3DS XL is big enough that I do not have to wear reading glasses to play.  So all went well.

Now I just had to find the place where you could transfer Pokemon from other games without having to do a 1 for 1 trade.

Another trope of the Pokemon series is to have such a direct, one-way transfer method, but to require the player to jump through hoops in order to accomplish it.  I remember back with Pokemon Diamond and wanting to transfer some Pokemon from Pokemon FireRed, where I was importing Meowths, as they were totally in demand at the Global Trade Station and I was able to trade them for a lot of Pokemon I needed to fill out my Pokedex.  To do that you had to bring up FireRed on your system, having plugged it into the GBA slot, select 6 and only 6 Pokemon for transfer, put them in transfer limbo, and then exit the game.  Then you had to bring up Pokemon Diamond, go to the Safari park, and then go find and catch all 6 with a limited number of Pokeballs in under a given time limit.  And you could only do this once per 24 hour period.

Well, Pokemon Black and White are on board with that, having their own little twist.

You need two Nintendo DS units to do this.

First you get to the PokeTransfer Lab on Route 15 in Pokemon Black and White.  There an NPC explains the process as well as possible, but it still left me going, “Huh?” until I actually did it.  You start the process at the Lab, which then tells you to start up the second DS unit.  When that comes up, you need your Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, or SoulSilver cartridge in the DS.  It works for all of those games.  But rather than launching the game, you choose the DS Download Play option at the main screen on your DS.  This downloads a special app that lets you browse the Pokemon stored on your cartridge, showing which ones can or cannot be transferred. (As usual, Pokemon with HMs are verboten from transfer.)  You select the six Pokemon you want to transfer and then you have to play a game.

This time around the six Pokemon appear on the upper screen of your DS, while a crossbow-like Pokeball launcher appears on the lower screen.  As you move your stylus on the lower screen you can see a targeting reticule moving on the upper.  With this setup you have to shoot Pokeballs at the Pokemon on the upper screen and hit them to catch them.  Of course, it isn’t a slam dunk or anything, the Pokemon are jumping around the screen or hiding behind bushes.  You have to time your shots to get them on the move, and when they are hiding you have to flush them out by shooting them before you can catch them.  And there is a time limit for this.

While it wasn’t easy, it was manageable.  I did get all six on my first try before the timer ran down, which wasn’t bad because the game doesn’t spend a lot of time explaining what to do.  And, on the plus side, there is no limit to the number of times a day you can do this.  You just have to expend the required effort catching Pokemon, six at a time, over and over again if you have a long list to move.

I did three batches then took a break.  But at least now I have a way to move Pokemon from all the way back in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl… and even earlier, since I can get stuff off of the GBA Pokemon games I have sitting around if I really want… and into the Nintendo 3DS generation of the game.

And, banging out Pokemon White made me consider picking up Pokemon Black 2 or White 2. though looking at the pricing at Amazon, I think it might have to be White 2.

Amazon Pricing

Amazon Pricing

For some reason White 2 is about half the price of Black 2, and that isn’t just an Amazon oddity.  It seems like stocks of Black 2 must have run low and now people are charging a premium for the game.  But I think I have enough of a gift card left to cover a copy of White 2.  Hrmm…

Anyway, Raptr did not track much for me last week because I was playing a game that it does not track, Pokemon!

Pokemon Black and White Version 2 – Nintendo’s Least Creative Names?

Nintendo has announced the next versions of the ever popular Pokemon franchise on their handheld game system.  They are to be, giving them their official names, Pokemon Black Version 2 and Pokemon White Version 2.  These two titles will be out in Japan by the summer and in Europe and North America some time in the fall.

More black and white Pokemon

This sort of breaks the pattern of Pokemon game releases that have gone before it.

Over the years, a pattern has evolved that Nintedo will release a pair of games, like Diamond and Pearl, each of which has some Pokemon not available on the other.  This is to encourage, depending on your level of cynicism, playing and trading with friends, buying both damn versions of the game, or boosting the sales of those cheat add-ons which some no doubt believe Nintendo secretly funds.

Then, in a year or so, Nintendo will launch a single, slightly revised version of the the two games, Pokemon Platinum in this example, which has all of the Pokemon from both Diamond and Pearl, so you can feel like a schnook for playing through both of the original games AND the new one.  Pokemon Emerald and Crystal were also examples of this sort of update.

And then Nintendo goes back to remake an older version of the game.  HeartGold and SoulSilver were remakes of Gold and Silver.  Remakes always get that modifier in the name it seems.  FireRed and LeafGreen were further examples of that.

Then, finally, Nintendo gets around to knocking out a new version of the game, which is where new Pokemon get introduced (and I have to think this is the tough part, putting together a batch of 150 new Pokemon that are balanced and useful and don’t seriously offend any cultures that buy a lot of these games) in a new land.

So really, while there have been about 20 Pokemon games (not the spin-offs, the classic Pokemon role playing games), there are only really five settings in which they take place and, honestly, one damn story played out over and over again, a young boy/girl sets out to defeat some oddly dressed bad guys and become the reigning champion in a world obsessed by Pokemon.

And while I sound cynical, the system has worked.  I have the games on the shelf to prove it, and the sales numbers do not lie.  Any year a classic Pokemon RPG title gets released, it is on the top 20 list for game sales that year, and often the next year as well.

So it is always a bit surprising when a company like Nintendo, which has been living off Mario for 30 years and Pokemon for the last 15, deviates from their traditional path, especially when such deviations often fail. (Compare Mario Party 8 sales to Wii Party… Mario Party with Miis versus Mario… and well, they are not that far apart actually, but Nintendo is still going back to tradition and Mario Party 9 will be the next version.)

I was expecting that single wrap up title to come out, to combine all of the Pokemon in Black and White with a name like… well, Gray isn’t a great plan I guess… maybe Pokemon Checkerboard?

Instead, we are getting two rework games with the continuation of exclusivity of Pokemon between the two and what have to be the worst name choices ever in the main Pokemon game line.  Version 2?  Really?

And even the main Pokemon in the game, the legendaries that you play through the whole game to catch, are on the lame name bandwagon.  Rather that two distinct yet unpronounceable names, we have Black Kyurem and White Kyurem.  And they appear to be basically the same Pokemon with just a different color scheme and a slightly different accessory kit.

There is not much out there… at least not in English… about the Black and White Version 2 story or new features that might get introduced, but at a high level it feels like the Pokemon team is running out of ideas.

I know, complaining that the latest two games feel repetitive when the whole series is, quite frankly, the same game retold nearly 20 times is silly, but it is like they aren’t even giving us the fig leaf so that we can pretend that this is something new.

In the end Nintendo will have to do more than merely crank up the repetitive dial another notch in order to keep this from being a best seller.  There are a lot of people out there who are mad for Pokemon.

And a new release will mean launch events and special downloads and all sorts of thing that I will no doubt participate in over the spring and summer.

And when fall comes, I am sure we will buy a copy of each game.  Because that is the way it works.