Then again, they're already fighting among themselves: there's an older group following the idealistic mandate of eco-friendly N, with the rest fancying a bit of world domination courtesy of the malevolent Ghetsis. The subtleties may come out in translation, but story-wise there's little to surprise. Not that it really matters, of course - does anyone really play Pokémon for the plot?
You may rattle through the story quicker than usual, but there's a wealth of post-game content to keep the cart glued in its slot. The Pokémon Tournament - a fleeting mid-game treat - brings in a range of trainers from previous games to compete against. Then there's a shopping mall named Join Avenue, which expands the more connections you make, whether you're battling locally or trading online. Stores can even level up, offering a steadily widening range of consumables that can bolster your Poké-squad.
Then there are the Fes missions, essentially a reworking of the Entralink quests in Black and White. There are dozens of these to plough through, with harder versions of each to unlock when you complete them. The ultra-dedicated are afforded richer rewards, too. Locate all 300 'Mon within the Unova 'Dex and you'll find a new area with a rare shiny Pokémon, while avid hunters who catch 'em all will delight at the ultimate prize.
There's plenty of new stuff, then, but a few places - the Abyssal Ruins, the Celestial Tower - have barely changed, and if you've played Black or White recently you'll experience a stronger sense of déjŕ vu than most. That won't bother the serious players, who are likely more concerned whether or not Lucario is still a valid competitive option than whether the Pokémon Center in Undella Town stocks the same items, but for those who aren't too fussed about the competitive game, this is a pilgrimage they've made before, and not so long ago, too.
Still, if this is a farewell to 2D - a swansong for sprites, if you will - it's a mighty fine one. Indeed, both the Pokédex and the feature list are so bloated now that it's difficult to see where Game Freak can go next without starting all over again. But if that means we're in for another helping of carbonara - on a shinier plate next time, of course - perhaps that's not such a bad thing.
It feels pretty similar to Black and White, but Game Freak has infused both games with so many nifty twists it makes it difficult to resist more.
- Neat new twists on familiar themes
- 50+ hours of game
- All the 'Mon you love - in 3D!
- Feels very much like Black and White