|PokeMon Trading Card Game 2 (en) Review by: Redrunelord
Pokemon Trading Card Game 2
Expansion is a common human desire. Typically, humans will desire more and more than what is given to them, with few exceptions. It is through this desire for more that technology should advance, society moves forward (and backwards at times due to over-advancement)
and sequels be made. The quality of these newer versions are often heavily scrutinized if the predecessor has set any standards (for instance, GhostBusters 2 received a bad reputation for not being as good as the original, which was a hard task to begin with). Sometimes, however, the criticism is legitimate and the second truly do fail.
What is considered a flop and a success based purely on its predecessor is very difficult to answer accurately as it is a very narrow margin to work with, especially if a series is a high grade to begin with. Ghostbusters 2 is considered a failure by some due to it being inferior to its predecessor, despite still maintaining a high grade. On the contrary, when a film or game appears superior to a predecessor, it may become overrated and/or raise expectations to unreasonable levels to future games/movies. There are fine lines between a passable sequel, an exceptional sequel (in perception) and an unforgivable atrocious sequel (in perception).
Previously, a review of the first Pokémon Trading Game was posted in these forums, and it largely gave a lukewarm evaluation. However, how does the original fare against a newer counterpart? Specifically, how does it compete against said counterpart when the version being played is a home brew English translation of the original Japanese version?
Visually the game is almost identical, but a gender option has been enabled for the player, which is a simple, but good, addition. As well, the coin has been changed from a yellow-gold Pikachu to a larger, silver Chansey coin. Otherwise, the visuals are largely the same, not a lot to say. The areas are similar, and the overall style of the sprites and background images remain largely unchanged. Audio-wise, the style is similar, but conveys a much more chaotic soundtrack. The music is largely an eight bit mess, but the biggest problem is that it in no way suits the mood of the game: It is overly hyper and happy despite the tone early on. Overall, a complete failure as where there should have been an improvement only a demotion could be applied.
The last game suffered from an overly absurd story-line, but the story-line in the sequel would appear improved. Basically, an unknown group, presumably aliens or masked individuals, have stolen all the valuable cards and the club leaders. That is a plausible story-line, as seemingly worthless artefact's in the modern world are stolen for profit or notoriety. What don't make sense, however, is what value the cards would have to an alien species, which is what the player would initially assume. As well, why would the player be sent to sort all of this out by playing card games? This is never explained because of a major flaw in this game, and one that makes the title of it a complete lie.
A lack of translations.
As the game starts, the player is treated to English text as promised. However, it isn't long into the game before the player is forced to start reading a plethora of Japanese: Virtually nothing after the first few minutes are translated in the slightest manner, with the exception of a few names. Asides from rendering the potentially interesting story line as useless as paper money was to Robinson Crusoe when alone on the island, the game play is potentially ruined. This can render the game virtually unplayable because most, if not all, of the moves and information are in Japanese characters.
The only three protocols that can be taken if the player wishes to play are the following:
A - The player learns to read Japanese if they don't know how to already.
B - The player memorizes what moves does what IF a translation is unavailable.
C - The player ignores all of this and guesses the whole time.
If the player is unwilling to comply with any of these three, then the game's value drops significantly. However, there are slight improvements, such as a more accessible deck customization tool instead of going back to the lab repeatedly. As well, the game is closer to the idea of starting out low and working the way to the top like a Pokémon Card wielding Rocky Balboa. Since the game-play mechanics are largely the same, with the coin flips slightly altered potentially because of the option to change coins, then it serves as an expansion pack to the original game. The game play mechanics aren't much different though, as it still follows the exact same card game.
To conclude a rather quick overview of this game, here is little that can be said that hasn't been said already about its predecessor, and recycling a review for the first game in this brief series is a feasible possibility. That is the other tragic flaw of this particular sequel: too little has changed to warrant the necessity of a sequel to begin with. That is likely the reason why there was not an international release for this game. If one could get past the lack of innovation, for better or for worst, and the Japanese text, it is worth checking out. However, if a player disliked the original, hates trying to sort through this text and expects something new...then defenestration is the only appropriate protocol that can be taken.
Graphics 6 Sound 1 Addictive 1 Depth 4 Story 4 Difficulty 4
PokeMon Trading Card Game 2 (en) Description: (Incomplete translation patch) The greatest Pokemon Trading Card Game players of all time - the Grand Masters - are looking for one player worthy of inheriting the four rare, Legendary Pokemon Cards! Build new decks with the Auto Deck Machine, hone your skills on the Challenge Machine and test your ability in Challenge Hall. Expand your card collection, duel your way through 8 Club Masters and earn the right to challenge the Grand Masters in the Pokemon Dome! Shadowy figures, wise instructors and powerful opponents await in the ultimate trading card game adventure.