Joystiq Writer Kat Bailey believes that the World Tournament feature found in Pokemon Black & White 2 is a great addition to the Pokemon saga.

Gym leaders serve all sorts of different purposes. In the fiction, they are sort of like the town sheriff, serving as both a pillar of the community and a bulwark against troublesome villains like Team Plasma. Frequently, they help to advance the story in some way by helping the player solve a problem.

There are now 48 leaders; and remarkably, almost all of them are in the new Pokemon Black 2 and White 2. That includes Brock, and psychic Sabrina, and the dragon trainer Clair from Gold and Silver, along with even the lesser-known trainers from Ruby and Sapphire. They all come bearing signature Pokemon from their regions, plus a few challenges, and some can be quite difficult to beat depending on your party composition.

For fans, every single battle brings memories crashing back, not the least because each battle with a leader features a remixed variant of their original theme.

I remember fighting Clair at 3 a.m. while working security at a university hospital. The Sinnoh boss music from Pokemon Diamond and Pearl bring me back to the hundreds of hours I spent raising Pokemon while living in Japan. For that reason, and many others, the Pokemon World Tournament is already one of my favorite Pokemon modes ever.

After years of kind of nibbling around at the corners, it feels as if Game Freak is finally acknowledging that fifteen years and five generations of games has left a lot of people with strong memories of days monster training past, and that spark has been enough to jump-start my appreciation for the series after a long hiatus.

I’ve gotta say – it’s good to be back.

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