Pokémon X and Y breathes new life into the popular franchise. Not only does it feature a much needed graphic and aesthetic upgrade, the gaming experience is also fine tuned and streamlined. After the unimpressive Pokémon Black/White, this game renewed my love for the series.
Pokémon is the kind of game you can mindlessly play, wandering around the land catching and battling Pokémons and having a good ol' time. It's also the kind of game where you can go really in depth, actually catching all 700+ Pokémon (which requires both X and Y) optimizing your Pokémon's stats, carefully planning training and evolution, building an nigh unbeatable team and taking part in epic Pokémon tournaments. Long story short, it's a cute Japanese style game that has a statistic driven core and it is designed pretty much for any type of gamer out there.
First off, this game looks great and transitioned well into the 3DS realm. The graphics kept that 2D Japanese animation style we've come to love and expect from such series but were rendered in 3D. Pikachu still looks like Pikachu but he actually looks plush and plump and he's cute personality shines through. Blastoise also retains his original design yet his shell really appears to be rock hard and he looks even more bad-ass. Although Pokémon X and Y doesn't utilize the console's actual 3D capabilities throughout most of the game, it plays with different view angles. It may not seem like much but I find it really gives you a better world immersion. The fights are way more dynamic and feel more exciting! I get great pleasure in seeing my Pikachu jump in the air, shooting lightning from his body and electrocuting its opponent.
The story hasn't changed much: Professor gives you a Pokédex and a starter Pokémon, asks you to go on a journey across the land, earn badges by defeating Pokémon Gym leaders, fill your Pokédex with information from all 700+ Pokémon (11 y-old Catherine had 150 to catch and got pretty close, 28 y-old Catherine has given up since we passed the 500 mark) and becoming the best goddamn Pokémon trainer there is! However, in Pokémon X/Y, you must also unlock the secret to Mega Evolution. What is Mega Evolution? Well… It's like a temporary evolution for some Pokémons that have already reached their natural evolution limit. I see them like the Super Saiyans of the Pokémon world. Anyway, as predictable the story is, it's really an excuse to send you out in the world and a way to pace your progression and let you enjoy the world Gamefreak created.
Speaking of pacing, experienced Pokémon trainers will notice that the badge progression is considerably slow, especially compared to its predecessor. I did find that Black/White went too fast. I found that you rushed through the story mode in order to access the end game zone that featured classic Pokémons. In X/Y, Pokémons from all the generations are available right off the bat and can join you in your quest.
So what's new in Pokémon X/Y?
- More Pokémons: as with every Pokémon release, they add even more creatures to their already extensive line-up. We're over 700 now.
- Mega Evolution: giving you access to a new evolutionary tier.
- Super Training: Mini-games to buff up your Pokémons' stats.
- Player Search System: Basically the social element of the game enabling you to connect with other players around the world. The most interesting part is the Global Trading system which enables you to trade Pokémon with any other player. Trading to acquire Pokémons that are not available in your version of the game just got much easier.
- Fairy type Pokémon: the first addition of a Pokémon type since Gold/Silver almost 10 years ago. You'll find fighting Dragon type Pokémon much easier with Fairy types in your party.
- New types of battles: Horde encounters where multiple Pokémons will attack you at once and Sky Battles where you can only use flying Pokémons.
- Pokémon-Amie: Lets you play mini-games, pet and feed treats to your Pokémon making it more friendly. The friendlier it is, the deadlier it is as filling the Pokémon-Amie gages will mean a betters performance in battles from avoiding attacks to landing critical hits.
- Character customization: Now, you just don't get to choose your character's gender, you can choose it's hair cut and colour and eye colour as well as shop for clothes, shoes and accessories. It may seem like a superficial feature but avatar customization wether it be an outfit or a racing car's paint job, is a must in the modern gaming world. *add photo*
- Trainer PR Video: You can create a quick and simple little video that other players can view via the PSS. Here's one of mine:
I love Pokémon X and as a long standing fan of this series, I can really see how Gamefreak and Nintendo fine tuned every single aspect of the game and brought it up to today's portable gaming standards. It's a great game not just for Pokémon fans but for gamers of all ages looking for something fun to play on the go.
Pokémon X and Y are currently available for the 3DS. For more information, visit www.pokemonxy.com