Pokémon X & Y Review

 Developer: Game Freak Publisher(s): Nintendo, The Pokemon Company  Console: Nintendo 3DS  Genre: RPG  Release Date: October 12, 2013 WW   Player(s): Single, Online Multiplayer Rating: E (Comic Mischief, Mild Cartoon Violence)     

 Developer: Game Freak

Publisher(s): Nintendo, The Pokemon Company 

Console: Nintendo 3DS 

Genre: RPG 

Release Date: October 12, 2013 WW 

 Player(s): Single, Online Multiplayer

Rating: E (Comic Mischief, Mild Cartoon Violence) 

 

 

Since 1998, Pokémon has been a phenomenon that has stretched across the media board. TV shows, video games, trading cards...the works.

Pokémon has endured the test of time; even during the present day, it still has a strong fanbase. Pokémon XY came out last month and gamers reunited under a common goal: to be the very best. Whether it's to "catch em' all" or build the dream team for battles among friends and strangers alike, Pokémon is back! With this grand return, comes new additions as well. Right off the bat, players will experience enhanced visuals that come with this new generation of Pokémon. Oh boy and let me tell you: this game looks gorgeous! Between the X and Y versions, I chose Y simply for the legendary Yveltal.

For years, Pokémon titles improved graphics little by little but nothing as expansive as XY. It almost looks like a completely different game, which has been received quite nicely by the Pokémon community.

Other than the stunning visuals, plenty of other gameplay mechanics have been tweaked or overhauled. In the past installments, players would train their Pokémon with the help of EVs. Without going into the boring details, EVs are used to raise specific base stats for individual Pokémon. This effectively makes the Pokémon stronger in the specific stat as the game progresses. Now, in addition to going about EV training the old fashioned way, Super Training allows the whole process to be condensed into a minigame of sorts. Selecting said stat, players controls whatever Pokémon that is currently being trained and must shoot balls into the vulnerable spots on the giant Pokémon balloon to succeed.

Super Training in full effect

Super Training in full effect

Some claim Super Training diminishes the complexity from the previous games, but I still see the same complexity, just in a different form. Breeding for the perfect Pokémon is still as tedious as ever thanks to trying to get the right stat difference, nature and ability. Super Training is used to help ease the tension players could feel especially when numerous hours can be poured into the breeding process alone. Depending on how one uses Super Training, individual Pokémon could thrive off a different type of training as apposed to another.

In short, ST requires almost as much time and effort as the original method.

Pokémon-Amie takes a different approach to training your Pokémon by utilizing love. Yes that's correct...love. Players must use the 3DS touchscreen and camera to interact with their Pokémon through feeding, petting and minigames. All of these methods help to increase the effectiveness of a Pokémon in battle, anywhere from increasing evasion to having a higher probability of landing a critical hit. Every aspect of Pokémon-Amie has not yet been discovered, but over time, the secrets shall be unlocked. I do admit to not having a full understanding of this mechanic because I haven't used it much. From what I can gather, the use of Pokémon-Amie is important to have a well-rounded Pokémon.

Capture the legendary Xerneas!

Capture the legendary Xerneas!

In this new generation of Pokémon, something spectacular happens in the evolution realm. Thanks to mysterious objects, certain Pokémon can temporarily evolve past their final forms, resulting in a stronger (and cooler) looking appearance. What's the catch? These super powered evolutions dubbed Mega-Evolutions only last for one battle. Mega-Evolutions can easily turn the tide of any battle thanks to the provided huge boost in stats. A Pokémon must be holding the correct stone in order for the Mega-Evolution option to appear. Certain Pokémon even have more than one type of Mega-Evolution, so be sure to keep those eyes peeled. Much of Pokémon XY injects new life into the somewhat stagnant franchise, but sadly, the story stays just as stale.

See? Amazing fashion folks  

See? Amazing fashion folks
 

The story boils down to the same format every other core Pokémon title has used to date. Newly minted trainer (that's you) goes out into the world, capturing Pokémon and dealing with a sinister organization called Team Flare. Not only does Team Flare have a great sense of style (insert pained laugh), but they are looking to create a new world where only the chosen will remain.

This all happens in basically the same style as before and honestly, it's really getting old now. Even with the "surprise" evil leader, it all just feels like I've been here before. The day Pokémon has a really decent story, one I can actually care about, that will be the day when Pokémon changes for the greater good. Oh, a protagonist that actually speaks would also break the mold too.

Remember how I mentioned the comradery sparked within the Pokémon community? Thanks to the 3DS and its excellent use of Wi-Fi, players can battle and trade with almost anyone across the globe. Using the in-game menu, everything needed for your online experience can be found on the lower screen.

Want to see how lucky you are? Try the Wonder Trade. Here, players blindly trade Pokémon with another anonymous person but in reality, most wind up getting lower class Pokémon like Bidoof. For the serious trade market, GTS is where the real action occurs. GTS stands for Globe Trade System and does just what it's namesake suggests. Need to find an Electabuzz? Search up the name and if there are any trainers willing to trade, the results will be pooled together.

The graphics give Pokemon a new feel

The graphics give Pokemon a new feel

Pokémon XY changes just enough of itself to break away from the familiar mold. It is still fundamentally unchanged but introduces enough new ideas to help mull over the staleness. My time with Pokémon Y gave me a lot to think about: what Pokémon should I train, how should I train it, what moves should it learn, etc.. I haven't beaten the Elite Four as of yet because of all the breeding and training I have been working on. Nor do I think I'm interested in beating it anytime soon; besides searching for Mewtwo and the other legendary Pokémon, there really isn't much of a post game to look forward too. I wasn't too excited to hear about this because I hoped to travel to one of the other regions like Kanto for example.

Well that's that. Pokémon has provided me plenty of enjoyable hours with only more to come. I have to admit that this is by far the easiest Pokémon game I've played. Almost every crucial item was handed to me with barely any work needed on my part. Maybe this was done to help ease newcomers into the game or maybe games are really becoming that much easier.

Cons:

- No real post game

- Way too easy, even for Pokémon

-Same boring plot

Pros:

+ New art style

+ The new mechanics help liven things up

+ Plenty of opportunities to invest countless hours

+ Trading and battling online is fun, easy to access

 

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I appreciate what Game Freak is doing for the Pokémon franchise. As someone who has been with Pokémon since it arrived back in 1998, I was ecstatic to see the change happen. Pokémon has come so far and will undoubtedly be around for many more years. My personal hope is that Pokémon sees much bigger changes in the future. Games can stagnent quick and it would be a real shame to see the franchise fall prey to the rotting grip. Nevertheless, I recommend Pokémon XY to hardcore fans and new Pokétrainers alike!