The Pokemon games have been around since the early 90’s. Alongside the games, everyone knows about Ash Ketchum and his adventures with his Pikachu throughout the anime series. While the game itself doesn’t do much to their story, they have innovated in all the right ways in all of the right places. Given the opportunity, you gotta catch this game (ha ha). Here’s a review of the newest installment of the Pokemon series, Pokemon X and Pokemon Y.
The story for this installment of the series is the same as it has been before: get a starter, defeat gym leaders, stop an evil team from doing bad things, defeat the elite four. While nothing has changed on that front, there’s a lot that has been changed with the rest of the game. The new Pokemon are additions that mimic games before them (IE: token bird and bug Pokemon to start out), but it also includes some of the originals from the first two generations of the game. Veterans of the series can have fun figuring out the new Pokemon while still being able to fawn over their old favorites. Those new to the series or those who haven’t played in a while can still get some of the ones they are familiar with. There’s a good mix of all the older generations throughout the entire game, so there will most likely be somePpokemon that everyone can recognize for those who have played any generation.
The addition of the Fairy type Pokemon was only the start of Game Freak‘s changes to the series. Personally, I was skeptical about the new type. Playing all of the previous Pokemon games, and a new type not being added until now seems like a bad idea in theory. In playing the game, Fairy Pokemon really even up the battlefield. They are strong against some of the most powerful Pokemon, and weak against some of the less used types. This helps make all the types available more useful as opposed to just a couple of specific types better than others. A lot of the new Pokemon are dual types in this generation as well. While that does provide a bit of a challenge for some of the newer players who don’t know the weaknesses, it provides a new challenge for those who have been veterans throughout the series for the entire time.
Along with new additions to the Pokemon roster, there are Mega Evolutions. Mega evolutions evolve some Pokemon a step further in battle. It is a one time use per battle, but it can lead to some interesting results in battling Pokemon with enemies in the game or other people. Certain Pokemon have mega stones. When held, these Pokemon can mega evolve into another Pokemon. These mega evolutions have their own set of stats and may even change the type of the Pokemon itself. It also changes the ability of most Pokemon, which adds even another strategy element to the game.
Along with that, there has been an overhaul to the social aspect of the games. There are so many ways to customize player’s trainer in this game that has never been a part of any other games until this point. It provides the uniqueness that others want while not changing a huge part of the game. There are also the Wonder trades and the Battle Spots. Battle Spots put players into a random battle with a random person with the Pokemon currently in their party. Wonder trade allows players to trade one Pokemon of their choice for something at random from another random trainer. While there are possibilities to get less than wonderful Pokemon online, there are chances to get rather good ones as well. This also helps make Masuda method (breeding for shiny Pokemon) easier for those who look forward to that. There are also other mechanics that allow players to catch wild shiny Pokemon as well (using either the Poke radar or chain fishing).
Aside from that, they have made it easier to special train Pokemon in this game as well. EV training is a way to train Pokemon to be better in one specific stat. This has been possible before, but there was always a certain number of EV points that Pokemon can have. Until now, players could not check the number of EV points in one stat or another. Now, there is a person who will tell players how many each Pokemon has. Along with that, there is the Super Training addition to the game. Pokemon can go into mini games to increase their EVs in a particular stat, or use punching bags to train one stat or reset their EV stats. EV training was always too much of a burden for me, and I never understood it. Now in this game, I understand it more and it’s easier for even veterans of the series like myself to do it.
The other thing the game looked at is affection/happiness of your Pokemon. Before, it was some number that wasn’t easy to figure out for players Pokemon. Now, it’s a separate section of the game called Pokemon-Amie. In this mode, players interact with their Pokemon directly (IE: Petting, feeding, etc). Feeding will increase the “fullness” of a Pokemon, while playing mini games (3 to choose from) will increase the Pokemon’s enjoyment. Both stats have 5 levels with them. When they both get filled up, normally one level of affection is increased, capping out at 5 as well. When the Pokemon gets to full affection, it is the same as full happiness (for those Pokemon that need to evolve with happiness). Along with that, affection allows for affects in battle as well. The Pokemon with high affection will have a chance to rid itself of status effects, gain more EXP during battle, and more. Now, happiness has some real value to it as opposed to just another number in the system.
While the game itself does have some fantastic changes, there is one that I personally do not enjoy. When players finish the elite four, there isn’t really a difficulty increase in the Elite four itself. Also, there is currently no way to transfer Pokemon from the previous DS games onto this generation. The Pokemon Bank will be an online cloud storage for Pokemon from the previous or current games. Also, it comes with a Pokemon transfer that allows you to transfer the Pokemon from Black, White, Black 2, and White 2 over to Pokemon X or Y. The Pokemon Bank is on the horizon, but there is no in game way currently to get your Pokemon from the previous games onto this one. Fear not! There are cafes in game that will help players fill out the national pokedex until the Pokemon Bank becomes live.
The graphics were completely overhauled in Pokemon X and Y. With the addition of 3D, the game itself feels more alive. Every Pokemon has their own animation, the scenery around the game feels more life like, and I argue that players will be more attached to their Pokemon because of how good they look now. Each one has their own 3D model, really bringing the Pokemon themselves to life as opposed to the 2D sprites that has been the trademark of the games for so long. I know personally I feel closer to the Pokemon because of this.
There is the same style of audio as their has been in all the games previously. That being said, there was nothing wrong with the audio in any of the other games either. Each town and city have their own audio tracks that are fitting for the town itself. The routes, battle themes, and so on are close to the previous games. It’s good audio that doesn’t intrude on the game itself and doesn’t pull players out of the game for being inappropriate.
Pokemon X and Pokemon Y are two very fun, very detailed, and technically sound games in their own right. While the story hasn’t really changed (in the very general sense of a story), Game Freak has updated the game in all the right ways. Even the story is very different from other games when you get to the details. Without a doubt, this is definitely one of the strongest games on the 3DS console. New players to the series, or old veterans, this game is fun for all and accessible to any skill level of the Pokemon franchise.
Publisher: Nintendo, The Pokemon Company Developer: Game Freak
Release Date: 10/12/13
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS Digital: Yes
Price: $39.99 (Steam) EU: £39.99
Rating: ESRB: E Pegi: 7