Each new set of Pokémon games always manages to blow the previous ones out of the water, and X and Y are no exception.
Review By Missingno_Mastr
Well do I remember downloading this game. Well do I remember the unbearable wait, especially in the final hour leading up to its release on the eShop. Well do I remember those agonizing hours waiting for the download to finish. And it was all worth it- the newest installment of Pokemon is nothing short of a thing of beauty.
GAMEPLAY: The basics of Pokemon have yet to change- the eight gyms, the Elite 4, the Champion, the general mechanics of Pokemon battling, they haven’t changed a bit. Well, OK, certain aspects of battling have been altered a bit- some minor changes to certain type matchups, the addition of the Fairy type, and the alteration of several moves and Abilities- but overall, the system remains unchanged. And this is a good thing, from where I stand. The system may not be fresh and new, but the simplicity and familiarity of it makes this game accessible to old fans who are just now getting back into things, brand new fans for whom this will be their first Pokemon adventure, and those like me who have stuck by the series throughout all the previous generations alike. No matter which group you fall into, it’ll be easy to get the hang of this game. Some say it’s time Pokemon revamped its battle system to something newer. I say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Adding on to something I mentioned earlier, X and Y introduce a new type- the Fairy type. This brings the types to a grand total of eighteen, and more importantly, provides some much-needed balance to the type chart. The Dragon-type, which used to reign supreme, has been taken down a peg, as Fairy is immune to it. On the other side of things, we have Steel and Poison, two types that have historically been woefully underwhelming from an offensive standpoint. And Fairy is weak to both of those types, giving people reasons to use such moves as Iron Head and Sludge Wave.
There are several new features as well- Pokemon Amie allows you to bond with your Pokemon by petting them, feeding them, and even playing little minigames with them. It’s a very fun feature, and very well done, too, with incredible attention to detail- for instance, if you try to pet a Litleo’s tuft of head fur, you burn your hand, and a Farfetch’d won’t be happy if you touch the leek it carries. Super Training takes the complex concept of EV training, a process previously only ever attempted by the most serious competitive Trainers, and makes it more accessible to the average player. And to those who do know how to EV train, it makes the process a lot simpler and less tedious.
STORY: As mentioned previously, the basics remain unchanged- you play as a new Pokemon Trainer, choose your starter Pokemon from a selection of three Pokemon so rare it’s difficult to get ahold of the two you didn’t pick, travel around the region, battle Gym Leaders, win badges, and along the way, go up against an evil gang operating in the region. Like with the mechanics of Pokemon battling, the system may have been used many times, but it’s a good system nevertheless. Again, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This time, the story takes place in the beautiful Kalos region, and pits you against Team Flare, who claim to desire a more beautiful world. And while they may seem a little… out there, primarily due to the fact that their clothes look like they should be incinerated before anyone wears them by mistake, they are by no means villains to be taken lightly. And just why not? Well, you’ll have to play to find out!
As for the new Pokemon, there is a decent variety available, though it’s clear they’ve gone for quality over quantity this time. Still enough for anyone who wants to put together a team composed solely of new Pokemon to have a good amount to choose from. Having said that, the Kalos Pokedex is a beautiful mixture of old and new, incorporating more than half the National Dex, so if you’re not looking to use only new Pokemon, then you REALLY have a lot of options.
SOUND: If you play this game with the volume down, you are missing out so badly. The game’s entire soundtrack is one big pile of masterpieces, especially the various battle themes. 3DS games are capable of much better sound than DS games, and I would have to say Pokemon has adapted to this transition very well in that regard. Also, for those of you who are fans of the first generation, you may hear a piece of music at several points after the main storyline that will be especially appealing to you.
GRAPHICS: It’s been said that a major focus of this game was on beauty, and boy, oh boy, does it ever show! This is another area in which Pokemon has adapted well to the transition to the 3DS. The graphics are a big, big, major step up from the likes of Black and White 2- not to say that those were bad- on the contrary, Black 2 and White 2 had some excellent graphics. That said, that should give you an idea of just how highly I think of X and Y’s graphics. An amazing world of 3D wonder. You thought Castelia City was amazing? Let me tell you, Castelia pales in comparison to the awe-inspiring Lumiose City. Once you get the hang of the ever-changing camera angles in Lumiose (not a hard feat by any means), it’s easy to appreciate all the detail that went into it, especially when you’re viewing the Prism Tower- it’s in the center of the city, but visible from practically anywhere.
One of the great things now is that there are certain spots, indicated by a signpost featuring an image of a camera, where you can take pictures of your character in particularly scenic areas, and these photos will actually be saved to your 3DS camera. Between the beautiful graphics and the customizability of the character’s clothing, this is a feature that is sure to see much use.
But it’s not just the overworld that shows how far the graphics have come along- one merely needs to partake in a Pokemon battle to see what I mean. Pokemon has transitioned from sprites to 3D models, making it look much more like you’re playing Pokemon Battle Revolution, or Pokemon Colosseum. It’s a huge step up and a welcome change indeed.
That said, the actual 3D itself is nothing much. It’s only possible to play in stereoscopic 3D during single battles (battles only involving a total of 2 Pokemon being on the field at any given time), during Pokemon evolution, and during certain cutscenes. It’s nothing overwhelming when it’s present- in fact, at times, it can make the game a little laggy. On the other hand, this means that those who intend to play on a 2DS will not be missing out on anything.
DIFFICULTY: Remember the Easy and Challenge Modes Black 2 and White 2 introduced? Well, they’re gone now. The difficulty level is, to be perfectly honest, not especially high. Some of the Gym Leaders do pose a fair challenge, of course, but it’s nowhere near difficult enough to make you want to rip your hair out- always a plus in my book. Having said that, however, it’s not hard to see how one might be able to perceive the game as being too easy- very early on, you receive the Exp. Share, which has reverted to the effects of the Exp. All of Generation I infamy, albeit with several modifications- namely, an on/off switch, and the fact that it doesn’t split the exp., but instead gives each Pokemon that participated in battle the full amount of exp. they earned, and each one that didn’t participate gets half of what they would have earned had they battled. As you can imagine, this makes leveling up your Pokemon a significantly quicker process. However, this also does compensate, in a way, for the lack of difficulty modes. Simply switch off the Exp. Share to increase the difficulty level of the game, should you so choose.
REPLAYABLE: Many reviewers will claim this game to lack any sort of post-game content. This reviewer says that they are wrong. There is post-game content to be found, one merely needs to know where to go to look for it. Granted, there’s not as much as some other games can boast, but there’s also more than can be said for certain other games. There’s a whole storyline in the post-game with plenty of battling, and it’s very well-written, too. Finally, there is a battle facility to be found in the post-game, which is in many ways a step up from the Battle Towers and Battle Subway of past games.
And that’s saying nothing of the sheer quantity of online features! Dreading the daunting task of catching ’em all now that the total has exceeded 700? The GTS and the new Wonder Trade feature make it easy to trade with just about anyone else in the world. The Global Trade Station, or GTS for short, should be a familiar feature to anyone who’s played since Diamond and Pearl. Black and White made it more convenient by implementing the GTS in every Pokemon Center, rather than a single location. And now, X and Y take it another step further, allowing you to access the GTS from absolutely anywhere! That’s right- accessing the GTS is as easy as a few taps of the touch screen, no matter where in Kalos you are. The same applies to the new Wonder Trade feature- it’s a new way to trade Pokemon, but it’s more of a gamble. Basically, you put something up for trade, the system finds you a trade partner, and whatever you put up is traded for whatever the other person put up. It’s very random- in fact, while writing this, I traded an Abra for a Pachirisu. That’s another entry in the Pokedex for me! Obviously, you’ll sometimes wind up with something you won’t be pleased with, but that’s the risk you take. You could end up with a Caterpie, or with a Xerneas. You just don’t know. And not knowing is half the fun, as far as I’m concerned!
Another online feature to return is Random Matchup, which basically pits you in a Pokemon battle against another player chosen at random. Except this time, you get to choose what music plays on your end during the battle! Ever wanted to hear the Gym battle music while battling someone else? Or the rival battle music? Or even the Champion battle music? Now it’s possible! Aside from that, Random Matchup itself hasn’t changed much, except for the lifting of the arbitrary Chatot ban (people claim the ban was due to the potential to abuse the sound-recording capabilities Chatter used to possess, but it was always glitched anyway- it always horribly garbled any recording, so even if anyone wanted to teach a little profanity to their Chatot, there’s no way the game would have left it legible enough to offend anyone), and also, now, non-rated battles allow for absolutely any Pokemon to participate, even the most overpowered of legendary Pokemon.
Let me put it to you this way- The game’s been out for more than a week now, right? I have been spending every ounce of free time I’ve had playing this game, and from the looks of things, that’s not likely to change.
OVERALL: I can only find a few flaws with this game, and most of them are primarily due to my own personal bias, so don’t look too much into that. The good heavily outweighs what little bad there is, and I highly recommend both X and Y to all Pokemon fans, old and new alike. And if you haven’t yet bought a 3DS, 3DS XL, or 2DS, I do recommend getting one if only for the purpose of this game. It is that good.
NAME: POKEMON X