After months of waiting, a bit of retailer controversy, and tons of leaks, here we are: Pokemon X and Y have officially been released simultaneously around the world! The new sixth generation brings quite a lot to the table, but was it worth all of the hype?
Obviously, the biggest inclusion of Pokemon X and Y is the introduction of Mega Evolutions, which allows a select number of Pokemon who are at their final stages of evolution to temporarily gain some new powers, as well as potentially changing their types and stats. There’s quite a few here, with a few that are version exclusive in either form or actual evolution. This makes for an interesting new mechanic that brings a bit more variety to Pokemon battles, as each trainer is only allowed to mega evolve his/her Pokemon once per battle.
Speaking of battle varieties, there are some interesting new modes that players will eventually come across: Hoard Battles, Sky Battles, and Inverse Battles. Hoard Battles occur in the wild as a group of 5 Pokemon will come to gang up on your Pokemon. Luckily, Hoard Battles largely use lower-leveled Pokemon compared to the other Pokemon you may find in the area, and some may contain special abilities. Sky Battles, on the other hand, are instigated by facing another trainer, and only Pokemon that can fly or use the ability Levitate are allowed in this mode. Lastly, Inverse Battles pit your Pokemon together with a different set of rules: any Super Effective moves are now Not Effective, and vice versa. This makes for some interesting battles, and you’ll have to plan accordingly in order to ensure victory.
There aren’t that many new Pokemon, and you’re more than likely going to encounter more legacy Pokemon in the wild than the new Pokemon, which isn’t that bad of a thing since veteran players will be largely familiar with the legacy Pokemon. The new Pokemon are pretty neat though, and with the new Fairy type, veteran players will have to re-learn some of the type advantages and disadvantages for the first time since Pokemon Gold and Silver.
Also, the Pokemon battles look fantastic in 3D. Pokemon movements are fluid, although it would appear that turning on the 3D effect may cause framerates to drop slightly. Nevertheless, Pokemon and attack animations look incredible compared to the animations from previous handheld Pokemon games.
The new Kalos region, on the other hand, will always be rendered in 2D, though it’s still equally impressive. There are a few small towns and one really large town split in to multiple sections. There are plenty of places to visit, and the journey from one town to another will have various landscapes to explore from the desert to marshlands.
The controls may take some getting used to, especially if you’ve skipped 5th generation (like me, unfortunately). Cameras will occasionally pan around your location or switch from a over-the-shoulder perspective to a top-down perspective. In either case, the controls aren’t too hard to get used to, though it can be a first considering that Pokemon largely used grid-based systems.
Another new feature is the ability to move diagonally, which brings in a whole new dimension of freedom to Pokemon games. Like the controls, this does take some getting used to, as you may try to talk to a few people, but they won’t respond since you aren’t technically in their line of interaction. Again, this will take some time to get used to, but it won’t take much time at all.
Story-wise, it’s a rather simple, predictable story. You just recently moved in to a new town before being summoned by Professor Sycamore. You have 4 friends/rivals this time: one of them is the protagonist that you did not pick during the “Are you a boy or a girl” segment, while another one is obsessed with dancing, one who is aiming to just complete the Pokedex, and one that just follows you all over the place. In any case, love them or hate them, these friends are practically important for your story progression, as they give you your first Pokemon, a Pokedex, and guide you from one town to another. Of course, they’ll also battle you from time to time, but it’s more of a friendly competition than the classic snotty rivals from Generation 1 and 2 games.
There’s also plenty of customization options here; from changing your character’s appearance to changing the background of the touch screen during battles, there’s a ton of ways to make the game unique to you. It’ll take some time, but as you move from one town to another, you’ll find plenty of customization options.
Online features, which will fuel this game’s replayability factor, is also rather top notch this time around. Aside from an updated Global Trading System, once you connect to the internet, you can view any friends who are online, or any passerbys and acquaintances. Passerbys are essentially strangers from around the world that you can receive randomly, and by clicking on them, you can battle or trade with them. Once you do, they’ll be moved to your acquaintance list.
There’s also a new Wonder Trading feature that allows you to put in a Pokemon and get a completely random Pokemon in return. Who knows? You could get lucky and get a legendary, are perhaps a Magikarp. The possibilities here are endless.
O Powers are also a new feature that you can either use for yourself or send to your friends. These new powers can increase a particular aspect, from battle stats to Pokemon befriending and capture accuracy. It’s a pretty cool system to help give you a slight edge in battle.
There’s a ton of other new features in the game that are equally entertaining: Pokemon Amie allows you to play with your Pokemon, Super Training allows you to make your Pokemon much more competitive, and Exp. Share now spreads experience across your entire team rather than for the Pokemon that is holding it. Overall, the game is worth giving a shot, bringing fresh new ideas back to Pokemon that could be considered a call back to the vastly popular first generation games.
+ 3D battles
+ Fast game pace
+ New Pokemon designs
+ Internet options
+ Exp. Share allows your team to be equally leveled
+ Mega Evolutions
– Overworld can’t be rendered in 2D
– Framerate may occasionally drop if 3D is turned on for battles
– Predictable story (although no one really plays Pokemon for its story)