Pokémon is a franchise that has continued to grow since its inception and with Pokémon X/Y, it looks set to grow further. Known as the 6th generation, Pokémon X/Y marks the first set of games in the series to make their way onto the Nintendo 3DS and with their arrival comes a host of new gameplay elements.
One of the biggest changes is noticeable straight away. Pokémon are no longer displayed as 2D sprites on the battlefield, as each one of them is animated nicely providing a more life like look. This is the same for the environment and towns. Before, only certain parts of the world were presented in 3D, creating a feeling of disconnect from the landscapes for the player. Everything including buildings, plants, signposts, and the characters are now modeled in 3D and it's great to see.
You begin your journey in the Kalos region, a new environment that is hugely reminiscent of modern day Europe. It comes complete with a structure that's rather similar to the Eiffel Tower, but in Pokémon X/Y it's called the Prism Tower. There are dozens of cafes and diners to visit and battle at as well as the introduction of boutiques that sell clothing for your character to purchase and ware. Fans have been asking for this new form of customization for quite some time now and it's pleasing to see its introduction. Additionally, for a small amount of Poke Dollars you can get a haircut.
In the past players have traveled alone with a rival popping up and challenging them randomly thought the game. X and Y see the player traveling with four other kids from their hometown. These are Calem/Serena (male or female player character you did not choose), Shauna, Tierno, and Trevor. Each of them will lead you to different areas of the world as well as battling you along the way. It feels like you are truly together with friends working together and traveling through unknown lands, a feeling that was never present in previous games of the franchise.
Like always, you get to pick one of the three starter Pokémon. This means you have to choose between Chespin (the grass-type), Fennekin (a fire fox looking Pokémon) and Froakie (the frog shaped water starter). This time around through you are treated with another starter from the first generation. Each of these Pokémon come with a mega stone that allows them to transform into a stronger version with new special abilities in battle. There are about 25 other Pokémon that have new mega forms and you will find many of the stones necessary to use this new power throughtout the game. In some cases trainers in the game will trade with you or hand over a Pokémon that can mega evolve with the mega stone attached. These Pokémon have excellent default stats and make great additions to any growing team.
Looking at the touch screen you will find three new ways of either. In Pokémon-Amie you can use the stylus to pet and feed your Pokémon Poke Puffs you have won. Connecting your system to the Internet lets the other Pokémon wander onto your bottom screen to hang out in the area and you can also decorate with prizes won from playing with your Pokémon. Once you have three other Pokémon on the bottom screen for a short amount of time they will soon disappear and leave behind a decoration, wallpaper, or Poke Puff.
Moving away from Pokémon-Amie, you can view your friends, acquaintances, and the people you've passed by from around the world. Now that your Nintendo 3DS friends list allows you to see each of your friends who have a copy of Pokémon X and Y on your PSS, there is no need to register people with player codes that are specific to the game. It's a much easier way to battle, trade, and chat. If none of your friends are online you can still do all of the above features along with trading over the GTS and the brand new Wonder Trade. Wonder Trade lets you randomly trade Pokémon with anyone online. Pick a Pokémon to trade and maybe you'll get something even better from a randomly matched player.The third and final new feature located on the 3DS touch screen is Super Training. With Super Training you can work on maxing out the base stats of the Pokémon in your party. Focusing on a certain effort value such as Attack, Defense, or HP, you can either take on one or more of the training mini games or use punching bags found by completing the mini games. Super Training is an ideal way for players to train Pokémon the way they want without having to go through hours and hours of special effort value training techniques such as finding a certain Pokémon and killing it over and over again. Once the Pokémon Bank app arrives this winter you'll be able to use a Reset Bag to completely wipe your old Pokémon's EV points even if they are at level 100 and shape their stats the way you see fit.
The amount of Pokémon you can find in the wild is astonishing. Veteran players will enjoy finding their old favourites as well as catching ones they may have forgotten they really loved. However, some of the 60 or so brand new Pokémon are pretty hit and miss. When it comes to their designs, this is especially true.
It's been 3 generations since a new type has been added to the existing 17 types and now with the introduction of the Fairy-type the all-powerful Dragon-types have a new enemy. Fairy-type Pokémon are strong against fighting, dragon, and dark-type Pokémon and weak against poison, and steel types. They are immune to all Dragon-typed attacks, and this completely changes competitive play. Pokémon that were otherwise forgotten such Mawile have been retyped and prove to be more useful then ever before.
Other changes to competitive play that are now extremely helpful include the effects that certain abilities have on other Pokémon. Certain types are now immune to status effects. Grass-types will now be able to resist Spore, meaning that they cannot be put to sleep by it. All Electric-types are completely immune to moves that come with the paralyze status effect as well as other electric Pokémon with the ability Static.
As amazing as all of these new features are, there are many absent gameplay aspects from previous Pokémon games. Join Avenue from Black 2 and White 2 was a popular feature for breeding and training Pokémon, but this has been omitted. Contests have also not returned since generation 4. These were fun competitions where each Pokémon's move's was categorized with a special condition such as coolness or beauty. It's unfortunate to see that these features have not returned as the post-game content seems a little bit lacking outside of catching legendary Pokémon and finding mega stones.
Pokémon X and Y is an excellent and successful update for the ever-changing series. With a mix of over 500 Pokémon to catch and train, there are plenty of things to do even after progressing through the 20-hour story. The community aspect has been completely revamped and its never been easier to battle and trade with anyone in the world. It was a wise decision for Game Freak to simultaneously release the game worldwide, as Japan no longer has a huge time advantage this time around. This new generation can easily be enjoyed by new fans of any age and will delight veterans and those who may have skipped the last few titles.
|3D environments and graphics give a fresh and immersive feel to the series|
|Super Training and Pokemon-Amie make training for perfect EVâ€™s easier while providing a neat way of interacting with Pokemon|
|Customization options add personality to your player character|
|Over leveling makes the game a bit too easy for some|
|Not being able to connect to the Internet from the games start up screen|
|Too many Pokemon, to collect so little time|