Pokémon X/Y Preview: The Wait Is Almost Over

By Jared Scott on September 8, 2013, 10:33AM EDT

It's a while since I wrote my original impressions on the next entries into the Pokémon series, Pokémon X and Pokémon Y. Since the conclusion of E3, it seems that not only have many of my questions been answered, but that Generation 6 is shaping up to be a highlight of 2013.

One of several new features that has since been introduced is Pokémon-Amie. Taking a page from both Nintendogs and Kingdom Hearts 3D, this feature allows players to pet and feed their Pokémon. And doing so will give the Pokémon status boosts. Similar to Pokémon-Amie is Super Training which helps Pokémon, through mini-games, to increase their bases stats which will help increase the gain from leveling up. If mini-games are not of interest to you, you can simply use Super Training to have your set of Pokémon train themselves behind the scenes. While Super Training could be a great service to RPG newbies, I am not convinced that Pokémon-Amie will be much more than a gimmick to attract the younger crowd.

Also new to Pokémon X and Y is the PPS aka Player Search System. From the bottom screen, players can sort other players as Friends, Acquaintances, and Passerbys. A Passerby is simply someone who is near you with a copy of the game. You can move them to either a Friend or Acquaintance position if you wish. Being able to sort those who you encounter certainly seems like a quicker way to make friends or find your friends to battle and trade.

Players will finally be able to have some creativity over their characters in the game. Instead of being stuck choosing one male or female, players will be able to customize their characters. As seen from gameplay footage, characters can change their skin color, clothing, and accessories. It's a shame though that this level of customization wasn't seen sooner in the franchise.

Accidentally confirmed at E3, the Kalos Region is in fact inspired by the country of France. The reasons for basing the Kalos Region off of France was that Game Freak felt that the real-life country helped push the theme of beauty they wanted to express in Pokémon X and Pokémon Y. This theme of beauty is probably what brought about the inclusion of the Fairy-Type to the franchise. First teased with an image of Sylveon, this new evolution of Eevee was the first Pokémon of the Fairy-Type to help bring a balance against Dragon-Type Pokémon. The developers also took this opportunity to alter the types of several Pokémon such as Jigglypuff, Marill, Gardevoir, and Mawlie who will know be Fairy-Types along with their original Type. Personally, I thought that adding Fairy-Type to Jigglypuff and Gardevoir made much more sense than leaving them as Normal and Psychic-Types.

At this year's Japan Expo, Honedge was revealed. A possessed sword that holds its sheath in its handle's ribbon, Honedge seems to have received a positive response among fans. Pangoro, who was one of the earlier revealed Pokémon, had one of his evolutions shown. He evolves from a tough panda cub into a fierce warrior with a cape of black fur named Pancham. There were more revealed at E3 as well, ranging from large bats to lobsters and seahorses. However, one of the greater reveals came months after E3. Pokémon X and Y will be the first in the series to have two sets of starter Pokémon. After choosing between Finnekin, Froakie, and Chespin, players will meet up with the Professor to choose between Charmander, Blubasaur, and Squirtle.

While trainers often use their Pokémon to fly or sail to new areas, Pokémon X and Y will allow players to speedily ride certain Pokémon such as Gogoat. Even if mounting a Pokémon has no particle purpose, there's certainly nothing bad about this ability.

Perhaps the biggest surprise for Poke-fans was the announcement of Mega Evolutions. Just as with Sylveon, there was a clue to this via screenshots of Mewtwo in his Awakened form. Other Pokémon that can perform this Mega Evolution are Ampharos, Blaziken, Lucario, Kangaskan, Charizard, Blastoise, and Venusaur. In a rather thoughtful move by Game Freak, these evolutions are not permanent and instead are limited to happening once per battle if the Pokémon holds a Mega Stone. Making these evolutions temporary could both appease old school players as well as make the Mega Evolutions more special to the younger crowd. As a little incentive, Nintendo also announced that those who pick up a copy of the game on day one will be able to receive a Torchic holding a Mega Stone via Nintendo Zone. The only real question is if these Mega Evolutions will attribute to the completion of the Pokedex or not.

Speaking of the Pokedex, players can use their copies of Pokémon Black, White, Black 2, or White 2 to upload their monsters into the Pokémon Bank and use the Poke Transport to send them into Pokémon X and Y. While the Pokémon Bank does charge an annual fee, it can hold up to 3,000 Pokémon total. Hopefully this will solve the inconvenience of having to hold on to older games to complete future Pokedexs.

More surprises were introduced to Pokémon X and Y in the form of Horde Mode and Sky Battles. Horde Mode means that you can encounter many weaker Pokémon and battle them at once. Sky Battles are where only Pokémon that can float or fly can participate. While first impressions of both features do seem a bit gimmicky, Sky Battles could make Trainer and Gym Leader battles more strategic.

It feels like October 12th can't get here fast enough. If the final product is any good as advertised, fans from all across the board are sure to be in for another great Pokémon adventure.

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