Developer: Game Freak, Inc.
Oh, Pokémon. You have been with us throughout most of our lives, through thick and thin. And as I near 20 years of age, you show no signs of easing up on game releases. You would think that after all of that time and after so many generations of Pokémon, its quality would be slowly diminishing. After having played through Pokémon X, I can assure you that is quite the contrary.
As soon as you start your journey, Pokémon X and Y immediately try to impress upon you the 3DS’s prowess. A little cutscene with one of the new Pokémon, Fletchling, flying in to wake you up. Then you’re able to venture about, free to explore this intriguing new world. Everything is in 3D! Dramatic camera angles! Free movement (when you’re skating, biking, or swimming, anyway)! There are so many little things that Game Freak has thought of to make Pokémon X and Y feel interesting and new.
One of the elements of Pokémon that has undergone a heavy visual change are the battles. No longer are our favorite pocket monsters in 2D. Instead, each Pokémon is now rendered in 3D (while still mimicking the old pixel art style). They also have unique idle animations and various animations for different moves. Add in some pretty environmental backgrounds and crazy camera action and each battle will feel different from the last. If only some battles, like double battles and horde encounters, weren’t marred by drops in framerate! Hopefully this is fixed with a patch or doesn’t happen in the first place with future Pokémon releases.
What I think is one of the best new features that Pokémon X and Y introduce is the customization of your character. Yes, you can finally play dress-up! There are quite a bit of clothing pieces and accessories to collect, so the combination possibilities are endless. You can even choose the skin color of your trainer, change your eye color with contacts, and get a new hairdo.
There are also other new features such as Pokémon-Amie and the Player Search System. Pokémon-Amie allows you to interact with your Pokémon and form even closer, stronger bonds with them. You can pet them, feed them, and play games with them to your heart’s content! This isn’t just for fun, either. The higher your affection with your Pokémon, the “better” it performs in battle. This means boosted experience points, being able to dodge attacks, and so forth.
As for the Player Search System, that brings every multiplayer aspect of Pokémon X and Y into one easy-to-access place. Located on your bottom screen, this is where you initiate global or local battles, trades, and more. No more having to trek to a Pokémon Center! Also included in the PSS are new features called Wonder Trade and O-Powers. Wonder Trade is incredibly fun and allows you to trade one of your Pokémon for a random one. O-Powers, on the other hand, allow you to give buffs to your friends, acquaintances, or passers-by. Such power-ups can range from increasing a Pokémon’s attack in battle to granting a 50% discount in shops for three minutes. Engaging in multiplayer activities in a Pokémon game has never been better.
I wish I could be as enthusiastic for Pokémon X and Y‘s plot as I am for the rest of it. As usual, you’re a young Pokémon trainer that has just begun his or her journey and the region’s professor wants you to fill out the Pokédex. But wait! Some evil mastermind with a team of goons wants to destroy the world with the power of a legendary Pokémon (the bad guys this time around, Team Flare, aren’t exactly imaginative either)! Thankfully, you’re able to stop them and be off on your merry way to kick some Elite Four butt. There’s also a metaplot going on throughout all this, but it feels like something that isn’t quite explained fully. Perhaps we’ll see more of that in a Pokémon X and Y sequel?
As for postgame content, there’s very little to do, unfortunately. There are new areas unlocked such as the Battle Maison and Friend Safari, but compared to previous Pokémon games, it’s not much.
Pokémon is a series that I hold very dear to me. As such, with all that Pokémon X and Y brings to the table, I am insanely pleased despite any problems I do have. Whether you play every Pokémon game you can get your hands on or if it’s been a while since your last one (or if you’ve never played one at all!), it’d be a shame to miss out on Pokémon X and Y if you’re a 3DS owner.
4 out of 5 alpacas