Saturday, October 12, 2013

Review: Pokemon X & Y

It's here! It's finally here! And it's glorious!

Before I go on, I'd just like to give myself a pat on the back for taking the time out of my Pokémon adventure to post this review. I'm not even sure how I managed to pry myself away from my 3DS to do it.

Like many Pokémon fans, I've been waiting a long time for X and Y. Technically, I've been waiting since I was a kid. I've always wanted a Pokémon game as amazing as this. If you think you'll pass because you're bored of the franchise, think again.

This game is amazing. Probably the most important point I can make is that Game Freak's done a great job of keeping things the same, yet different. Most Pokémon games can be explained this way -- you have the same general premise, the same Pokémon, but with more added, the same look for the protagonist, but enhanced a little every time, you even have the same basic idea for enemies. There's just some stuff added here and there to enhance the experience.

This time, you've got the same premise -- gotta catch 'em all! Everything else has been more than enhanced. The same basic ideas were kept -- explore, battle, see new Pokémon, etc. That's pretty much where the similarities stop, though. It's a lot like the original Pokémon anime vs. Pokémon: The Origin. The premise is the same, but everything else is made at least 80% more awesome. I'm not even sure where to begin, explaining this in context.

Let's start with the world. It's a very important part of the games. The world is an important part of any game, really. As always, we get a region, like Kanto or Sinnoh. This time we have Kalos. It's beautiful.

Of course, a main reason that Kalos is a beautiful place to adventure through is the new  game design. The Pokémon games have felt like less and less of a top-down experience as time has gone on. At this point, players get to see the world from several different angles, and discover all the nooks and crannies of the world, but still keeping true to the style of every other Pokémon game.

This also helped to transform the battles into much more realistic sequences. It feels a little more like the way Pokémon Stadium presents battles: where attacks actually seem like attacks, and not just sprites wiggling around, and where the background matches the world around the battle. The battle layout is otherwise much the same as always -- which is good. It's tried and true and players know their way around the battle screen at this point in Pokémon's history.

Finally, it's time to talk about the most important new part of Pokémon X and Y -- the new Pokémon! Now, let's be real here -- there will always be haters. There will never be a point that that every single player likes the all new Pokémon. Sometimes you can't even blame them. You gotta catch 'em all, and one of 'em is… an ice cream cone? Well, I guess if I simply GOTTA catch 'em all…

I must say, I'm one of those people that isn't a huge fan of each and every new Pokémon. A lot of the X and Y Pokémon are fairly cool, but sometimes I dislike that the animation style has gotten cuter and cuter. Yes, some people love cute Pokémon, like Eevee's new evolution Sylveon, which is the new type, fairy type. For the first time, they straight-up changed some old Pokémons' types so that some normal types, like Clefairy, are now fairy-type. I'm more of a fan of the badass Pokémon, personally, and fairy type is strong against my personal favourite Pokémon, dragon type. Yes, I understand that it's necessary, in order to balance out the once overpowered type. It's actually a great move to even things up. I'm still grumpy, though. Many people will like the cuteness of fairy type Pokémon, anyway, as well as the new moves that come along with the new type.

If you're anything like me, you won't be completely disappointed by this generation -- the creators did a rather good job of creating an array of Pokémon looks to please various kinds of fans. Both legendaries look really cool -- mysterious, yet awesome, which is really how anything with the title of "legendary" should look. plus there aren't 150 new Pokémon this time. this could be thought of as slacking off, but in this case it seems like quality over quantity. They're probably running out of ideas for new Pokémon anyway. Perhaps that's why they added mega evolutions in -- give certain Pokémon a mega stone, and they'll temporarily evolve into epic, cool new form mid-battle. It's a fun twist on the age-old evolutions that have been around since the 90's.

There are also new mini-games you can play almost any time during the games, so that you can buff particular stats, and make your Pokémon pals exactly to your liking. They're fun and not too tough. If you have a tendency to grind, you'll find yourself playing these games for hours, especially now that there's an item you can  get early in the game that allows EXP to be shared amongst your team. You'll definitely still be playing for hours. And hours, and hours, and hours…

So, if you like Pokémon, you're probably going to love X and Y -- in fact, I'd be surprised if you haven't already bought them. They're everything we've loved about Pokémon, and everything we've ever wanted from Pokémon. It'll be fun to see where they could possibly take the franchise next.

Pokemon X / Y on Amazon | ebay

Released: 2013-10-12
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Game Freak 


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