Written by Twisted Ideas
Pokemon finally has the makeover that people wanted for the main series to have for a long time. The 6th Generation of Pokemon is here coming to the 3DS presented with fully 3D graphics and animations. The long-standing competitive RPG has had a very good run on the DS, all 9 of them. There was Pokemon Overload for a couple of years which saw a decline in the fan base. After taking a few years to clean up for the new handheld does Pokemon X and Y play as good as it looks.
What is it?
Pokemon X and Y is the 6th generation of Pokemon games with each generation being defined by the new Pokemon introduced to the series. You play as another trainer who has moved to a new town. You are greeted by the neighborhood children who give you your first Pokemon who you train to catch Pokemon and challenge the gym leaders and the Elite 4. They have been given a mission by Professor Sycamore to help uncover the secret behind Mega Evolutions.
“They’re starring each other down!”
The main feature advertised for X and Y is the Mega Evolutions. Certain Pokemon can hold stones allowing them to evolve during battle. Mega Evolutions last for the duration of the battle and changes appearance, ability and sometimes the type of the Pokemon. Only one Pokemon on your team can evolve during battle. The evolution prioritizes over all attacks but the faster Pokemon still attacks first.
There have been balance changes that add new items, moves and expanding move pools as per usual. There is the addition of a new type. The Fairy type is the first new type since Steel and Dark from Generation 2. Fairy is a counter to Dark and the hard to stop Dragon types. Some Pokemon have been changed to Fairy types or hybrid-Fairy types (Clefairy, Jigglypuff, Marill, etc).
There have been some tweaks to gameplay since Black and White. There are hoard encounters having you battle five of the same wild Pokemon. Sky Battles are trainers challenge your Flying Pokemon. You can register up to four items on your hot keys. You are able to change your character appearance beyond gender at the start of the game and purchase new clothing. Contests are gone but you can play minigames to increase you Pokemon’s happiness and raise Effort Values. Effort Values is a system in Pokemon that influences stat growth but it was never clearly explained. Whenever a Pokemon gained experience you some EV would go to one of the 6 stats. Super-Training, while doesn’t explain the specifics of EV’s, is a series of short minigames that raises EVs without battling.
Player Search System is an improved online system. You can save friends by exchanging friend code or remember meet passerby’s and acquaintances as you interact with them. You can trade and battle with friends or go on the Global Trading System to trade Pokemon with anyone in the world. Wonder allows you to offer a Pokemon to be traded with random players also using Wonder Trade.
How does it look?
The graphics have been updated to full 3D. The environments, Pokemon and even some trainers. Pokemon aside, the graphics don’t look that good. It wasn’t necessary but it was something people wanted and it opened possibilities for level design.
3DS games don’t have the most space in the world but it’s impressive that they rendered over 700 Pokemon even if the animations are limited. Flying Pokemon are the most animated but they and turning on the 3D drops the frame rate. The 3D isn’t great and it only works in battles and certain areas.
I believe that there are 150 new Pokemon designed for Gen 6. I didn’t play Gen 5 so I can’t tell the difference from Gen 5 and 6 Pokemon. I do like the designs from Gen 5 and 6 more than Gen 4 which felt lazy. Some still feel rehashed filling in the rolls that Gen 1 established.
How does it sound?
The sound effects haven’t changed much and hasn’t needed to. The music is well done with very good tracks during “boss” battles that plays a catchy techno track.
What do I think?
I love Pokemon but it has lost and regained my interest for various reasons. Like most kids I loved the Gen 1 and 2 games. It was a craze and the first massive RPG that a lot of people our age had played. I skipped Gen 3 because my first GBA was a DS Lite I only owned Diamond from the DS era due to my DS breaking more times than was worth fixing so missed Gen 5. I was annoyed at Nintendo around this time. I wanted to buy a new DS but year after year there were new DS and Pokemon announcements. Only now that Nintendo has slowed down and that has it become appealing to have a 3DS XL and jumping back into Pokemon.
I have always prefred catching Pokemon rather than train teams. I spent too much time in Diamond filling about 3/4 of the Pokedex. It involved having the GBA games in an original DS or Lite and transferring them over the Gen 4. When HeartGold, SoulSilver and Gen 5 were released the process was inefficient to put it nicely. You can transfer Pokemon to X and Y through Black and White. Nintendo, however, realizes that not everyone has those games or can or is willing transfer Pokemon from 9 games. The Regional Pokedex has been vastly expanded. After the Elite 4 I’ve seen 331 Pokemon and caught 170 just by catching them throughout the game and evolving my team and some quick evolutions. You see several Pokemon from all generations before the end of the game. There’s a lack of electric types but you have a huge variety of Pokemon to make your team
Mega Evolutions is a cool feature. Most designs I’ve seen are impressive however, I assumed that they would have more impact on gameplay. It’s a situational tool that you may or may not benefit from. The changes abilities and/or type may not change the outcome of a battle or even a turn, especially if it’s slowing and gets knocked out immediately.
I was never too involved with competitive Pokemon. Many of my friends don’t play the recent games. The ones that do have EV trained teams and way more about strategies then I could be bothered with. Super Training is a godsend. It simplifies this complicated process for somebody who just wants to play the game at my own pace. I do know some tactics but lacked the time to properly train a team and since I was only playing Gen 4 before this getting TMs. Spoken as an observer, Mega Evolutions doesn’t change too much about the meta-game. The ability changes aren’t new ones and so it’s probably isn’t anything you couldn’t do with other Pokemon. They can be good countering strategies plus it gives you a Pokemon a second ability in a battle. You do lose the benefit of items or berries but again I don’t know how significant is will be.
I love the changes from Gen 5 (which I missed) and X and Y. The small things like multiple registered items, asking to use repels after they ware off, sorting your bag and changing the item finder to the dowsing rod, save the grief of digging through menus.
The story usually isn’t worth mentioning in Pokemon games. They tend to revolve around the Legendaries and in this case Mega Evolutions. Before getting all the badges the game gets story heavy and pretty dark. It talks about life, death!? war and even gets a little topical. They play off the sad/depressing theme by having Team Flare be goofy. This plot stands out more than any other Pokemon that I played. Also, there’s a lot focus on Mega Evolution in the first half of the game. They let you and your friends uncover the secrets that everybody seems to know the second you can use it.
Should you get it?
This is Pokemon and you already know what you’re getting into. They made the barrier of entree lower for the competitive side by making EV training much easier and added new tweaks that are just time savers but are welcome. The graphics are nice but won’t blow your mind but having a full 3D Pokemon adventure is something fans have been wanting ever since Pokemon Stadium. With the games being titled X and Y you know that there will be a Z version down the line in case you wanted to wait.
I recommend Pokemon X and Y to fans of the series and people looking for a 3DS game that will last longer than a week. It’s a lot of fun and there’s quite a bit you can do. Hopefully there won’t be a Generation 7 anytime so we can let these games sink in a little more. One more thing, DO NOT save in Lumiose City as it will corrupt your save game.