Many developers have been going darker with the tones of stories lately. It's time we stop asking definitively if this is a good or bad thing and consider the artistic value at hand.
E3 Preview: Pokemon X and Y – The Pokemon Game We’ve Been Waiting For?
Pokemon X and Y is set to revolutionize Pokemon games as we know them, with even more new Pokemon to catch and a whole host of new features. It’s fair to say that the hype for the new titles has reached an almost-explosive level, with fans anticipating the new sky battle mode, ridable Pokemon and much more. With the recent Nintendo Direct broadcast from E3, and the following Pokemon developer roundtable, let’s have a look and see whether this could be the Pokemon game to end all Pokemon games.
First things first, I absolutely love Pokemon. I’ve played it since the original games so I know it’s a huge feat to try and compare a new game to one like Pokemon Blue, but from what I’ve seen so far (through E3, the Pokemon Developer Roudtable and various other sources) Pokemon X and Y is shaping up to be a great next chapter in the title.
Firstly Pokemon X and Y is set in a beautiful region based around France. Why France I hear you ask? According to Nintendo it’s because France is focused on beauty, and so is Kalos. This could signal the return of the beauty pageants, which could be a great thing depending on how you play Pokemon. Not much else has really been revealed about Kalos yet, so it’s all impressions of the few pictures we’ve seen so far. The screens do show how beautiful the land is meant to be, but I’m hoping it boasts more than simply beauty contests.
Next we have the new Pokemon, all 15 of them. Based on previous generations we can safely assume that there will be at least 100 new Pokemon, and the few that we’ve seen so far are quite interesting, to say the least. First you have the three new starters: Chespin, Fennekin and Froakie. Nothing new about their types, but the Pokemon themselves don’t look too bad (I already know I’ll be starting with Fennekin, since I love fire Pokemon). Then we have the next round of announcements: Pancham, Fletchling, Gogoat and Helioptile. Pancham is the Panda with attitude, Fletchling is a Japanese Robin, Helioptile (perhaps the strangest of this new lot) appears to be an electric lizard and finally we have Gogoat, the most exciting of the new batch. The arrival of Gogoat introduces an eagerly-anticipated new mechanic, mounts. From previous trailers we’ve already seen that you can ride Gogoat around like you would use a bicycle, and it’s also been seen that you can use Rhyhorn on your travels. I’m really wondering what other Pokemon you can use as well, and if the new Professor will tell you it’s ‘not the right time’ to ride your Pokemon as well!
Of course you have the new announcements, Vivillon, Noivern, Clauncher and Skrelp (who made their appearances around the Nintendo E3 and Pokemon Developer Roundtables), the already existing legendaries (Xerneas and Yveltal) and even more that were recently announced. There’s even new forms of old Pokemon, namely the Awakened Mewtwo. I really want to know how Mewtwo manages to change form but Nintendo and Game Freak are being very secretive. All in all the new Pokemon look good (some a little strange, as per usual with the games) and they also bring a variety of new moves to play with, as well as rekindling some older ones. For example Vivillon, the Bug/Flying Scales Pokemon, learns Struggle Bug which damages the enemy while lowering their Special Attack. Talonflame, the evolution of Fletchling announced at the Pokemon Developer Roundtable, knows Brave Bird, which deals massive damage but damages your Pokemon as well. Hopefully we’ll see more announcements soon.
The last, and possibly most controversial, Pokemon to be added to the roster was the new evolution for Eevee, which comes with an entirely new type of Pokemon. I’m not going to get into the argument of whether the new type was actually needed or not (I’ve had this many times in person and it never seems to get old) but Sylveon introduces the Fairy type into the game. Fairy was introduced in an attempt to balance out the ‘unfair advantage’ that Dragon Pokemon have – until now Dragon were only weak against Dragon and Ice, but now there’s another one that will hit pure dragons and dual-types alike. Several existing Pokemon have already been made this new type, including Gardevoir and Jigglypuff, so it’s going to be interesting to see how the game plays out. What are Fairy weak against? Are they only good against Dragons? And what other Pokemon are going to be changed to or introduced as Fairy types?
The main issue people seem to have with the Pokemon games is that they are relatively the same. The team may change, and they may be set in different regions, but roughly the main mechanics and gameplay are quite similar. While Pokemon X and Y are generally quite similar to previous installments, for example you will still be against an enemy team and your overall goal is to ‘catch them all’. However Pokemon X and Y already promises to add several features that may make investing your money a bit more worthwhile. For starters we have two new battle modes: Sky Battles and Horde Battles. Sky battles, as you might have guessed, will be taking part in the sky, and will make use of mainly flying Pokemon. Certain other Pokemon will also be usable, and the trailer shows Haunter being used, so we know Pokemon that Levitate can take part. You can check this trailer out a bit lower down. The second mode is Horde mode, which promises exciting 5 vs 1 battles. This was apparently put in place to stop you getting an uber-powerful Pokemon and just blitzing through the game. They are also meant to give you more experience, which is pretty great. This’ll help to keep gameplay fresh and provide more challenges in the game, which I was definitely waiting for. You can have a look at both modes in the trailer below:
We can’t forget about the Pokemon Amie and PPS now! Pokemon Amie is a new way of interacting with your Pokemon and increasing the bond between you and them. You can pet them, look after them and even copy their actions to make them happy. In turn this should help with the bonding so you’ll be able to get your special Pokemon evolved (like Lucario). I’m probably going to end up spending hours on this, just trying to freak my Pikachu out and treating it like my little cyber pet. We’re also going to get the Pokemon Search System, which allows for much easier interactions with trainers. You can search globally and trade or battle with the touch of a button. Also when you interact with people they will now become Acquaintances and Friends, which is pretty awesome.
A minor feature I’m looking forward to is the character customisation, which will be visible through the PSS. You can change your character’s hair and appearance to a minor degree, which is a first for Pokemon games. It lets you get a little more personal with your Pokemon journey, so even though it’s a minor feature it’s still pretty awesome.
Overall Pokemon X and Y is looking to be a pretty awesome game. Sure there will probably be the corny talking moments (e.g the famous ‘I like shorts, they’re comfy and easy to wear’ child) and the gameplay will be pretty standard for Pokemon, but it’s this story that we all know and love. Purely on what I’ve seen so far it will definitely be a game I’m pre-ordering – the only question is do I get Pokemon X or Pokemon Y?