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Pokemon X and Y Review: The Definitive Generation
Pokemon as a series has been around for an extremely long time, with titles spanning across eight Nintendo consoles and handhelds. While various spinoffs have been developed and released to varying receptions, fans always flock to a main series game, such as X and Y. Picking up X and Y for the first time, you will not think you are playing a Pokemon game until you step into tall grass for the first time. While the game takes a different approach in the way that it does many things, it keeps around some of the most memorable features that we have seen in Pokemon games.
As always, players are given a starter Pokemon, although this happens much faster in X and Y than any other main series game. Within ten minutes you will find yourself with a starter Pokemon, and be on your way through the world. Throughout the game, you will encounter other Pokemon in tall grass, rivers and oceans, and even some caves. These Pokemon that you encounter, as long as they are not owned by another Trainer, can be captured by you using a Pokeball, or something similar. The game rewards you for capturing and training multiple Pokemon, as each one has a unique elemental typing that will be used to gain an advantage over a Pokemon with an opposite typing. You are allowed to carry up to six Pokemon with you at a time, layering on an additional tier of strategy, as oftentimes you must choose which elements to bring, and which Pokemon you want to represent these elements, as each creature has their own stats that determine how they perform in battle.
While all of this may not seem new to anyone who has even dabbled with a Pokemon game before, I assure that there are several changes to the formula. First of all, a new type has been introduced with X and Y, the Fairy type, that counteracts some of the stronger types in the game, to help balance out the competitive side of the games. Speaking of the competitive aspect, X and Y does a terrific job of allowing you to battle or trade wherever you are. On the 3DS’ bottom screen is a selection of the three tiles, the Player Search System (PSS), Pokemon-Amie, and Super Training. The PSS allows players to communicate in various ways with real trainers that are either their friends, or who may be playing the game right now, either over the internet or physically near the player. Pokemon-Amie, on the other hand, seems to be trying to appeal to the younger audience that Pokemon draws in, as it involves petting, feeding, and playing mini-games with your Pokemon. Although it seems kind of silly at first, I found myself petting with most of the Pokemon in my main party, as their affection for sometimes has a positive effect in battle. Finally, Super Training is mostly there for the competitive scene. Super Training consists of several mini-games, each based on a stat that a Pokemon can have, such as HP, Attack, and Defense. Completing these mini-games increase the Pokemon’s base value in that stat.
The region of Kalos that you will explore throughout Pokemon X and Y is vast and varied, as one would expect from a Pokemon game. You will journey across fields, trek across mountains, and even battle your way through a haunted house or factory every once in a while. While the region itself is wonderful to explore, the story of Pokemon X and Y leaves much to be desired. As always, this Pokemon game features an evil team, Team Flare, who is trying to achieve some horrendous goal which varies slightly in each version. They also introduced characters along the way that I either did not care about, or forgot existed when they showed up 30 hours later. While I do not ever play a Pokemon game for the story, it seems like X and Y’s story was purposefully neglected, which is somewhat disappointing.
After beating the game, which involves collecting eight gym badges across the region by battling strong trainers, defeating Team Flare, and defeating the current Pokemon Champion, a few more activities are opened up for the player to enjoy. One example is that after beating the game and doing a few tasks afterwards, you are able to hunt for mega stones from 8pm to 9pm every day. While the time limit is a little frustrating, I had a blast scouring the world over again looking for these strange rocks. Once found, a mega stone can be held by the respective Pokemon. Then, in battle, that Pokemon will be able to mega evolve into a much stronger or faster version of itself. Using mega Pokemon are fun, although you won’t usually find a need for it unless you are fighting a tough trainer or want to show off to your friends.
While Pokemon X and Y suffers from a poor story like many other Pokemon games, I cannot say much worse about the game. If you are a fan of the Pokemon series in general, check out Pokemon X and Y. The new 3D visuals bring some of your favorite Pokemon to life, and the animations strewn throughout the game for the various attacks and idles are fantastic to watch. These games may seem designed with kids in mind, but they come with layers of strategy mixed into them. If you are looking for a game that will test your skills in some places, and also allow to collect over 300 different types of Pokemon in one game, then X and Y are for you.