Pokemon was created in 1996, and has since exploded into a large part of many people’s childhoods. Starting at 151 Pokemon, the colorful cast of characters has skyrocketed to a mind boggling 718 Pokemon. over the course of six generations. Pokemon X and Pokemon Y, which were announced earlier this year, are the latest brother-and-sister titles in the series, which were released globally just last week. Now, I would consider myself a fan of the series, but, like anything else I like, I can be quick to point out the flaws in the games. I didn’t take a liking to Black 2/White 2, and I figured I was just kind of done with the series; however, after looking at the upcoming sixth generation of Pokemon and deciding to buy it for the low low price of “practically free,” what do I think of it?
Honestly, it’s pretty sweet. What I really like about X/Y is the fact that it’s newcomer friendly, yet still has plenty of focus on returning players. Everything from simple movements to in-depth mechanics are plain better than what’s been presented in the series so far, and common complaints and feedback have been responded to. Menus are streamlined and easier to navigate through, traveling has been fleshed out and expanded upon, and overall, it just has “Let’s cut the bullshit” kind of feel to it, letting new player ease into the experience while freshening up the game for seasoned trainers. Just the fact that you can customize your character, which is something EVERYONE’S been waiting for, has finally been added makes these games feel like Pokemon is finally moving forward after the stagnation of generation 5.
I’ve been playing all week, and even though I’m extremely close to the final stretch of the game, I still find myself wandering around finding new things, buying clothes, and finding new Pokemon to catch. EV Training is a lot easier thanks to Super Training, and there’s so many little things to check out it’s like I haven’t even seem them all. The online connectivity is chock full of more than just “battle, trade, or play MS Paint on a DS,” and there’s simply more to do now than just battling and breeding.
It’s also nice to see every Pokemon from previous generations rendered with 3D models, and even the new generation has some really awesome designs, such as Doublade, Noivern, Tyrantrum, and Greninja. Some people might argue”omg Pogemans runnin out of ideazorz,” but generation 1 had some pretty stupid designs as well, so check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Of course, every game has a catch, and even though Pokemon X/Y has a ton of features really going for it, it has shortcomings. For starters, the EXP Share item has been buffed to ridiculous standards. In older games past Gold and Silver, a Pokemon holding EXP share would always get a minimum of 25% of the experience, even if it didn’t participate in the fight. This made training weaker Pokemon a godsend in some situations, as they were too frail to fight tougher Pokemon and catch up at a reasonable pace. X/Y’s EXP Share gives half of the EXP gained to everyone in the party, meaning you can keep your party within the same level range with almost no effort. It makes you feel like GameFreak is semi-holding your hand, making sure your Pokemon don’t fall behind and you get stuck. true, this is useful for first time players, but for experienced players, it’s a mixed bag.
Mega Evolutions are another thing I’m not too crazy about. Digimon-ripoff jokes aside, it doesn’t really bring anything to the table except redesigns of existing Pokemon. Sure, they look cool and give stat boosts, but that’s about it. What effect will Mega Evolutions have on competitive Pokemon battling? Will it completely overturn it, leaving normal Pokemon in the dust? Will they be banned outright, completely negating any importance of them being there in the first place? We’ll have to wait a while and see what the competitive scene says, but it’s still iffy to me.
Another thing is the restriction of using the 3DS’s 3D feature. utilizing 3D can tax the console’s resources, so Pokemon X/Y restricts you from using it except in battle and for certain cutscenes. Even without 3D on, the frame rate in battles can start to drop, making it one of the few handheld games I’ve played that actually has frame rate drops. While this was probably done to accommodate Pokemon X/Y’s already looming data problem (with 700+ individual 3D models/animations), it’s still a sneaky way to hide a restriction of the one of the console’s main features.
Other than those issues, I can’t think of any other problems that immediately turn me off to the game. If you have a 3DS, I’d seriously consider this if you want to expand your RPG selection. The pros easily outweigh the cons, especially when you compare the progression of the series from Generation 4 to 5 and the progression of Generation 5 to 6. If you love(d) Pokemon, this is a great title to pick up; you’ll easily get your money’s worth. In fact, even IF I paid $40 for it on release day, which would be miraculous considering I almost never buy things on release day because money/hatred for newer releases, I’d still be happy, and that’s saying a good bit.
Now you just have to decide which one to buy.