"The Ultimate Pokémon Experience"
There are so many things done correctly in Pokémon X and Pokémon Y that it's almost impossible to encapsulate it all into one review. I'll do my best to communicate the magnitude of evolution that the series has gone through with these new entries into the series. However, reading about these games vs. experiencing them is astronomically different.
Let's get the obvious out of the way, this game looks good. Pokémon X and Pokémon Y mark the first time that all of the creatures are rendered in full 3D. We've all seen what Pokémon can look like in full 3D on consoles, but it's great to finally have the experience on a handheld looking as great as it does. The 3D treatment comes complete with a full 3D overhaul of the world map replete with a sweeping camera that shows off how great everything looks. Seeing the Kalos region fully realized in 3D not only gives me great hope for the future of the series, but it also allowed me to appreciate how powerful the 3Ds really. The 3D slider, however, doesn't alter the field of depth for the game. In truth, the 3D only added to a select few gaming experiences, so this isn't a loss in my book, but it is something to be noted. The lack of 3D doesn't detract from the experience.
Beyond the graphics, the improvements that were implemented into the games makes the experience easier to understand, and it lifts the veil from some of the more complicated mechanics of the series. The first is that raising your Pokémon's base stats (or EVs) has been made easier with the introduction of Super Training. Super Training lets you play mini-games which will raise a Pokémon's base stats in correspondence to the type of minigame and the difficulty. With Super Training, the old methods of EV training are completely obsolete, and with good reason. Instead of battling several hundred Pokémon to raise one particular stat, you can just begin playing the mini-games immediately and invest into the stats that you want your Pokémon to have. In addition to streamlining the stat training, gaining a Pokémon's affection has also been made easier with the new Pokémon-Amie feature. With Pokémon-Amie, you pet and feed your Pokémon to raise their affections towards you and it even has benefits in game. A Pokémon with maxed affections will do things like shrug off status effects, land more critical hits, and dodge more often thanks to its bond with you.
However, these new features are very addicting. I found myself sinking countless hours into perfecting my Pokémon's base stats and ensuring that everyone's affections were maximized. Because of this, I spent a very long time standing in one place and not fully enjoying everything the games have to offer. It was a personal choice, but still, it only feels fair to warn players that it's easy to lose time in the subfeatures of the game and rack up the hours doing nothing but preparing to play.
Once you are playing though, everything is standard Pokémon, and that's far from a bad thing. The battles are still turn-based, and the biggest change that battling has received is the introduction of the Fairy type, which is completely immune to Dragon-type moves. This is done in response to the overwhelming power of Dragon types and to also make type diversity a more lucrative idea. Fairy type Pokémon are made available very early in the game; there isn't a long wait until the new type is made available to you. Personally, I'm intrigued about the long term effects that the Fairy type will have on the game, and so far the change hasn't been too jarring for a veteran like me.
Then, there's the very jarring introduction of Mega-evolutions. Mega Evolutions are temporary evolutions that certain Pokémon can undergo for an increase in power during battle. A Mega evolved Pokémon will change its appearance and receive a significant boost to its stats. This severe increase in power makes battles easier and adds a new layer of strategy to player battles. Only one Pokémon on your team can Mega Evolve per battle, so deciding which to evolve can be a challenge. The Mega Stone for the Pokémon also takes up its item slot, which means that you'll be forgoing any other beneficial items for a boost in power. The dynamic makes the game interesting, and most of the Mega Evolutions that I've seen so far look incredibly cool and are a blast to play with.
Thanks to the 3DS's wireless capabilities, trading and battling with your friends has never been easier. Everything can be accessed from the new P.S.S. (Player Search System), which detects players in your vicinity and allows you to interact with them on the touch screen. With a quick tap, you can trade with friends, battle, and socialize, all without needing to be at a Pokémon center. Thanks to my location, a fair amount of trading has already occurred, and a battle is nothing more than a word away. With just a tap, you can also hop onto the internet to socialize, trade, and battle with the thousands of players who also have the game. Trading across the globe has also made the world of Pokémon infinitely easier to get into.
The idea of streamlining the Pokémon experience truly seems to be the impetus behind these games. Pokémon X and Pokémon Y have truly evolved the franchise. There's a laundry list of features that I haven't gotten the opportunity to address like the new Team Flare and the very in-depth trainer customization. These are two games that demonstrate how a series, which are almost as old as handheld gaming, can be brought into the modern realm of gaming successfully without losing their quintessential essence. These games will please new and old fans alike, and their incredible depth will ensure that they'll withstand the test of time until the next generation of Pokémon.
GameDynamo's Score for Pokémon Y (3DS)
|Joey Blackwell II
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Avid gamer who's more passionate about writing. Hopes to be a renowned writing voice in the world someday, while still being addicted to games.
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