Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pokemon X/Y Review

I've been playing Pokemon for the majority of my life. I started to play back on the Gameboy Color with Pokemon Red, then I started to play Pokemon Silver after that. My parents bought me a Gameboy Advance SP when I was in elementary school and it was bundled with Pokemon Sapphire. For Pokemon Pearl, I bought it a few weeks after it came out and never completed it. I don't remember why, but I was never able to actually get through it all. I skipped the fifth gen, Black and White, because the game just didn't look impressive to me. It looked like a step back for the series and didn't have the same spark as previous games. But now we have Pokemon X and Y, the first sixth gen games and the first 3DS Pokemon games. Does it have the same spark and passion that made me fall in love with the series?

Just by saying the name Pokemon, you already know what kind of a game it is. You catch monsters, train them, catch bigger monsters, and be the best monster catcher there ever was. It's been like that for 15 years, and Pokemon X and Y don't change that formula. It's pretty much the exact same game as the first gen games in terms of gameplay, which isn't a bad thing at all. There's a reason people are so dedicated to Pokemon, and that's because it's simple, easy to learn, yet hard to master.

It's all fun and games until a Snorlax eats you
To be frank, because Pokemon games are so similar to each other in plot, gameplay, and even in terms of music, the only way to really judge the game is by the new things that X and Y bring to the Pokemon world. While there may not have been significant changes made to the basic formula, the things that were added did a lot to balance the game out and make it more accessible to all players, yet losing the difficulty of previous gens. 

The biggest addition to the game has to be the new 3D graphics. All of the Pokemon have 3D models and the battles are now dynamic, with each move having it's own special animation shown in a full 3D environment. And they are beautiful. Seeing Pokemon fight each other in stunning graphics shows just how lively the Pokemon can  be and how interesting the battles can become because of it. Black and White just had the sprites going through preset animations (ugly ones at that), so it makes a huge difference seeing fully fleshed out Pokemon and watching them move around. 

The other biggest addition is the newest type of Pokemon; the fairy type. To be perfectly fair, while I do appreciate the type balancing that fairies do (being strong to fighting and dragon, but weak to poison and steel), they don't have much use besides that. There are certainly a plethora of fairy type Pokemon, but only around 10 or so attacks and moves for them to use. I like how the game is fair and having a dragon type Pokemon doesn't guarantee victory, but a bit more moves would have made them truly useful is battle instead of just being used for it's type. 

I know this is from the anime, but LOOK AT THE EEVEE'S!!!
There's also Mega Pokemon, but they're irrelevent in the grand scheme of things. The process on how to get Mega Stones is convoluted and don't apply to every Pokemon, so you're better of just building up a team and if that team just so happens to have a Pokemon that can be a Mega Pokemon, then lucky you. Most Pokemon can't become Mega Pokemon, which is fine, but some of the choices are just bizarre. Was anyone clamoring for a Mega Mawile or a Mega Absol? However, they are cool and when used, they are amazing. It's just that they don't live up to the hype is all. 

How about the new mini games included? There's EV training, which can bump up your Pokemon's base stats and help you out in battle, Pokemon-Amie where you can play with your Pokemon to grow affection for it, stylists to change your outfit and wardrobe, and even a video studio where you can make your own little video of your trainer. All in all, these features are fun, but never really detract away from the main game, which is a very good thing. The mini games are there for people who just want to have fun with their Pokemon or style their own character. They're not integral to the main game, but are just little bonuses for anyone who's interested in them. 

And of course, there's the new Pokemon. The most obvious thing about the new Pokemon this gen is that there are such a small amount of new Pokemon. Not counting Mega Pokemon, there are less than 70 new Pokemon in the game, which I honestly don't have a problem with. People have begun to measure how much they'll like a Pokemon based on how many new Pokemon there are, but it's the improvements to the gameplay that matter most. I would much rather have the game be balanced than have a lot of creatures to fight in an imbalanced game. That being said, the new Pokemon all are very nicely designed, with only about one or two of them being just plain terrible designs ( I'm looking at you Diggersby...). 

Obligatory post on how soulless Espurr is.
At the end of the day though, besides the new Pokemon, types, mini games, and graphics, is the game fun? Undeniably so. It took me a solid 25 hours to beat the game, and event hen I still wanted to play more. Friend Safari has you getting new Pokemon by passing friends, the battle mansion allows you to keep fighting new opponents for fun, there's the National Dex, and so many other things to do in the game that I can't mention everything in this review. This is the most extensive Pokemon game to date and has so much to offer both old and new fans. 

This game may just be balancing the Pokemon formula, but X and Y has fine tuned the series into an addictive monster that everyone will want to play for years to come. Is this my favorite Pokemon game? In terms of how much I lvoe it, no. In terms of gameplay, yes. This is Pokemon personified, and while I may always choose Gold and Silver as my default Pokemon game, X and Y is going to be at my side when my Gameboy's battery dies. I give Pokemon X and Y 5 Pokemon in a horde out of 5. 

Oh, and my team is Drifblim, Dedenne, Ludicolo, Houndoom, Delcatty, and Dragalge. Come at me. 

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