It’s been a year since the last Pokémon game, and this time, Game Freak comes out swinging. Pokémon X and Y are very possibly two of the best Pokémon games to come out since Emerald in 2005.
What is immediately striking about Pokémon X and Y, even in the trailers and gameplay videos, is that it is the most aesthetically pleasing Pokémon game to date. With vibrant, lush colors, updated Pokémon, and new perspectives that change as you walk from place to place, the amount of eye candy in X and Y is ridiculous. Pokémon moves have been redone and fleshed out, the scenery is expansive, and Game Freak thoughtfully picked out several areas in the game where you can take a photo of yourself with a beautiful landscape behind.
The online trade and battle systems have been updated and organized as well. Going online will yield hundreds upon hundreds of people currently playing Pokémon. It means you are never alone unless you want to be. There are several other new tidbits to the connectivity features of Pokémon, including Wonder Trade and O-Powers, which are entirely new to the series. Of course, the option of local multiplayer is still available, which can cut down on the amount of time it takes to trade and battle.
The game has streamlined a number of features to speed the game up considerably. Saving takes only a second, and it is now possible to register four items at once instead of only one. Bikes are faster than ever, and instead of only bikes and running shoes, the option of roller skates is now available.
As always, Pokémon continues to follow the same proven formula it’s always used; however, there is an interesting twist, which takes the form of Mega Evolutions. Mega Evolutions are not abilities that are immediately acquired at the start of the game. Rather, this ability becomes a part of the storyline, which balances itself against a second storyline which involves a group of evil doers wishing to harm others.
There are, however, a few downfalls to X and Y that could have otherwise really made this game shine. On both physical and digital copies, Pokémon suffers occasional lag when the 3D is turned on. This is unfortunate, especially seeing as the vast majority of the game isn’t playable in 3D despite the flashy graphics.
The plot isn’t entirely clear and concise, and the comical way in which the villains are portrayed is a noticeable step back from Pokémon Black and White, which had a much more interesting and well thought out plot. The result is that the storyline leaves a lot to be desired, leaving the rest of the imaginative work up to the gamer. Furthermore, Mega Evolutions – while extremely pleasing to look at – are slightly overrated, especially in multiplayer battles where everyone uses them.
Yet X and Y still make up for this in the number of features that are offered. Breeding and EV training are still things the most dedicated fans will look forward to, and it is now possible to play mini-games with your Pokémon as well as give them snacks and pet them. While Pokémon mini-games won’t appeal to everyone, playing them will give you quite a few benefits in battle. Many games have been jumping on the customization bandwagon lately, and Pokémon is no different. It is now possible to select your character’s skin tone, outfits, and hair, the latter two of the three which can be changed often throughout the game.
All in all, the plot for X and Y could have been more fleshed out, yet the gameplay has been so beautifully woven together with so many new features that it is a fault that can be easily overlooked.
- Pros: Fleshed out graphics in every corner of the Pokemon world. Mini games with Pokemon will appeal to a number of people. Absolute connectivity.
- Cons: Occasional frame lag when 3D is on. Most of the game isn’t viewable in 3D. Plot is lacking. Mega evolution isn’t as powerful as it could be. Lack of a wide array of StreetPass features.