With the release of Pokemon X and Y on October 12, Nintendo not only brought the franchise to 3D, but also breathed new life into one of its most popular series of games. As an avid Pokemon player since the age of 5, (my first title was Special Yellow Edition), I’ll admit to being less than thrilled with the series’ fifth generation titles, Black and White, and their sequels, Black and White 2. They just seemed lackluster. The new Pokemon designs were less than stellar, and the plot was predictable and worn out. While I’ve played all the other titles in the Pokemon Saga at least two to three times, I played my copy of White through once and never even finished my copy of Black 2. Pokemon was losing its appeal for me.
The release of X and Y was the only reason I bought a 3DS. And I’m happy I did. Pokemon X and Y features stellar graphics, awesome new features, and inventive Pokemon designs. My first favorite new feature is the character customization, a feature that is completely new to the franchise. At the beginning of the game, you are given three different versions of your respective character to choose from, with differing skin, hair and eye colors. As you get farther along in the game, you are able to change you hair cut and color, eye color, and even clothes. This customization personalizes your character’s icon in the PSS, or Player Search System, a program that allows you to battle and trade with other trainers around the world. A feature of the PSS, the Wonder Trade, allows you to offer one of your Pokemon up for trade. The PSS links you up with another trainer from anywhere around the world and trades your Pokemon for theirs. It’s pretty addicting, as you never know what Pokemon you’ll be getting in return for your little creature.
Another feature of this game is Pokemon Amie, a program that allows you to pet, feed, and play games with your Pokemon. Not only is this an extremely cute and fun way to bond with your little creatures; it has battle advantages. At full affection, Pokemon will land critical hits more often during battles, dodge moves and shrug off status effects. You can also pet your Pokemon mid-battle by swiping the stylus across the bottom screen.
This game, unlike its predecessors, which were prone to releasing around 150 new creatures, only introduced 70 new Pokemon. The game has 454 available for capture, 384 of those from earlier generations. But the low count of new creatures is more of an asset than a loss. It accounts for more inventive designs and less throwaway designs made for quantity rather than quality. A personal favorite of mine is Sylveon, the fairy-type evolution of Eevee. The Fairy type was introduced in this generation, bringing the count of types of Pokemon up to 18. Fairy-type is weak to Steel and Poison, and Super Effective against Dragon, Dark and Fighting. The type advantage over Dragon targets a type that was previously only weak to two types: itself and Ice.
New to this generation are Mega Evolutions. Certain fully-evolved Pokemon can hold an item called a Mega Stone. After a point in the game, you can “Mega Evolve” these Pokemon once per battle. The Pokemon returns to its normal form after the battle, but while it is Mega Evolved, the Pokemon has higher stats and is all around more powerful.
The graphics are stunning, as to be expected from a game on the 3DS. Battle scenes now look like a movie, with multiple camera angles and effects. Pokemon move around in their spots and attack enemies in unique ways. Delphox, the final evolution of fire starter Fennekin, casts special-type attacks with a wand.
As for replay value, I have currently clocked up 150 (!) hours on my copy of Y. It’s that addicting. I beat the Elite Four and became the Champion weeks ago, but I’m still playing, because there are many things to do post game. I’m unwilling to restart and lose all the progress I’ve made, so it seems I’ll have to buy X if I’d like to begin from the start again.
Pokemon X and Y breathed life into a dying series and made way for the future of one of Nintendo’s most popular series. Its graphics, features, and plot make it one of the most addicting games I’ve ever played. I am eager to see where the franchise goes next with its games.