When Pokemon X and Y versions were announced, the fanbase exploded with glee. Not because this was the first time the games weren’t named after a color or precious gem, but because we’d be getting our Pokemon in 3D for the first time. Not only that, but Nintendo promised a simultaneous worldwide release, allowing everyone to experience the game together.
As the months leading up to the games went by, we were treated to more and more tidbits of what to expect. Character customization, Fairy-type Pokemon, and Mega Evolutions were all presented with tantalizing previews of what was yet to come, keeping anticipation high until the last moment.
In spite of a few early leaks, the game was launched to a great reception. Now that it’s been out for a few days, we can take a look at all that it offers.
Pokemon X and Y are, of course, a Pokemon game, so long-time players can know what to expect: you travel the region, collecting badges from gyms and training Pokemon to be the very best, while fighting the evil team (Team Flare, in this case) whenever they pop up. It’s a formula, but it works, and we can’t complain that the game gives us exactly what we paid for.
This time, there aren’t as many new Pokemon as in previous generations, but we have Mega Evolutions to compensate for the difference. Learning about Mega Evolution is a part of the story’s driving force, and it’s presented to you in an acceptably dramatic fashion. (Plus, the henshin hero style poses the characters make when triggering the evolution is quite cool.) There’s a wide range of Pokemon that Mega Evolve, so finding the proper items for each is an enjoyable search.
There are also some small variations to the traditional story. Instead of one rival, you get a set of support characters who you occasionally battle or work together with in the confines of the story. Their characteristics are unique, if a little one-dimensional, but it’s certainly a change from running into Gary freaking Oak every time you’re about to do something important.
Then we have Team Flare. They state their goal is to make the world a more beautiful place and make people happy, but their methods are anything but beneficial for anyone except themselves (which is, of course, the point). As with previous games in the series, it turns out their goals are far more malicious than they claim, and it’s up to you to stop them.
The Kalos region is based on France, as is made clear with the architecture and designs, especially in Lumiose City. That city, in fact, is the largest one in Pokemon to date, and is not only split into three parts, but also provides a taxi service for getting around. Each city has its own look and theme, as well as a catchy theme tune.
There are a few other things that occur throughout the game that might be of note. For starters, we have the starters. Not only do you get the usual choice of fire, water, or grass Pokemon, but you get a second starter Pokemon from Professor Sycamore – in this case, you can choose one of the original starter Pokemon from the first generation: Squirtle, Charmander, and Bulbasaur. At the moment, players can also receive a free Torchic from Mystery Gift via Nintendo WiFi, so that’s three starter Pokemon from previous generations right off the bat.
Speaking of Pokemon themselves, the game does not limit the players to Kalos-only Pokemon. In the very first patch of grass, one can encounter a huge variety of bugs, birds, and basic Pokemon; I had my team full before I even reached the second town.
The game is also in no rush to have you get all the badges; the gap between the first and second gym is immense, allowing players to level up quite a bit before facing it. With the Exp. Share item players receive early on, it’s easy to over-level and sweep cleanly through the rest of the game.
However, the wireless and WiFi features offered by the 3DS are not to be overlooked. A player can constantly remain connected to friends from all over, as long as they’re online. They can provide bonuses called “O-Powers,” make trades, and battle by sending a quick request. There’s also the “Wonder Trade,” which is a blind trade between two random players from anywhere. You can get anything, from a rare Pokemon to a basic one for Pokedex completion, although admittedly, most players will just toss whatever useless one they have no use for on it.
In order to spice up the variety of the players, the games now offer character customization. You can change your skin tone, clothes, hair, and even eye color after finding the appropriate stores. Sure, it’s a little expensive at times, but the variety means few players will look exactly the same.
There’s so much more to do and see in these games than a single review can go over without providing spoilers, but that’s just another point in their favor. Pokemon X and Y versions are outstanding additions to the Pokemon series, sure to please fans new and old alike. I’d like to say more, but there’s a legendary Pokemon for me to catch, and I shouldn’t keep it waiting.