Published on May 22nd, 2014 | by Dembonez191
Review: Pokémon X/Y
Developer: Game Freak
Publishers: Nintendo, The Pokémon Company
Release Date: October 12, 2013
Game Freak has gone the extra mile and mixed things up for the latest generation of Pokémon, but what all has changed? What makes this game stand out against its predecessors? There is a lot of ground to cover, but this review should fill you in on what’s most important.
First and foremost, let’s talk about what has stayed relatively the same. Pokémon X and Y have not strayed off of the path that the generations before have followed. You begin your journey at home, you have rivals, there is a primary antagonistic group, and you battle gym leaders to hopefully one day become a Pokémon master. This is a formula we are all familiar with, and it’s okay to keep that the same in this series because that is the point of Pokémon.
On the other hand, the story this time was a little outrageous. Without going too deeply into it, Generation 5 had a much more compelling and thought-out story. While this one didn’t necessarily seem thrown together, it was a bit too bizarre. On top of that, some of the characters that should have been fleshed out more after their initial appearance weren’t seen very much at all afterwards. It all felt like these character connections that we made in the beginning weren’t fleshed out enough, so they either fell flat or were one-dimensional. The rivals received a similar treatment, and I believe the reason for this was that there were too many characters in the plot to give any one character that much attention.
Enough about the story though. The Pokémon are what make this series shine, and while not as many were introduced with Kalos as they have been in the past, it didn’t feel like this generation was lacking in Pokémon at all. Just like in Black 2 and White 2, previous generations of Pokémon were found early on and again throughout the game giving fans of the earlier generations the pleasure in capturing their favorite Pokémon in 3D! The routes had enough new Pokémon so that it wasn’t merely a rehash of games before it full of Pokémon we’ve seen before, so all in all, the lack of newcomers isn’t that big a deal. Mega Evolutions also somewhat satiated the need for new Pokémon, but that will be mentioned a bit later in this review.
The battle system has also remained relatively the same although the new animations look especially nice. As a fan of the 3D Stadium and Colosseum type games, there was a lot of appreciation given towards the move animations as well as the animations of the Pokémon. Some of the idle animations gave each Pokémon lots of personality (e.g. Cinccino and Greninja) while other idle animations simply fell flat (e.g. Xatu and Tropius). Still, seeing the Pokémon battle in 3D is a treat, and it looks great overall! Some different stages online would be nice though just to break the monotony of the blue background with a faux audience cheering everyone on. At least the option to change the battle theme is available.
Now onto what’s new. There is so much to cover here, but a good place to start would be the Player Search System or “PSS” for short. This little gadget is the player’s go-to when it comes to doing anything online. The PSS replaces the Pokémon Center in that now you can battle or trade anywhere and can automatically connect online without having to do it time and time again as you had to do in previous games. This makes on-the-spot communication with other players much quicker.
Along with making trades and battling with your friends, you have access to the Global Link and Battle Spot which allow you to both trade and battle with random players just as easily. With Battle Spot, you can choose to participate in a Free Battle or a Ranked Battle which, if you played the games before this, basically determines whether or not your battles will be scored among other players and posted publicly on the freshly updated Global Link website. The other difference is that in Free Battles, anything goes; including the use of legendary Pokémon that would have been banned from use online in previous games. These Pokémon are still banned from participating in Ranked matches as well as the Battle Institute and the Battle Maison (this generation’s Battle Subway).
There is one type of trade that is unlike any other that has ever been, and that is Wonder Trade. This could reward you or cause you to wish you never tried it because what it does is it sends your Pokémon out into the world to trade with some random soul who sent his or her random Pokémon out at the same time. You never know what you will receive from Wonder Trade. It could be something amazing, or it could be something from one of the early routes that someone decided they didn’t want. Overall, however, this is a very cool new way to trade because the good typically outweighs the bad as long as you don’t trade away something irreplaceable for a Pidgey. Besides, whether you get something good or not, you still earn Poké Miles which you can use to get some pretty cool stuff either in the game or on the Global Link site linked above!
O-Powers are brand new to Pokémon and provide a brand new way to play in-game. These little boosts have absolutely no affect online or inside the institutions, but they can certainly give you the edge in battle against in-game trainers. What O-Powers do is they provide a boost much like using an item like X Attack for example without wasting a turn in the process. So instead of taking a turn to boost your attack, your friend could send you an Attack O-Power that automatically activates in the battle BEFORE your attack! There are other extremely useful O-Powers that are quite popular including one that improves capture rate. This is used especially for those pesky legendaries that just don’t want to stay inside their Poké Balls. There are plenty more O-Powers to play around with, and they certainly add to the in-game experience.
That covers just about all of what the PSS offers except for the social aspect! With the PSS, you can talk to your friends via voice chat. It also grants you easy access to see who is online to battle or trade. If you are looking for just anyone to battle or trade, you can create a shout out requesting it and either an acquaintance (someone you’ve battled/traded with before) or a passerby (random people that show up) could acknowledge you! This system has a few hiccups though. Acquaintances and passerby can become annoying with their attempts to contact you. Luckily, both of these can be disabled using your PSS options. Furthermore, your very best friends can be saved as favorites to make it so that they don’t get lost in the crowd if many people are online at once!
The PSS contains some other features including a Holo Caster which updates you on Pokémon-related and in-game events, a link to your PR video which is a cool promotional video you can create of yourself and your Pokémon in Lumiose City, and finally profile editing doodads that you can customize to reveal a little more about yourself. Those are fairly minor, but they still complete the PSS nicely.
Phew! Now onto some of the newly introduced stand-alone features. One of these is Super Training. With many people being introduced to something called EV (effort value) training in earlier generations, Super Training was added to sort of speed up the process. Unfortunately, Super Training is still slow, and people have resorted to something called “horde training” instead which I will talk about soon. There are still some incentives to using Super Training. One of these incentives is item collection. There are some evolutionary stones that are rare in the game. Using Super Training could grant you these stones more quickly than you could find them. The other incentive is the use of punching bags. These can be stockpiled to use later, and the Reset Bag is one bag in particular that is useful if a Pokémon’s effort values are all wrong.
Hordes have been introduced to Kalos as a cluster of slightly under-leveled Pokémon that attack you in any given route. The Pokémon that have been assigned to hordes change from route to route, and each Pokémon gives out its own effort values which makes the training process much easier for people who prefer to train quickly. Casual players could take advantage of hordes as well by gaining experience quickly! Just like with Audino in Black and White, hordes give you a little extra umph to boost your Pokémon both in stats and in levels. Plus, there is a higher chance of finding an elusive shiny Pokémon in one of these hordes, and that is always a fun surprise!
Back to one of the PSS’s neighbors, Pokémon Amie is an adorable addition to the series. You will never know just how precious a Pokémon is until you rub its belly or bonk it on the head with yarn. This takes the place of all of the non-battle related Pokémon competitions in previous games. While it does serve the purpose of making every Pokémon in the game look super cute, it also enhances what Pokémon do in the game. Depending on how much they’ve been played with, they could land critical hits more easily, they could love you more, and in the case of Eevee; they could even evolve! Pokémon Amie adds more to the game than feeding a scary Giratina poffins. It also makes that Giratina that much more of a threat in battle.
Sky Battles are brand new and somewhat give an excuse to why certain Flying-types have such terrible idle animations. Sky Battles can only be participated in if the Pokémon being used fly or float. This isn’t an official battle format though meaning you cannot go online and participate in Sky Battles unless Nintendo reveals an official “special battle” featuring this. It isn’t one of the most memorable features since you can opt out of battling with Sky Battle trainers whenever they ask to face you.
One of the most hyped additions to Pokémon X and Y is the Fairy-type. A few new Pokémon have earned this typing, but some old favorites have also gained it. For example, Clefairy is no longer Normal but is instead pure Fairy while Gardevoir is no longer pure Psychic but is instead Psychic/Fairy. This adds a new twist to the game and was implemented to keep Dragon-types at bay a little more as Fairy-type attacks are not only super-effective against Dragon-types, but Dragon-type attacks cannot hit Fairy-types at all! Fairy-types’ weaknesses are pretty obscure as well being only weak to Steel and Poison which also resist Fairy-type attacks (along with Fire).
So whatever happened to Dream World? When you were linked to the Global Link website above, you probably noticed that it no longer exists. Hidden grottoes are also missing in Kalos, so how are you supposed to obtain hidden ability Pokémon? Well, the first method you could use is by battling lots of hordes and testing your luck, or you could give the Friend Safari a try! This is one of the best additions to the game because unlike Dream World or the various Safari Zones before X/Y, the Friend Safari has no time limit. There are certain specifications that enable you to find Pokémon with their hidden abilities, but even if you cannot find any at the time, the Friend Safari should provide you with lots of Pokémon that you couldn’t find anywhere else. The Friend Safari collects data from ALL of your friends whether they have the game or not and assigns Pokémon to that person’s data. If they own the game and beat it, you have a better chance of obtaining Pokémon with their hidden abilities. The maximum amount of Pokémon in any safari is three. You will only see two if the friend either does not own the game or has not beaten it.
Last but certainly not least are the mega evolutions. These are quite possibly what hyped this generation up the most because it gave further evolutions to 30 fan favorite Pokémon. While there were some Pokémon that people wished had another pure evolution instead, this is still a great addition. I was skeptical about this at first as well, but 30 Pokémon is just a start. There is no telling how many more mega evolutions we will see in the future. As long as the love is spread around to other Pokémon that need a boost, this should work out fine in future generations. Some of the mega evolutions look a little silly, but they are no doubt extremely powerful and fun to use. That being said, only ONE mega evolution can be activated per team, and that is how it should be.
Some things were left out of this review like character customizations, another rare battle mode, post-game content, etc. These are things you can discover yourself! Otherwise, you would be reading this all day long! I would absolutely recommend you pick up either X or Y. Make sure you take a peek at the version exclusives to see if there are Pokémon you prefer in one over the other. You’re sure to have a blast!
+ LOTS of new features
+ Character customization
+ Easy access to battles and trades on the PSS
+ Friend Safari
+ Breeding and EV-training are easier than ever before
– Weird story with too many characters
– Certain Pokémon have stiff idle animations
Final Score: 4.75 out of 5