Pokémon X and Y is the 6th generation in the long running Pokémon series developed by Game Freak, and is the first game of its type to be released on the 3DS. This is to the excitement of many gamers across the world with a worldwide release date so that everyone would be learning everything at the same time. With the upgraded graphical battles and 3D environment, this is said to be the most anticipated Pokémon yet and people have been running out to stores to not only pickup up the game, but also the Pokémon branded 3DSXL that was released in late October.
For the few scattered people who have never touched a Pokémon game before, you should get out from under that rock you have been under. You start out the same as any other Pokémon game would but picking a gender before venturing out into the vast world of Kalos. You are accompanied by four of your friends after just moving to the neighbourhood who will strive to be the very best, to catch all the Pokémon or to create the best Pokémon dance squad. You will encounter these friends at different points of the “story”.
Story has never been Pokémon’s strong point as it always follows the same story line. This usually includes 8 gyms that must be defeated in order to challenge the legendary Elite Four as well as the occasional rival battle, evil corporation to overthrow and legendary Pokémon to capture. In X and Y it’s no different but this time it’s all about Team Flare whose goal is to make money and create a “beautiful and better” world. This will be accomplished by using the “ultimate weapon”, a machine that was built by the king of Kalos 3,000 years ago that can wipe away all life (Seems a little counter-intuitive if you ask me).
The driving factor for the Pokémon series has always been the sheer amount of Pokémon to catch and the extra side sections that continue to expand the game. In X and Y, there is a big push for online compatibility by improving the servers and accessibility used in the Global Trading System (GTS) and Wonder Trade. While these features were introduced back in Generation 4, they weren’t as widely used as they are now. Another great online feature is the Player Search System and the implementation of O-Powers. With this you are able to give other players and friends little boosts to Pokémon stats or even extra capture chance when battling. It’s always exciting when a friend sends you a power that can turn the tides of a difficult fight.
The battles have really upgraded from previous games, and with the new 3d effects it gives the game a real Pokémon stadium vibe for each individual battle. Models are detailed and the animations move accordingly with most attacks whether offensive or defensive. With the addition of the Mega-Evolutions, you see the Pokémon model and stats change into their ultimate forms, which adds a new layer of strategy to the gameplay. You are only able to mega-evolve 1 Pokémon per battle, so sometimes it will come down to which Pokémon you want to make your most powerful (or just the one that looks the coolest).
Two other battle types that have been included in Pokémon X/Y is the horde battle and the sky trainer battle. Horde battles increase the amount of wild Pokémon you fight in one encounter from 1 to 5. These Pokémon all get a chance to have a move, and can either be damaged individually or as a whole if you have an area of attack move like Surf. These battles can be good for getting some extra experience or even a rare shiny Pokémon. On the other side of the new battles is the sky trainer battle. Now these battles usually take place on high places like bridges or mountains, and the only Pokémon that can participate are flying type Pokémon. It gives a new element to the game where you have to create a new dream team to compete with the new challenge that you are faced with. But enough about battles, time to talk about clothes and shopping, right?
When you’re not battling, there are more features to explore with the addition of character customisation. Since the player models have been upgraded, you can actually differentiate between the clothes you are wearing and Game Freak have jumped on this idea by adding shops around Kalos that you can buy clothes from. These choices vary from hats, shirts, pants and various other accessories that can only be found at certain stores. The “Gotta catch them all” slogan can easily be transferred into this scenario as different stores sell clothes at different times of the day/night and some stores even restrict you from shopping there until you have increased your style to an “acceptable” level.
Other features include Pokémon Amie which increases the affection that your Pokémon have for you. This affection can be acquired by playing mini games, feeding the Pokémon “Poké puffs” and touching the screen to act like you are petting them. This affection level is required for some Pokémon to evolve and can also give them special abilities, like withstanding an attack that would instead make them faint or increasing the critical hit chance of some attacks. While making your Pokémon feel happy is great, where it really counts is the stats and with the addition of Super Training, you are able to focus certain stats for your Pokémon to become the ultimate battling machine.
Super Training is also a new addition to Pokémon X/Y, and allows trainers to boost certain stats to ridiculous levels when they are trained correctly. This training is completed by playing mini games that involves touching the screen and shooting soccer balls at certain targets, while dodging the enemies attacks. The circle pad and stylus are used simultaneously in these games, which means people like myself who are left handed have a hard time trying to dodge and attack at the same time. Even though it’s a bit tricky at times, these games can be quite fun and challenging when you get to higher levels. These mini games reward players with training bags that the Pokémon will hit over time to give extra stats up to certain point. This process can be increased by tapping the bags themselves while you are travelling around the world of Kalos, but as I said previously, using the circle pad and stylus while being left handed can prove to be challenging. It’s a really good system if you want to train say, a fighting Pokémon in attack only to make it the ultimate damage dealer.
There have been complaints made that the developers have gotten lazy and have mashed all the generations together into one experience, not giving enough new Pokémon for people to catch or enough variation with the added Fairy type. I would say that while I agree somewhat, it’s great to see some of my old favorites (Eevee-lutions, Squirtle etc.) make a comeback with new models and abilities to make my dream team that much better.
I’m not sure what keeps me playing Pokémon after beating the Elite Four as there isn’t much of a post game save for catching them all, getting clothes and battling a few extra trainers here and there. The point is that I am still playing it, and sometimes just sitting in a town constantly Wonder Trading will pass the time while I wait for something else. The visual upgrade was long overdue and it makes the game a whole lot better with the added effect detail and animations. If you really want to get immersed in the world then you can try to breed/catch shiny Pokémon, attempt to speed run the game or train Pokémon to have the best stats to make the greatest fighting team in online ranked battles. No matter what you do in Pokémon X/Y, there’s rarely a dull moment because you are always becoming a better trainer.