Pokemon X & Y
An Evolutionary Leap Review
Created by: Game Freak & Nintendo
Reviewed by: Aaron Matthew Holmes
Since 1996, Pokémon has been dominating the handheld market as one of the most popular franchises in Nintendo’s history. We’ve seen the era of the Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, DS (Dual Screen), and DSi all come and go through our hands over the years, and finally the 3DS.
Pokémon X & Y aren’t the first 3D games in the series, as we’ve seen the Pokémon Stadium franchise, My Pokémon Ranch, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon and more all in full 3D.
Pokémon X & Y are, however, the first games in the Pokémon trading series to utilize the 3DS’s full capabilities of Streetpass, Wi-Fi, and Downloadable Content (rumored to be coming later this year).
Featuring a wide variety of new additions to the series, X & Y brings to fans of all ages and skill levels, exciting ways to play and enjoy the game.
This next section, I’ll briefly cover the features, their pros and their cons.
One of the newest and biggest features of the new Pokemon X and Pokemon Y games is “Mega Evolution”. The Mega Evolution is only possible when a Pokémon is holing a Mega Stone that corresponds to its form, for example; Blazikenite allows a Blaziken to Mega Evolve. The trainer and Pokémon also must have a “strong bond” with one another, or, high friendship level with the Pokémon that can attain Mega Evolution. Lastly, the trainer will need the “Mega Ring” which goes around the trainers wrist and can be activated any time, but can only be used once per battle.
There are some pros to this feature;
1. Mega Evolutions look amazing when triggered
2. Pokémon affected becomes stronger in one way or another by changing type or ability.
3. Combining Mega Evolution with certain moves is almost anime-esque and adds in excitement to battling.
1. Pokémon become overpowered.
2. Makes gameplay too easy.
You might think the Cons aren’t all that negative, but when you take into account that the Mega Evolutions make the Elite 4 easier than past games, then the feature brings the game to a non-challenging level, especially against regular trainers.
This new addition to the Pokémon series allows players to concentrate on training their teams more efficiently, allowing for controlled stat gain within 6 categories. In the past, players would have to spend countless hours fighting specific Pokémon to raise the proper “EV” stat for speed, atk, def, hp, sp. def. and sp. atk. Super Training uses a sort of “virtual training” soccer-esque game where the player moves his or her Pokémon around the screen while shooting “soccer balls” at a giant inflatable Pokémon opponent that shoots soccer balls at the player. The objective is to score the required amount of points within the allotted time to clear the stage. Completing any given stage awards the Pokémon anywhere between +4 -> +12 to the stat that matches each game.
1. Easy stat training
2. Faster stat training
3. Ability to create the “perfect” Pokémon or Team.
1. Everyone has the ability to EV Train
2. The rare “perfect Pokémon” is almost easily attained
Again, one might say “Those cons aren’t so bad”, but honestly, if you think about it, it was only the truly dedicated Pokémon players in the past who spent countless hours training their teams efficiently and were able to dominate the Pokémon League Championship with their hard-earned teams. The Super Training makes it so practically anyone who puts in the right amount of effort can create a similar team to those in the Championship with a drastic cut in the time it takes to actually make what one might call “The Perfect Pokémon Team”.
Player Search System
The “Player Search System” or PSS is one of the greater features with minimal issues to list as the implementation and structure of the system is well made and very user friendly. The PSS offers an easy to access Global Trade Station (GTS), O-Power system (a way to improve your Pokémon in battle, reduce costs at shops or enable you to catch wild Pokémon easier), Wonder Trade which offers quick and easy access to trading Pokémon for another Pokémon without knowing what you’ll receive, quick and easy access to friends, nearby people, and people all over the world for trading or battling (requires internet to trade/battle around the world).
1. Easy Trade Function
2. Streetpass Enabled
3. Ability to level up “O-Powers”
4. Trade with anyone in the world at any time
5. Sophisticated search and trade system within the GTS
6. Trading a Pokémon for a random one in return from anywhere in the world
7. Almost no need at all for IR Communication, though still available as an option
8. Full use of the Nintendo 3DS‘s wireless features, Streetpass, Wifi, IR, and Spotpass.
9. Quick access to Friends on and offline and ability to share O-Powers
10. Battle and Battle Spot feature allow for quick and easy battles with anyone in the world
1. “Wonder Trade” is the garbage dump of unwanted Pokémon – Trade a level 30 Pikachu and get a level 3 Zigzagoon in return.
2. As of recent news I’ve read, “Wonder Trade” is now a cautionary place to receive Pokémon, due to hackers. It is possible to receive a “bad egg” which cannot be removed or released, the egg will self-duplicate in your boxes until it fills the boxes, deleting Pokémon the player has caught in the process, ruining the save game for that person.
3. Spotpass could be used for more than just “Poké Miles”, it could be a way to battle trainers with teams set at a certain level, gaining experience for your party and even a monetary reward, but that is not the case at all.
4. Game Sync, while a great feature, still has the “Pokémusement Park” unavailable, even after the game being released for several weeks now.
As much as I’d like to cover the cons, I covered the reasoning quite well within each. Nothing is “too” major aside from the hacker news I was made aware of, everything else is very minor and doesn’t really detract from the overall enjoyment of the PSS feature.
Horde & Sky Battles
Allowing the player to now fight hordes of Pokémon or fight using only Flying-Type Pokémon, the new types of battles within the games add an additional element of strategy for anyone who’s used to playing through the Pokémon series.
In Horde Battles, a group of 5 Pokémon will appear and attack the player 5 to 1. The player must utilize moves that can hit multiple opponents at the same time, recovery items, and a well balanced team in some cases, to fight the horde that appears.
In Sky Battles, the player must fight using only Flying Type Pokémon or Pokémon with the Levitate ability. This limits the player significantly, and forces the player to use a well rounded team of Pokémon of various types and abilities to counter a Sky battle. Just remember, those Pokémon that are stuck on the ground can’t participate!
[HORDE] 1. Fun new way to encounter Pokémon and battle, or even utilize strategies to catch desired Pokémon that only appear in hordes!
[SKY] 1. New battle element that brings forth the feathery or winged Pokémon out to battle.
[HORDE] 1. Want to catch a Pokémon that only appears in a horde? You need to defeat 4 out of the 5. This can be especially annoying in the situation of Seviper and Zangoose, there will be 4 Seviper, 1 Zangoose, and all 4 will attack Zangoose until it’s defeated, leaving you with 4 Seviper or less to deal with.
[SKY] 1. As great as Sky Battles are, there just aren’t enough of them in the game to make the “Sky Battle” feature even worth having. There are less than 10… probably less than 5 Sky battles in the entire game, and it seems like a shame that there aren’t a lot more.
For Horde, I do believe that if you use a move such as “Heal Pulse” and attacks that knock out other Pokémon, you can capture what you need, so it’s not entirely impossible to catch Zangoose under the 4 Seviper scenario, it’s just an added strategy.
For Sky Battles, what I said is pretty much all there is needed to say. I feel this new feature was severely left out and not used nearly enough as it could have been. We could’ve easily had a gym leader that specialized in a certain type under the Sky Battle rules, so long as it forced the player to raise and strategize appropriately for the gym battle. Hopefully this new feature will live to see another day and more use, otherwise, it feels like it was a good idea that was all but abandoned.
OVERALL RATING – 4 out 5
Nothing to be said here, really. The graphics are a massive improvement for the Pokémon series and really bring out all the creatures in a familiar way that we’ve only seen in the Mystery Dungeon, Ranger, and Stadium series. The 3D capabilities don’t seem to be in every area of the game, but overall still bring a unique feel to the game in and out of battle.
Sound is a massive improvement for the series, bringing out beautiful music, sounds, and Pokémon cries. I do believe, however, that they could’ve improved even more on the sound bytes used for all the Pokémon in the game. It’s a bit saddening to see that Pikachu was the only one given enough special treatment to warrant “Piiika pika!” sound clips for the Pokédex, appearance, and defeat of the little creature.
Absolutely amazing new story for the game series, while cliché, the story feels ever more powerful and even emotional throughout the game. The “man who lives 3000 years searching for a Pokémon” was probably the most touching story segment in any Pokémon game that I played, it was not only well done, but well executed to bring tears to the eyes of many who played.
The Pokémon series has continuously kept their motif of battle, trade, and catch them all for over 15 years, and it has kept this game series going strong. With the addition of the 3DS Games, and even soon the Pokémon Bank for future titles, this series is looking to stand strong and stand tall among all the other franchises out there. Game Freak and Nintendo have pulled off quite the accomplishment with the X & Y games and hopefully, we can look forward to not only new and exciting Pokémon, but more Mega Evolutions, Legendaries, and even Content for this and future titles!