Pokemon X & Y - A Ryodo Review
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Pokémon is a franchise that needs no introduction. Either you love it to bits, or you don't really care about it. But if you're the former, then let's go!
With the Pokémon Bank and PokeMover soon to be released on the 27th December worldwide (except for the lucky Japanese players who have access to them on Christmas day itself), I thought I'd give a heavily personal-opinion-based review of Pokémon X and Y. Both games are largely similar with the very minor differences of version-exclusive Pokémon, mega stones and the Legendary Pokémon, but I will be leaning more towards Pokémon X since that is the version that I own.
Pokémon X and Y is yet another instalment to the long running Pokémon series on the Nintendo 3DS, being the 6th generation with all new Pokémon and region to explore. Developed by Gamefreak, it is easily one of the most anticipated and fastest selling games of 2013, and with kids giving their parents a perfect reason to buy them a Christmas present, looks like the hype will still be up for a while.
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Pokémon X and Y is the first generation that boasts a fully 3D environment with lots of details to the foreground as well as the background to keep the game busy looking. The games now fully utilise the D-pad and the circle pad, for regular walking/running and roller skating respectively. Yes, the game now gives you an additional pair of roller skates for you to pick up speed early in the game if you feel that the D-pad makes your thumb uncomfortable.
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The gameplay mechanics remain largely the same: pick a starter Pokémon, go out and catch more Pokémon, fight trainers and earn EXP and money, fight gym leaders and earn badges, thrash the villains of the game, defeat the Elite Four and Champion, and catch even more Pokémon. It has never been any different.
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Apart from the new Pokémon that they have introduced in the game, a battle system called Horde Battle is introduced. Only happening in the wild, 5 Pokémon will appear at the same time and it's up to you to take them all down before they take you down. Compared to wild single battles, Pokémon in hordes have a much lower level so as to maintain fairness. This helps a lot especially in earning EV or "Effort Values" for your Pokémon.
Pokémon X and Y also introduce a new type - Fairy, which brings the total number of types in the game to 18. The Fairy type is supposedly introduced to nerf the gameplay so that Dragon type no longer becomes an OP type, but it is also shown to be strong against Fighting and Dark type. Of course, no type is without a weakness, and Fairy type is weak against Poison and Steel. Additionally, Fire and Bug types also resist Fairy attacks. Some of the new Pokémon introduced have Fairy as part of their typing, as well as a number of older generation Pokémon either gaining Fairy part of their new typing or having their type completely replaced with Fairy type.
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One aspect that they introduced in this game which has been the talk of many gamers is Mega Evolution. Certain select Pokémon, when holding the right Mega Stone, can further evolve in battle which grants them overall stat boosts, new abilities and for some, even new typing. This brings about a whole new level of battle strategy as it allows players to come up with new ways to toy with their opponents.
Another set of mechanics introduced in this game is the Player Search System (PSS), Pokémon Amie and Super Training. First, let's talk about the PSS.
Player Search System (PSS)
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PSS allows you to see whether if anyone is online when your Streetpass/Internet is activated. This is separated into 3 categories: Friends, Acquaintances and Passerbys. Friends are people you have added in your friend list via Friend Codes, and you can have a Game Chat with them anytime both of you are online. Acquaintances are former Passerbys whom you have traded or battled with, and a second activity with them will prompt you to automatically register them into your friend list. Passerbys are... well, just passerbys.
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Pokémon Amie is a very interesting concept that can be said to be inspired from games like Tamagotchi. It allows you to feed, pat and play games with your Pokémon. Of course, this leads to lots of awkward situations such as your Pokémon making a very blissful face when you pat its right spots, but I digress.
Pokémon Amie is a breath of fresh air for people who would like to take a break from the story or training and just have fun with their Pokémon. It's like playing with your pets in real life - seeing them happy makes you happy too.
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Prior to Pokémon X and Y, EV training was a pain in the rear. Not only is there no easier way to EV train your Pokémon, you can only face off one Pokémon at a time (sometimes two), and that makes the whole process very tedious. Thankfully, the introduction of Super Training makes it very easy to fully train your Pokémon and maximise its full potential. Think of Super Training as "EV Training for Dummies".
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Another minor but amazing feature is the ability to customize your character's outfits. This plays an integral part in the game, both in personal uniqueness as well as unlocking extra content in the game. I've always been a big fan of customization, and this addition to the game takes the cake for me. How your character looks like clearly reflects your personal tastes as well as personality, and it truly makes your Pokémon experience unique to no one but yourself. It would be nice if we can have the option to remove our headgear, though.
The story of PokÃ©mon X and Y is very different and has a lot more emotions put into it. With the theme of the game being Beauty, everything in the game is just simply beautiful, including the story itself. For the first time, you have 4 friends who will become your rivals throughout the game (with Calem or Serena being your main rival, depending on which gender you choose), and an all new villain called Team Flare, focusing on nothing but beauty and flashy intros. Also, you can feel deeply for the characters introduced and shed some manly tears at some of the scenes (I definitely shed a tear at the ending because it's just so breathtaking).
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The Pokémon series has always had catchy, memorable music, all of which make you feel the exact emotions they want you to feel. Pokémon X and Y is no exception, being the first in the series to use real instruments and orchestral elements. Every single track fully belongs to where they are played, right down to the very note. Not only that, Pokémon now have updated cries that previous generations could not accomplish, with the most prominent being Pikachu and Raichu (the former even saying its own name just like in the anime).
The downside, albeit a minor one, is that the cries cannot be heard as easily as the previous games as they were too happy with their composed BGMs that it even PLAYS when you are using the Pokedex to hear the cries of the various Pokémon you have seen and caught. I've always wanted a library of cries because they sound unique and amazing, but this just ruins it for me.
Another cool thing is that because they are really happy with the BGMs, they released Pokémon X & Y Super Collection that includes all the tracks and jingles found within the game, as well as some extra tracks from Pokémon Origins - 4-episode OVA that primarily instils nostalgia into all Red/Green players as well as promotes Mega Evolution at its finest.
As mentioned, Pokémon X and Y boast a full 3D environment, and it definitely lives up to that. Just about everything in the game is in 3D down to the last detail, and its cell-shaded style suits the anime-ish style that we all know and love. The battle scenes are also in full 3D and all the Pokémon in the game have a few animations depending on what move they use, and they also separate animations when they take damage and even faint. Most of the trainers, gym leaders and the Elite Four have just an artwork when you battle them, but other characters such as your rivals and Team Flare all have their own unique models that show their determination to thrash you in battle or their despair when you thrash them instead.
The environment and character models all make the game look busy, but when there are too many things on screen, there is this problem of a frame rate drop. Though not very often, it doesn't cripple the gameplay that much (unless you turn on 3D, then it'll just lag all the way). All in all, this is the very Pokémon game that I envisioned when I was kid.
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What can I say? Pokémon X and Y easily became the best selling game on the first week of its release. Its stunning visuals, great music and the now large variety of Pokémon says it's one of the best games made to date. Pokémon X and Y is also when I start to get into competitive battling, unleashing my inner Smogon PhD. If you're into Pokémon, you should definitely get this game and let it take your lifetime away. If not, you can always let the curiosity get the better of you and let it take your lifetime away. In short, once you get this game, it will take your lifetime away. POKÉMON RULES!
Okay, I'm going back to training my competitive team now. Thanks for reading my review, and may you Get Inspired Now!