Reviews: Pokemon X And Y
A game about the joy of giving.
While Game Freak claims that the theme of Pokemon X/Y is "beauty", I believe it's "altruism". In the game's storyline, Team Flare wanted a world without scarcity, and the resulting battles over resources. Since you can't make everything in the world unlimited, they built a device to kill everyone but them. The game itself offers another solution: to share what we have with the people who do without. Almost everyone in the game has something to give you, whether it's a golden nugget or their prized Lucario. Professor Sycamore gives you two starters, just because he can. A lot of the new features in the game facilitate giving. Pokemon-Amie lets you show affection to your Pokemon, and other people's Pokemon will come to your game and give you items. A berry farm lets you mass produce Berries to share. O-Powers give you temporary buffs, but it costs less to use them on other people. Wonder Trading lets you exchange random Pokemon, and people will give away great Pokemon with the knowledge that they might get a level 2 Zigzagoon back. On holidays, people will orchestrate massive giveaways of Pokemon and items. You'll see random people from all over the world scrolling on the bottom of the screen, and you can trade with them, battle them, or even just tell them "Nice!" But generosity isn't the same as altruism. In the backstory of X/Y, a trainer brings his favorite Pokemon back from the dead, but to do it, he had to kill hundreds of Pokemon by tying them to rocks and sucking their souls out while they screamed and screamed. The (now-immortal) Pokemon knew what he did and abandoned the trainer, and the two walked the earth separate and alone. The villain is not this character, but he falls for the same trap and uses the same weapon. He doesn't have the excuse of bringing a friend back to life. He's at best, fighting for an abstract notion of "humanity" while killing 7 billion humans. At worst, he just wants to rule the world and is in denial. Through these two characters, the game attempts to define what altruism is and isn't. The games are rushed (would it have killed GF to wait another year?), but one thing they should be commended for is their unified theme, where the story and gameplay are intertwined. They present this theme with more subtlety than Black/White, and with grace fitting of Kalos' beauty.
Good games... but can't be called "new".
I really don't know how to feel about X and Y. On the one hand, the connectivity, graphics and soundtrack are some of the best in the series, and the amount of attention put into each species behavior in Pokemon Amie is just staggering... On the other, these games are a very clear step away from the new direction Black and White tried to take the series in, and I'm not sure if that's exactly healthy. Black and White were all about a fresh start to the series. They were some of the first Pokemon games to truly feel "new" in years. Unfortunately, this caused them to cop flack from the Vocal Minority with the Nostalgia Goggles on too hard, as a result X and Y feel like Game Freak "playing it safe" to avoid the wrath of the Genwunners. There are VERY few new Pokemon compared to previous generations. Worse though, the sheer magnitude of old Pokemon in the region utterly swamps them. Only 15% of the Kalos Pokedex consists of new Pokemon, which feels like a very odd move in what should be a "new" generation. The old Pokemon, by contrast, are clearly in the spotlight, which is shown when your first steps into grass trigger a forced encounter with a Pidgey. The use of Gen 1 Pokemon instead of a new one for the player's first wild battle seems a very delibarate choice. Mega Evolutions, the main focus of the game, are given exclusively to old Pokemon, with Gen 1 fan favourites Mewtwo and Charizard getting two each. And Generation 5 gets none. This too, doesn't seem like a coincidence. This game was very clearly meant to pander to the Genwunners, leaving those who want to see new things from the franchise left out. The story is a huge step down from Black and White. While there are interesting concepts, none of the rivals and antagonists are given the development they deserve. They Gym Leaders are by far the biggest dissapointment though. While BW gave them almost Pokemon Special-esque plot relevance, this batch, apart from Korrina, only exist to speak a few lines before and after battle, and then are never seen again. The game is actually fairly challenging overall, with smarter movesets on trainers... provided you don't use the Exp Share. Young or new players might find it helpful, but the game really should have warned that turning it on basically turns on "easy mode". Veterans should avoid it or the game will stop being fun fast.
Not a definite, but still a poor pandering
Ok, i'm going to start by saying that the game is not unplayable, that's what i'm not about, but at the end of the day, this isn't exactly a way to further develop the pokemon world, but just threw in something that is totally alien as to make it seem like a "revolution" to the series, to be specific:
- The fairy type, while i agree that the fairy type was a good idea on concept, it was poorly executed, instead of being a new type that adds to the wide variety of types AND also changes the metagame slightly, it's just an obvious patch that attempts to pander to the usual complains that dragons are OP.
- The changes to steel, while steel didn't fall too much, it was still bad, a main selling point on steels was their high endurance.
- The starters are just forgetable without their HA, if it were't for the hidden abilities, no1 would look at the starters, in fact, the fire starters go hit the hardest since it's useless statswise, and has no hidden ability to make up for it, a waste of the first non fire/fighting fire starter since typhlosion.
- Megaevolution is just a waste, the excuse that "they bring back older pokemon" isn't all that well rounded, many of the pokemon with a new megaevolution don't really change outside more stats, others don't even need it, many of the pokemon with a megaevolution might as well have been regular evolutions, in fact, it becomes even more anoying with the one-megaevolution limit, i remember that in gen IV a lot of pokemon got new evolutions, and i didn't have to choice one out of the dozens.
- less than 100 new pokemon, was there a point in a whole new generation? the game might as well have been about the new region that has lots of pokemon.
Good, but not Great
Let me just start off by saying this is my first Pokemon game since D/P/P. I have read up on the games since then though. Pros: - Best graphics of the series. Isn't really saying much, but it's there. - Fairy types. About time dragon got a nerf. Steel and poison buffs are okay, though whether they'll actually increase usage is debatable. - Super Training. The end of grinding IV training. Now if only they'd make the EV guy easier to use. - Mega-Evolution. It's just really cool. Incredulously unbalanced, but really cool. - Only 75ish new Pokemon. Most people say this is a bad thing for some reason. But I've never been a fan of the hundred or more new Pokemon introduced in most generations. First of all, there are too many Pokemon already. Secondly, I think the quality of Gen 6's mons are a lot better, with a few notable exceptions. - Friends. Your in-game friends were less two dimensional. And they actually spent time with you. - Online play. Online play in this game is great. Wondertrade, O-powers, all of it. - Looker missions. Really nice change of pace actually. And it had an actual plot. - Lumoise City. It's so big and actually city-like. - Anti-Frustration Features. They should've had these a long time ago. - Plot length. Somehow, even with all the time saving, the main plot took me over 40 hours. That's probably because I tend to dawdle, but still. Cons: - Fairy types. Bug got a very unnecessary nerf. - Pokemon Ami. This is really a personal preference. But I wasn't a fan. Maybe it's just because I'm heartless. - Plot. Never Pokemon's strong suit, so this is just a general complaint about the series. - Difficulty. I like this version of the EXP share, but could they not at least had the elite 4 go up in levels when you faced them again? - Team Flare. I hope they were supposed to be as silly as they are. - Post game. Besides the looker missions, there was really no post game. Not compared to D/P/P, anyways. This is my biggest complaint. I want some sort of replay value. - 3D. Would've been nice to have a fully 3D Pokemon game, even if I rarely use 3D. - Friends. In my opinion, Trevor and... that dancing kid were both incredibly annoying. Your rival's kind of annoying too, but at least they help out. Shauna's probably the most tolerable, but even then. Overall: 8/10
Generation VI review
Generation VI currently includes X and Y. Setting: The Kalos region is based on France. The theme seems to be life. Story: Team Flare is greedy like Team Rocket, but go to much greater lengths to make sure they can have everything to themselves... Pokemon: Gen VI introduced only 69 Mons, though they generally have good designs and stats. Much attention is focused on Mega Evolutions, which allows several past Mons to temporarily gain a Super Mode with stats akin to legendaries. Verdict: Though some may feel that the Gen didn't live up to Gen V's standards, Gen VI was still a wonderful addition to the series. It has a Video Game 3D Leap that makes the region truly stand out among others. The regional dex alone contains almost 2/3 of all Pokémon at this point. Several new additions to the mechanics appeared (ex. Pokémon-Amie, Friend Safari). The dominant complaint about Gen VI was a lack of difficulty brought on by a buffed-up Exp. Share, potential side-effects of Pokémon-Amie, and EV Super Training. The Exp. Share and Super Training at least get a pass as simply taking existing concepts and making them more convenient, but it is admittedly quite cheap to have high-level Affection Mons from Amie survives hits they shouldn't, shrug off status conditions, and get critical hits more often. Still, Gen VI is another groundbreaker for the series and the #1 reason I'm getting a 3DS. 9/10 That's it for my Pokémon reviews for now.
A beautiful, amazing game with a slightly awkward story. [Spoilers ahead, don't read if you don't want any]
As the innovative, interesting Pokemon Black and White saga has come to a close, we gamers have been introduced to a new story: Pokemon X and Y. The plot follows your journey as a Pokemon trainer, traversing the France-inspired Kalos region as you attempt to conquer the Pokemon League and prove your worth as a Trainer. This new series has a lot going for it. Fully 3D graphics, which haven't been utilized in a mainstream Pokemon game ever before; The ability to utilize Video Game Caring Potential through Pokemon-Amie (i.e. playing with and feeding your Pokemon in order to build bonds with them); the easy, fun base stat increases that Super Training provides; the new Type introduction... I'd go on, but there's one issue. The storyline. Firstly, your "rival" Trainers. In this game, you get not one, not two, but FOUR: shy Trevor, energetic Tierno, cheerful Shauna, and determined Serena/Calem (depending on what gender your PC is). Shauna and Serena/Calem spend a lot of time with you (S/C even helps you beat Team Flare) and you form fairly close relations with them, but Trevor and Tierno don't appear nearly as often. However, the game tries to say that they're just as important as Shauna and S/C when they're clearly not. This irked me slightly when I played. Secondly, Team Flare itself. Though the Grunts and the Scientists are quirky, amusing, and very fun to talk to and to battle, and their boss is a very sympathetic character (if the quotations of other NPCs are to be believed), their plot is a little too rushed. For one thing, I don't remember it being very clearly specified just what they need Pokemon (catching Pokemon is said to be why they steal Poke Balls from the factory) and electricity (stolen from the power plant) for. Third: The strange man you see near the Power Plant. In my playthrough of Pokemon Y, I only saw him once, maybe twice before his importance in Team Flare's plans was revealed. There was some foreshadowing about him beforehand, but giving him such an important role and so little screentime seems rather awkward. Disregarding these plot issues, though, X and Y are an amazing addition to the Pokemon series with a nifty, fairly engaging story, amazing gameplay, wonderful graphics, and insanely great music. Final rating: 9/10
Good, but rough around the edges
X and Y are great additions to the Pokemon franchise, but there's some issues that make it seem like a rush job. -Horrible balance. Early on, you're given an EXP Share. Use it, and the game becomes laughably easy. But if you don't use it, the game quickly becomes full to the brim with Fake Difficulty. -Haphazard pacing. Team Flare, the Villain Team for the Generation, barely has any presence until the very end, their ultimate plan makes no sense, and their motivation runs on Insane Troll Logic. Plot points are introduced as if they'll be important, only to be completely forgotten almost immediately after they're introduced. (Pokemon Village, anyone?) And then there's AZ, who honestly feels like they took what was meant to be a game long arc (ala N) and forcibly compressed it into three 5 minute scenes. -Inconsistent design. Team Flare and your Rivals all get unique, fully animated 3D models in battle. Literally everyone else gets static, 2D images, including the Elite Four and the Champion. Apparently, a gang that barely even appears in game and your Five-Man Band are more important then the strongest Trainers in Kalos. Also, the post game is practically nonexistant. One sidequest, two bonus dungeons (one of which is a carbon copy of Cerulean Cave), and that's it. The Elite Four don't even gain any additional Pokemon or levels for rematches, something that every game since Diamond/Pearl/Platinum has done. All that aside, there's still plenty of good in this game. As easy as it can be, the combat is fun and rewarding. The graphics are some of the best on the 3DS, and I was amazed by the level of detail given to the Pokemon models, especially in Amie. The music is also pretty great, though not as great as Black and White. Speaking of Amie, its a great, hearwarming mechanic that's cute, fun, and helps you form a genuine bond with your Pokemon. As it is, generation 6 is pretty damn good. However, if GameFreak were to balance out the difficulty, give the Elite Four and the Champion the 3D models they deserve, give us better portrayals of Team Flare and AZ, and give us a better, more rewarding postgame, it'll be so much better.
A bit of mess, but still quite excellent
I picked up both X and Y, and while I absolutely love them, they're also a bit disappointing. The chiefest failure is the story. Game Freak has attempted to make the plot less of an excuse, but after the excellent plot of Black and White, X and Y are plagued by a predictable villain with motives that aren't reflected by the game's world, poor character development, and many wasted opportunities. However, the ending is satisfying, and the character of AZ has a poignant story to tell. The difficulty is also problematic. Pokemon games aren't known for being tough, but the game flat out hands you an item that will cause you to be ridiculously overleveled even with a full team of six. I didn't grind, but after a while I was at least ten levels higher than all my opponents. Also, while I love the concept of Mega Evolution, I find the designs tend to focus too much on being generically "awesome", with random spikes and such thrown in with no thought to what made the original designs so appealing. And while I was still eager to play around with Mega Pokemon, over half of them are only available in the post-game, and the method of finding their stones is needlessly obtuse and has no reason to exist. That's not to say I don't adore the game. While lack of readily available numbers hampers Super Training, it makes EVs more accessible than ever before, and Pokemon amie makes me really attached to my mons. As well, improvements to the GTS make it actually useful for completing the Pokedex, and Wonder Trade has to be one of the greatest ideas to ever grace the series. Also, I feel that the new mons are some of the best aesthetically. Despite the general dearth of them, I love nearly every one of them and am eager to try them out on my teams. And many of the old mons look better than ever in 3D graphics. The mons make for gorgeous looking battles. At the end of the day, it's not everything I'd hoped it would be, but it's still pretty enjoyable, and contains tons of improvements to the formula. Oh hey, there's always Hoenn (totally confirmed by the way) to improve even further, right?
Pretty much the definitive Pokemon game as of now
Pokemon games have always been fun. Although they have a specific formula, enough gets added between generations to keep players invested. As it is, the games do tend to get better with each release. But there's more to Pokemon X and Y than just being the newest game in the series. I'm pretty sure that even when the next few gens have come and gone, X and Y/Gen VI will be remebered particularly well; it feels like a huge advancement in terms of content, presentation, and ease of use. For starters, the Pokemon balance. This gen has a near perfect selection of Pokemon, with a balance between the new and the old to an extent that the series has never seen. Although there are a comparatively small amount of new Pokemon, this pays off because the majority are great, and the game has a great selection of Pokemon from Generations 1-V. It feels like any Pokemon could show up anywhere. The new Pokemon feel slightly "hidden" and special, while everyone will find past mons that appeal to them. It feels almost like a Pokemon greatest hits. The presentation is sublime. Pokemon has finally taken it's Video Game 3D Leap, and it feels very substantial. The world feels cohesive, large, and there is plenty to do. There is a lack of 3D usage, but this is not really a problem. Battles look great, although there is occasional slowdown. The whole game just feels abundantly NEW, and exciting due to the presentation. (The music is obviously really nice too) Other new features like Pokemon amie and Mega evoloution feel fresh and help the game to be far more than just another "upgrade" to the series. Mega evoloution in particular makes many old fan favourites more viable online. It's a feature no one really expected. The story is the standard Pokemon fare; not deep or complex, but appealing, simple, and warm. Not bad, as people will say; I felt emotion to a reasonable extent. Black and White had a better story, moving away from convention, but this is because Gen V was more experimental, lasting only 2 years and being on the same system as Gen IV. The new Super training system finally makes EV's/min maxing/competiive play actually accesible to the average player and mentioned in game. This is a big thing, and it should level the playing field for the non obsessed among us. Pokemon has a bright future ahead of it if this game is to be believed.