If you own a 3DS and you have not purchased either Pokémon X or Pokémon Y, you need to ask yourself one question: Is what you are doing right now (besides reading this article) more important than playing Pokémon? Don’t answer that. My Espurr already knows the answer, and it’s a resounding “no.” And even though I have a solid 24 hours of playtime on my save file, I have not even scratched the surface of what Pokémon X and Y entail. These games are massive, but from what I have experienced so far, I can confidently say that they are shaping up to be my favorite Pokémon games ever. Read on for some highlights that make Pokémon X and Y contenders for best in the franchise, as well as the leading software on the 3DS.
A Streamlined Battle System
When I saw the first videos from Pokémon X and Y, the first thing I thought was that the battle system looked pretty damn awesome. Being able to see the adorable Pikachus and monstrous Charizards I’ve grown up training in 3D? It’s like Pokémon Stadium on steroids. But I had a second thought, and that was my fear of the battle system being painfully slow. However, once I started playing, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the battles loaded seamlessly and seemed to move even faster than those of preceding games. There are plenty of other battle dynamics as well, such as Mega Evolution and the new Fairy type, that make for brand new strategy challenges.
I have long awaited the day when trainers would become customizable, and praise Arceus, it has finally come. There are boutiques all over the Kalos region where you can buy clothing to suit any style, and in Lumiose City there’s even a salon where players can alter the cut and color of their avatars’ hair. Of course, with a fully rendered game environment and inevitably more detailed trainers, Game Freak didn’t have much of a choice here. But the new customizability options do significantly improve the gaming experience and make playing online with friends that much more fun. Granted, there could be more options, but it’s not by any means a bad start.
Endless Entertainment Off the Battlefield
No, I’m not talking about the steamy Professor Sycamore (although he can be quite distracting). The world outside of battle is vast, and there are hours and hours of fun to be had playing mini games, growing berries, Super Training your team, visiting cafés, making Trainer PR videos…the list goes on. My favorite way to spend my time while I’m not level grinding is Pokémon-Amie, which is most easily described as Nintendogs with Pokémon. I have spent hours petting (and getting electrocuted by) my Pikachu, feeding cupcakes to Charmander, and beating my scores on deceptively simple mini games. The best part is, everything you do in these accessible games has positive repercussions in battle. Super Training gives a new definition to EV training, and makes leveling up particular stats that much more dynamic. With all of the sidequests and collectibles even in Lumiose City alone, it’s easy to get distracted from the goal of becoming Pokémon Champion. But there’s time for that later; I’ve got Eevees to breed.
Catching ‘Em All is Easier Than Ever Before
Remember the good ol’ days when you needed to be physically present to trade Pokémon with your friend? Well, maybe some of you don’t. But either way, Pokémon X and Y have made it easier than ever to trade and battle with your friends, as well as with strangers all over the world. The GTS (short for Global Trade System) is built into the bottom screen, allowing trainers to trade at any time, anywhere in the game. Have other friends who play Pokémon? Trade friend codes, connect to the internet, and you can see them whenever they’re online, and request to trade or battle right then and there. I haven’t quite figured out the in-game chat; the reception is spotty and you can’t talk while playing. Maybe one day Nintendo will get the whole real-time communication thing. But fun features like Wonder Trade, which allows players to put any Pokémon up for trade and receive a random Pokémon in return immediately from anywhere in the world, more than make up for the wireless feature’s shortcomings.
Are there things that could be better about Pokémon X and Y? Certainly (e.g. I don’t believe the Japanese quite understand the concept of tipping). But after a decade and a half of making improvements to the Pokémon formula, Nintendo and Game Freak have come very close to perfecting it.
If you haven’t played a Pokémon game in a while, believe me when I say that this dual release will capture your attention while taking you on an unforgettable nostalgia trip. Even if you’ve never played a Pokémon game before (who are you?), there’s no better time to start. Don’t have a 3DS? Take whatever
legal means necessary to acquire one, because you are not going to want to miss out on these titles. Be sure to check back periodically for more Pokémon updates, but in the meantime, オケモンゲットだぜ！
What do you love about Pokémon X and Y? What have you found to be a great addition to the world of Pokémon, and what could be scrapped? Leave a comment below!