The lights are on
Pokemon doesn't normally go out of
their comfort zone. When Pokemon Red/Green released in 1996, the
series hit the ball with an excellent little top-down adventure
featuring a young boy on his journey to being a Pokemon master.
Gamefreak has kept that formula for future portable titles to come,
from Red/Green to Black/White. Now with the new generation, comes new
innovation, for X/Y, comes a new region, a new adventure, and one of
the most drastic steps the series has ever taken.
With the new generation, comes a new
dimension; a new way to play Pokemon. This isn't the first time a
Pokemon game has experimented with 3-D, but this is the first time
Pokemon has integrated full 3D throughout the entire game. This is a
welcome change to a series that has kept the same formula for so
long. In previous games, only certain parts of the world remained in
3D, while the rest of the world kept at a 2D top-down prospective.
With every building, character, and terrain in full 3D, there is no
more separation, keeping the game fluid and consistent.
Along with a full 3D world, comes full
3D Pokemon as well. The Pokemon no longer are restricted to 2-D
sprites, but instead all have fully fleshed out models and
animations. Each Pokemon has their own idle animation as well as
attack animations bringing the Pokemon to life on the small screen.
The Pokemon finally feel truly alive during combat. With the help of
a fully active camera, battles feel even more engrossing as the
camera pans across the combat arena, showing off each Pokemon as they
attack and take hits.
world is still as fun to explore as previous games. Walking around
and tracking down wild Pokemon in the tall grass is still exciting.
That excitement remains whenever you encounter a new Pokemon you've
never seen before or finally capturing that Pokemon that has eluded
you for so long. Training, putting your Pokemon to the
test until they level up and finally evolve into a new creature is
just as satisfying as ever and just as rewarding.
As you explore the new Kalos region,
you will encounter hundreds of trainers who wish to test your skills.
My personal favorite was a woman who approached me within a route
covered in fallen leaves to say “Pokeballs are round. The world
is also round.” Then we battled. These interactions can offer a
chuckle at times while other will leave you simply confused.One of the main new hooks for this game
is the new Mega-evolutions. These come into play about a third of the
way through. Once you find the appropriate item and attach it to the
appropriate Pokemon, mega evolving can be performed during battle.
Its a free move that makes your Pokemon stronger during the battle,
and seeing the evolution is always exciting. You can only use one
mega-evolution per battle, so a player should plan accordingly. It
doesn't make or break the game but its a nice addition to the mix.
One of my personally favorite new
features is the new trainer customization. The player isn't forced to
use a default character model as previous entries have, this time
your trainer is fully customizable. Throughout the game, you will
come across boutiques within certain towns. Here you can purchase new
clothes, hats, and bags, with inventory changing every day. Along
with the boutiques, you can find a salon where you can change your
hair style and color, as well as an item that allows the player to
change the color of his/her eyes. It isn't as diverse as other games
that let you spend hours customizing ever little detail of a
character, but its a nice change of pace having a trainer that feels
The touch screen holds new features as
well, including the traditional shortcuts to bag, Pokemon, and
saving. One screen holds Super Training, where a trainer can play
mini-games with their Pokemon allowing them to gain buffs on certain
stats. Another screen holds Pokemon-Amie, where a trainer can
interact with their Pokemon personally, feeding and petting them like
you would in Nintendogs. The final screen is the “Player Search
System” which allows a player to interact with friends, passerbys,
and acquaintances. It is here where a player can access online
battles and trades without the use of a Pokemon Center. The online
system itself has its issues however. During playthrough, I have been
dropped from online battles and forced to shut down my system due to
communication error while trying to trade with someone. It isn't
deal-breaking, simply a minor frustration I ran into a few times.
X&Y doesn't radically change the
formula players are used to, but instead continue to make strides in
welcoming new, inexperienced players while still remaining familiar
to veterans of the series. It still feels and looks like a Pokemon
game, but with its new graphics, colorful art style, 3D gameplay, and
scale of depth in the new region, it makes the game more fun,
attractive, and inviting. It's a fantastic first step for new
players, and one worthwhile adventure for long time fans.
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