With the release of Pokémon Sun and Moon coming closer and closer many fans will feel relieved that their wait is almost over. Since it’s been 3 years since a new generation of Pokémon came out the impatient feeling resides in me as well. Because there’s still some time to kill before Pokémon Sun and Moon’s release in November, I decided to write a much needed review of the 3DS games Pokémon X and Y.
Hello and welcome to France! Enjoy your stay.
The adventure starts as most Pokémon games do, you have just moved to a new town. Your mother encourages you to introduce yourself to the neighbors and after meeting them you eventually get to meet the Professor, Professor Sycamore in this game, and you receive your starter Pokémon. What is different in this game is that you end up having a group of five friends rather than just one friend and rival.
Your group of friends is very diverse, which makes their interactions with you and each other very fun and interesting to watch and read. Their designs are also very diverse and there was clearly effort put into their looks, personalities and relationships.
After receiving your starter Pokémon you start your travels. Pokémon X and Y takes place in the Kalos region, which is filled with both nature and interesting architecture. There are a total of 17 towns to visit and a lot of interesting routes to get you there. The region is clearly inspired by France and Paris in particular, there is even a gym shaped as the Eiffel Tower.
In some areas traveling is made more interesting by letting you ride on a Pokémon. This feature added some fun, but is unfortunately restricted to a very limited amount of areas. It would’ve been more fun to be able to ride your own Pokémon, wherever you went. These limitations weren’t very clear beforehand, when the game was being promoted before its release, and disappointed quite a few fans.
The goal of Pokémon X and Y is to defeat all the Gym Leaders and eventually the Elite Four and Champion. Aside from this there is also Team Flare, the bad guys in this game, whose goal is to create a “beautiful and better” world. This doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but the way they go about it isn’t entirely orthodox.
The music fit the mood of the different parts of the storyline well, as far as I could tell. I have to be honest: I don’t listen to the music very often and since I mainly played this particular game in public transportation my sound was often turned off. Pokémon soundtracks usually capture the moment and mood very well and the sounds itself are a lot less screechy and annoying as they used to be on older consoles. However, they are still pretty repetitive, which can get annoying.
Customize yourself and your Pokémon!
The gameplay of Pokémon X and Y doesn’t differ much from the previous games, which is customary for Pokémon games and definitely part of their appeal as well. One thing they did change, or rather improve on, is your trainer’s design!
You are now able to pick a skin color, hair color and style and outfit for your character. Your character can also wear colored lenses, to change their eye color. This enables you to customize your trainer to your liking and really let your own personality shine through. There are a total of six boutiques you can visit to try on and buy new outfits. One of which you’ll have to prove yourself for, by partaking in various activities in Lumiose City, such as defeating other trainers and working at a hotel.
There is also a ‘dog groomer’ in Lumiose City, this store is called Friseur Furfrou. The store name already gives it away: only the new Pokémon Furfrou’s appearance can be altered here. There are 9 trims available for your Furfrou, after five days it will revert to its normal form. Because this customization was promoted a lot before the game’s release a lot of fans, including myself, were disappointed that only Furfrou could be customized AND that the trim doesn’t last long.
Although it’s not entirely the same as customizing your Pokémon there is one Pokémon with a lot of different versions to it: Vivillon. The geographic location of your 3DS determines which pattern your Vivillon will have. It’s a fun endeavor to try to collect all and encourages you to trade with different players across the world.
A new generation of Pokémon or should I say Pokéfailures?
Along the way you run into a few new Pokémon, 69 new Pokémon to be precise, this includes the evolutions of those of them that evolve. This isn’t a lot and is the smallest amount of new Pokémon in a generation to date.
The designs of these Pokémon disappointed many fans, including myself, although the first forms of many of them were initially well received. For instance, the starters were three Pokémon most people were very happy about, up until they saw their final evolution. Froakie, Chespin and Fennekin started off very promising.
As always there are a few version exclusive Pokémon. Each game has a different Legendary Pokémon and some version exclusive Mega Stones, on which I’ll elaborate more later on. There’s Xerneas, the Fairy-type Legendary Pokémon you can acquire in Pokémon X and Yveltal, the Dark/Flying-type Legendary Pokémon which you can get in Pokémon Y, of course, but there are also some other version exclusives.
One of the nice additions to this game is the new Pokémon type, the Fairy type. The Fairy type includes new Pokémon like the new eeveelution Sylveon and the Legendary Pokémon Xerneas, but some older Pokémon like Marill have also received the Fairy type label.
Done evolving your Pokémon? Mega Evolve them!
A new feature, when compared to older games, is Mega Evolution. This is a non-permanent form of evolving your Pokémon. It makes them a lot stronger and changes their appearance, all of which only lasts for the duration of the battle.
Mega Evolution is achieved when a trainer wears and uses a Mega Ring and gives his or her Pokémon their own specific Mega Stone to hold. Pokémon holding Mega Stones are unable to hold any other items. There are a few version exclusive Mega Stones in Pokémon X and Y, which can be traded by letting a Pokémon hold onto them and transferring them to a different game. All Mega Stones work in both games.
Mega Stones were received as a welcome addition to the Pokémon games, especially since it made some of the older generation Pokémon more interesting again!
The above listed features are just a few examples of what new additions there are to this game. There’s also Pokémon Amie in which you can build your bond with your Pokémon, Super Training in which you can train your Pokémon to create the perfect stats, Photo Spots where you can take pictures in game, Friend Safari and Pokémon Global Link which enable you to catch even more Pokémon and the brand new Player Search System (PSS). PSS connects you to players around the world and includes features like Wonder Trade, Global Trade Station and Battle Spots, all of which are worth exploring!
Horde Encounters and Sky Battles are also part of this game! As well as Battle Maison, where you can earn Battle Points which can be traded in for items and The Battle Institute where you can partake in Battle Tests, which will evaluate your skills.
Disappointing Pokémon and great new features
Overall I felt as though the game was rushed, like they didn’t take enough time to work everything out as well as they could have, although this is mainly true for the Pokémon themselves. They seem over simplified and sometimes just plain ugly! Since these are the main focus of the game it did take a lot of the fun out of playing. The storyline had a surprising ending to it and the buildup was well done. Your friends in the game are fun characters that add a lot to the story and fun of playing.
The biggest improvement in this game was the trainer customization, in my opinion this made up for a lot of the design flaws in the Pokémon themselves, but didn’t make up for all of it. The Mega Evolutions and other new features were a welcome addition to the game and helped add some surprises to the games. The differences between the games weren’t very prominent, which made picking one easier for me, since Pokémon can be traded and I didn’t need to worry I picked the ‘less fun’ one.
Developer: Game Freak