*This game was originally reviewed on October 22, 2013.
Ever since Pokémon X and Y were first announced in January I’ve been pumped for the games. Having the ability to play the games at the same time as everyone else (besides time zones and leaks) was something I never thought would happen with Pokémon and it got me even more excited. Plus they are the first main series 3D rendered games. Now that the games are out and I’ve played and beaten Pokémon X how do they stand up? Are they the best thing Pokémon has ever had happen to it?
The gameplay sticks very close to previous Pokémon games. You send out a Pokémon as does your opponent, you chose an attack, the Pokémon with higher Speed goes first you do damage using two attacks which depend on if the move is physical or special with physical and special defence determining how much damage the opposing Pokémon will take. There are a few game play changes, however and I’ll be going over the Overworld changes first.
The first thing you’ll notice is you can now move in eight directions. Much more realistic than being stuck in four but I still wish there was free movement. The bike does appear to have it but it does have disadvantages. After progressing you will unlock Roller Skates which use the Circle pad, Walking/Running will use the D-pad and the Bicycle, when pulled out, can be used with both. Each has different elements along with them. The shoes are basic, the slowest so they’re good for navigating small areas but also awkward to use the D-pad, especially while holding B to run. The Roller Skates are faster than the shoes but slower than the bike. You can go on grind rails with them but when in tall grass you are reduced to the walking speed with no option to run. The bike is the fastest and doesn’t get slowed down by grass. You can use either Circle Pad or D-pad but when navigating mazes you might find it hard due to being too fast.
One of the bigger promoted areas was the introduction of Fairy type, hyped up to make Dragon Pokémon quiver in fear and while they do just that, it makes me feel disappointed. Adding Fairy and making Dark and Ghost neutral on Steel. I really wish they had done more to make Ice and Poison more viable though. And help out a few other types. How much they had talked about balancing the meta game they really didn’t do much. In fact one thing, which I’ll get to later, may have broken it more than it was. Anyway many older Pokèmon were retyped to Fairy and some make sense, while others don’t. A bunch of moves (some really good) were introduced as Fairy which was really nice.
The thing I mentioned earlier is Mega Evolutions. You can only have 1 per team but that is the only drawback. Now I know the “You don’t have to use them” thing comes up but that only works in game. Against people in Wi-Fi unless they are banned from play (which not all belong there so it would be stupid) you likely won’t be able to avoid them. As far as we know Mega Evolutions get 100 added to their BST (Base Stat Total) which in the cases of Garchomp, Mewtwo and Blaziken is terrible. I wish there was something like it only lasts a certain amount of turns or you need to take them through Pokémon Amie to Mega Evolve or something but there is absolutely no drawback, you even attack on the turn you Mega Evolve. This added in the generation we were supposed to be balancing stuff, eh Gamefreak.
Lastly some new types of battles have been introduced. Horde battles which are basically you against five other Pokémon. Some interesting things happen here like in a horde of Zangoose and Seviper they will attack each other but they can also get annoying when you find one of Roggenrolla (all have Sturdy). Flying Battles are another addition that you can only enter with Pokémon that Fly in their animation. This means Pokémon such as Hawlucha and Doduo can’t enter so I wasn’t able to do them. They are basically just single battles with only Pokémon in the air allowed. The last was Inverse which I only found one place (once a day though). In these if the move is Super Effective its now Not Very Effective and vice versa. They are fun but challenging reversing what you know.
In the least spoilerish way possible I actually have a few complaints about the story. Basically there is a subplot that I dismissed as just a stupid way to explain Team Flare’s plan but it actually get’s resolved and has meaning. I was really disappointed that they just sort of left it there.
The touch screen seems to change every game. Pokétch—Menu–C Gear—A million things. Ok, maybe only three but still, you have the choice between the Player Search System (PSS), Pokémon Amie and Super Training. I’ll go over these one at a time starting with Super Training. Super Training is basically EV(Base Stats) Training except much quicker and easier. Before it took me a couple days to get my Magmortar EV’d how I wanted him. Now it took around three hours to get a Ralts maxed EV’d still at level 1. You basically shoot soccer balls at a balloon of a Pokémon that would give you those Evs normally getting 4 Evs if you get the required points before the timer runs out. Pokémon Amie is a Nintendogs style game with your Pokémon. You have 3 stats, Affection, Fullness and Enjoyment. When maxed out the Pokémon is able to land critical hits and dodge moves more often. You can play some mini games similar to those on the Pokémon Global Link which you win food which can be used to feed your Pokémon, you can pet them and even makes faces with them. All of this can have its benefits but I didn’t find it a lot of fun and got bored of it fairly quickly. If you plan on EV Training Super Training is more fun though. Also Pokémon Amie affects are only for in game, not wifi/wireless battles.
The Player Search System actually has a lot in it. It has the C Gear’s features of trading/battling without using the Pokémon Centre (which doesn’t even have these features) but you can also see people who are playing at the same time as you which you can trade or battle with. The GTS has also been moved here and a new option has opened called “Wonder Trade”. How this works is you get paired with a random player who is also using the feature and you trade Pokémon. The catch is you have no idea who they are sending and can’t cancel it. The fun in this is some people will give Pokémon such as Haunter and Kadabra while others (the majority) use it to get rid of their Caterpies and Bidoofs with no care in the world. I actually really like this feature and hope to see it stay.
Now for some final multiplayer things. Mostly because of the PSS character customization has been added. It starts off really basic but you can eventually make a character with a lot of possible combinations or shirts, shoes, pants, socks, hats, bags, etc. An area opens up in the post game called the Friend Safari. How this is works is it takes all your 3DS friends, uses their Friend Codes and somehow generates a type and Pokémon for that type to appear. In here Pokémon can have their Hidden Abilities and appear from outside of Kalos (like Nincada). I really wish there was some Streetpass option (even if like Mario Kart/Party using ghosts to go against you) but all you get are Pokémiles which are used to buy items like rare candies. Still saddens me.
The game looks impressive. Each Pokémon has animations for fainting, attacking, being sent out, etc. All models have cel-shading making them look really nice in the battle screen. Depth is a little better too but Wailord is still way too small and I imagine Groudon is too big. There is no 3D outside of battles, and only single at that. Also if you turn 3D on during battles the frame rates drops noticeably. I’m guessing this is because of all the space the game already takes but I find it weird how it can’t even display in 3D without lag.
The vast majority of the game is crisp with no graphical errors. Some areas(such as Luminos City) I find the camera angle to get very annoying. It tries changing to try and help you but I often get stuck or go back because the camera turned around and I didn’t notice. This didn’t hinder the gameplay but did get annoying for me.
The sound is great. Listen to the Gym Leader theme and come back, that is one of my favourite tracks in the game. I did find some music (such as the champion’s) to not be as good as previous versions. The route and town/city themes are all still really well put together.
The Pokémon cries have also all been updated. Most are a nice change and don’t sound like a random noise anymore. I haven’t tested but I read that no one shares cries anymore. Pikachu even says its name. I guess a nice callback to Pokémon Yellow or the Anime? Overall though I was thoroughly impressed that not only did they design models for 718 Pokémon but made new cries for most of them. Pretty dang cool.
Pokémon X and Y were great additions to the series. They had a huge variety of 450 Pokémon available in the main game with 69 newly introduced. Great music, the introduction of Fairy Pokémon, Mega Evolutions, Flying/Inverse/Horde Battles, Pokémon Amie, Super Training and many more things. It did get a few things wrong and I hope the next entry in the series fixes the problems like Black 2 and White 2 fixed Black and White’s problems. Gamefreak’s first 3D game was great and can only get better.
*Multiplayer’s score was added into Gameplay
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10