Wow. What, uhh… what happened? I never would have expected a pokemon game to explore the ramifications of idealistic philanthropism, slowly turning an individual misanthropic as a result of the mind numbing incompetencies that plague mankind. Way to go, Pokemon. Way to go.
It’s truly impressive the way in which the franchise handles catering to its younger audience, while keeping its original audience interested. Exploring darker philosophies, while offering up positive solutions is a win win for everyone.
There is pretty much something for everybody in Pokemon X and Y. Not just in the story, but in the gameplay as well. With Pokemon-amie, there’s now a more intimate setting for you and your pokemon. If you thought you were attached to your favorite pokemon before, try feeding it treats, playing mini-games, and cuddling.
Oh, and there are huge benefits to boosting its battle performance if you become best friends for life. This makes the game easier, for those who may not be the best at turn based strategy games, who have the patience to max their friendship with all their pokemon.
Speaking of dynamic difficulty, X and Y offers several means to make the game as easy, or as difficult as you want it to be.
Getting exp share early on, with its new mechanics, allows you to speed through the game, if so desired. Spending a lot of time in the super trainer, getting your entire lineup maxed out on Effort Values (a bonus to specific stats, that were previously only gainable by defeating certain pokemon) makes the game easier, if you’re willing to put in the effort. It also allows you to tune your EVs to perfection, while removing a lot of the tedium and hidden mechanics of training your ideal pokemon.
Even breeding has gotten substantially easier, with the changes to destiny knot and the addition of the friend safari zone. Though, I still consider it to be a brutal exercise in sadomasochism.
As for combat changes, the mega evolution has brought an interesting, new element to strategy. In most instances, a mega evolved pokemon is much better than a regular pokemon holding an item with comparable boosts. In this way, your mega evolved pokemon becomes “the guy” of your team, since you can only have one pokemon mega evolve per battle.
Alternatively, there are a couple of mega evolutions that change how a pokemon performs in a line up. In online battles, you can use this to play mind games with your opponents. Keeping your mega evolution in your back pocket, can be just as powerful as leading the charge with it.
Because the game is so new, it’s hard to know, or predict where the metagame will settle. Mega evolutions may end up dominating the scene, complimenting it in subtle ways, or flat out being irrelevant. Only time will tell.
In my opinion, the biggest change to the franchise, have been the graphical changes. The game feels so much more alive, now that we have a full, 3D environment. Battles are a visual delight, with a complete redesign of special effects and battle animations.
The camera pans around the battle focusing in and out trying to get the most dramatic point of view. This adds a liveliness to the battles, that keeps them seemingly fresh every time.
The only time this actually becomes a problem, is in the atrocious Luminous City. Because of the circular nature of this nightmare town, and the many branching paths, navigating it goes beyond a mere chore and quickly becomes immensely frustrating. There is a taxi service that helps remedy this, but you have to pay for it, which makes you feel like you’re being punished by the developers for their own shortcomings.
Luckily, you can almost entirely avoid the city and it becomes nearly a non issue. It’s just a shame that the main city is basically uninhabitable.
Much like every pokemon game before it, the music is first class. It knows when to dial it up, pull it back, and even when to go completely silent. The absence of music in the creepy old cabin is oddly one of the most stand out moments for me in terms of audio. Beyond that, though, the range is incredible. The soundtrack is just as diverse and emotional as the story, matching it tone for tone.
Rarely is a game’s musical composition this fitting and powerful.
There is a running theme throughout the entirety of Pokemon X and Y that seems so fitting coming from its Japanese heritage. While X and Y brings a whole host of groundbreaking changes, it also spends just as much time making the game ooze of nostalgia.
From the layout, design, sound and feel of the game. Playing the game, there’s an obvious healthy respect for the past titles, with a barrage of new features and shiny changes. Pokemon X and Y is a perfect example of how a franchise should be treated; Revering elements that the fans love, while also improving upon mechanics, graphics, style, and implementing new fantastic new features.
Chief among these new features has to be the perfection of the online elements. After playing X and Y, I don’t know how I ever lived without such a glossy smooth online experience. Indeed, the whole game seems to be tailored around the online mode.
You’re even rewarded with points (which you can spend on important items) based on the distance of people whom you interact with. Battling with Japanese players now becomes not only an exchange of strategies, but online points as well.
But fighting isn’t the only thing you can do online. With the friend safari, you’ll be able to go to different safaris, based on the people on your friends list. Pokemon in the friend safari, have a huge chance to have outstanding base stats, which is useful for people who are trying to breed the best pokemon around.
There are also several different types of trading methods. You can trade with friends or random strangers. Alternatively, you can search for specific pokemon online and see what people want for them.
The most interesting method, however, is the wonder trade system. Select any pokemon you want, and put it into the pool of pokemon in the wonder trade system. You’ll be instantly given a random pokemon from the wonder trade pool and they’ll be given yours in return. It’s an extremely addictive feature that is endlessly entertaining, as you’d be really surprised by what people put into the wonder trade pool.
Pokemon X and Y is what I always imagined Pokemon would be be when I first put Red and Blue into my gameboy. It has fulfilled all my pokemon desires and has spoiled me silly. I no longer think it’s possible for me to go back and play any pokemon game, after experiencing X and Y. It’s just too good.
There is a lot of tedium and unexplained, hidden math in Pokemon. X and Y goes to great lengths to alleviate the pain, and does a fantastic job at doing so. Depending on what you want out of a pokemon game, this may or may not affect you.
X and Y takes Pokemon down a new visual path, and it is wondrous. With the exception of Luminous City.
While there are a lot of returning sounds, Pokemon X and Y blends them in perfect nostalgic harmony with a whole host of emotionally engaging tunes that are unique to X and Y’s own atmosphere.
The deceptively deep story caters to a more adult audience, while still offering younger generations genuinely appropriate themes and resolutions.
In general, Pokemon is a franchise that has a lot of content packed into their games. X and Y offers a perfected formula that a lot to the table for many varying playstyles. If you’re on a tight budget, or really like to dedicate yourself to one game at a time, Pokemon X and Y has an essential place in your catalogue.
This is the quintessential pokemon game. If you’ve ever been a fan of the series, you simply have to pick up a copy to experience the pokemon game you’ve always wanted. It’s finally here.
Will is our resident review-master, and it's him who writes most of the reviews you'll have read on our site. With his ancient knowledge of the secret review-fu arts, be sure that all the reviews you see on SegmentNext are thoroughly checked out.