Tuesday, 25 February 2014

First review of a recent game. Pokemon X version and Pokemon Y version

I think a fitting first review would be the recent Nintendo 3DS titles. Pokémon X and Pokémon Y. This review will primarily based on X version as that is the copy that I have. That being said, the information used in this review can be used in Y version. The only differences between X and Y are the Pokémon and items you can find throughout the game. The reason why I start this is because this Pokémon game is the first Pokémon game in several years that I have put in the amount of hours I have this quickly. Pokémon Emerald version (the first game in the franchise I got (review coming latter)) I put in roughly 150 hours (but that save is long gone so I might be wrong), I don't recall the Generation 4 games (Diamond, Pearl, Platinum and Heart Gold) getting close to the 100 hours, the only reason why Pokémon Black got over 100 is because of the Pokémon Bank and White 2 didn't come close. At the time of writing, I am 111 hours in and still going which I classify as a achievement in itself.

In case you are not aware of the series (in which case I ask what rock have you been living under for the last 17-18 years, (to the people who have been following the franchise since generation 1, feeling old yet?) Pokémon is a franchise based around catching creatures called Pokémon, training them and battling other Pokémon to gain Gym Badges and eventually become the Champion of that region and a Pokémon Master. As of Generation 6, there are over 719 Pokémon and your overall objective is to "Catch 'em all". This is pretty much all that you need to understand this review. Be forewarned though, this will contain spoilers.

Pokémon X and Y are pretty much your standard Pokémon adventure but it does introduce several new features. The first one that new players will be introduced to is customizable avatars. Over the course of the franchise, avatar progression has been... slow. Generation 1 introduced Red who was the only character you could play as, Pokémon Crystal introduced Kris who was the first female avatar and then Pokémon X and Y introduced the character customization (wonder why it took this long...). When you start the game, you will have the option to pick your gender (Calem being the male avatar and Serena being the female avatar) from there, you can pick from three stock designs and latter you will have the ability to change your cloths, hair ect.

Other new features that have been introduced into Generation 6 include the Holo Caster, a machine that allows players to receive information about Pokémon events depending on where you are in the world along with plot based communications with Professor Sycamore, your rivals, Lysander and other characters. The Holo Caster is also the connection to the 3DS's Street Pass feature which allows you to generate "Pokémiles" as you walk past other players. The Pokémiles is a form of currency that you generate through communicating with other players (walk past, trade, battle ect) and apps like the Pokémon Bank that you can spend on items like Rare Candies. The Rollerblades are also implemented as a mid form of transportation throughout the world. Using the circle pad, you can use the rollerblades to move faster then running, however you cannot use them in areas like tall grass.

The biggest feature to be implemented into Generation 6 is Mega Evolution. Some Pokémon have a special item known as a Mega Stone which, combined with the Mega Ring, you can make specific Pokémon stronger during a battle. This change affects stats, abilities and even types. I personally love this feature as it make Pokémon like Absol and Venusaur useful again. It is always satisfying to see the Mega Evolution animation play because you get the sense of "you have no chance now". Admittedly, some of the Mega Pokémon are ridiculously overpowered but they are still fun to use (Mega Kangaskhan with Power Up Punch :D). The trick with Mega Evolution though is that you can only use it once per battle so you have to wait for the right moment to strike.

My personal opinion on Pokémon X and Y is that it is very fun and a great inclusion to the series but it is really easy. You get very powerful items like the EXP Share (which received a very big buff now) and Amulet Coin before the second gym and the lucky egg before the fourth. The EXP share now gives 100% of the experience to the Pokémon that participated in the battle and 50% to all the Pokémon in your team that didn't. On top of this, it is very easy to get a lot of money in the game, but this was to encourage buying cloths which are very expensive. The rival characters never feel like a threat and even the Gym leaders feel a bit lack luster. I struggle to take Team Flare seriously thanks to their design. There wasn't a lot of build up during the course of the story. In one trip to Lumiose City, you have to go to Lysander's café (a café run by the inventor of the Holo Caster). The theme of the café, Lysander's design, the way he speaks and the fact that there was a Team Flare grunt outside the café could tell anyone that he's the big bad guy. In another trip, you have to go to Team Flare's base but no one knows where their first facility is in Lumiose. "I wonder if I should check the café with the clearly villainous theme?". The post game is also lacking in the quantity department. You have a side quest in Lumiose, Mega stone collection, you can catch the third legendary Pokémon in Kalos and Mewtwo.

In conclusion, I would still pick up this game. If you enjoy the series prior to X/Y, curious about the series or looking for a time sync on the 3DS, this is worth the purchase. While the game is easy in comparison to the prior titles and doesn't do a lot to change the formula the series is known for, it is still a lot of fun to play.

Also, a side note. For the first time ever, THE MOTHER HAS A BEDROOM!!! Ever since Generation 1, the mother character has never had her own bedroom until now.

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