You’ve obtained a new Pokémon!
Since its introduction in the late 90s, the Pokémon franchise has been one of the definitive RPG/collectible games. The series has seen a fair bit of evolution, but by and large each installment feels like a slight tweak upon the formula. This year’s Pokémon X/Y is the breath of fresh air the franchise has been clamoring for, and may be the title that makes you fall in love all over.
It feels weird to praise a game for just now making the jump from 2D to 3D graphics, but here we are. Pokémon X/Y has finally embraced this change and it is a welcome, shiny addition to the series. Character interactions and traveling are reminiscent of other 3DS titles like Harvest Moon, but the nicest change of pace is that combat is now in 3D as well. Pokémon battles are now more akin to the N64 title Pokémon Stadium, which adds a surprising level of depth.
Also in the cosmetic arena, players can now customize their trainers. New hairstyles, hair colors and fashion means the standard boy/girl options feel more in-depth than previous iterations.
Pokémon X/Y has fully embraced Nintendo’s online capabilities in the best of ways. Not only can you trade Pokémon with friends online, the new Wonder Trade system allows you to offer up that third Flebébé you caught to random strangers across the world. This system is occasionally a frustrating crap shoot, such as trading a level 30 Klefki for a level 6 Flebébé, but there’s an odd thrill to seeing what it will provide.
Mega-Evolution is an interesting addition to the series as well, with opportunities for additional damage and slightly changed Pokémon design. However, mega-evolution can only be used in combat and some of the mega-evolved designs are pretty lame. It would have been nice to pick and choose which Pokémon would be mega-evolved, adding gravity to the change/ability.
Very rarely does a long-running series release an update that manages to rise above the stigma of “yet another installment,” but Pokémon X/Y does so by creating a largely new experience. The insane amount of gameplay and shiny graphics reassert the 3DS’ handheld superiority, and may very well be the game which convinces you to finally purchase the system.
- Release Date: October 12, 2013
- Genre: RPG
- Platform: 3DS
- Developer: Game Freak
- Publisher: Nintendo
- ESRB: E
- MSRP: $39.99
Reviewer’s statement: A copy of Pokemon X was purchased by the reviewer for the purpose of this review.