As we play offers the thought strands of the reviewer as they’re going through the game. This offers unique content for the reader so they can come to understand the conflicting feelings of the reviewer as they’re playing a game for the very first time.
All feedback on this concept is welcome.
Ever since I got my grubby little mits on Pokemon Red as a kid, I have dreamed of what playing a proper Pokemon adventure would be like in 3D. While I enjoyed 2012′s Pokemon Black and White 2, it felt like a stop gap release, tiding us over until the main event – but grab your backwards caps Pokefans, as it has most definitely been worth the wait.
Congratulations! Another Dimension has been caught!
Booting up the game and being greeted by your trainer running around a 3D world is a beautiful thing to behold. Typical Pokemon occurances like running through towns and tall grass now feel fresh and exciting in 3D, making exploring Kalos feel like something genuinely new – even though town layouts are pretty much unchanged from previous titles. The upgraded visuals to even the unchanged aspects of the series make a much bigger difference to the experience than I would have thought.
The main part of the game to benefit from the 3D engine though, is definitely the battle system. Seeing your Pokemon burst into life on a 3D plane is one of the most satisfying gaming experiences I’ve had in a long time. Pokemon’s moves are beautifully animated, and the incredibly frequent battles can often be a spectacle to behold. Pokemon are now in scale too, Snorlax looms over Pikachu ( who now looks adorably round in 3D) meaning that the Pokemon’s physical characteristics really stand out, which makes battling different types of Pokemon feel unique.
Speaking of another dimension, Pokemon battles and certain in game events like evolution and story parts, are presented in full stereoscopic 3D.Due to wanting to keep a consistent framerate however, the overworld sadly doesn’t use the stereoscopic features of the 3DS’ namesake, but the transition isn’t as jarring as you think, and you forget about it after your first hour of play.
A full 3D game engine and..well, partial stereoscopic 3D? Oh Gamefreak, you spoil us.
The battles in particular benefit from the added depth of the 3D effect, and watching your Charmeleon stream down rains of fire on your opponent in stereoscopic 3D is a really cool sight to behold.
It’s the little things
Pokemon isn’t a series particularly known for change or innovation, and although X and Y are filled with some pretty major changes, it is the subtle streamlining differences to the formula that I immediately noticed.
Right from the start you have the running shoes – no more time wasted walking slower than a legless zombie. In previous games, only defeating Pokemon in battle would gain you experience, in X and Y you gain it even if you capture the Pokemon. Remember the equip able exp share? Now it is an item you turn on or off that applies to your party, giving them half the XP of the Pokemon in battle.
These changes seemed odd at first, but will go a long way to easing newcomers into the experience, and making players of all level’s game time more fun and efficient.
What? Pokemon training is evolving?!
In previous games in the series, in order to have any chance at being a decent player online you had to EV train you Pokemon. This involved hunting down certain Pokemon that give you stat values and repeatedly defeating them so that you gain a few stat points in exchange for hours of tedium.
Luckily, Pokemon X and Y prevents an alternative – Super Strength Training. These are little touch screen mini games that when completed gain you stats for the Pokemon that take part. You also win ‘training bags’, which let you do bitesize training events where you can tap the chosen training bag ( speed, attack etc) on the bottom screen and watch your Pokemon’s base stat increase.
I really like this idea, as it means you can choose to improve individual Pokemon at your lesure without interrupting your journey to go back to route 1 and find a Rattatta. The training bag is especially great because you don’t have to leave what you’re doing, as it takes place entirely on the 3DS’bottom screen.
It actually has a story
Pokemon Black and White made the effort to expand on characterisation and story in Pokemon games, and X and Y continues this. Instead of being a lone trainer, you are one of four that get given Pokemon. You regularly meet up with them, and for the first time in a Pokemon game – I’m not sure where the game will take me next. Not every town contains a gym leader, sometimes your journey will take you to do other things entirely,including solving puzzles and finding a very familiar Pokemon Flute. X and Y’s refusal to follow the normal Pokemon template and to mix it up is highly refreshing, and one of my favourite things about the game so far.
Summary – so far
I am still playing through this game but what I have experienced is hands down the 3DS’ best title to date. A few occasional camera issues aside, it has been very difficult to find anything to fault X and Y with. Pokemon fans and newcomers to the series alike, I highly recommend you grab your Pokedex and dive head first into this charming and carefully designed adventure. Check back for more updates as I play.