It’s been nearly two weeks since Pokemon X/Y came out. And while we’ve reminisced about it, and even gave our first impressions on it — I think we’ve had enough time to sit on this game, picking away at it to start up a concise round-table discussion. Arguably, I think Pokemon X/Y is one of the 3Ds’ big hits, rivaling hot games like Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem Awakening as booming fan-favorites. So now that we’re beyond first impressions, how does the new Pokemon game stand up to the highly critical, cultured minds of the Moar Powah staff? Read on to find out!
Inverseman, Resident Pokemon Master: Pokemon X and Y feel like true nostalgia for the fans. Not a moment goes by without remembering something from the long history of the game, whether it’s shoutouts to other games or clear homages to the past. One puzzle has you chasing down a Pokemon in a hedge maze, just like the Ilex Forest Farfetch’d in Generation 2.
As I stated in my own impressions, Game Freak has gone all-out on this game so instead of reiterating what I posted, I’d speak to my hopes and dreams for the game. First and foremost is the vaguely romantic dialogue between the male player character and Shauna. Romance and Social Links? In my Pokemon game? Knowing the series track record, we’re probably not going to get a lovers’ route, but a man can dream. I also am dying to see how far character customization can go. Right now I look like an older version of Red, and it’s awesome. On the minus side, the game is rather slow-paced; I am nearly level 30 and I’ve yet to get the second gym badge, but perhaps a longer Pokemon game is what the series needs to give more meat to those of us who rip though the Elite 4 in minutes. It’s still easy though. The last aspiration I have is for Pokemon Bank to work well; I have nearly 600 older Pokemon to transport and I want it to work out.
Fenrir, Eevee Hoarder and Very Casual Player: All my poetic waxing aside about the Pokemon series as a whole–and Gamefreak’s luck in playing on the nostalgia factor–I’ve got to say that this might be my favorite Pokemon game, even surpassing my love for SoulSilver and Black/White. Why, you may ask?
Because it feels like a much easier game. Yes it plays up on nostalgia, and while it doesn’t have as solid a story as say, Black and White–damn if there’s one thing that I love about this game, it’s that grinding doesn’t seem to be necessary to advance! In fact, it seems like a very newbie-friendly Pokemon game, which just makes it all the easier for people who’ve followed the franchise for so long. Game mechanics wise — I love how catching Pokemon earns you EXP, which is a much needed boon to prevent hours of grinding/wasted EXP potential when trying to catch a Pokemon. Plus, you get an EXP Share earlier in the game, which can definitely help keep Pokemon “level” with each other, instead of that weird paradox where your starter Pokemon may be a few levels beyond the rest of the team.
Actually, I’ll admit, one of the things that wearied me about the Pokemon franchise was the grinding. But X/Y has so many options for team upkeep: if the EXP share isn’t your thing (and I’ll be honest, I make use of it rather shamelessly when I have a lower-level Pokemon that I just want to evolve), there’s other nifty things, like the Battle Chateau. Throw on an Amulet Coin and run around kicking some lovely, campy NPCs to the curb for the perfect level up/money-making scheme. I feel like, this is the richest I’ve been in such an early stage of the game!
As Inverseman mentioned up above, customization is such a great thing — and while we’re talking about all the shiny new things, we got to give a nod to the various forms of transport, from the new skates, to the bike, and even to Pokemon. The world is definitely more inviting, and engaging, with all sorts of little, fun Easter eggs of sorts that just make the game, and the Kalos region itself come to life.
I love that we’re in pseudo-Poke-France and how the game unapologetically plays up to some classic French icons, and attitudes. Pay close attention to the dialogue, and to the NPCs themselves–there’s some real gems hidden in there that I applaud Gamefreak for, truly.
So yeah, the game is quite friendly and quite shiny with all these new things, including the little mini-games and extras–Pokemon Amie in particular–that are just fabulous additions to the Pokemon scene. Besides being a nifty tool to keep track of the affection status of a Pokemon (especially for pesky affection-based evos), it’s made the game more versatile. For instance, I’m a commuter who needs to brave a 45-1 hour ride to and from NYC, and it’s just nice to know that I have the minigame option; it’s much easier for my motion sickness to play a round of infinite Head It instead of wandering around for some training. Plus, playing and interacting with the Pokemon is just way too adorable. Like I can’t adequately describe it; this is the kind of feature that 10-year-old me would have loved in an instant!
Can we also talk about how awesome it is to be able to capture your own horde of Eevees and name them after Les Mis characters? Currently Marius the Sylveon is kicking ass and taking names while also mooning over a sudden, passionate love for Cossette the Espeon while poor Eponine the Umbreon is ignored. Or wait maybe that’s just me…
But yeah — I do love X/Y quite a lot, and find it to be a very, very fun addition to the franchise that is slowly creeping up as my favorite. I will say, though, that the overarching plot isn’t as nuanced as Black/White — which was one of my favorite story arcs within the Pokemon-verse. Although, it is debatable whether anyone is playing a Pokemon game for the story–otherwise, I find that this is a fun game, and a delightful addition to the franchise.
And, one last, perhaps big thing that makes Pokemon X/Y fun?
Inter-player interaction through the Player Search System is amazingly sophisticated; all of its features make interacting with friends and random passerbys quite an experience. During NYCC 2013 I got to work with the PSS in action, which perhaps leads to its only caveat: it’s tons of fun when there are plenty of people with 3Ds around, otherwise its kind of a lonely existence.
But, when you do meet up with someone–yesterday, for instance, on my bus ride back someone at the back had their 3Ds out and we got to have a trainer battle and we both traded version exclusive Pokemon, it was quite sweet, really–it’s really quite fun.
Also, the new round of hilarious Trainer PR videos kind of ensure that this feature, although limited to your friends and maybe those random chance moments when you meet other people, is brilliant.