Saturday, 18 January 2014

Review No. 69 Pokémon X and Y - 3DS (3+)

Strong Points:
3D graphics (with slider) in battle
Breeding for IV's easier than ever
Main legendary easy to catch
Battle animations are much better
Roller skates make getting around much easier
Storyline is darker
PSS makes connecting to people a lot easier
Global Link is much easier to use
Very big regional Pokédex
3D graphics adds height, depth and better overall graphics to the game
Random people have more of a personality
Luminouse City is huge
Graphics for HM's are much better
EV's are much easier to get and record
BP is easier to get
Map is much less linear
Cinematic cut-scenes!
Character customisation
Restaurant Le Wow makes it easy to get money

Weak Points:
3D effect (with slider) not in overworld
Scary house not really scary
Not very many new Pokémon
League is not very hard
No VS Seeker
Not many legendries (yet?)
Main legendary is easy to catch
Framerate is shaky when in battle
Not as many training spots

In-depth Review:

Release Dates:
World Wide: 12 October, 2013

Controls: Source:
Circle Pad: roller skate
D-Pad: walk
D-Pad + B button: run
L button or R button: move through screens on touch screen
A button: choose something, examine, scroll through text, talk to people and Pokémon
B button: cancel, return to previous screen
Y button: ready-button menu
X button: menu

The sixth gen of Pokémon is one of revolution and change. The game begins by showing off its graphical capabilities with a cinematic cutscene! A Fletching flies over to where your sleeping before divebombing you. And this is when you notice the next big change, you are wearing pyjamas! This is a change, as it implies that you will be able to change your clothes due to this not being the character advertised. And this brings me on to my first point, character customisation. In this game, you have the ability to edit your avatars looks by skin colour, eye colour (through the use of contact lenses) hair and clothes. You can buy your clothes in the many boutiques scattered across the region. You can even tailor yourself to look like other characters or even Pokémon such as Pancham.

*Various points of the next two paragraphs contain story spoilers*

The premise of the game is much the same as always, you choose a Pokémon from the available 3 (only this time you get it from your friends rather than the professor) before going out on a journey to catch Pokémon to fill your, now huge, Pokédex and to train to battle the various Pokémon gyms on your way to the Pokémon league. While doing this, you have to fight this region's evil team (why every region has one, I will never know). This game's team is that of Team Flare and these ones seem to have taken their crazy design ques from Team Galactic with Team Magma's taste for red. While it's very easy to guess who the evil guy is, (seriously, as soon as you see him you'll know) the story line is refreshingly dark and involves some sort of mass genocide.

The region is also darker, with its history involving a 3000-year-old war, reincarnation, the death of Pokémon and a corrupted, immortal king. Kalos, as it is known, is based on real life France and so includes many European architecture designs including the Eiffel Tower! Kalos is much bigger and less linear than Unova increasing the size of the game by quite a lot. Also, thanks to the second gym being so much further away from the first one, it means they can crank up the difficulty (slightly, I mean its still easy and I managed to beat the whole game without losing once; try competitive battling scene for a big challenge).

Now onto the mini games or side quests. At first, I didn't think X and Y had got any, I mean there were no contests or battle frontiers in sight, but then, as you play a little further into the game, more things start appearing. For instance, it wasn't until I had completed the story and was ready to train competitively before I used Super Training. Super Training is a mini game in which you fire footballs at balloon Pokémon to raise your own Pokémon's stats. The Pokémon you battle are all in different categories depending on which stat you want to increase and there are three levels of difficulty which give bigger rewards the more difficult you go. One good aspect of Super Training (in fact, the main point of it existing in the first place) is that it makes it a lot easier to EV train Pokémon as well as keep track of existing EV points.

The next mini game is Pokémon Amie. Pokémon Amie, like Super Training, is found on the PSS (more on that later) and is also used to train up Pokémon. Through the use of petting and feeding your Pokémon as well as playing from a choice of three games (Berry Picker, Head It and Tilt Puzzle) your Pokémon gain more affection towards you. In Berry Picker, you have to drag the right berry to the right Pokémon while in Head It you have to tap your Pokémon as the ball of yarn falls on their head. Finally, in Tilt Puzzle you have to swap tiles round in a frame to make a picture which you can then save. By gaining affection your Pokémon show excitement in battle, your player will pet them after battle and you'll gain battle effects. These battle effects are better critical hit chances, better evasiveness and better chances of ignoring status effects. However, none of these effects work in competitive battles. The final reason to use Pokémon Amie is to evolve this generation's eeveloution; Sylveon.

Next up is the ever present, win streak game, this time named the Battle Maison. However, this one is only unlocked at the end of the game. Once again you have to battle your way through a load of trainers before beating the respective leader of the type of battle you are competing in before repeating this again in the super version of that type of battle. One major, and very helpful difference between this and the last game, however, is the option to leave the streak and do something else, to return to it later. This doesn't make it any easier, only more convenient, letting you swap out Pokémon into ones that fit your team better or you haven't played with before or even going out and training new ones.

*End game spoilers are in the next paragraph*

The end of game extension in X and Y is much better and bigger than its Back and White predecessor (and by that, I mean the Seven Sages hunt). This time, it's the Looker Bureau Quests, and sees the return of the famous member of the International Police, Looker as well as, what I believe to be, one of the only mentions of you being the champion post winning (finally, we can all bask in the glory of recognition). The quest consists of five chapters in which you help Looker with various linked missions which involve you finding places such as alleyways and battling level 60 Pokémon. The storyline is really good for a post-game extension and I will not spoil it here.

Now it's time to talk about the PSS (I told you I would talk about it) and how it revolutionises the online experience of Pokémon X and Y. PSS stands for Player Search System and it does just that. There are three tiers of players: friends (your friends list), acquaintances (people who you have interacted with at least once e.g battled, training etc) and passerby, anyone else. This means that you can battle random people while playing the game, or get challenged randomly or even find out when your friends are online and battle/trade with them. You can also chat to friends through the use of game chat with the only problem being that if you say yes to game chat and your friend doesn't you have to restart the connection to them. Game chat doesn't have a text function though, so it could be improved.

Right, now onto the graphics. We've waited many, many years for Pokémon to finally make the jump from 2D sprites to 3D polygon's and now that it's finally here, I can see that it was worth the wait. Now this is no, shaky pseudo 3D like in Pokémon Black and White but full on proper 3D with different sized people, shadows, water effects etc. When I first turned my copy of Pokémon Y, the only way I knew it was a Pokémon game was the title at the beginning of the game. And this isn't a bad thing, the graphics add so much more depth to the game and a much better game overall.

One thing that you can't do though, is use the 3D's 3D slider outside of battle to add even more depth to the scenes. Once again, I don't think this is such a bad thing, as I can't think of the last time I actually turned the 3D up outside of a cutscene. Another problem with the 3D slider is in battle as it makes the framerate slow down to a Macargo's pace. But slide the 3D down and suddenly, you get the most immersive Pokémon battles ever. One look at Dragon Pulse, Foul Play or Power Whip and I knew that I would never turn the battle animations off.

3D also adds the bonus of more manoeuvrability, that's right Pokémon fans, the grid system is gone! The rise of diagonal movement is here! Added to this is the roller skates, which make running obsolete and speed much easier. But don't worry, tradition fans, the bike is still here, and comes in two colours (yellow and green) and an added boost to speed.

It's time to talk about something that hasn't happened since the Gold and Silver days, a new type has been released! This new type is the Fairy type and was created specifically to stop Dragons from rampaging across the Pokémon Video Game World Championships. I have absolutely no idea how a fairy could defeat a dragon, but there you go. Fairy is also good against Dark and Fighting types (other very popular types) and is resistant to Bug, Dark and Fighting while being immune to Dragon. To defeat it, you need to use Poison or Steel attacks.

Finally, it's time to talk about the Pokémon themselves. With only 69 being released this gen, it is the lowest Pokémon count ever as well as missing many traditional Pokémon such as the Legendary Trio and base 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 Pokémon (Mew, Celebi etc). However, as the game is on the 3DS it is quite possible for DLC Pokémon to be released. But this gen did give a few Pokémon an update, in the form of Mega Evolutions. Mega Evolutions are battle-length Evolutions that end when the battle is over. To Mega Evolve a Pokémon, you must first have acquired the Mega Ring and given the Pokémon their respective Mega Stone. Mega Evolutions add statistic and aesthetic changes as well as different abilities for certain Pokémon. There are 28 Mega Stones as of yet with Charizard and Mewtwo having 2 each (one for each version).

Overall, Pokémon X and Y add an amazing amount to the traditional Pokémon formula, without detracting too much from it. Would I call it a revolution? Yes, I think I would.

Rating: 95%

Goodbye for now, Harry

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