October 28, 2013

Pokemon X and Y

Lasting First Impressions

Pokemon Y BoxartThe Pokemon franchise has become a staple Nintendo title since it debuted back in 1996.  Since then, there have been over 20 titles released for Nintendo’s handheld consoles alone.  Now, Nintendo launches the first set of Pokemon titles specifically tailored to the Nintendo 3DS system, Pokemon X and Y.  As usual, the Pokemon games come in two different flavours, Pokemon X and Pokemon Y, each containing their own Legendary Pokemon as well as a few different Pokemon characters to catch.  Other than these few differences, both games are identical and it’s really just a matter of player preference.  For this review, I have been playing Pokemon Y since the Legendary one is a very cool phoenix like Pokemon.  Oh, and I like red.

In the past I have only had the pleasure of playing a couple Pokemon titles and the first thing I notice when playing the Pokemon X and Y series is the lack of anything inherently new in the core gameplay.  Don’t get me wrong here, the game has definitely grown up over the years.  The visuals are much more stunning now and the Pokemon come to life in 3D very well.  This is easily the best looking Pokemon game to date.  The gameplay, however, is wholly untouched from previous versions.  Pokemon X and Y, like its predecessors, is essentially an RPG Lite for the younger generation.  Instead of gathering a party for an adventure and fighting enemies along the way, players gather a set of Pokemon characters that they train to become stronger and eventually evolve into larger and tougher versions of themselves.  Pokemon X and Y now introduce the Mega-Evolution stage for some key Pokemon.  When Pokemon fight, it is all for fun with the losing party simply “fainting” and not being killed.  Being what it is, Pokemon remains a fun and engaging game for players of all ages.

Pokemon X and Y Screen (7)

The biggest surprise I found in Pokemon X and Y is the lack of 3D in the game, considering this is the first game designed specifically for the 3DS.  There is certainly some 3D in the game, but the main gameplay, the part of the game that players will spend the majority of their time, has no 3D images available at all.  Only during Pokemon battles does the 3D show up and, even then, the depth of 3D is very minimal.  I found this a bit odd that such a high profile game from Nintendo wouldn’t showcase the capabilities of the system it was created for.  Since the Nintendo 2DS was launched in tandem with Pokemon X and Y, I can only assume their target audience would typically have the 3D turned off anyway.  Regardless, ss a consumer, if I am buying a 3DS game for the 3DS, I would expect the entire game to contain 3D visuals if I choose to view them.

Some great new features have made their way into Pokemon X and Y that add new value to the games over what was available previously.  Since a lot of the fun of Pokemon games is the ability to collect and trade Pokemon with friends, during gameplay, players can opt to turn on their internet connection and see a real-time list of players throughout the world who are currently playing the game.  Using this list, players are able to initiate battles with fellow players, or begin a trade to find that ever elusive Pokemon they have been searching for.

Pokemon X and Y Screen (19)

Additionally, new mini-games have been included in Pokemon X and Y.  One of these games, Pokemon Amie, is a sort of Nintendogs style game (what ever happened to Nintendogs, anyway?) in which players can play with and take care of their Pokemon when they are not in the mood for an adventure.  Another mini-game is a training school consisting of a series of mini-games designed to help adventures increase the stats of their Pokemon.  This reminds me a lot of the Chao that could be trained for use in Sonic Adventure using Sega Dreamcast’s portable memory card.  The mini-games here are fairly simplistic but fun and utilize the touch screen for the main action.  After each successful game, certain stats of the Pokemon being trained are increased.

Normally, our Lasting First Impressions reviews consider the first hour of gameplay for games, but with a game such as Pokemon X and Y, one hour is definitely not enough.  After the first hour, the game is really just getting started and players are beginning to get to know their starting Pokemon.  This is the type of game that is most certainly worthy of many hours of gameplay and is a perfect portable game.  Collecting as many Pokemon as one can and training them all to higher and higher levels is very addicting.  That’s really what Pokemon games are. They are an addiction.  Pokemon are like the cards in a trading card game, or Skylanders, except one need not buy anything further to increase their collection.  The core gameplay of Pokemon X and Y may not have changed from previous iterations of the franchise, but as new Pokemon are introduced, you just gotta catch’em all!  These titles may have been created and designed for the younger gamers, but any RPG fan will assuredly enjoy a good Pokemon adventure.

Nintendo, I gave you (much more than) and hour and I am IMPRESSED.  I just wish there was more 3D.

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About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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