In just a little over a week I managed to eat, sleep and pretty much breathe Pokemon Y to point where I completed the main plot line, beat the Elite Four and collected a couple of mysterious legendary Pokemon. In this weeks time I managed to come to a conclusion about this franchise that I was starting to dismiss for it’s lack of creativity and how out of touch it was becoming with it’s audience.
Pokemon X/Y was the greatest leap in content from one Pokemon game to the next I have ever encountered… Instead of adding a few extraneous features like a day/night cycles or a radio Pokemon Y takes those preexisting game features, makes them 1000 times better and adds content that you would never know you needed until you played it. My personal favorites include:
If you you’re at all like me and sometimes find yourself day dreaming about Pokemon at any given moment, you’ve probably thought to yourself: “Hey, why can’t Pokemon battles be like on the handheld look graphically (only better) like Pokemon Stadium?” Well boy does the 3DS deliver. 3D battles taking place right in your hands. Most moves having a unique animation to accompany it, really motivating players to continuously change up their Pokemon’s move repertoire. You like Ember? Well have you seen how cool Fire Pledge looks compared to that? Not to mention the way each species of Pokemon moves in order to giving it a unique breath of life.
Encountering the Old Guard:
My biggest issue Pokemon Black and White was the fact I had to slog through hours of gameplay before I encountered any familiar, let alone beloved Pokemon from my childhood.
With Y I was able to round out my initial party with familiar faces within the first hour of gameplay. Throughout your journey you will have the chance to encounter a mixed offering of the first 150 Pokemon as well as the newer, slightly less cool generations as well. My excitement at being able to catch a Dugtrio in the first quarter of the game reminded me so much of the hours I plugged into Red and Blue when I was a kid. It’s a great feeling, that nostalgia. My happiest moment though had to of been when I got my choice of the original starters early in the game. And forever more were Charizard and I reunited.
BFFs for life
Fairy Type Pokemon:
As much as I prefer the older Pokemon because of my deeply entrenched personal biases from my childhood, I enjoyed the addition of the new breed of Fairy Pokemon. It was a welcome change from Dragon-types being the dominant and most consistently powerful Pokemon around. Instead we have a whole subset of Fairy-type Pokemon who look like they walked off a magical girl anime with extremely high resist rates and super effectiveness against several different types of Pokemon. They were cute, fun and all unique in their own way.
The amount of content added to your touchscreen was also awesome. There was a training mini game to improve your Pokemon overall stats as well as the social center to catalogue all the randoms (and some friends) you’ll meet to trade and battle with. But the greatest of them all was Pokemon Amie where I was able to individually select members of my party, feed them treats, give them belly rubs and play games with them. I was always excited to see how my newly evolved Pokemon would look up close. Also you haven’t lived until you’ve given Mewtwo head scratchies and watched him give you a pleased nod in gratitude. It also featured some wonderfully diverting mini games that helped me accumulate further poke treats that led to greater friendship with my Pokemon who would perform even better in battle. Win win win.
As someone who puts a hideous amount of time into character creators, I was delighted about the chance to customize my character. With hair salons and the promise of new boutiques in most towns, I’m pretty sure that’s what ended up expediting my play. The desire to get to the next town to always have the best outfit possible became a major motivating factor for me. I mean, gym badges are cool but have you seen how many hats I have?
But getting to the thing that impressed me most about this game: The Diversity. In previous iterations of Pokemon games seldom has there been any people of colour. In fact, the first time we see a non-Japanese (or white depending upon your cultural lens) Gym Leader isn’t until Lenora and Iris in Pokemon Black and White. Fellow trainers always took the same template too. Until X & Y which decided to shatter as many molds as possible. And that includes the diversity of trainers you will encounter on your travels. From the typical snot nosed kids (who back in my day only had Rattata’s) there were trainers of different races, body types, ages, economic backgrounds and my personal favorite, the condescending Veteran trainers. Questioning your skills as a trainer, the male versions looking like the typical grizzled hero of some Hollywood action film utilizing only the manliest of Pokemon.
It’s like they were saying something about machismo tropes present in our culture or something. While I can’t be sure that this is definitively what the developers intended, I had a chuckle every time I encountered one of these guys along Victory Road.
In summation, I really liked this game. It rejuvenated my passion for Pokemon, reminding me why I fell in love with it in the first place, mainly by igniting any nostalgic feeling I might have still kicking around. I liked the way that the game put in the effort to represent several different types of people, of differing ages, race, economic background and body types. Nobody the player encountered was made into a joke based on their appearance like in previous games. Well except for the new generation’s Team Rocket, known as Team Flare, but they were obnoxious bullies anyways. I loved the new and improved features that streamlined gameplay while also exercising the graphical capabilities of the 3DS. But most of all, I loved the feeling of immersion I got from this game.
Now I’m not saying that you should go out right now to buy a 3DS, but what I am saying is that if you love Pokemon, you most certainly will not regret playing Pokemon X&Y.