Pokemon is more than a game. It is a tradition and a childhood. The word ‘Pokemon’ means something different to everyone but, in the end, everyone knows what Pokemon is. But with each series, and the ever increasing roaster of anime-chickens, horrible pun names that rival the puns of Satyros, and the number of monsters so numerous and detailed even God him/her/itself would be proud of Satoshi and Game Freak, the question remains, does Pokemon X/Y warrant a revisit to the series? The short answer: yes. The long answer: Yveltal, Eevee, Squirtle.
I regard graphics as the thing you should least care for when one makes a game (watch the movie Beyond Two Souls). Nintendo has taken huge steps for X and Y: the graphics are amazing but, more importantly, these 3D graphics give life to once flat, animated but emotionless sprites. Now, the dictatorial powers you behest on your minions have more impact. For example, I was genuinely surprised by the details when the pitiful fodder pokemon used taunt and saw how my own, gallant, righteous pokemon reacted. Another instance of perfect animation lies in the difference between Magikarp and other Water/Fish Pokemon. I won’t spoil it for you but it is hilarious.
Battles, now, become more than Final Fantasy-esque turn based combat. It becomes an interaction between two monsters. And this is the main draw of Pokemon X and Y, and boy, it works. This was the reason why we bought Pokemon Colosseum for N64. It is simply amazing, astonishing and, by Arceus, brilliant. No more pixelated representations. It is pokemon in their natural 3D and I found myself thinking that I can’t imagine seeing pokemon in their sprite forms again. This transition to 3D just feels so natural.
As for the game as whole, you should already know how this game plays out, though this time around there is a slight variation. You, the protagonist, wake up one morning mere days after moving to this new area. You receive a letter from a professor you’ve never heard of, let alone, met, which you give to your mother, who has also never heard of this professor, let alone met, and she suddenly packs your stuff and shoos you off. I honestly wonder what was written in that letter, because if I could write so well that I could convince a single parent to send their child away, I’d be either the richest man in the world, or in jail. In any case, what’s different about the plot this time around is that there is more focus on the ‘adventure’ and interactions with your rivals than Gym leaders. No more Lance suddenly appearing to peach you that he is the great Elite Four, or Whitney refusing to give you her badge because you finally killed her Miltank after being murdered by it a hundred times. Gyms here are just gyms. You barge in like an antagonist of a Rurouni Kenshin episode and massacre anyone standing in your way then take the money, the prestige and the glorious gym badge. Veni, vidi, vici.
With all that said, Pokemon X and Y is not without faults. With all the focus on 3D graphics, most cannon fodder trainers are still in anime-2D which makes them a bit out of place. The pokemon’s animations are limited as well, so it is awkward to watch your charizardy Charizard use his tail when you ordered Wing Attack. The new Kalos region is based on France, yet we can’t run away from trainers. How hypocritical!
There is still more I could write about Pokemon X and Y, such as the adorable Poke-Amie or the new Fairy-type, but in the end, all I can say is this: is anyone willing to trade me a Bulbasaur?
Developer: Game Freak