It's a long way from Pallet Town and everything's turned French! Is this new edition to the series worth catching? 411's Cara Alex Brown takes a look inside
The newest edition Pokemon game was hugely anticipated and at first glance, it’s easy to see why. Not only does it have gorgeous 3D graphics but with the first real customization options for your character it provides a whole new personal feel to the game, and with the “Pokemon Amie” feature that allows you to care for your pokemon it provides a way to create an emotional bond with your virtual companions.
However, when you begin to play it there are a few things that begin to let it down. For one, the game seems to be much easier than the earlier titles. More often than not I found myself being handed item upon item just by speaking to people I passed, ultimately reaching the point where I never needed to buy anything other than pokeballs. This even included good “hm’s” and upgraded versions of the current pokeballs available to me, which I found took away somewhat from the challenge of the game. Also contributing to this game seeming much easier than previous titles is the battles. When I managed to make it past the third Gym without ever losing a battle in the game, I began to feel babied and let down for the time I was putting into it. On another note about the Gyms, it seems as though the development team
is beginning to lack slightly in the idea department. One of my all-time favourite things about the Pokemon series was the puzzles and challenges you faced upon trying to earn a new badge and after the Gym mechanics in Black and White (such as the opposing-type-matching first gym battle, meaning that you couldn’t “cheat” your way through by picking your starter accordingly) I was expecting much more. Sadly, after a simple rock climbing gimmick where walls simply have to be scaled, and an annoyingly fiddly gym where you have to awkwardly bump in to cyclists, I was somewhat let down.
Luckily the game does make up for this, to an extent. The graphic quality and style is gorgeous and includes many of the perspective-altering mechanics that made Black and White’s imagery notable. Also, due to one of the main complaints about the Pokemon series currently being that they’re not the same as the originals, the ability to catch and collect almost every pokemon from every generation makes it much more appealing to the original fan base. All of the new features that make it larger than any of the games previously released are definitely something that drag you in and I’ve definitely found myself sitting playing with my Pokemon, trying on different outfits and playing with screenshots at the photograph points.
When looking at the online capabilities we can see how much they have opened up the game. Previously, due to limited technology, the connectivity between other players that could be achieved in a Pokemon game lacked severely. Yet in X & Y there are many new features accessible either via the internet or through local connections. One of the biggest of these is the "Global Trade Station" . This feature allows you to set up restricted listings of Pokemon, and search easily for those you may be looking for to be able to trade them easily with other players. This is very useful for completing your party, especially if you're looking to collect rarer Pokemon or have a full collection of the few creatures capable of the all new, battle-only "mega evolution" in which your Pokemon gain an extra evolutionary appearance and new powers. Furthermore, there is the inclusion of O-powers. These are mini boosts that can be used on yourself or given to other players to help them with various game aspects, from their defense to their chance to successfully make a catch. Repeated use of these then increases their level, making their future uses more beneficial. Other players from around the world can also be openly battled, providing a large-scale way to test your abilities against real world players at any given time. This gives it a strong multiplayer, competitive feature. Players also each have their own "Friend Safari", where the Pokemon type changes daily and your friends can go and catch 1-3 Pokemon of that type at their own free will. Lastly, even simple communications have been improved. Not only can you collect a friends list but you can also see what other players who are on the internet are in the same given area as you. Furthermore, with these players you can openly choose to start voice chats via the built-in microphone, allowing real, significant communication for the first time on a Nintendo handheld console.
Overall, I’d say that it is a good game. The style is good, the gameplay isn’t glitchy like many previous titles and it’s easy to get wrapped up in all of things to do. Sadly though, if you’re looking for a challenge, you’ll likely get bored and set it aside after a week. The vast majority of it is incredibly simple to complete, especially if you’re an experienced player, doesn’t take long to play through. If you’re looking for a game to enjoy in your spare time, or something that you don’t have to focus too heavily on and can play while watching tv and sitting down with a cup of tea, then I’d definitely recommend it.
Incredible for what it is, but the perspective changes can get a bit annoying
What you'd expect but a bit too simple, if you're not incredible interested then it can get boring fast
The soundtrack is breathtaking. Especially Professor Sycamore's theme.
Easy to go back to for the novelty factor, but likely to get boring again quickly
Squealing with excitement the first time you find your favourite original Pokemon definitely creates a buzz