Game Review: ‘Pokemon X and Y’


Nick Hamden [email protected]

Pokemon X/Y achieved a 4/5 by Iowa State Daily reviewer Nick Hamden.

Nick Hamden

Since Pokemon first graced our Nintendo Gameboys in 1996, gamers around the world have wanted one thing: to catch ’em all.

Pokemon on its own is a great game, but why not make it bigger? Why not expand it to the Nintendo 64 or Nintendo Gamecube, giving us a fully 3-D world? Where are the battles reminiscent of Pokemon Colosseum? When can we go in many directions and just upgrade the graphics significantly?

Well, thanks to “Pokemon X and Y,” and the Nintendo 3DS system, we have been given the closest thing to making that dream come true, only 15 years later.

In a first for a video game, “Pokemon X and Y” was released internationally around the world on the same day. It also comes with a several new features:

• More Pokemon — Maybe an obvious new feature, but almost 70 new Pokemon were added, composing the sixth generation.

• Online capabilities and player search system — It has never been easier to interact with friends and strangers online through “Pokemon X and Y.” It has everything from battles and trades, to helpful buffs for your character. It also introduces Wonder Trading, where you trade one Pokemon for another with a stranger, without knowing what the other side is offering up. It is strangely addicting.

• New battle opportunities — Introducing Sky Battles, where only Pokemon who can fly or levitate can participate. It also introduces Horde Encounters, where you will encounter five Pokemon in the wild at once, with only one allowed on your side of the field.

• New type, fairy — With fairy as a type, there are now 18 types overall. Fairy was created to balance out the previously overpowered dragon type.

• Mega-Evolutions — A new form of evolution for a handful of fan favorite Pokemon, that only lasts during combat and if several conditions are met. These new evolutions are very powerful and can change the Pokemon significantly while also increasing the “coolness factor” of the various Pokemon.

While playing the new installment, it is clear that the creators pull out all the stops in order to appeal to the biggest possible user base. For those players who are nostalgic about the earlier versions and complain about all the new Pokemon to collect, early in the game they allow you to pick one of the three original starting Pokemon to join your party. Those Pokemon also come with their own mega-evolution, to increase the wow factor.

The biggest downfall of this game is that they made it incredibly easy, possibly the easiest Pokemon title ever released. Usually, outside of your starter, you are stuck with mostly bug and normal Pokemon early on before newer and arguably better types become catchable. In “Pokemon X and Y,” by the second area, you are already given the ability to catch fire, water, grass and electric types, allowing a well-rounded party early on. That factor, and the free original starter, basically eliminates any worry one may have about future battles and not having an answer right away.

The other aspect that makes it way too easy is the expanded experience share item. In every other game, it was an item you could give to a single Pokemon in your party to gain some experience during combats that they did not participate in. In “Pokemon X and Y,” the experience share gives the entire party experience for every fight. If you are a grinder who does not leave a new area until you catch them all, like me, then this will cause your team to level up far too fast. The distance between the first gym and second gym is incredibly long in X/Y, so I had to worry about level cap issues. Before I got to the second gym, I had two equal power parties, all pushing against the level cap.

These two factors combined made it so I did not have a single issue or hardship the entire game, which made it a tad boring. Knowing I could go into a new area, with no real strategy and still whoop its butt was a bit disappointing.

Outside of making the game too easy, it really is a fantastic addition to the series, if only for the online capabilities. The amount of tiny features it adds, while remaining simple enough to get the hang of, vastly improves the game-play experience. Who hasn’t wanted a Japanese Pikachu on their team, or to battle with someone from Germany, all with the press of a single button? I have no idea how Pokemon plans to improve their titles down the line, because at this point they have made arguably one of their best games.