Saturday, 28 December 2013

Pokemon X

Gamespot Score: 8.0 (Great)

My Score: 8.0

(+) Pros: - Newly improved visuals on the 3DS bring the Pokemon experience to a whole new level, - Character clothes customization makes for a more "varied" experience than usual, - Pokemon battles are a lot more visually appealing, - Less grindy due to new EXP share, - Super training introduces a less tedious and more friendly way to start on the competitive side of the game.

(-) Cons: - Only 69 new Pokemon, a number lower than ANY of the previous games before it, - The amount of post game content is pitiful when compared to that of previous games.

Gameplay time: 30 hours for main story, 50 hours + for post game and beyond

First of all, X and Y are stupid names to re-brand the Pokemon franchise with its 6th generation. "Pokemon X and Y" makes it the franchise's first outing on the 3DS, and as you know, the right time to get any Nintendo handheld is when Nintendo themselves release a brand new Pokemon game for "Pokemon X and Y" was kind of my calling for the system. Just looking at the trailers and starters alone made me yearn for the game more than anything ever had...and it doesn't help when the game was only 2 weeks away when I finished playing "Black and White 2" on the NDS. You all should know the press scores by now, this game sold well and was received well, so my review here is kind of just a stick in the mud. Anyways, let's get to it, Pokemon's first game on the 3DS and my very first 3DS game review.

Story has never been Pokemon's strong point...don't bullshit me. The only generation that actually attempted to make a good story and succeeded, was generation 5, the "Black and White" and "Black and White 2" games. "X and Y" isn't too hot in the story department, but it does well enough to be decent. As usual, it talks about you, a hot headed youth that wants to leave home on a journey to become the best Pokemon trainer ever, after receiving his first Pokemon from the professor of the region, Professor Scaymore (technically, your friends gave it to you, but the Pokemon itself was from the Professor). You leave on your journey with your 4 friends as a group of 5, each pursuing your own ways to learn, live and grow with the Pokemon on your way. On the way you meet nationwide villains Team Flare, and beat 8 gyms, the elite four, and the champion to complete your journey.

Pokemon has come a LONG way.

The first thing you'll get blown away when you look at the obviously the graphics. This is the first Pokemon game to introduce FULL FLEDGED 3D graphics. 3D environments, battles, character models, so on and so forth. Its almost revolutionary in this aspect, and this is EASILY the best looking game up to date, as expected as the franchise's debut on the 3DS system, it pulls no stops. Each and every one of the current 718 Pokemon look fantastic in battle, and the 3D character models are an amazing improvement from the 16 bit sprites of old. 3D character models striking poses before the start of every trainer battle was something that I've always wanted to see, and seeing it for myself in "Pokemon X" was pretty good feeling.

With the new graphics, everything feels better as an overall. The colorful, vibrant style of the game comes to life more than ever before. Battles feel refreshing as you anticipate how an old Pokemon would look like in the current 3D graphics, routes, towns and cities give out a whole new different feeling, especially Luminose City, which seems like the most impressive city in a Pokemon game up to date. It almost feels like you're playing a different game when you look at the visuals alone, but when you're in the driver's seat, you know that deep down, its the same Pokemon franchise that we all know and love.

Correction! A horde of Tauros AND a f**king Milktank.

With improved character models comes the option to customize your trainer with the many different available outfits in the game, a feature that I'm sure MANY players wanted for a LONG time, myself included. In the Kalos region, clothing stores are scattered in different towns, and you can now buy clothes to change how your character looks from time to time. New shoes? A new hat? New clothes? The top? Bottom? Or do you just want to change your bag? You have quite a few options to turn your trainer into the most swag filled jackass out there, the coolest, most stylish prodigy ever, or the most elegant, well endowed female trainer to ever walk the streets. Customization is cool, but next time, try not to lock the awesome outfits away until post game.

As with all Pokemon games, the battles are the main meat of the gameplay. Not much has changed here, in fact, everything is exactly the same except from a few tweaked moves here and there. Fairies types have been thrown into the mix, bringing the total type count to 18. Double battles, triple battles and rotation battles have been brought over from previous games, and the new horde encounter system features you having the chance to encounter 5 Pokemon at once in the wild. Unfortunately, these horde encounter Pokemon are usually weak, making them nothing but fancy normal Pokemon encounters.

Sylveon so kawai~

Improved graphics mean that battles feel more explosive than ever. Pokemon actually flinch when hit, and they perform actions when using a certain move. Speaking of attacks, many of them look a lot more powerful in "X and Y". Gushing waves of fire, an explosive beam shot at your opponents, or massive punch thrown at them...its surprising how any of these Pokemon wouldn't explode into little goblets when hit by such powerful looking attacks, especially if a small Pokemon eats a Hyper Beam or Outrage from its massive opponent.

With the new EXP share, battles feel a lot less grindy than before. In the past only the Pokemon holding EXP share would receive EXP from a battle, now, EXP share is a key item that makes sure your entire team gets EXP, rather than just 1 of your bench Pokemon. This completely eradicates the need to grind up any Pokemon that you never managed to split the EXP with...its a whole lot less tedious to raise up a full team from the ground, instead of training them individually (who likes to do that? Seriously). Less padding...that's good. Of course, if you ever want to put yourself through the misery of training 6 Pokemon 1 by 1, you can always turn it off, though I don't understand why anyone would want to. It makes the game easier, that's what a lot of people say, but tell yourself honestly...haven't all Pokemon games been easy thus far (NOT counting post game content)?

How is this not impressive?

My personal favorite improvement to "Pokemon X and Y" however, is the fact that they made competitive Pokemon battling a lot less tedious. I for one, did not bother to give a flying f**k about competitive online battling in any Pokemon game before this one, because EV training was such a PAIN. Yes, I beat the entire Pokemon world tournament in "Black and White 2" WITHOUT EV trained Pokemon. And yes, I lost a lot there, but it didn't matter, I would rather stop playing if someone told me that I needed a full EV team to beat the damn thing. EV training is pointless, long and tedious..."X and Y" lightens that load by a WHOLE LOT.

Meet super training, a method to EV train your Pokemon so that they become viable and valid for competitive online battling (because everyone there has Pokemon that are fully EV trained). Instead of looking to kill 10000 Zigzagoons, all you have to do is super train! Super training is a set of dumb mini games that require you to fire at big balloons with targets to damage them, and defeating these balloons will increase the EV of your Pokemon depending on which course they took. Want to increase SP Atk on your Meowstic? Just hit up a few Magnemite balloons and you'll be set in less than 30 minutes. It now takes less than an hour to fully EV train your Pokemon for competitive battling...which is a f**king godsend, if you ask me. For the first time ever, I feel that competitive battling is actually achievable in Pokemon.

Put your gunz on motherf**ker!

Generation 6 only introduced a grand total of 69 new Pokemon...which is pretty bad. That was my biggest gripe with the game before I got felt like Gamefreak and Nintendo were getting lazy. I know that they recreated this entire game on a highly improved system and it took a lot of effort...but they could have delayed the game and put in more Pokemon then, 69 new Pokemon is lazy. Even if you count Mega Evolutions, the new Pokemon count is lesser than all of the previous generations (Gen one: 151, Gen two: 100, Gen three: 134, Gen four: 106, Gen five: 155). Post game content in "X and Y" is also rather pitiful when compared to the likes of "Black and White 2". You get the looker side quest, Zygarde and Mewtwo...that's it. I know there's the Battle Chetau and Battle Maison...but those are in EVERY game up to date (just named differently). No cameo battles? No GEN 6 EXCLUSIVE legendary trios? And really, only 3 Gen 6 legendaries?

"Pokemon X and Y" is a huge step forward in the technical department, it actually looks freaking fantastic, and playing the game as it looks currently is just an improved experience overall. The small pool of new Pokemon is very disappointing, and the lack of extensive post game content is rather saddening, but everything else that the game does do right, will put a smile on your face. Technically, Pokemon has come a long way with "X and Y", but is it the ultimate Pokemon game in terms of content? Far from it, but that doesn't change the fact that with "X and Y", Pokemon still has the potential to grow even bigger than it already is.

Happy gaming!