Advocating: Pokemon X & Y

Charizard-Eats-Pikachu

Where is Pikachu

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The first-evolution starters for Pokemon X/Y are a well thought out, and later grow into surprising types.

Your official Advocate reviews of the blockbuster 3DS Pokemon series; Pokemon X and Y

(Artwork by Monty Fu)

Kevin Ortiz, Pokemon X

For any true Pokémon fan, the long awaited Pokémon X and Y are a real treat. Featuring a horde of new species and the new “mega evolutions” for over 25 well loved critters spanning across the past generations, including the famous generation one starters. The up-to-date Pokedex now maxes out at 718. Overall, these game score an 8.5 out of 10.

The 3d rendering is a wonderful way to introduce Pokémon into the new era of handheld gaming. The proportions for several Pokémon are of visually pleasing detail that veteran players are sure to admire. Over-world design has skyrocketed to include multilevel terrains and interactions between the world have also been upgraded. The game looks amazing and it is obvious that the designers have taken a lot into consideration.

The biggest introduction has to be the development of a new Pokémon type. The Fairy type is only weak to steel and poison. It is resistant to dark, fighting and bug. However, it is completely immune to dragon types. By design, Fairy Pokémon are strong in defenses and special attack, effectively making them able to tank attacks from a variety of special attacking threats.

The music for this generation has taken a huge hit. Gyms do not have original music and the music seems to lack the usual luster that Pokémon games are known to have. What they lack in good music is made up for in redesigning the “cries” for older Pokémon. Granted, the audio quality has increased from past generations ,so that is a definite plus.

However, the difficulty for the game is not high. For veteran players, this will be a huge letdown. A simple trick would be to maybe use Pokémon with lower base stat totals, or to turn off the exp. share, which is now a key item. The exp. share is extremely overpowered and given way too early in the game.

Regardless, this generation of Pokémon games is a great investment and it’s estimated play-time is about 24 full hours of gameplay. Keep in mind that there is an infinite amount of replay value, due to the endless goal of catching them all.

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(Drawing Credit: Monty Fu)
The final forms of all three starters in the X/Y versions

 

Jon Oakes, Pokemon Y:

Introduction

Pokémon X and Y are Game Freak’s newest entries into the long-running and ever popular Pokémon series, as well as their first foray into full 3D graphics for the main Pokémon series. Much like Pokémon Black and White in 2011, X and Y are meant as a reinvention of the series. In these new titles, much has changed, but a good deal has  also stayed the same. Upon hearing about these titles, it sounds like a typical Pokémon game with a new coat of paint (aside from the revamped graphics) – you play the part of a beginner Pokémon Trainer travelling a new region and meeting new Pokémon whom you befriend and raise. Under the surface, however, is where a lot of the biggest changes lie.

Gameplay/Plot – Pokémon Y

In this title, you start your quest by being dragged out of bed after recently moving to Vaniville Town in the Kalos region (based overall on France). After changing out of your pajamas ,you go to meet your new neighbors, who inform you that they were told to meet you in order to run a mysterious errand for the equally mysterious Professor Sycamore. You are given a choice of your first Pokémon ; between the Grass-type Chespin, the Fire-type Fennekin, and the Water-type Froakie, and sent on your way, which brings up the first big positive of these new Pokémon titles; they start very quickly compared to previous entries. The sequence of events described above took place over the course of about 10 minutes, after which I was already out and about catching Pokémon and exploring the beautiful Kalos region. A new gameplay aspect that has shaken things up quite a bit is the addition of an eighteenth type to Pokémon’s elemental rock-paper-scissors list,; the Fairy Type. You are told about Fairy type Pokémon early on, and quickly meet a few as well. The Fairy type has its own set of weaknesses and resistances that the game is somewhat reluctant to tell players about in favor of letting them discover it all for themselves. Possibly the biggest shake-up caused by the new type is the reclassification of several older Pokémon to this new type, some gaining it as a secondary type. Overall, the addition of the Fairy type impacts the game in a very positive way by adding more variation and while not knowing how to handle it is a minor inconvenience at first, it is something the player quickly picks up.

When you finally meet Professor Sycamore, he tells you and your friends what he wants you to do in detail: uncover the mystery of Mega Evolution. Mega Evolution is a temporary transformation that allows a Pokémon to tap into hidden reserves of power during battle, and is said to be the culmination of the bond between Pokémon and Trainer. Not all Pokémon have the ability to use Mega Evolution however, and figuring out the exact nuances of the power is the point of the professor’s task. Gameplay-wise, Mega Evolution can be incredibly useful, with a few drawbacks. The Pokémon needs to be holding a special stone named for that Pokémon to initiate the transformation, therefore keeping your Pokémon from holding other items if you wish to use Mega Evolution, and you are only allowed to Mega Evolve one Pokémon per battle. The positives far outweigh these negatives, however. Mega Evolution can be initiated before picking an attack for that turn, and the power boost can give a move the extra “oomph” it may need to push you to victory. Mega Pokémon get fairly large increases in a few stats, but remain weak in stats that they were weak in to begin with. This helps Mega Evolution to be powerful without being overpowered. Mega Evolution is very much a positive addition to the game, giving it more depth and giving players more reason to revisit older Pokémon that they may not have cared to use in the past.

One thing that may work to the detriment of gameplay is the sheer number of Pokémon in this game. The large number of total Pokémon in existence notwithstanding, the game has entire regional lists based on what part of Kalos the player is in at the moment, leading to areas with far too many different Pokémon available in them which might make it difficult for players to find Pokémon that they want. The game also makes very little use of the system’s stereoscopic 3D, only enabling it during specific sequences such as one on one battles and evolutions, however this may be a positive point to some players as it reduces eye strain and improves battery life.

Art/World

The game most definitely takes full advantage of the power of the 3DS, as the Kalos region contains many lush, vibrant areas with colorful NPC’s and plenty to do. Many areas have unique mechanics about them as well: a cave where the camera is stuck behind the player and wild Pokémon jump out at them rather than appear in random encounters. Another cave has reflective walls where trainers can see you attempting to pass behind them and challenge you to a battle, and  desert with ever-blowing winds that affect your speed while moving in certain directions and wild Pokémon chase you down, Lumiose City, which is the biggest city in the franchise and contains so much to do and see as a result, and many more. Some of these areas are fun to pass through and others (like the desert) are not so fun, but each is so distinct that the player really gains an appreciation for the amount of work that went into these games. Accenting this beautiful world is the music. The music changes in style based on the area it plays in, as opposed to previous entries’ tendency towards a dominant instrument, leading to a variety of feelings and aesthetics being evoked by the different areas.

Conclusion

Overall, Pokémon X and Y are overwhelmingly good, if somewhat easy. A good way to increase the difficulty is to turn off the Exp. Share item, which now gives Experience Points to level up all of your party Pokémon. Also, your choice in starter Pokémon may factor into the difficulty. If you want a challenge, pick Chespin, the Grass type. Froakie, the Water type is sort of the in the middle, and Fennekin, the Fire type is probably the easiest. Another tip is to just enjoy it. There is plenty to do and see. These games are highly enjoyable, and have added enough to the Pokémon franchise such as full 3D battles, Mega Evolution, the Fairy type, and so much more.

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