It’s that time again when hoards of fans wait patiently in queues outside their local game shop, or wait in the house for that download to unlock in the digital universe. Yet again another launch hit hard by GAME Stores Group selling the game early, and to warrant the street break; they reportedly notified Nintendo of Europe that a local competitor had broken the street date and started selling the game early. Nintendo in turn authorized GAME to put the game on sale. This is a pathetic excuse for any company to allow the sale of such a highly anticipated game. This was made worse by GAME not even notifying their customers on their huge social network that they were selling the game and the reason behind the street date break. Nintendo of Europe and GAME should have kept to the original launch date just like other countries, and Nintendo should have fined the company that was selling early.
“Learn from the past to change the future, greed does not bode well”
Now it’s all well and good to sell the game early thanks to the nice people over at Nintendo authorizing the street date break, but what about the fans? Where is the buzz we gamers get waiting patiently in that long queue, chatting to other avid gamers, collecting StreetPass opportunities and being one of the first to own THE GAME… I tell you where, down the shitter. Thanks retail for screwing over a launch and totally shitting on us gamers. This is the reason GAME went down the plug hole; ruining gamers’ expectations, high prices, greed and simply not thinking of the customer, and its clearly not changed.
So we have passed the un-interesting launch night and we have our copy of the game in our hands. There was no buzz, no new StreetPass hits and no queues of Pokémon fans outside my local store, yet we are happy to be holding a copy of Pokémon X & Y on launch day.
Pokémon games have been around for 15 years, seeing many alterations and advancements in gameplay and technology. The new Nintendo 3DS takes the helm of the latest installment and pushes the boundaries even further, introducing fully 3D rendered environments and characters, a strong social network as long as you have access to a Wi-Fi hotspot and more hours than we can count in gameplay.
When the first Pokémon game was created it was meant to appeal to children, however 15 years down the line the first generation of Pokémon fans are now adults and many more generations of fans have been drawn into the magical world that is Pokémon. Now over time you would have expected the series to create a story that would suit all ages, well that would be nice, but the story in Pokémon X & Y seems to be a little better suited towards a younger audience still. In a way it allows us to become a child again, enjoying what we loved for many years without looking like a fool, and maybe this is what we expect as fans of the franchise.
“You will never look like a fool playing Pokémon”
If you are a newcomer or a veteran, you will most likely know that your main priority is to learn each and every Pokémon; their weaknesses and their strengths. This is where the help of the in-game Pokedex comes in very handy. With its impressive amount of information available for you to browse through and learn, when you are challenged, and you will be, with the help of the Pokedex you should be ready to take on the world.
We were impressed by how fast the game progressed; we launched the game and within minutes we had a good selection of capable Pokémon, a gym badge and a nice set of roller skates. This is all great, however the skates became more of a hindrance than a benefit, as we found the controls far too sensitive and bloody useless, so instead of using the analogue stick, we found ourselves going back old school and using the classic D-Pad.
From 2D to fully 3D, Game Freak, the developers behind the phenomenally successful Pokémon game franchise, have done a magnificent job moving the game forward and away from its traditional 2D aspect, and into a brand new world which sees everything rendered in 3D and a camera that gives new viewpoints that have never been possible before in a Pokémon game. Everything in the Pokémon universe has had a facelift in some form or fashion, from the general world design, to the cute Pokémon, such as our old Favorites’ Charmander’ and ‘Pikachu’, to the awesome new and very impressive Mega-Evolutions, which see the likes of ‘Charmander’ in all his glory as Charizardite.
“All New 3D environments and wonderfully rendered characters and Pokémon”
Another great feature added is the opportunity to customize your character. No longer will you look like everyone else, as you can finally alter your whole look, change your clothes, add or change accessories, change your hair design and colour and even your skin colour (start only).
There are also plenty of new Pokémon to collect, right from the very start, you get two choose one out of three brand new Pokémon; ‘Fennekin’ a fire type Pokémon, ‘Froakie’ a water type Pokémon and Chispin and grass type Pokémon. There is also a brand new Pokémon type, ‘Fairy’. We have not seen a new type of Pokémon introduced since Pokémon Gold and Silver way back in (1999 – 2001). For nostalgic reasons Game Freak have chosen to bring back three of the classic Pokémon from Pokémon Red and Blue; ‘Bulbasaur’, ‘Squirtle’, ‘Charmander’.
Pokémon X & Y brings a whole new playing field to the battles; take the new Sky Battles, which only allow flying type Pokémon to participate, or the new Horde Battles, which pit the player against more than one wild Pokémon. There are also the new Mega-Evolutions that will allow certain Pokémon to evolve into Mega-Forms. To undergo a Mega- Evolution your Pokémon must have a Mega Stone. You also need to own a Mega Rings which contains a key stone. This interacts with the Mega Stone and triggers a Mega Evolution. You will need to obtain the Mega-Evolution stone from either Professor Sycamore or from the seller in the Stone Emporium within Lumiose City for 150.00 Coins.
There is also the introduction of Pokémon-Amie, which allows you to interact with your Pokémon via the touchscreen, feed them and play with them to increase your bonds with your best friend or friends. The introduction of Super Training allows you to train up your Pokémon via a set of mini games, which increases your Pokémon’s base stats. If you spend your time within Super Training you will start to unlock Punch Bags (Training Bags) which will help your Pokémon to become stronger.
“Feed, Play and Train your Pokémon”
You are never alone this time with Pokémon X & Y as long as you have access to a Wi-Fi hotspot (access point) as there are many new improvements added, like the PPS (Player Search System) which allows you to track players online from your friends to strangers allowing you to trade and battle. A Holo Caster allows you to throw out messages to players live, via StreetPass and SpotPass. Do blind trades with Wonder Trade and see what you get back, and use global trade to request certain Pokémon to be traded. And, if you feel like being nice, send over temporary power bonuses that increase your friend’s Pokémon stats within the next fight with O-Powers.
So what can you expect from the story? You are a young teenager from the town of Vaniville. With your friends, Trevor, Shauna and Tierno, you are set on an adventure set across Kalos to become a Pokémon Master. The main goal is for you to collect Gym Badges so you can challenge the Elite Four of the Pokémon League and finally defeat its champion. While on your journey you are hindered by the evil ‘Team Flare’ who want to simply exterminate humanity, collect and understand the Mega-Stones, meet the two new legendary Pokémon and find the mysterious man, AZ.
“Team Flare is simply out for no good”
After you finish the game there is plenty more to do. From the Battle Mansion, Battle Chateau, you can seek out the hidden Mega Stones which can only be found at a particular time of day, or do side quests for the NPC Looker, which entails you helping the NPC to investigate strange happenings at Lumiose City.
So is Pokémon X & Y all it’s made out to be? Is your spare time worth spending in this game? Simple answer really… is the perfect steak juicy and awesome, ‘YES!’. With so much to do, excellent social aspects, fantastic transition from 2D to 3D, you can easily spend up to and beyond 200+ hours in this game. Only downsides to the game are the story as it’s very linear, more suitable for a younger gamer, and the fiddly skates that I wish could be turned off and not have to use the damn old school D-Pad.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.