Hey fellow trainers, Vatsu here with the scoop on the latest entry to grace the Nintendo 3DS, Pokémon X/Y. A year after the release of Black and White 2 for the DS, this outing takes on the mammoth task of trying to improve the addicting combat and gameplay of the series that we all have come to love. Overall, it succeeds, leaping handily into the next generation with everything and the kitchen sink. This game will be stuck in your 3DS for quite some time.
Taking place in the star-shaped Kalos region, you (a ripping young teenager) set out with your friends to become Pokémon Masters. You are given a choice of one of the three new starters: Fennekin (fire-type), Chespin (grass-type), or Froakie (water-type). A little while after that, you also get the opportunity to pick one of the original starters from the Red/Blue days: Bulbasaur, Squirtle or Charmander. Along the way, your journey is turned awry as you are confronted with Team Flare, an organization of people bent on making money off of Pokémon, although the true reason for their nefariousness comes up later on in the story. Needless to say, the story is the same one-note paradigm you are used to if you played any Pokémon game from Red and Blue up to now. It is not bad, and will keep you entertained over the dozen or so hours it will take you to complete and beat the Elite Four, but it is nothing you will really remember. That said, as is the case with the other games in the series, it’s not really about the story, but the minutiae about the world itself and the Pokémon in it.
The Kalos region is a gorgeous, bright and big place, filled to the brim with activities both new and storied to fans and new people alike. Helped greatly by the processing power of the 3DS, the zone really comes to life in a way you have to see to understand. Walking (or rollerblading) around in the towns is no longer a chore as the fully 3D world makes you want to run around and see what’s behind every door. It is a welcome pace to go around different towns and talk to people in cars, or to see people chatting with each other on the side of streets instead of people ‘standing’ next to each other as they did in the previous entries. Everything is more vivid and alive, which helps if you will be spending as much of your free time in this world as you did in the others.
As with other games however, this would not be a good thing if there was nothing fun to do in the world. Luckily, the battling this time around has gotten a much needed booster shot, making battles fun and dynamic. For starters, all Pokémon now come to life in battle. Instead of being a semi-static model swaying on the screen during battle, all your Pokémon are rendered in full 3D, similar to how they would in the Pokémon Stadium games. To top that off, when certain Pokémon are equipped with specific items, they can now Mega Evolve into more powerful forms, separate from regular evolution. To explain this, say you have a Charizard on the field (because lets be real, you picked Charmander) equipped with a Charizardite X stone. Once per battle, you will be able to evolve Charizard into a new form, complete with a new look and stats, to perform powered up versions of your regular moves for the remainder of the battle. Think Aguman Digivolving, and now laugh for remembering that. Rounding out the new batch of changes are a shoutout system that allows you to create hype videos of your trainer to send out for your friends and others to watch, horde battles of one Pokémon versus groups of others, and a new cloud based storage system starting in December that (for $5 a year) allows you to upload Pokémon from Black/White and above to download into any current or future Pokemon game.
Bottom Line: Normally I have a short review here, telling you whether or not to buy the game in question. But this time I shall break the fourth. The game is good, very good. In fact, you are arguably playing it right now and only have it paused to make sure I am saying that lest you march to the Vector office and demand my head on a platter. The only issue I have is with X/Y is the story, in that it’s nothing really major. But that is such a non-issue; it may as well not be one, since the story is never the major part of a Pokémon game, and everything else is so well polished in comparison. For those of you on the fence, take Fire Emblem out of your 3DS, buy this game, and catch em’ all. Next Review: Lego Marvel Super Heroes
by Ayodeji Asagba