‘Pokémon X and Y’ brings new flame to old time favorite

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Author: Will Westwater

Price: MSRP: $40.00

System: Nintendo 3DS/2DS

Pokémon, or “pocket monsters” – the fad that has continued for decades – now has a new iteration: “Pokémon X and Y.” Fans of the series can now log countless hours into the new generation of the famous handheld game. For those new to Pokémon, Pokémon X and Y” is the perfect way to jump into the series.

Note: For this review I played “Pokémon Y.” Pokémon fans will know that “Pokémon X” differs only in certain small ways from “Pokémon Y;” the story and main actions remain the same. For this review the game(s) will be referred to as “Pokémon X and Y.”

The journey begins as it always does – a teenager from a small town sets out to be a Pokémon master. The player receives his/her starter Pokémon and begins the journey to “catch em’ all.” Aside from the obvious visual upgrade in the game, there are now numerous gameplay changes such as an altered experience share device and mini-games, allowing for a more immersive experience.

“Pokémon X and Y” is the first Pokémon game for the far more powerful Nintendo 3DS, bringing intricate polygon-based graphics to the handheld Pokémon series. The game underwent a significant visual upgrade. Some sections are in full third-person 3-D and others can be viewed from the top-down perspective. The mix up between perspectives allows for more visually interesting moments in the game. Not all areas and battles support no-glasses 3-D, although overall the 3-D on the 3DS looks great.

While most scenes transition flawlessly, some occasional frame-rate issues persist when the 3-D slider is turned all the way up. Switching off the slider immediately remedies these frame problems.

“Pokémon X and Y’s” battles are cinematic, like something out of a “Pokémon stadium.” Camera angles shift around during battles, making the attacks appear intricate and complex. The makers have tailored individual movements for almost every Pokémon. For a basic move likeember,” Braixen (a fire type, first-evolved starter) will take a stick out of his/her tail, spin it around and point it as flames shoot from the tip of the stick. Other Pokémon performing ember will have their own individual way of doing it. Though some occasional overlap exists, the wide variety of moves speaks to the incredible amount of detail that game-makers poured into the over 300 playable Pokémon in “Pokémon X and Y.”

In addition to altered graphics, methods of play have also changed. The player receives a pair of roller-blades, expanding movement options for various Pokémon. The player controls the roller-blades with the control stick, while walking and running are designated to the directional pad, allowing the player to switch between roller-blades and walking/running instantly.

Some hardcore fans may dislike the new changes (claiming the changes “nerf” the game, making it too easy). These include eliminating the need for effort value training and the altered experience share item. However, these changes actually make “Pokémon X and Y” that much more accessible to the general audience. Rather than giving 100 percent EXP to the Pokémon with the EXP share, it gives 50 percent to all the Pokémon in each party. The new base statistic increasing mini-games make it easier to train your Pokémon. Mini-games can be activated at any time with the bottom-touch screen and help to increase the base stats of the Pokémon, eliminating the need for tedious effort value training.

“Pokémon X and Y” caters to the audience’s needs and desires: improved online features, accessible world-wide integration, better graphics and more streamlined play. A staggering 150 Pokémon from the original series made it onto the playable roster, and the new generation’s Pokémon prove to be equally as entertaining.

As an incentive for seasoned fans, “Pokémon X and Y” allows the player to pick from the original “Pokémon Red and Blue” starters: Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle. Previous Pokémon installments required the player to breed, trade or download these vintage Pokémon.

Pokémon X and Y” manages to integrate new characters and gaming techniques without losing its foundation in the original series. Long-time Pokémon players should be satisfied with this installment, while less experienced gamers will find it a challenging, entertaining introduction to the Pokémon universe.

Will Westwater is an undeclared sophomore. He can be reached at westwater@oxy.edu. Follow him on Twitter @WeeklyWest.


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