Chances are, if you grew up playing video games, or even had a Gameboy, you’ve played a Pokemon game. Maybe you were around when the first generation hit shelves back in ’98, or maybe you rocked Pokemon Snap on the N64. No matter what brought you into the fold, it’s likely you fell in love. Following that, it’s likely that you grew to detest the direction the series continued to take as originality seemed to become harder and harder to find.
Pokemon is back. It’s back with a passion, I love it, and here’s why you should too.
Set in the Kalos region, blatantly modeled after France, Pokemon X and Y distill what made each and every generation that preceded them great into one fine vintage of gaming excellence. What’s more, Pokemon has finally stretched itself into another dimension. With 3D, customizable characters (yes, that’s right, you can change your clothes, skin color, and hair) and a gorgeously realized 3D world, it’s hard not to get drawn in. Kalos is beautiful, and the camera work makes sure you notice. Classic French architecture, sweeping landscapes, and graphics that push the 3DS to its absolute limits will have you stopping to take pictures of your character at various scenic locations, which you can save to your 3DS and share online.
Even what might be deemed gimmicks in previous games serve a purpose in X and Y. Trainer videos can be produced, showcasing your artistic flair, style, and even choice Pokemon from your team. With the ability to battle, trade, or chat wirelessly with any other player in the world at any time, having the videos available is pretty useful.
A new feature worth noting is wonder trading. Select a random Pokemon you’ve caught, send it into the ether, and some other random Pokemon sent out by someone else will land in your lap. Sometimes 10 trades will land you 10 incredibly weak throwaways, and sometimes you’ll land yourself a legendary. You never know what you’ll get. With that in mind, waiting until later in the game to wonder trade is advised, as landing powerful or rare Pokemon through what is essentially gambling can suck some of the challenge out of the game.
While at points the intensive graphical feats that are the 3D battles result in the game’s frame rate to chug along, and some have suffered from game breaking glitches, recent patches of the game have solved these problems.
In 48 and a half hours of total gameplay, I was able to complete the game and capture every legendary. Going back, I realized I had skipped a wealth of content, as there was so much more to discover. Kalos has a ton to offer, and if you’ve ever loved Pokemon, you ought to visit.
Pokemon X and Y are available for Nintendo 3DS for $39.99 each.