Pokemon has always had a strong presence on Nintendo’s portable gaming systems. Being one of the premiere series originally started on the Gameboy, every single handheld system Nintendo has released has had a Pokemon game in their libraries. So it was only a matter of time before a new iteration of the popular monster capturing series made its way to the 3DS, giving players a whole new look to the world of Pokemon. This time around, Pokemon X and Pokemon Y add a bunch of brand new features to the series that long-time fans and newcomers alike will grow to love dearly. All of which will probably set the standard for later iterations in years to come.
The latest adventure in Pokemon X and Y takes players to the region of Kalos, a place that looks to be heavily inspired by the country of France. The main story centers around uncovering the mystery behind “Mega Evolution”, a hidden power that allows Pokemon to further evolve and increase their powers with the help of Mega Stones. This linear story takes players through many twist and turns as conflicts with the evil Team Flare and defeating Gym Leaders throughout Kalos keep things interesting and dynamic. Outside of the main story that progresses as you move through each city of the Kalos region, there are plenty of side stories that reveal mysteries throughout Kalos, as well as a few legendary Pokemon. The newest generation of Pokemon within Kalos is populated by over 650 different types, making catching them all a very daunting and time consuming task. But it can be done with a little patience.
Much of the staples of the series are present and accounted for. All of the battles with trainers, Pokemon centers, the Elite Four, and many other recognizable aspects of the Pokemon series. The overall presentation is the best the series has ever had before, as not only do Pokemon have great animations during battle, but even better battle cries that include some new audio outside the original cries of past games. The addition of group battles make things even more interesting, where trainers can take on a whole group of wild Pokemon at one time. There are other variations including team battles and sky battles with trainers. Although sky battles are limited to Pokemon that can fly, they have a different feel even though they are ultimately the same as any other battle in the game.
The best new features come in the form of the online capabilities for Pokemon X and Y, via the Player Search System. Most of the player trading and battles will happen over the internet, only now this can be done at any place and at any time in game. There is even a voice chat component, however this is really limited since it can’t be used while actually playing the game, which can be disappointing and a little pointless if you can’t chat with a friend while still playing. Other features included O-Powers, which grant different abilities to the player for battles, and can be given to friends online over the internet. StreetPass and Spotpass also play a part on the 3DS system, allowing players to exchange messages and other info. Other features include Pokemon Bank and the Pokemon Global Link site, making for plenty of options for players to interact with one another, no link cable required.
Just about everything in Pokemon X and Y takes the series to another level of evolution. The story and setting are deep and a pleasure to explore, the communication features are a huge leap over past entries, and the level of end game content is practically endless. While most Poke-fanatics will be tempted to pick up both versions X and Y, the game is best experienced having one title and having a friend with the opposite one. The only major differences between both X and Y outside of varying Pokemon that appear is also the items that players may find, making trading a necessity in order to see and experience everything in the Kalos region. Pokemon X and Y is the best addition to the Pokemon series, as well as one of the best games available in the 3DS library that everyone should own.
This review is based on a physical copy of the game for the Nintendo 3DS paid out-of-pocket.