I only recently bought a 3DS. I’ve been very happy with my trusty DS and didn’t see the need for an upgrade. At some point I thought, well, why not try it out? So I got a normal “old” 3DS and Pokémon Y along with it. I was extremely suspicious of the new additions, as they look so very different and I just thought “don’t change a winning formula”. Well, *spoiler 😀 * the formula hasn’t been changed and if anything, there are a few improvements.
Now, where to start? The graphics are the most obvious novelty. From a flat top view, we go to dynamic camera angles, 3D optics and more perspective. It’s quite cool to be able to explore the world in much more detail than ever before. The Pokémon battles are massively upgraded as well. It’s no longer a static screen, but the camera is moving, the Pokémon are moving all the time and the moves are animated wonderfully. I could squeal every time my Pidgey ruffles its feathers (yes, I got a level 82 Pidgey – again :D).
One of the reasons why I decided not to evolve all of my Pokémon was Pokémon-Amie. Apart from the usual status check, you can take your team members out of their Poké Balls (one at a time) and interact with them. I know it’s just a computer program and code, but they are simply adorable! They seem to react to what you do! Some like to be petted on the head, some prefer to be stroked underneath the chin, some eat fast (you can feed your team) and some eat slowly. They even “detect” your facial expression (that was a tiny bit creepy in the beginning) and play a game with you, where you have to match what they are doing. I couldn’t bear to let my Fennekin evolve. It’s just so cute when it’s looking at me and wants to play. Unbelievable what technology can do…
I mentioned the overall look before, but this generation is opticially really special. The world is modelled on France, which gives the game a very distinct atmosphere and charm. I love the lavenver fields or the castles that remind me of Alsace-Lorraine and Versailles. The capital, Luminose City, is definitely Paris. They even have “the” Eiffel Tower!
The developers put in a few more unique features in this generation. For example, you can customise your character! Finally you can choose your hairstyle and skin, hair and eyecolour. One of the standard avatars suggested fitted me best actually, but I really love the idea in general. And what I also enjoyed immensely, was the possibility to change clothes. There are some really nice items in store and when coming to a new town I looked for a boutique right away to see what kind of skirts, hats and bags they have. I’m not a shopaholic in real life, but I simply couldn’t stop extending my virtual Pokémon wardrobe 😀
Overall, I think this game was easier than most. This was aided by the Exp. Share. Many people seem to dislike it, but I loved training my Pokémon “on the go”.I didn’t even have to do any grinding before I challenged the League – I think that’s a first! I can see why people prefer the “one Pokémon” Exp. Share, even though it never really worked for me. But if you think the game is too easy with this item, you can simply switch it off. In general I think Pokémon X and Y are perfect for beginners.
I was actually quite taken aback by the stunning artwork. And this is not just referring to the amazing 3D Pokémon designs or the beautiful cities. There is a little story sequence with images, which is simply stunning. It actually had me in tears. Seriously. This is Pokémon – how did this happen?! (Ah, no, don’t remind me of the first Pokémon film! So sad 😦 ) Also, after the Pokémon League there is a longish afterstory, which takes you on a mystery tour through Luminose City. I won’t spoiler, but I have to say I was a little weirded out by the story. Anyway, it was kind of cool and it did get very emotional again. Seriously, what’s happening here?
As a final thing, I just wanted to pick up on the graphics again. I wasn’t convinced for a long time, before I bought it. Pokémon certainly doesn’t need 3D. Pokémon Stadium for Nintendo 64 is awesome, but it was okay for it to be a home console standalone game, not a handheld game. It was okay that Pokémon didn’t fight in 3D all the time. It was all in our heads. We imagined all that. How awesome the cities look (Ecruteak City in HeartGold is still my favourite!), how Pokémon move and how the world feels like. Pokémon X and Y actually spell that out for us. With better tech and new possibilites, the developers have brought the game alive on screen even more. And I think that’s neither bad nor good. It’s just a new way to visualise the game. And I embraced the new features wholeheartedly. Except for the actual 3D effect – it is pretty cool but it can get straining after a while. I still love the old games exactly for what they are. But I also love the new ones.
I really enjoyed “upgrading” my Pokémon knowledge by finally exploring the Kalos region. It’s definitely a great game! Now I’m looking forward to play the latest games soon and I can’t wait for Pokémon Sun and Moon to come out! Thank you Nintendo for not letting Pokémon fans down! Happy 2oth Anniverary Pokémon!