Pokémon X/Y takes places in the Kalos region, framed heavily on a French aesthetic. As always, players star as a plucky young hero aiming to be the number one Pokémon trainer. There’s an evil group along the way, Team Flare, and other random events, but for the most part it’s the same played out tale: catch Pokémon, fight trainers, collect eight badges, etc. There’s nothing special here other than the addition of not one, not two, but four rivals journeying with the hero along the way. Overall it’s a bit dull to be frank though.
Pokémon is Pokémon so let’s skip past the introductions and move on to the improvements on the gameplay mechanics. One, every Pokémon in the players party can gain experience thanks to an early item. Two, battles move much quicker and are better animated. Three, there’s a new type of Pokémon, Fairy, that really isn’t interesting. Four, the game is still super easy. Five, the ability to trade and battle with players across the globe online is a fantastic improvement, which makes these features actually alluring and additive. Look, at the end of the day this is just another Pokémon game with Madden-like improvements. That said it’s the best Pokémon yet.
The series finally embraced their anime counterpart with the introduction of cel-shading, which makes everything look phenomenal. It’s shocking then to realize that the 3D feature is rarely used in the game, which is a shame, but understandable. The other low note is the after game content isn’t spectacular and the music isn’t the best the series has offered. There’s still plenty to do and see despite this.
Pokémon X/Y has become closer to what Game Freak envisioned in the first place: a unique collectable, trading, and fighting monster game. With the robust set of online features and the ability to swap Pokémon and store them with ease, well, what’s not to love? Unfortunately for old players, it’s a bit dated at the same time. It, like Zelda, needs renovation, not just simple yearly makeovers.
Score: 3/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on February 6, 2014 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.