Pokémon X & Y Review (Nintendo 3DS)

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Nintendo and Game Freak’s first real Pokémon offering for the 3DS arrived worldwide on October 12th last year, there was a pretty severe game breaking bug that mine suffered from, this has since been patched, but is it really still worth trying to catch them all or are the additions too little too late?

Almost everybody has played the infamous Pokémon franchise and the fan base ranges from children playing their first RPG to grown adults who played the franchise as a child, I fall into the latter category at twenty years old going on twenty-one. This review contains major plot spoilers and was delayed in being published to allow people the chance to experience the game for themselves, but primarily delayed due to a game breaking bug that has since been patched by Nintendo. If you don’t yet own a 3DS then check out our review of the 3DS XL here, you might be pleasantly surprised by it.

My uncle was a very early adopter of the internet, in fact he was working from home even in the 1990s via the internet and had been for a long time, I still remember the first time I ever saw a website atop his anime desktop background, it was whilst waiting for a phone call from my aunt and other uncle, I had never seen anything like it in my life. My uncle is definitely someone I would consider to be a fellow geek or otaku, call it what you will, but you won’t catch me cosplaying or going to cosplay conventions unlike Helen, though I do enjoy my intricately drawn animations and appreciate a fair bit of Japanese culture all the same.

Pokémon has been a very important franchise in my life; the games changed the way that I listened to music as well as how I made music, it was actually what got me interested in DAWs and synths. Not long after my uncle introduced me to the fantastic adventure that is the original Pocket Monsters anime, I started watching his collection of Hiyao Miyazaki directed animations in the 1990s on VHS when he began to replace his discerningly self-curated collection of VHS with DVDs, I watched Princess Mononoke, that set me on a path where I wanted to use technology to tell a story. To a great extent I can pinpoint a lot of the things in my life back to my uncle and Pokémon, my uncle never married or had children of his own, but I feel like he imparted a large part of his personality onto me as a child, after all, his parting gesture towards my family after staying with us for several months whilst looking for an apartment in the North of England was a computer he had upgraded from. It was a pretty unheard of thing for a family to have a computer in the UK in the mid-1990s, they were meant for business, not for kids, but my uncle clearly saw things differently and understood my intrigue with computers along with how important they would one day be.

The redemption codes for our press copies of Pokémon X & Y didn’t arrive when expected, so Helen opted to pre-order her copy of Pokémon Y from GAME and have it delivered to her house, and I chose to buy the Pokémon X at 9am on October 12th when I sat down at my desk to take a quick break from programming since 2.45am. Getting different versions from each other was a choice we intentionally made so that we can trade and catch every Pokémon there is if you didn’t already know.

I’ll confess, I never got round to beating every gym in Pokémon Black and White on the English language version, that generation just couldn’t hold my attention, and I never even looked at Pokémon Black and White 2, this may have been because of where I was in my life, but quite honestly the games just didn’t particularly interest me. I was once a die-hard fan of the Pokémon franchise, but I put my lack of interest down to the inconvenience of carrying around yet another device after being spoiled by iOS gaming in recent years, gaming on my iPhone or iPad just seemed so much more convenient than lugging my DS Lite or PlayStation Portable around with me after that point. I think a large part of my disinterest was also fueled by how much I disliked the character designs of that generation.

After a tedious wait to completing my download of Pokémon X with the grating “I’m downloading” sounds coming from my Nintendo 3DS XL whilst eating breakfast, the 13,801 block download was finally done. Upon loading the game for the first time, something that made me respect Nintendo hugely was including language options for English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Korean all in the one game. After selecting my language I was presented with a really impressive orchestral score that for once wasn’t MIDI based along with a montage of footage from the game on the bottom screen of my 3DS, after the loop had played I watched a short video on the upper display and then decided to start my game. The presentation of the Pokémon games has certainly come a long way since the Game Boy Color days.

To a great extent, the Pokémon games are what got me interested in electronic music as the scores were well ahead of their time, even now the same themes are recycled with each game, but given a fresh twist with each new console. Right from the title screen, the game is an auditory treat with themes sounding just like those from the show at last, this really does bring the game up to a whole new standard, the game is hugely better with this new soundtrack and having the volume turned up whilst playing the game is actually quite enjoyable as there’s plenty of different pieces of music.

The battle themes with guitar in them are nothing short of amazing, it adds so much tension to a battle and makes it feel more like a battle from the anime. The re-imagined Pokémon Center music is also absolutely stunningly executed, there’s a treasure trove of tracks in the game, as always, the soundtrack for this generation is worth purchasing when it is officially released.

Pokémon X & Y Story

Pokémon was something that defined my life as a child, it imbued me with a desire for independence and a self-sufficient lifestyle as the plot of the anime and the games featured a child leaving home at an early age to following their dreams whilst becoming an adult yet never aging physically, a bit of a modern Peter Pan in some respects.

The intro of the game isn’t something you’ll forget in a hurry as a bird Pokémon (Fletchling) flies into your room and tackles you to wake you up, the animation is silky smooth, very impressive compared to what has come before it in the Pokémon franchise. As usual you’ll be capturing monsters and pitting them against each other to level them up and capture bigger and better monsters whilst winning gym badges to eventually compete in the league against the Elite Four.

Pokémon X and Y are set in the Kalos region, not the most memorable names for a region like Kanto and Johto, but this is definitely a great place to explore thanks to its spin on France from the moment you start playing right up until the “FIN” of the credits. Contributing to the unsubtle French feel of the game, the music is packed with accordions in places, there’s French road names, café menus in French, boutiques to change clothes and your character starts off wearing skinny jeans! It doesn’t get much more French than that (Disclaimer: I wear skinny jeans), but it leaves me wondering why there wasn’t Japanese in parts of the other games and why certain things would be in French, I daresay it confuses American and Japanese players especially who choose to play the game in English, but if you don’t understand French then it’s not really an issue, you’re just missing out on sheer novelty value of some things. Is it an accurate take on France and the French lifestyle? No, not in the slightest, just like I’d imagine Kanto and Johto felt very far away from life in Japan.

Snorlax Blocking The Bridge In Pokémon Y

The usual tropes of the Pokémon games return with searching for the Poké Flute to awaken a Snorlax blocking the way forward, you’ll also visit a power plant. One of the more interesting locations is visiting a Poké Ball factory and saving it from Team Flare who are the new terrorists of this Pokémon generation, this time primarily clad in red blazers looking very much how pupils at my private elementary school looked, but with the addition of red pants.

In terms of storyline, this is certainly the most ambitious Pokémon game there has ever been, and in fact I doubt there’ll ever been another quite like it as it fails to hit the mark on tough topics that haven’t really been explored in games aimed at children. As you progress into the game, a recurring theme is a horrible war that occurred 3,000 years ago, this is the first time that war has been explored in some capacity in Pokémon. Whilst the original Pocket Monsters was really quite dark, particularly the manga in which an Arbok gets beheaded in a battle, it is the first time for a long while that Pokémon has really returned to its somewhat dark roots since the original Pokémon The Movie that was home to genetic experiments and was overall really quite dark for a movie aimed at kids.

Team Flare are trying to activate the ultimate weapon to “wipe the slate clean” with a man called Lysandre as they feel that society has entered an unnatural and overall wrong phase, obviously some sort of political message to be had there. Seeing the scene from the war itself and a coffin with a Pokémon in it was rather shocking, especially with the revelation that the stones on Route 10 are the graves of Pokémon that gave their lives to stop the war.

Further interesting after defeating Team Flare’s Lysandre is that “all wars would have ended long ago” in regards to everybody working together to build a better world, but this backs up my theory as to why Ash Ketchum’s father is absent; he was killed in a war. Darkly, Lysandre also appears to commit suicide as a martyr for the beautiful world he believes in with an intent of taking your character and his friends with him. Immortality is also a topic touched with an immortal Pokémon and an immortal human being cursed to wander forever, though this isn’t Lysandre in case you feel you’ve figured out the plot, he’s done for.

NPC companions have begun to make the game feel more like the accompanying anime, conjuring a nostalgia for Misty from the first season of the anime when she and Ash wandered through a forest together, though that was always absent from the games disappointingly. Interestingly the NPCs speak to the main character as you walk through certain areas, this combined with changing camera angles makes Pokémon X and Y rather cinematic games that tell a very simple story in an exceptional manner, with that said, the times you actually travel with your companion are few and far between, they’re actually just set pieces within a specific area, don’t get kidded into thinking your whole journey will be had as a group, though the games are definitely trying to capture the charm of the anime.

Gameplay

Pokémon X and Y adds eight directions of movement to travel in from within a third-person point of view, but the second I started moving using the Circle Pad I was disappointed by how jerky the animation was when moving diagonally, there’s no subtle turning animation even when turning 180º, the character just turns instantly, this looks quite bad in my opinion compared to some of the brilliant RPGs we’ve seen on iOS over the years and even some of the older RPGs available on the SNES and the original PlayStation, it actually reminded me somewhat of the cheap looking sprites you’d see in the overworld of an RPGMaker game at times.

Using the Circle Pad uses your roller-skates whilst the directional pad makes your character walk, holding down the B button whilst moving makes the character run, this makes the process of travelling across the land, searching far and wide and teaching Pokémon to understand the power that’s inside for what feels like the umpteenth time a whole lot more tolerable. The roller-skates were very easy to get, all I had to do was withstand a Zigzagoon wiggling its ass at me with a Tail Whip attack before I burnt it to a crisp, the roller-skates definitely make traversing Kalos feel more tolerable until you get the Fly HM, that along with the Poké Marts at the back of the Pokémon Centers rather than having them in a separate building.

Given just how much travelling you do in a Pokémon game, the less frequent loading blackouts when you switch areas are very much appreciated, what there in terms of blackouts are mainly just to switch camera angles and add a bit of interest to the exploration side of things. The environment has a fair bit to interact with from chairs and Pokémon you can sit on, with that said, there’s some expected content that is absent from Pokémon X & Y; there is no Game Corner or casino area in Pokémon X & Y, it’s a bit of a let-down as it was one of the many additions to the game’s world that like with any RPG is what makes the world feel somewhat more alive and realistic, if we were desperate to get our gambling fix then there’s always a plethora of phone-based gaming sites like JackpotCityCasino.com. The absence of minor distractions within the world such as slot machines and card based games is disappointing considering how fun both Goldenrod City and Celadon City could be in the previous generations of Pokémon, even the Veilstone Game Corner was a lot of fun. This lack of gambling in Pokémon X and Y is no doubt down to the stricter gambling laws within the EU, but feeling as if we were casually strolling through a pachinko parlor and playing a few games as kids was pretty cool and it’s not like I developed any kind of unhealthy attitude towards placing a bet and having some faith in Lady Luck. Ignoring the existence of gambling in Pokémon just seems a little strange considering that in Animal Crossing: New Leaf you can wager items with Drake, and that title is also a first party title on the 3DS. Video games that attempt to mirror culture are important as they help video games to become a valid arts medium, Red Dead Redemption is the perfect example of this as it showed a lot of different sides to the Old American West and that includes drinking and playing some poker in saloons.

What is rather surprising is how safe Pokémon X and Y feel because all of the potentially controversial material has been removed, it now no longer feels as if you’re the pre-teen stepping out into an adult world to try and rise to the top and become powerful in a world run by adults similar to Earthbound, the world as a whole feels quite sterile and empty. Overly pedantic censorship within the Pokémon universe is nothing new, in the past there have been episodes banned that contained guns, even going so far as renaming a class of trainer from “Gambler” to just “Gamer” or “PI” (“Private Investigator” because of their stereotypical trench-coated appearance, fedora and coin casually tossed upwards from their hand). Exposing serious industries like casinos to children teaches them self-control in a safe environment where all they can lose is money in a game that doesn’t exist or really have any value. Besides, the whole point of video games is escapism and doing things you normally wouldn’t or couldn’t do, gambling is fun, this is why games like Grand Theft Auto are popular because they provide escapism and a little fun by doing something risque. The closest to a gamble you get in Pokémon X and Y is the Wonder Trade system allowing you to swap a Pokémon for another at complete random with a stranger you’ve never spoken to. I personally find the whole lack of gambling to be somewhat ironic considering one of the biggest pieces of merchandise for Pokémon is the trading card game in which players frequently forfeit cards in matches against other players or they gamble by purchasing a booster pack not knowing what cards they’ll be getting.

Capturing Zygarde In Pokémon Y

The battles still play out in a turn-based manner, if you’ve ever played an RPG then you’ll know what to expect from Pokémon. Throwing Poké Balls from a first person perspective makes me feel as if Nintendo saw what people liked about FPS yet tied it into an RPG, it definitely adds context as to where you are and who you are in a battle; you are a trainer, not a Pokémon, though it is worth mentioning that the game aims for you and also throws for you once you’ve chosen the Poké Ball. It wasn’t long until I’d filled my six party slots with Pokémon thanks to the abundance of Poké Balls given to you just minutes into starting the game.

Speaking of easy, you receive Exp. Share after beating the first gym unlike in previous iterations of the Pokémon franchise, this gives Exp. to all of the Pokémon in your party as opposed to just the one holding it, this all seems to make for what can at times feel like ‘My First RPG’, but then again, Pokémon is an RPG aimed at kids on a console meant to be played by kids, but as an adult player who enjoyed the originals, this feels significantly less challenging, though it means there is a lot less typical RPG grinding to be done to get ready for the next gym.

The gyms themselves are much more interesting in Pokémon X and Y, they can almost be likened to very short dungeons. Whilst the trailers for Pokémon X and Y looked very exciting where the trainer was climbing walls, swinging across gaps and grinding along rails with roller-skates, the reality is that there are set points in the game where you can do this, and everything but the rail grinds have to be done inside of specific gyms. With that said, they do make the gyms somewhat more enjoyable as they add an interesting gameplay mechanic that doesn’t get overused, plus they make quite nice use of the 3D display of the 3DS in parts, particularly with ascending a tower on ropes, though the gym in Lumiose City that looks like the Eiffel Tower is really quite a let-down, it’s memorable, but also boring; “Who’s that Pokémon?” is what the quizmaster asks you, then you have a battle and up the elevator you go to the next floor of the quiz. Yawn. The Anistar City gym is particularly memorable though as it becomes somewhat of a hipster-pleasing journey through space across gravity defying holographic platforms with swirling galaxies and shooting stars all around, very pretty on the 3DS display even for me, and I detest all things enjoyed by hipsters because I’m probably a proto-hipster in denial.

Mega evolutions were a feature that was met with a mixture of excitement and frustration for breaking canon as these evolutions are only temporary and heavily feature generation one Pokémon. Mega evolutions make Pokémon similar to how Digimon were in the anime where the monsters evolve for a battle then devolve afterwards, the mega evolutions aren’t usually a drastic change, they build on the previous design, they look more like mutations than anything, though they get a stat boost and one Pokémon can undergo a mega evolution in each battle, watching the mega evolution sequence in a battle with another player online is very tedious and predictable as you know every kid out there is going to use it. Not every Pokémon has a mega evolution though, and you do need that Pokémon to be holding their respective evolution stone for it, in fact very few Pokémon actually have mega evolutions overall with just 28 of 718 different Pokémon capable of undergoing a mega evolution. X and Y feature slightly different mega evolutions with Charizard’s Charizardite X and Y.

Another of the over-hyped additions to Pokémon X and Y are the horde battles that don’t really add much to the game and have been fought on handheld RPGs since the original Dragon Warrior Monsters. One of the things that does irritate me is that when fighting multiple Pokémon and you’ve defeated all but one of them, the game will still ask you where you want to aim your attack, it just seems illogical and laborious to be forced to do that, as a result I avoid battles with multiple Pokémon when possible as it is a surefire way to really irritate me.

Just south of Route 7 is the Berry Farm, this isn’t all that fresh of a concept. A little girl and her granddad will greet you and tell you about the farm upon entering, the granddad will give you a selection of berries as well as a watering can, as his granddaughter tells you that their house is on the top right of the farm. You can plant as many berries as the farm space allows which is 6 rows of 6 trees, the trees offer a yield of between 1 and 20 berries, and take between 24 hours and 120 hours depending on which berry trees you are growing. You can also compost five berries to make fertilizer which when used before planting berries makes them grow faster. This sounds great, but doesn’t really add much to the game.

Pokémon-Amie lets you stroke and play with your pokemon, and lets you feed them Poké Puffs in a way you’d expect a Tamagotchi to function. Pokémon-Amie is a clever play on the phrase “mon ami”, which translates from French as “my friend” if you didn’t know. If you enjoyed Nintendogs then don’t expect an experience anywhere near as fleshed out as that, but if you enjoy mundane distractions then you’ll probably enjoy Pokémon-Amie, I looked at it a few times and never want to see it again as it isn’t fun.

Alongside Pokémon-Amie there is Super Training, essentially minigames to play with your Pokémon that give them a stat boost in terms of EVs, whilst this is nice, Pokémon X and Y start to feel more like Farmville or typical MMORPGs where skill isn’t rewarded but rather how much time you’re willing to sink into the game, yet the rewards are lacklustre and unnecessary for completing your play-through of the storyline or even the handful of end-game activities.

Photo spots are scattered throughout the game, there are only twelve, though they do feature a surprisingly advanced camera system that allows you to move your 3DS in your hands as though you were holding a real camera thanks to the 3DS gyroscope then zoom, change the aperture, shutter speed, and brightness, this sounds great until you realise that it is just one of only a handful of diversions. The photo spots are meant for taking photographs of your character, these can be exported and shared, though the quality isn’t fantastic. There isn’t a fixed price for photographs, but there is the option to tip the photographer which increases the chances of encountering a shiny Pokémon.

Helen Outside Battle Chateau At Photo Spot in Pokémon X

The first photo spot that Helen and I found was outside of the Battle Chateau, you can probably guess what the Battle Chateau is all about though; upon entering the Battle Chateau, you will be given the title of Baron or Baroness – this is deemed the lowest title in the Battle Chateau but you can battle against the other people inside to rank higher and get a higher title.

Graphics

Pokémon is finally 3D, somewhat reminiscent of Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker on the original DS, a game localized and released in the USA in 2007, that says a lot about how far behind the curve that the series has become in recent years.

Something I really like are the seamless and constant camera angles changes, on paper this sounds impractical and unappealing, but it means that the game remains consistently interesting in presentation and you never have to fight with a camera like in a typical third person game. Another touch I liked about Pokémon X and Y is how the dialogue boxes are on top of the action in 3D which makes focusing on the action easier and makes reading much easier too, especially for a fairly text-heavy RPG game.

3D content isn’t everywhere like in Animal Crossing: New Leaf and actually made me think that my 3DS was broken when I first noticed it wasn’t being used constantly; there are plenty of missed opportunities to use the 3D effect, especially within the gyms, the fact that some things aren’t in 3D yet the battles are seems a little strange, although upon closer examination, the 3D effect can just very subtle and not so in your face just like with the evolution animation.

Pokémon X and Y frequently alternate between normal looking characters with normal length arms, legs and heads, and back to the more common chibi super deformed look that the Pokémon games is known for, this constant switching between art styles reminded me of the difference between the environment and battle views of Cloud in Final Fantasy VII, something that I figured we had long since moved on from within the industry.

With that said, there’s all sorts of nice graphical touches such as the water and mirrors having very nice reflections adding a nice amount of depth to the game world as well as much needed context. There’s also the little things like the sprites of your Pokémon appearing on a curved display above the healing bay of the Pokémon Center as each Poké Ball is placed in there for healing, it just makes the whole healing process so much less tedious, another nice touch is showing what each ball you used to catch your Pokémon is within the healing bay instead of just the general ball sprite as used in the past.

Trainer’s heads turn when you are near them, your own character’s head turns if he or she passes something of interest like a sign of a whiteboard at the Trainer’s School. The fainting animations in battle are nice, as are the victory and loss animations of trainers. Playing the battles without the 3D is surprisingly boring, I never thought I would say it, but the 3DS 3D gimmick is actually brilliant in Pokémon X and Y, it really does make the battles so much more interesting and entertaining, without it then this game would be very boring and slow even compared to some older SNES JRPGs.

The Pokédex animations are really nice to look at when you catch a new Pokémon and see the information after the battle, I really like how the wire-frame model of the Pokémon is shown first then quickly textured, it adds more visual interest to an otherwise bland part of the experience in previous games of the Pokémon franchise.

Multiplayer

Pokémon X and Y features an interesting and optional persistent online experience utilizing what is called the PSS (Player Search System), it’s all very surreal seeing your friends sign on and off when they’re playing Pokémon, if only Nintendo could carry this kind of experience on throughout the console’s software library then they would have a real chance of building a decent online experience as it makes interacting with other players on a separate screen so easy. It isn’t just knowing when your friends are playing though, there is a lot of gameplay to be explored with your friends and with strangers over the internet. This is innovation, it would be great to see more of it from Nintendo to actually justify a secondary display on the 3DS rather than just one high-res display.

You can battle and trade with friends or with complete strangers, regardless of whether you’re inside of a Pokémon Centre or not, this was always something that really irritated me if someone wanted to battle or trade with me when I was in the middle of a cave and had no Escape Rope. Now the game feels like the opportunity to battle and trade can come at any point rather than just if you talk to another human being and arrange for you both to go to the Pokémon Centre and search for a battle with someone on your friend list at that given moment, it was a very laborious process that even I only did a handful of times, it was far easier to just get both versions of the game and then trade over the exclusives in your own time.

One of the big improvements for the multiplayer of Pokémon X and Y is that PokéSav is no longer an issue, that really spoiled previous entries of the franchise with hacked Pokémon being traded and used in battle. I found it really surreal to trade with a Japanese girl I had never met or spoken to before and be able to choose in real-time what I was going to offer them and see what they were offering, thought I didn’t like the way that I can’t browse all the Pokémon a player has in their boxes, that feels like a very strange omission from the game. Though if a player is on your friend list, getting the Pokémon you want from them isn’t all that difficult if they actually have it; the in-game voice chat offers very low resolution voice chat that doesn’t really resemble what people sound like on a dedicated VOIP service like Skype. Disappointingly, you can’t wander around in-game whilst talking, this is a real missed opportunity, but the 3DS is grossly under-specced for this day and age.

Though there are profiles available to view and customise, what’s offered through them is fairly meaningless and uninteresting given that this is a game primarily played by children and teens. You can watch the Trainer PR video on someone’s profile that is customised and made to look marginally different from that of everybody else, this feels a lot like creativity for people who aren’t creative. My friends frequently send me stat boosts called O-Powers even mid-battle, these are great and can help you win a tough fight or increase the chances of you capturing a rare monster, I also send O-Powers to friends whenever I play as they’re there to be used on the bottom display of the 3DS. Players can also send a Shout Out, this isn’t to promote another player, it’s actually just a short status update to say what you want or need, be that a particular Pokémon to trade or some O-Power buffs.

Battle Spot provides a similar functionality to Random Matchup in Pokémon Black and White, within which you can play socially or within ranked matches to gain points that appear on your Pokémon Global Link profile for bragging rights. Thankfully unlike in Black and White, when kids rage quit (Read “disconnect in a moody”) then they have a loss recorded on their record, this makes it less likely for them to do so and should be included in every game that features multiplayer.

The Holo Caster is ultimately a gimmick, it is supposed to keep you in the loop about news relating to the game and it wastes battery by imposing an image on top of what your camera sees to make it seem somewhat like a hologram, but the effect is pretty lousy, especially given the poor quality of the 3DS cameras, but perhaps that’s not an issue for children, though it does seem very forced.

The GTS (Global Trade Station) makes its return once again since being introduced in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, alongside the problem that plagued the GTS on the previous games; all the kids want Lv. 100 legendary Pokémon for low level not-so-elusive Pokémon rather than actually being realistic about filling out their Pokédex, unfortunately there is still no way to filter trades based around what you’ve actually got in your boxes.

Wonder Trade allows you to trade a Pokémon for a Pokémon belonging to someone else, it is completely by chance what Pokémon you get in return, sometimes you can get something amazing for something very bad, other times you are on the other end of that trade. I got myself a team in the level thirties very early in the game when most wild Pokémon were only level five, I was chewing through the gym leaders! Any time I got a bad Pokémon I just put it into Wonder Trade and kept trading until I got something several magnitudes better, that can take a dozen or so trades, but Wonder Trade is a remarkably fast way of trading versus the GTS, which does still feel like a chore, but at least you don’t have to go to a Pokémon Center in order to see if anyone has made the trade with you, though in the same way that the Player Search System informs you of when your friends login and logout, it would be nice to be notified when somebody has accepted the trade.

With that said, the Player Search System definitely feels somewhat ahead of its time, it absolutely drains my 3DS XL battery, no doubt this will discourage the use of it in the long-term and the community will quickly disappear over the next twelve months just like with SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo on the PlayStation Portable, that’s always the problem when a game on a handheld system has a very deep and battery-intensive multiplayer mode.

Game Sync connects the Pokémon Global Link website with Pokémon X and Y, creating a Game Sync ID was easy and just required connecting to the internet and then copying the code on the 3DS to my account on the Global Link website, though for several hours my registration was still being processed. Though the Pokémon Global Link website has been shut down for Pokémon Black and White along with Black and White 2, you can view my Pokémon X journey here and you can view Helen’s journey Y here on the Pokémon Global Link website.

Pokémon Global Link brings Online Competitions, Rating Battles, and also allows you to exchange your PokéMiles for items via the PokéMileage Club or play Graffiti Eraser or Balloon Popping with your PokéMiles to gain other items. The Pokémon Global Link website is definitely progress, but it still feels lacklustre and like something that should be incorporated into the game, though the reason it probably isn’t is down to the woeful specifications of the 3DS.

Verdict

Hammy Playing Pokémon Y

This is finally that Pokémon game we all dreamed of as kids an even theorized about when the original DS was released, it’s great, but after grinding through what amounts to the same game more or less every time for the last fifteen years, it may struggle to captivate some of the more regular players of the Pokémon series, but if you missed out on the previous generation or are a diehard fan then this is a game you can’t miss, especially given the lack of quality games on the 3DS if you’ve played the majority of them already.

Welcome to 2014, Nintendo, maybe now the 3DS will start to be taken more seriously as a console in an age where smartphones have replaced them if only purely because of platform exclusives, but how long Nintendo can ride the gimmick wave before they go the way of Sega and become solely a software house is anybody’s guess given how much of a flop the Wii U has been compared to the original Wii.

Pokémon X and Y are very enjoyable, but they do feel rushed, the games are enjoyable, I just wish that there was more where that came from like in the previous entries in the series, there’s a lot of great ideas, just none of them are that fleshed out and key features from the previous games aren’t here when they should be. Here’s hoping Nintendo has the guts to make the next generation of Pokémon a much more fleshed out X and Y, a sixteen gym game wouldn’t go amiss just like how Gold and Silver were as well as their remakes, Heart Gold and Soul Silver. If Nintendo is planning on a remake of Ruby and Sapphire then I would rather that they didn’t waste their time and got on with making the next generation. After beating the Elite Four and capturing Mewtwo, you’re left with a feeling of “now what?” and solemnly the answer is that there isn’t much else to see or do that can’t be done in thirty minutes.

Feel free to share friend codes and of course trade and battle in the comments below. If you want to buy Pokémon X then you can buy it here or you can buy Pokémon Y here, though alternatively it is available at a higher price from the 3DS eShop if you’re not a fan of cartridges like me.

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