Archive for November, 2013

Short Pokemon XY Review for the casual gamer

Ok.  Yeah, I’m an old man and I like Pokemon.  Been a fan of the franchise for years.  I unfortunately came late into the games, starting with Ruby in Generation III.  And I can’t quite figure out WHY I like Pokemon, but oh well.

SO…the good and bad first.

PROS:

  • The visuals – This is the first Pokemon game designed for the 3DS platform, and it really takes advantage of the hardware.  For the first time, Pokemon are animated 3d characters, rather than flat 2d sprites.  While not completely immersive, the world is large and visually interesting to watch.  Pokemon battle moves are now animated, and some of them are incredibly cool looking.
  • The sound effects – A lot (most if not all) of the sound effects have been re-worked, including the battle moves sounds.  If you have the ear, you can really hear some complex sound effects going on.
  • The score – A lot of the music is orchestral, and sounds terrific.  The ambient music (in towns, Pokemon Centers, etc.), is low-key and stays in the background.  The orchestral pieces really shine, though, especially in some of the climactic scenes.
  • GTS – The Global Trading Station got a major upgrade, that finally allows you to look for, and request Pokemon you’ve never seen!  This makes it tremendously easier to fill your Pokedex without having to resort to shady trade-trade deals.
  • New Balancing – With the added “Fairy” type, and some changing of some older types, the game is a little better balanced overall.  This won’t matter so much to the casual gamer, but I assure you it means a lot to those who compete in tournaments and such.  Sorry guys, no more PWNHaxorus!

CONS:

  • Too fast – Or not long enough.  Even a casual gamer like me managed to finish the game (beat the Elite Four and Champion), in 76 hours.  And that’s being pretty slow and trying to be as thorough as possible.  Frankly, though, this is typical of the franchise, and I’m not too upset.  It’s one of the longer games.  Usually the Pokemon games have a pretty extensive after-game, and I’m hoping it’s the same this time.
  • NO TRANSFER! – In every other game, going all the way back to Generation I, there’s been a way in-game (on the cartridge) to get your Pokemon from your old games, to the newer ones, keeping your little friends with you as you go along.  This time Nintendo decided not to include that function in-game, and produce a downloadable app that uploads your Pokes to the interwebs.  That’s fine and dandy, but they didn’t have it finished by the time the games were released.  In fact, it will be THREE MONTHS after release before Nintendo released the Pokemon Bank…a PAID service that keeps your Pokes safe and sound.  I understand the concept, but they should have had some free method for people who just want to do a one-way transfer from an old game or two.

BOTH PRO AND CON:

  • It’s easy – Maybe too easy.  It’s good in that there’s a better story, with better characters and plots, and it lets you enjoy the game without grinding out levels and killing the mood of the game.  On the other hand, it does make it a little light on the challenge, and that might turn some people off of it.

BOTTOM LINE:

  • This is a good game for both kids and adults to enjoy, and you don’t have to spend hours at a time playing.  Caught in traffic?  Knock out a couple of battles.  Waiting in line at Wal-Mart? You’ve got time to beat a Pokemon Gym.
  • The game is linear, but there’s no time limit to get to the next destination in the story, so you can explore, look for hidden goodies, or blast through the game at warp speed.  It’s all up to you.
  • And with the 3DS’s suspend and pause function when you close the lid, you can play in 5 minute chunks with no problem.

Note that there are two games, Pokemon X, and Pokemon Y.  If you’re buying one of the games for a child, if you prefer no whining, I’d suggest finding out which one they want.  I’m just sayin’…

There’s no functional difference between the two, except the main Legendary Pokemon (the ones pictured on the cover of the game) is different, and some of the Pokemon you find in the game will be different.  In years past, this would have been a really big deal, as finding the Pokes that weren’t in your game meant you had to go find someone with the other game physically.  But with the aforementioned GTS, you can trade anonymously with players from all over the world, so it’s not nearly the problem it used to be.

Not to give any spoilers, but some of the visuals and sounds are really killer.  You really have to see a Lucario using Aura Sphere, or Dragon Pulse.  And the Lickitung animation is hilarious.  Not to mention, if you’ve ever watched the Pokemon cartoon, you’ll recognize Pikachu’s call!

Well, I hope I’ve helped someone decide to get Pokemon X or Y for themselves, a child, or a friend.  They really are good games, and I can’t wait to explore the after-game!

 

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