Latest iteration of Pokémon offers more customization, new adventure

Fans around the world waited for the highly-anticipated Pokémon X and Y, the sixth generation in the successful franchise by Satoshi Tajiri and Ken Sugimori who released this newest edition on October 12th.

In this iteration, the creators promised changes to the traditional adventure and role playing game. This version morphs the Pokémon universe into three dimensional models instead of the 2D drawings the game has been depicted in since its original 1996 release in Japan. The gameplay also allowed players to experience a more personal connection with the pocket monsters, but such changes are not without criticism.

Warning: Contains spoilers

The 3D graphics, while an improvement to the previous art style, lag when the 3D enabler is turned on. The player does not miss out on much with 3D turned off, though, and the graphics move much quicker that way.

Because of the circular pad, players can move diagonally as oppose to the strictly horizontal and vertical movements of the past. This circular pad only become a problem for precise movements or when the player moves into narrow spaces, forcing the camera into an angle change that can be cumbersome.

Graphics aside, player customization occurs fairly early in the game. First, players can chose from three skin tones and changes of clothes in the player’s hometown of Vaniville Town. Players can continue changing their character’s wardrobe in Santalune and Lumiose City, with the latter offering more choices. Some of the choices in Lumiose City cost more than those in Santalune City, and others are more exclusive until the player meets a “fashion” requirement judged by one of the non-player characters.

Pokémon now interact like digital pets with the Pokémon-Amie, a feature available at any point after a player receives their first Pokémon. Trainers can also raise their Pokémon’s stats with Super training, also available at the same time as Pokémon-Amie. Players can feed, pet and play games and sports with these features.

Players also get a free downloadable Pokémon, Torchic from the third generation, through an internet connection. Torchic holds a megastone that, once evolved into Blaziken, transforms its Mega form. Mega evolutions are one of the promised changes to the franchise with at least twelve, officially released by Nintendo, Pokémon from the previous generations. This doesn’t seem accessible until at least the second Pokémon Gym when a player can control Pokémon past level 30.

Like previous games, this generation released new creatures, but this generation only boasts 69 new Pokémon. The limited selection for this generation becomes very apparent in the first few areas of the game where many of the past creatures reappear.

The saving grace for the generation rests on the new Pokémon type, Fairy, and the Mega evolved Pokémon.

The first gym leader can get the best of players if not prepared with potions or fire Pokémon. Unlike previous gyms, this generation will not allow a player to leave and go to the Pokémon center until after the defeat the gym leader, making this generation more challenging. The gym leader also anticipates the use of a fire Pokémon starting with the water and bug Pokémon Surskit, and players are advised to save their Pokémon for later.

Other battle mechanics that change include added experience points from capturing Pokémon, an option not previous available, and a return to the EXP Share reminiscent of the first generation. The EXP Share is a device that allows for the entire team to gain experience points.

The gameplay makes up for the minor inconveniences and is a recommended buy.