Review by eternal_evil

"Let's "X"amine the New Pokemon Entry and "Y" It's the Best Yet"

Pokemon has been enjoyed by kids and adults for years, with it's amazing initial concept of giving players, fresh out the door 150 characters to work and play with, then adding 1 more later to give away at special events across the globe. This franchise has grown immensely and has now give us over 700 monsters, and variants to work with, and this entry is by far their best yet.

So let's dig into this Pokemon Masterpiece.


THE STORY


I will admit, I was fond of the improvement in the overall story of Pokemon games back in Platinum, and that it had continued with Black and White, and sadly it looked like they had done a step back with the X and Y addition.

Until you get further along into it.

The story takes some huge steps in complexity and darkness, portraying the villains of this game, comical and silly at first, and then the game decides to make them an actual imposing threat. Their leader also looks very unique and is actually a much deeper character in and of himself then you might have initially given him credit for. A secondary supplemental character to the story as to why these villains are able to do what they are doing also adds some of the darkest elements in the franchises history.

The story is simple enough not to confuse children too much, but definitely the darkest and most intriguing of the franchise to date once you get to the end of it all.


THE GAMEPLAY


Battles are as fast as ever, if you were worried about the 3D increasing the length of the battles, or slow surfing speed, or really slow anything then you are in for a treat because Gamefreak made sure everything ran smoothly before release and was not about to let us down by slowing down elements that bothered us in the past.

You will find yourself traveling from area to area with ease, you will be able to get lost for hours upon hours on end in the game simply with how engrossing it is to play.

I spent over 40 hours playing through the main game, and it felt like nothing at all. It's simply how engrossing the gameplay is.


THE GAMEPLAY MECHANICS


Gamefreak has had a history of fine tuning the gameplay and mechanics within said gameplay with ever generation. This time they went and pulled out all the stunts, and gave just about everyone something big.

They give the casual player so many different Pokemon throughout the ages to work with, a fun new mechanic called Mega Evolution which will make youth feel particularly thrilled whenever they power their Pokemon up, improvements to the experience point distribution using an item that has the option of being turned on or off that gives everyone in the party at least half the experience points from the Pokemon you are fighting, allowing you to use multiple Pokemon throughout the main game competently throughout the story, without having to grind for several additional hours just to raise a Pokemon to see if you do or do not like it.

For the hardcore fans, and competitive battlers, they made the Hidden mechanics in the game the Effort Value System, easier then ever to manipulate, and it allows you to, for the first time ever, see the progression of that formerly hidden value. It has improved formerly archaic breeding mechanics and made them far more user friendly for the player trying to enter into the competitive scene. The ability to trade, battle, and meet new people has never been easier through the Player Search System, even the new experience point distribution helps out the competitive player in preparation of a team by getting your monsters to the proper level for competition.

And the best part is, with these changes, a casual player to the game, if they so choose, can more easily move into the competitive scene as there is a much smaller wall in the way for people to understand the deeper levels of the game.


THE MUSIC


I will be honest, I have always enjoyed the music in the Pokemon franchise, but the music in this game really helped with immersion. The music fits so well with everything happening that you just start feeling part of it. The Gym Leader battles sound intense, the towns sound peaceful, traveling about the world sounds adventurous. The music choice was simple yet really helped immerse you into the world of Pokemon.


THE GRAPHICS


Probably the biggest step in the franchise outside of the game mechanic changes, no more Pseudo 3Dish Pokemon world where you can see the back or front of your character only vaguely, and the sprite looks little or nothing like the image of your character you see at the very start of every game. No your characters actually look like the character it is supposed to portray in the game while you play.

This change also makes the world feel more alive, it makes the world feel bigger, and gives the overall game experience more energy and life, you actually feel like you are taking a part of the adventure as opposed to simply playing it, and the graphics improvement I feel were a big step towards that feel and change.

The battles themselves are in full 3D, and have dynamic changes in the camera with every attack and action you take to show the effects that happen. Some attacks look simpler, and sillier then others, but when an attack is flashy and awesome looking. It is flashy and awesome looking.

With the 3D on or off these graphics are a notable improvement and I for one will have trouble playing the past games for additions to my collection.

With this big of a change you might think it's a little risky but Gamefreak makes such a beautiful transition that you still feel like this is Pokemon, despite all these changes.


CHARACTER CUSTOMIZATION


You can change the appearance of your character for the first time ever in a mainstream Pokemon game. While the current customization options are relatively limited in clothing choices and a lack of ability to remove say, your hat and bag, various hairstyles and hair colors are very limited as well, skin tones only have 3 options. Height and Width options are non existent it is still character customization. You can still make your character look like something other then the default option, and now that Gamefreak has gone down the rabbit hole, you can bet they will make improvements in their new installments in the future.

Despite it's limited nature you will still be able to find plenty of ways to make your trainer look unique to your own likes and dislikes.


REPLAYABILITY AND POST GAME CONTENT


A lot of enjoyment from Pokemon for many players, is not what you get out of going through the main game, but what you get out of the game after you complete it. A big question that comes up for many often comes down to, "Is there plenty of fun stuff to do after the main story is over?"

And the answer is sadly, that your mileage may vary.

If you refuse to partake in the social aspects of the game the Friend Safari is essentially completely cut off from you, but if you do partake in it the Friend Safari literally adds hundreds of hours of gameplay content by itself in catching not only hard to find Pokemon such as Metang, but allows you to find such Pokemon with their hidden abilities formerly only obtainable in the Dream World in previous generations, and with a relative level of ease.

It has a built in battle area where you can partake in battles against competent NPC trainers if you feel in a competitive mood, to earn powerful in game prizes that allows you to take your Pokemon even further in power.

And a few sidequests such as the ability to catch an old favorite, a very powerful Pokemon which made his debut back in the very first Pokemon Games, he is waiting, and he is as powerful as ever.

You can also always battle someone online or trade with someone online at any time as well.

Considering previous entries of the series, and their post game content, this seems fairly limited by comparison. It is by no means a small amount of replayability, nor is it a small amount of post game content as you could still easily dump thousand of hours into what it does have even though by comparison it is technically less.


FINAL THOUGHTS


This is the Pokemon game to own if you like Pokemon, or liked it at one point and moved away from it, heck if this is your first Pokemon game you are in for quite the treat. If this game has sparked your interest this is the best game to pull you right in. It has all the things that made it good, it has more things that make it better, and even if you are only really wanting it for the main game, it has has just the right touch of enjoyment there to make it all worth while.

But if you are in it for the long haul, expect to enjoy this game for hundreds of hours to come.

See you in the Pokemon World.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/21/13

Game Release: Pokemon X (US, 10/12/13)


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