Rater of the Lost Art: Pokémon X and Y
by Laura Mooney, Arts Editor
Pokémon is back and better than ever in the newest installment to the worldwide phenomenon of handheld games, with Pokémon X and Y versions. With a whole new look and special additions to the game, Pokémon X and Y look to be two of the most successful and unique games in the series since the original Red and Blue versions, and it is a great addition to any Pokémon lover’s collection.
On par with every other Pokémon game, it begins with you playing as a young Pokémon trainer who is starting their first journey through the Pokémon region called Kalos, based off of France’s geography. Each young trainer gets a starter Pokémon of their choosing, either the fire type Fennekin, water type Froakie, or grass type Chespin. Each one has their own advantages and disadvantages that make them unique, your choice simply depends on your preference or, as with many Pokémon players, loyalties to a certain type. Once you choose your starter, you are off on your Pokémon adventure to battle gym leaders, train as many Pokémon as you can, and even save the Pokémon world from the likes of team Flare.
While the main play through of Pokémon X and Y is essentially the same as every other Pokémon game on the market, the game designers added in a few fun surprises that make X and Y stand out from the rest of the pack. First and foremost is the noticeable redesign to the game’s appearance. This is the first Pokémon game that has been specifically designed for the Nintendo 3DS, and the game designers expertly rose to the challenge of creating a game that would feature 3D elements. The game now has a freer feel as the character now has more control than ever before over how their character looks, including choice of skin and hair color, and has access to clothing store to customize what their character wears. Besides character appearance, the setting now features even more three dimensional elements, such as being able to see background mountains or oceans in many of the towns, adding a more realistic appearance to the game. Overall Pokémon X and Y are by far the best looking Pokémon games in recent history, and are showing that even a series as old as this one is still able to refresh its image and keep up with changing technology.
Next is the addition of the brand new mega-evolutions. While most of the Pokémon in the game have the standard two level or three level evolutions, Pokémon X and Y introduces a whole new level of power to some of the game’s most popular characters. Pokémon like the classic Charizard and Blaziken are now able to temporarily evolve one stage further, unlocking hidden power to completely annihilate your foes. Not only do the mega-evolutions get some incredible boosted stats, they also receive stylistic makeovers, making the mega-evolutions even more exciting.
Other exciting additions include new, fun modes of transportation such as roller skates and monorails, new gyms each with their own twists and surprises, and new cities, some of which you could literally spend hours exploring. You can now get a real feel for city life by sitting down in a Pokémon café for a cup of coffee and a quick battle, or if you are the more stylish type, you can visit salons dedicated to making both you and your Pokémon beautiful. One other interesting element is the new sky battles. Trainers can now fight with their flying Pokémon high up in the sky. The only catch is that once you are out of flying Pokémon, you have lost the battle, so for those who are not so fond of bird Pokémon, you may be out of luck.
Finally, and perhaps the best addition to Pokémon X and Y, is the introduction of the brand new fairy type. This type is exceptionally powerful and is a welcome addition to long time players of the Pokémon series, simply as a type that can finally stand up to those pesky dragon types. While many of the older Pokémon seen in past games have been converted to a fairy type, such a Snubble or Jigglypuff, the game designers have created a few brand new fairy Pokémon, including a new Eevee evolution called Sylveon. This is the first time a new Pokémon type has been introduced to the games since steel and dark were introduced in Pokémon Silver and Gold back in 2000, and just goes to show that the game designers still have a few tricks up their sleeves after all these years.
So while Pokémon X and Pokémon Y are typical Pokémon games on the surface, all of the new added elements make it feel as though you are playing something fresh and new, while still maintaining the familiar aspects of the classic game everyone knows and loves. It just goes to show that no matter how old you are, you can still enjoy the same games you did as a child, for they are changing just as readily as you are, almost as if the games themselves are growing up with the audience.