Pokemon Y - 3DS

Release Date:

12 October 2013

Viewing UK:

Also on USA.


In Pokémon Y, Nintendo's massively successful creature breeding and battling franchise returns with a new species of starter Pokémon, new mega evolution, improved connectivity, and for the first time in the series, full 3D graphics. As always, players take on the role of a young battle trainer who goes on quests to catch and train Pokémon, then engage in turn-based battles with other trainers to upgrade and evolve their Pokémon. The new adventure is set in the France-like Kalos region, with the ultimate goal of obtaining the eight Kalos Gym Badges and defeating the Elite Four.

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Pokemon X and Pokemon Y are role-playing video games developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 3DS. They are the first installments in the sixth generation of the Pokemon series of role-playing games.

The Pokemon series has effectively become an empire over the past 15 years, giving this new addition a lot to live up to. Often times marketed to kids in the beginning, the Pokemon games of today are challenged with appealing not only to today’s children, but also to those of us who were fans when it originally appeared and are now adults. How can this be accomplished in one game? How well did Game Freak actually manage to do this?

Unlike previous games in this franchise, Pokemon X and Y has a much more fast-paced opening. This is excellent news to the Pokemon veterans, as they will no longer have to drag their character through an hour of slow tutorials and limited options. Luckily, this is done in such a way as to not be confusing to those who are inexperienced with Pokemon games. The result is an action-packed first hour that effectively explains the game play and introduces the player to many opportunities to battle and collect different Pokemon and even acquire their first gym badge. Overall, this feature appears to be an improvement over past games.

Introducing the very first entirely 3D game in the franchise, Game Freak has made it a stunningly successful transition. Without mentioning any spoilers, experienced Pokemon trainers should look forward to the way their favorite Pokemon will look in the new 3D game. Whether vicious or adorable, many of the returning favorites have been incredibly revamped.

One long-awaited change made is the ability to create a customized avatar. It is refreshing to be able to express yourself and how you would like to appear to the many other players in the game with more than choosing your gender. While it is not yet fully customizable, you may change your skin tone. An addition of many different accessories allows for even more personalized characters.

Unfortunately the story line and character development are very similar to the other games. With such a large adult fan base, Game Freak should aim to create less linear plots and NPCs. Considering how much of this game is played in a single-player RPG style, the story and characters within is a large portion of the player’s entertainment.

Luckily for the experienced trainers, the main feature of the game is not drastically changed from its successful predecessors. The actual trading and battling will be similar in many ways to the previous games. A few small tweaks and improvements have been made. These minute changes seem to eliminate some of the more tedious work between battles.

There is one rather important alteration to battle, however. Mega Evolutions are transformations for Pokemon that can actually change their type. This adds a large strategic feature to the battle system. The player’s original six Pokemon roster is effectively increased by one, because the Pokemon the player chooses can be Mega Evolved into a different type. For example, evolving one Pokemon to a different type can remove its weakness to a certain element. Because this adds so many different possibilities for battle outcomes and grants the player a huge advantage, there are a few limits set in place by the developer to even out the gameplay. Only one Mega Evolution may be summoned in each battle, and not every Pokemon that can be obtained has a Mega Evolution capability. While the in-game AI still has trouble understanding elemental reactions and weaknesses, PvP battles have a much more strategic feel due to this new feature.

Lastly, the changes made to the multiplayer mode, the Player Search System. It was introduced in earlier games and has been gracefully improved upon. This allows PvP battles and trades to be done more quickly and easily. The improvements also allow players to show off their customizable content easily. There are very few differences between Pokemon X and Pokemon Y other than each version has different characters with different abilities, with this in mind, the player can simply trade, in effect obtaining all characters. So in retrospect, it doesn't really matter which version you purchase and often in the Pokemon series two versions are often present for simple trading purposes.

Game Freak has produced an excellent new game in this long-standing series. Tackling another Pokemon game cannot be an easy task. Making a game playable for young, new players and entertaining for the veteran fans is always a hurdle. Taking a series from 2D to full 3D is sometimes a challenge that causes a developer to fail, and has been seen with more than one popular franchise (Sonic the Hedgehog). When done correctly, tackling and overcoming these two challenges can put a game down in the history books as a milestone for a franchise.

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