This article was written by senior Santiago Lopez.
Last month marked the release of video games from one of Nintendo’s powerhouse franchises: Pokémon X and Pokémon Y. Playable on the 3DS, the games debuted Pokémon’s “sixth” generation. Much like in previous titles, the player is invited to choose one of three starter Pokémon and embark on a journey to become the strongest trainer in the region.
Casual gamers might ask: what’s new this time around? The franchise is known for having trivial changes among generations, so it is understandable to be hesitant about the purchase of the new release. Fortunately, the changes between the fifth and sixth generations are more prevalent than ever before and give the series new life.
The game takes place in the region of Kalos (the Pokémon equivalent of the country of France). Players traverse through diverse terrains, including deserts, forests, beaches, and mountains. There is a new Pokémon type, and there are 69 new pocket monsters, not counting the “Mega Evolutions,” which allow trainers to evolve certain Pokémon to an extra stage. While these are noticeable changes, the difference that really gives the series a brand new feel is the stunning 3D visual during battles. Previously, battles consisted of choppy sprites who made awkward robotic movements, but in X and Y each and every Pokémon is given a 3D model that makes them stand out.
The multiplayer system introduced in Pokémon X and Y unlocked the doors to simple and reliable ways to connect with friends. The feature elevates the new games above its predecessors, and gives trainers something to do even after they’ve become the region’s Champion. Want to trade for a Pokémon you don’t have? Simply connect your 3DS to the Internet and your problem is solved. Trainers can battle anywhere, anytime.
The last significant change in the series is the introduction of Pokémon Amie (Pokémon Friend in French). The feature was added to the game to enhance the illusion that Pokémon are creatures that a trainer can care for. Opening up the Pokémon Amie feature allows trainers to pet, feed, or play with their ‘mons. The feature makes raising them more of a personal experience: something that previous titles never quite managed to achieve.
An old toy with a couple of new tricks, Pokémon is for the most part the same. The introduced changes enhance gameplay and provide for a more enjoyable experience, but do not make the game unrecognizable. There is a reason why Pokémon has managed to be successful for 17 years: the franchise is an irrefutable classic. Fans of the franchise and casual players alike should definitely look into purchasing Pokémon X or Pokémon Y.