Nintendo's Pokemon series evolves with sharp 3D visuals and stat-boosting mini-games.
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Gamers who grew up over the past 15 years know the famous "Gotta Catch 'Em All" tag line that perfectly describes the Pokemon franchise. With this in mind, Pokemon X and Y are the newest pair of games in the series, the sixth generation of Pokemon titles. They also mark the first traditional Pokemon games on Nintendo's 3DS.
Anyone who has played a Pokemon game can tell you the basic story. You begin as a boy or girl who lives in a small town and starts the adventure by choosing his or her first Pokemon from the local Professor, but the hero has bigger dreams; you want to be the best Pokemon trainer ever. You travel the land going from small towns to big cities, through caves and across oceans battling other trainers who think they can beat you, all the while developing a bond and chemistry with the Pokemon you catch and train. In X and Y, you travel around the Kalos region helping Professor Sycamore learn about the newly discovered Mega Evolutions through, naturally, catching and training Pokemon.
While Pokemon X and Y share that same basic story, these new Pokemon games have unique features. For the first time in the franchise, the game is in full 3D. It makes the world feel more open, as players move freely instead of walking along blocks.
The Pokemon battles are also animated in 3D. You can see the fire shoot from Charizard's mouth, and Pikachu unleashing a thunder wave attack with a new sense of authority. You still don't see Pokemon physically bite or punch each other, though, since that's not child friendly.
The save system involves a simple button press, whereas in previous games it took a while to process the request. In addition, the Kalos region feels bigger than other worlds in the Pokemon universe. There are more towns and places to explore than the main cities. There are also new features. Mini games, playable on the bottom screen, allow you to help, train and develop your relationship with Pokemon. Pokemon-Amie, meanwhile, helps in developing bonds with your Pokemon by feeding and playing games with them, like berry picking and tile swap puzzles; playing mini-games boost a Pokemon's base stats. Finally, Super Training increases a Pokemon's EVs.
The biggest feature of all is the Mega Evolutions. Mega Evolutions involve Pokemon who were previously thought to be unable to evolve. In a cool twist, the mega evolved Pokemon are the strongest in the game.
One of the few drawbacks to X and Y is a lack of originality. We felt X and Y's developers did not do enough to highlight all the new Pokemon created for generation six. At the beginning you pick one of three new starters, Froakie, Chespin or Fennekin, then as you progress through the beginning of the game you encounter tons of older series Pokemon. We like the ability to capture old favorites, but we could have played Red, Silver or Sapphire for that nostalgic feel. This also made us regret the first type of Pokemon we chose.
That aside, X and Y are great editions to the Pokemon franchise, ideal for gamers who walked away from the series and hardcore fans who have been there the whole way. On that note, generation six is a mega evolution of its own. With this in mind, we highly recommend X and Y for any Pokemon fan or 3DS owner looking to complete their game collections.
Review code provided by Nintendo.
What's Hot:Stunning new 3D world, new 3D battle animations, mega evolutions, new Pokemon and tons of older favorites in the game.
What's Not:Same old story, new Pokemon don't receive enough attention.