Pokemon X and Pokemon Y are the latest installments of Nintendo’s insanely popular Pokemon franchise. It features a bunch of new mechanics, gameplay options, post-story activities, and a lot more. It’s a been a few weeks since its release, and I’ve done just about everything a person can do in the game. I’ve highlighted some of my favorite stuff below.
Possibly the most major addition in X and Y is the inclusion of Fairy-type pokemon. It’s five weeks later and I’m still trying to adapt my type match battling strategy. I don’t mean to sound histrionic, but this new type took my old battling strategy and tossed it out the window. Fairy-type moves are super-effective against Dragon-types and Fairies are totally immune to Dragon-type moves. Previously, Dragon moves had only been super-effective against other Dragons, but they still dealt a massive amount of damage to any pokemon. Draco Meteor is one of the most powerful moves in the game and now there’s a whole section of pokemon that it’s useless against. That’s not all. Fairies are also super effective against Fighting-types and Dark-types. This means that the previously weakness-free Spiritomb can now be heavily damaged.
Not all is lost, though. Like every other type of pokemon, Fairies have weaknesses. Steel- and Poison-types are super-effective against Fairies and Fairy-type moves are not very effective against those types as well as Fire-types. In gameplay, once I taught Poison Jab to Lucario, I never had to worry about Fairies again.
One of the oldest training aids in the game finally got a makeover in this new generation. Before, the Exp. Share could be held by one pokemon and that one pokemon would receive half of the experience points in a battle, as if it had actually taken part. It was really useful for training weaker pokemon and getting them caught up with the stronger pokemon in my team. Now, though, the Exp. Share isn’t a hold item. It’s a Key Item. When it’s turned on, all pokemon in your team get a percentage of the experience from a battle even if they didn’t participate. During regular game play, this renders level grinding (almost) moot. The pokemon in my team were consistently around the same level, and I was always ready for the next pokemon gym. Even the Elite Four isn’t much of a challenge with the Exp. Share turned on. For me, this created a good momentum in the story because I never had to stop and train my pokemon up to a certain level. If you would like a more challenging experience, then I recommend turning the Exp. Share off.
This is the feature I’ve been waiting for my whole life from Pokemon. You can alter almost everything about your character: skin tone, eye color, hair color, hair style. Clothing is probably the biggest addition here. There are a number of boutiques where you can buy new clothes for your character. These clothes range from relatively cheap hats to jeans that cost hundreds of thousands of pokedollars. There’s even one boutique in Lumiose City, the largest city in the Kalos region, where the shopping attendant will tell you that you aren’t fashionable enough before kicking you back out onto the street like a peasant. Don’t worry, though. If you spend enough money on haircuts and tanning, she’ll let you in eventually. I think I got, like, three expensive haircuts before I could finally shop in that boutique.
Skating is activated whenever you attempt to move with the control stick instead of the D-pad. It’s a fun, new way of getting from one place to another. The best thing about it is that you can learn cool tricks from skaters in Lumiose City. They’ll teach you how to backflip off a ledge, do a 360, and go extra fast. The cool thing is that if you learn all five tricks from the skaters in Lumiose, a man near Laverre City will teach you how to do a Cosmic flip, which is the probably neatest thing I’ve seen in a Pokemon game that wasn’t part of a battle.
Player Search System (PSS)
One of my favorite features of X and Y is the PSS, or the Player Search System. If you have Wi-Fi enabled and connect to the Internet, you can reach out and communicate with other Pokemon players around the world. You can trade with them, battle them, or just chat with them.
The Wonder Trade is probably the highlight of this feature. In a normal trade, two trainers display pokemon, and they decide if they want to trade their pokemon for the other one. In Wonder Trade, you never know what you’re going to get. I like to trade Lapras, but I should’ve found an easier pokemon to breed and hatch. Occasionally you’ll run into that trainer who will give you something useless like a Bunnelby, but I’ve been pretty happy with what I’ve gotten: Froakie, Fennekin, Golem, Noctowl, and so forth. I like to breed Lapras and Squirtle and give those to people. I mean, you get a free Lapras in the game, but I still think it’s a pretty cool pokemon.
Besides the Wonder Trade, you can also battle trainers from around the world with PSS. You also don’t need to worry about hardcore trainers coming after you. I was deathly afraid that I’d battle someone and all of their pokemon would be legendaries at level 100. You’re able to set up battle rules. There are three settings: Normal, Something, and No Limits. The Normal setting sets all pokemon to level 50. There are also a few different options. You can limit the battle to a three-on-three (or four-on-four if it’s a double battle) and even prevent trainers from using legendaries. You can choose from single, double, rotation, or triple battles, so there’s something for everyone.
So, instead of a Safari Zone like we’ve seen in every other iteration of this series, X and Y offer the Friend Safari. You’ll need people’s friend codes. Don’t worry, if you don’t have any friends that play Pokemon, there are a bunch of places online where people just throw out their friend codes. Like this one: http://www.reddit.com/r/friendsafari/. Once you’ve added someone (and they’ve added you back), you can enter their Friend Safari. (I should also note that you need to beat the Elite Four and the Champion before you can access the areas where the Friend Safaris are). Each friend has a different Friend Safari and each safari is a different type. For example, my safari is Fire, so you’re going to be able to catch a number of Fire-type pokemon that you can’t find in regular gameplay. Each safari holds three different pokemon, so collect as many friend codes as you can.
At this point in the series, I’ve started ignoring why the bad guys are bad. Team Rocket wanted money (or something), Team Aqua and Magma wanted divergent environmental changes, Team Galactic wanted *mumble* and Team Plasma wanted to set pokemon free. I think. Team Flare is a little more straightforward. They want to kill everyone. Like, power up a doomsday machine and destroy everyone. Their leader has totally given up on humanity and decides that he needs to wipe the slate clean if the world is ever going to be better. What’s really nifty about this generation is that, when you defeat the bad guys, the whole region celebrates and honors you as a hero, something that was noticeably missing from previous generations.
I should probably stop my article here before it becomes really unwieldy. I’m a huge fan of the Pokemon franchise. I’ve played every game since they started coming out, but I can say with great certainty that X and Y are my favorite Pokemon games. The customization, the new pokemon, the new type, and the pace all add up for a great gaming experience. It’s possibly the most fun I’ve ever had playing Pokemon, and I don’t say that lightly. It’s perfect for people new to the game series, people looking to relive some of their childhood and finally catching them all, and even hardcore pokenerds who participate in real life Pokemon championships. So if you’ve been waiting for a sign to buy this game, here it is.
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