It has been a week since Pokemon X first made its worldwide launch. I have played with it a little, but I’ll be honest that my opportunities to play has been limited until this weekend. So while it has been out for a long time, I just got past the second gym leader. With that, I figured it was time to put up something about the latest in the Pokemon series.
First off, to my credit on just getting the second badge is that, this version of Pokemon is HUGE. I mean Black & White were noticeably bigger than previous versions of Pokemon, but this one makes that one look small. I’d say on average there are 4.5 routes per badge, and each of those routes are probably about 50% longer than previous routes. The fact that you now have a base speed that is much faster due to roller skates, is very well necessary. Without them, I feel like the pace of the game would likely be far too slow. So while it is much more immense in size, there is a good balance being met to make you feel like you are accomplishing things.
With the size, it would be easy to sit there and say, well that must be boring with looking at the same pokemon over and over again for such a long distance. But Game Freak has decided with this one to truly utilize their back catalog of Pokemon. With this series, there are about 750 total Pokemon to catch, and they don’t leave a lot of them out of the loop. Ignoring Black & White which was weird because it had only pokemon from that series in its main area, most of the time in a new pokemon game, any particular route has about 4 to 6 old pokemon and 2 to 3 new pokemon in it. This one seems to average about 7 to 8 old pokemon with 1 to 2 new pokemon in it. Yes this means that this series has probably fewer new entries into it than any previous entry into the game, but it also makes each area feel like it is a completely wild area with loads of different Pokémon every time you walk into the brush which I really loved.
The lack of new pokemon I think comes largely because of the Mega-evolutions I think. Which I can’t really speak of too much because I have yet to do a mega evolution, but in theory the idea is a really good one. It allows Game Freak to add a forth chain in the evolutionary line of any pokemon without actually doing it. It also allows them to finally have a way to add more new creatures in the game without coming up with something brand new. In reality, this is where the new Pokemon are coming from, not completely new ones, but new iterations in old chains. People have wanted a forth in the chain pretty much since gold & silver, well now they have it even if it is temporary. It also means that people can revisit their old favorites and see a new flair.
This last bit is an obvious logic in why this happened. You can see this game as giant love story to Red & Blue. Instead of giving you the starting trio to this game, the Professor gives you a starter from Red & Blue. You run across a Snorlax blocking the path and need a pokeflute to get past it, and even when you look at the legendaries of this game, you see Mewtwo making his first appearance since Red & Blue as a catchable legendary, and instead of seeing a new trio of legendaries they decided to put in the legendary birds from red & blue. The homage is definitely here and I wonder if the next in the series will see homages to Gold & Silver instead, or if they even do that in Pokemon Z.
I’m actually torn about whether I like the old legendaries returning to this game. On one hand it’s kind of cool to see the homages. On the other, I feel the lack of new legendaries is kind of a sad part of this game. I am hoping that they do a lot of events to get other legendaries from other series. There are a lot that I never had the chance to get because they were special event ones that required you to go to physical locations that I couldn’t go to for whatever reason. That would be the only thing that would make up for the lack of new legendary pokemon.
I should mention Fairy pokemon. They are the first new type into the universe since Gold/Silver added Dark & Steel and were meant to help bring balance to the game by having something that could oppose Dragon. I do feel like this type is going to be very popular. The first fairy type that I got was Flebebe which I have found to be quite powerful. It came with Fairy Wind and I use it to kill almost anything. I actually feel like it has some of the power that Dragon has, just it has a few more weaknesses. But Fairy type seems to be resistant to very few types and at least this one pokemon seems to do a lot of damage when it attacks. Then at some point, I also got wish which is a pretty cool power, I am loving this new type for sure.
The last thing I will mention in this post is the graphics. I absolutely love the graphic update that was done. It looks amazing. I go around and feel like I am actually in the cartoon, they finally got a bit of convergence there. They even added in Pikachu’s cartoon voice instead of the normal 4-bit sound that has been around since the inception of the series. However, I believe that was the only voice that really got an update. Personally, I never liked that the cartoon went with saying the name of the pokemon, but I do wish that they would update the voices to something more modern after all this time. This is a minor quibble though.
So far, I gotta say that this version of the game is fast becoming my favorite to date. My previous favorite being Black & White so they have done a really good job in the last few years of putting out really high quality games in the Pokemon series. I hope they follow it up with the more natural third game to the series rather than doing the sequel thing they did in Black & White. Though I did like the story better in B&W than I have so far out of X&Y and could understand why they might want to add on to that story. But I really want to see them do a Pokemon Z rather than a Pokemon X 2 or Pokemon Y 2.