Pokémon X and Y” Review

Originally written for the MSU Exponent.

Remember when you and your friends were playing “Pokémon Red and Blue,” and one friend claimed he had an uncle who worked at Nintendo that told him there was a secret super evolution to Mewtwo you could get when you beat the Elite Four 30 times with a level 5 Magikarp? Well, now that Mega Mewtwo is real and, fortunately, infinitely easier to acquire.

It’s a cliche that often comes up when reviewing new entries in classic video game series, but it demands repetition with “Pokémon X and Y”: What’s old is new again. The new entries for the games do not try to remake the old formula from scratch, but instead, like the series has always done, improve the timeless foundation laid 17 years ago when Red and Green versions hit the shelves in Japan. Man, I feel old.

Simply put, this game is the perfection of everything that came before it. Everything is simultaneously new, yet familiar, and almost every aspect of the series is utilized in one way or another. One of the most talked-about aspects of the new games is the graphics. While the human characters feel rather emotionless, the Pokémon themselves look spectacular in the cel-shaded art style this style does the series infinitely more justice than the jagged polygons of “Pokémon Stadium” ever did. Because of the crisp and lively movements given to the monsters, watching a battle looks like a fight from the cartoon series. The jump to fully 3D environments has been more than a cosmetic upgrade: Camera perspective is used to show off the beautifully-rendered and creative locales of the Kalos region.

I can wholeheartedly say X and Y are the most fun games in the series. Powerful and diverse Pokémon species are available from the very beginning and experience points are given out freely instead of demanding endless grinding. This keeps the game moving at a fast pace, so you never feel bored or bogged down. Now matter what, you’re just a few levels short of being able to take down a Gym Leader.

Special consideration is given to lapsed fans with increased prominence of the original 151 monsters: They gain new story prominence and receive the Pyroar’s share of mega evolutions (temporary super transformations available to a select few Pokémon). It’s a thrilling experience to watch your trusted Pokémon go super saiyan and rain down vengeance on a biblical scale on the poor trainers standing in your way.

If you have a Nintendo 3DS, go get this game now. The game is great for both old and new fans alike.