'Pokemon X' And 'Pokemon Y' Bring A Mega Evolution To One Of The Most Successful Franchises In Video Games

October 15, 2013

In 1996, Japanese developer Game Freak Inc. teamed up with one of the biggest names in the video game industry, Nintendo, to unleash the first titles in the Pokémon series, Red and Blue, which spurred a worldwide phenomenon. Since those first Game Boy titles, Pokémon has gone on to be one of the biggest franchises in video game history, second only to Mario himself. Spawning everything from cartoons and movies to trading cards and airplanes, those little pocket monsters have been everywhere over the last sixteen years, and now they are back with an all new game. Pokémon X and Y are the first proper releases for the franchise on the Nintendo 3DS, and they include countless features that fans have been asking for since the original games. With an improved look and feel, a new batch of Pokémon to capture, and brand new Mega Evolutions, X and Y may be the definitive Pokémon games.

Developer: Game Freak Inc.
Publisher: Nintendo/ The Pokémon Company

X and Y are the first entries in the sixth generation of Pokémon games, which means that Game Freak have a whole lot of experience working with their flagship franchise. With sixteen years, and near countless games, spinoffs, movies, cartoons, books, etc., the Pokémon universe may be the most fleshed out worlds in all of video games. What started as a little RPG where players battled each other using small monsters that they had captured and trained, has now grown into a billion dollar franchise with fans all over the world.

The latest entries into the Pokémon series are moderate iterations on the franchise’s tried and true formula: catch Pokémon, train them, battle other trainers, and become the best in the world. X and Y tell the story of a group of young trainers as they explore the Kalos region (which looks strikingly like France), as they travel from gym to gym, looking to become master trainers. While the story is pretty standard for the series (since it basically a means to complete your Pokedex), the gameplay is what has seen the most noticeable updates.

First and foremost, X and Y are the first portable games in the series to include full art and animations for their Pokémon while in battle. While this may seem like a footnote at best for anyone that hasn't played a Pokémon game before, longtime fans will tell you that finally being able to see their Pikachu perform its Electro Ball attack in full 3D glory is a big deal. Other tweaks to the typical formula include: an all-new Pokémon type (Fairy), Super Training that allows Pokémon to increase their stats outside of combat, horde encounters with wild Pokémon, and Pokémon-Aime which is basically Nintendogs for your Pokémon. Last, but far from least, X and Y also include new Mega Evolutions, that allow for one additional evolution for certain Pokémon, like fan-favorites Charrizard, Venusaur, Lucario, and Mewtwo, taking these characters to a whole new level in battle.

Pokémon X and Y are both exclusively available on the Nintendo 3DS, at retail and as digital downloads. Nintendo is so enthusiastic about the release of these games that they launched them alongside redesigned hardware, the 2DS. The new 2DS offers a more affordable portable option ($129.99 versus $159.99) for economical fans that want to get on the Pokémon train and might not already have a 3DS. Or, if you really want to go all in on this version of the Pokémon, you can pick up the special edition red or blue Pokémon X and Y 3DS XLs for $199.99.

As an added incentive for Pokémon veterans, trainers that have already “caught them all” in previous games, like Black and White and their sequels, can store and transfer their collection (up to 3,000 Pokémon) to the Pokémon Bank. These Pokémon can then be carried over to X and Y for a small annual fee.

For fans of the Pokémon series, X and Y may be the games that you’ve waited your whole life to play. Game Freak and Nintendo have updated the franchise in numerous ways, and introduced new ideas that help push Pokémon forward, instead of cluttering it with new things that get in the way of the game. From the Super Training to the Mega Evolutions, all of the new features add to the Pokémon experience by making the game a bit more accessible, while offering a variety of things to do with your trainer and your Pokémon. If you haven’t played a Pokémon game in the past, X and Y might just be the right place to jump in. The gameplay mechanics and the concepts behind the game are still as simple as they were on the Game Boy, which makes it easy for almost anyone to pick up and play, but mastering the game takes time and dedication, especially if you want to level up your Pokémon team and compete against other trainers from around the world.