Over the years Pokemon has gotten a lot of flack for remaining largely the same since the Red and Green versions hit the scene way back in 1996. Over the years there have been incremental improvements to the formula, so a newcomer, or someone who hasn’t played since the late 90s, might feel pretty safe picking up Pokemon X and Y for the 3DS.
Not so! While the series is making the transition into 3D polygonal models, a big change from the sprite-based game of the past, there’s also a lot of new mechanics to Pokemon X and Y. I’m going to give you a beginner’s run-down of what’s changed for X and Y.
The Pokemon series is no stranger to retroactively added an evolutionary stage to a Pokemon or two (Pichu says hello) but in X and Y we’re getting a temporary evolution beyond a Pokemon’s final form.
So far we’ve had confirmed Mega Evolutions for a few select Pokemon, but I imagine when the full game comes out there will be a bit more. Mega Stones will allow a Pokemon to transform and, believe it or not there are certain Pokemon (like Mewtwo and Charizard) who have two different Mega Evolutions depending on the version you’re playing. Some Mega Evolutions also change types such as Mega Charizard X who becomes a Fire/Dragon type as opposed to the normal Fire/Flying.
For a game about raising animals to fight each other, Pokemon lacked one critical aspect about animal ownership: playing with them and petting them to increase their stats. Pokemon-Amie will let you interact with your Pokemon outside of battle to give them a boost in certain areas.
It’s sort of like the old mechanic from the Yellow version where, if you talked to Pikachu while he was following you around he would warm up to oyu, but in Pokemon-Amie you use the 3DS to interact with your Pokemon. Additionally, Pokemon who are fond of you will turn around during battle and look at you while they wait for order, so that’s neat.
There are two new types of battles in Pokemon X and Y: Horde and Sky. Horde battles consists of you facing off against five Pokemon simultaneously. Attacks that do damage to everyone on the field will be useful here.
Sky battles take place, you guessed it, in the sky! These can only be fought by Pokemon that are Flying type or have the Levitate ability. It appears that you can decline from participating in Sky battles.
A new addition to X and Y is the fact that you gain XP for capturing Pokemon. In the past, you only got XP for defeating wild Pokemon, so this is a nice change and may help reduce some of the grind.
For the first time since Gold and Silver a new type is being added to the game: Fairy! Fairy-type Pokemon are super-effective against Dragon type (the third type, the other two being Ice and Dragon) and are weak against Poison and Steel.
In traditional Pokemon games, you get your starting Pokemon from the Professor of the region. In X and Y, one of your friends gives you your starter, and you then receive another one from Professor Sycamore once you meet him.
The starters Sycamore gives you are the original Kanto ones: Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Charmander. Even better, all of the Kanto starters now have Mega Evolutions!
Player Search System
The PSS is designed to easily get people into multiplayer by having the lower screen on the 3DS dedicated to compiling a list of other Trainers. This list is divided into three groups: Passer-Bys, Acquaintances and Friends. People on your 3DS friends list who play Pokemon X or Y are automatically added to the Friends category in-game. This system should make it easier to battle and trade.
These are the major changes to Pokemon X and Y. When the games drop on October 12 I’m sure we’ll discover much more, and there are a few I didn’t cover (like ride-able Pokemon and player customization).
Is anyone else getting X and Y? Sound off!