The Pokémon series is such a mainstay in videogames that it’s sometimes hard to perceive it in extremes. I don’t often think of Pokémon games as terribly innovative or terribly stale – rather, Pokémon is an ever-present entity in the handheld landscape that is always there for the taking when I desire it. At least, that’s how I felt before Pokémon X and Y came out.
For me, X and Y takes the best aspects of Pokémon and accentuates them. It addresses numerous issues that have long harried the series, and either polishes them to a sheen or revamps them completely. Perhaps most impressive on Pokémon X and Y’s brag sheet is its successful transition to polygonal 3D – an oft-tumultuous leap known to leave many-a-great IP permanently disfigured. Nobody executes the 2D-3D shift better than Nintendo, and no game in recent memory has infused itself with an added dimension as skillfully as Game Freak’s latest.
You can read my review for a more level-headed and in-depth verdict, but with my duties as an unprejudiced critic behind me, I’ve come to realize something else about the game – I’m not taking it for granted. Despite sinking hundreds of hours into Ruby and Sapphire, Diamond and Pearl, and then Black and White, the games began to feel like less of an adventure and more of a simple timesink. A fun timesink, but a timesink nonetheless.
Luckily, that trend has been bucked, and I’m enjoying X and Y more than any Pokémon game since the Game Boy’s Gold and Silver (and the excellent DS remake). Whatever it is that Pokémon does, it’s doing it in full force for its 3DS go-round, and there’s no doubt a whole lot that can be learned from such a seasoned and long-standing franchise.
So, without further ado, here are some things that gaming on the whole ought to take notes on when it comes to Pokémon X and Y, and the series in general.
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