I’m now 12 hours into my quest. So far I’ve completed two gyms, having just started the third, and my Pokedex reads 127 seen, 53 owned.
I think this is the first time in a long time that I remember being this invested in a Pokemon game, which is testament to the design changes and overall quality of Pokemon X/Y. It’s still a kids game at heart and there’s still a few issues, but I’ve already played more hours here than the past few titles I’ve started.
So far my team of 6 comprises of Braixen, Butterfree, Charmeleon, Eevee (who’s only there in order to evolve), Panpour and Blaziken. Yes I have a few fire breathers there, I’m a fire fan, but the balance is actually half decent. Being the new starter, Braixen (the second form of Fennekin) is a combination fire/psychic which comes in handy. In fact, only one of the four attacks available are fire type right now. Meanwhile Blaziken doubles as a Fighting type and Butterfree goes back to my early days, using sleep and poison powder to aid in capturing Pokemon or slowing down the more dangerous ones during gym battles.
I wanted to choose Bulbasaur, who was my first ever Pokemon way back when, as my second starter. But given the mega evolutions, Charmander was my clear choice. I’m kinda happy with that too, he’s been my go to in a pinch. Rounding it out is Panpour, a solid water and dark type. Eevee I’m trying to evolve it to its electric type, Jolteon, to balance things out. Note, I don’t have a Pikachu … largely because I couldn’t be bothered.
I’ve noticed a couple of things along the way. There’s a fair few references to the past, some more obvious than others (hello Snorlax!). I do like that there’s a few older characters in the game who seem to have ‘grown up’ with Pokemon in their life, a slight nod to the older fan base out there. Berries also return, just don’t forget to go back to that farm and water them like I did.
My first battle against a ‘family’ of Pokemon (i.e. a group of five of the same species) was rather exciting. It adds an extra layer of difficulty for those looking for it, though they seem to be rather rare at this point. Still, it’s nice to have some variety to the proceedings instead of the same battles over and over again. They can be kinda tricky, though that’s dependant on which Pokemon they are and if you have an area effect move available or not.
Also, how good is the musical score?! I’ve had moments in the past where I’ve cringed and turn the sound down, but I have to admit that this time I’m doing the complete opposite. Yes, there’s still a few retro moments here and there, but when the electric guitar kicks in or the mysterious theme in Shalour City plays, I can’t help but smile. Like I’ve said before, I’m a fan of the little things.
The menu system still bugs me, though. It works, and being able to manage your Pokemon is half decent, but it still feels old compared to everything else. The touch screen should have been better utilised during battle to allow you to press one button to throw a poke ball or use a potion, instead of the two or three once you’ve gone through the menu to find said item and ‘then’ confirm to use it. I’ve always believed that should be there.
There’s a little slowdown during battle sequences, especially with the 3D slider turned up. It doesn’t detract from the gameplay, but it can become annoying at times. I’ve noticed it always seems to happen if the top screen zooms in on both Pokemon during battle, but given Nintendo are now in the mood to provide patches and updates to their games, perhaps they’ll deliver such an update to clean things up on that front.
I still wish they’d re-introduced the day/night cycle too. There are moments where it would have worked wonders here, though I’ve since come to a conclusion. It’s the Apple philosophy, creating something compelling enough though leaving just enough ‘out’ of the product in order to introduce it at a later date, therefore convincing fans to buy said new product. It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, really.
Oh, before I go, I’ve also officially converted Heller into a Pokemon fan. To be honest, it didn’t take much, we true fans know how cool it really is deep down (once you get past all the Pikachu stuff). But again, that just shows you how good this latest entry really is, so if you too have a friend who’s never played Pokemon than perhaps now is good time to introduce them.
That’s all for this entry. I’m keeping tabs on everything and I’ll be uploading a video entry real soon so keep an eye out. Also, if you’re just starting out and looking for tips, I’ll be providing a ‘how to’ guide next diary entry. Until then, go catch ‘em all!