23 January 2013

[SquareGo] First Impressions: Pokémon X & Y

Nintendo recently teased that they'd be releasing some big news related to the popular Pokémon series on January 8th – speculation was tossed hither and thither that it may be anything from a console adaptation of the game for the Wii U, a remake of Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire, and even a possible iOS Pokémon game. January 8th arrived..

...and with it came the announcement of Pokémon X & Y, a brand new sixth generation of Pokémon games, exclusively for the 3DS.

Read the rest of the review over at SquareGo, or click below to read more!

This new generation is undoubtedly an effort to bring the Pokémon series further up-to-date, taking advantage of the 3DS' hardware to turn the 2-D sprites of previous generations into 3-D models, an effort that made serious progress in Pokémon Black and White, which used some 3-D art but still relied heavily on the series' traditional 2-D sprites.

The sixth generation's naming scheme, X & Y, most likely allude to the spatial x, y and z dimensions, as a nod to the fact that the games are moving from the flat 2-D plane of the DS to the three-dimensional possibilities with the Nintendo 3DS – and, as there is almost always a “third version” added a number of months after the release of the two front-runners, the inference is that there may be a Pokémon Z arriving in 2014. The naming scheme may also relate to X & Y chromosomes present in DNA, which give rise to sex determination – of note because breeding using different-sex Pokémon has been a feature in the series since Generation II, and the mechanics for breeding Pokémon were recently overhauled in Pokémon Black 2 & White 2.

The announcement also came with a number of bonuses for Pokémon fans – the three starter Pokémon for that generation, which the player will be able to choose at the beginning of the game. Chespin is X & Y's Grass-type starter, and resembles a hedgehog-like mammal – a departure from the unwritten rule that the Grass-type starter in every generation is a reptile of some sort. There's Fennekin, the Fire-type, which seems to be modelled after a Fennic fox. And then there's Froakie, a small bewildered-looking Frog that's the Water-type in the archetypal grass-fire-water trio.

Also revealed were two Pokémon that are the version mascots for their respective games. Xerneas is a deer with shining, multi-hued antlers, and Yveltal is a colossal eagle. Theories have already cropped up regarding the symbolism of these Pokémon, as there is a rich tradition of Pokémon (especially Legendary Pokémon) taking cues from mythology and folklore: some of these theories include; Xerneas representing neurons, Yveltal representing musculature, and that they are based off of Norse legends about Yggdrasil. Only time will tell.

The game's setting will most likely be a brand new region, in keeping with the tradition of each generation of games having its own locale. In X & Y, the presence of an analogue of the Eiffel Tower, as well as European Baroque architecture, suggests that this region may be based on Paris, France – every region was based on an area of Japan, until the current Generation V's Unova, which was heavily based on American aesthetics and design, so it will be interesting to see a more European tint to the graphics.

Pokémon X & Y's gameplay seems very similar to their predecessors, in that the main character seems largely confined to a 2-D plane, with some 3-D elements to balance it out. The battle system looks very similar to the turn-based system that has been used all throughout the series, but with some 3-D graphics – such as 3-D models for Pokémon instead of 2-D sprites - in the manner of the console games like Pokémon: Gale of Darkness.

Pokémon X & Y will be released worldwide in October 2013.

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