Pokemon X

If you take a look at the section of this website named Top 10s, you will notice that on the list of my favourite games of all time, Pokemon Red sits in slot number 2.  Pokemon was pretty much year zero for me when it came to playing games.  Sure, I had played some before that.  But Pokemon was the first game that I poured hour after hour into.  Since then I have played pretty much every game in the franchise and as long as I have a suitable break between each installment, have never grown bored with them.

All of this brings us to Pokemon X, one of the latest two games.  It was the first to take advantage of the 3D part of the 3DS, although since then Omega Ruby and Sapphire have done similar, yes I am slightly out of date with this one.  It’s an interesting addition, as it allows Pokemon to open up, using its landscape in much more interesting ways.  That’s never more clear than in the huge Lumiose City, which must be one of the biggest cities to appear in a Pokemon game, with its wide streets and impressive looking gym.

It’s also allowed them to mix up how the gyms are presented.  There is now one that see’s you climbing up vines and swinging across platforms in an attempt to reach the gym leader.  While previous gyms have included puzzles, none have ever looked as good as these ones.  It’s hard to deny that this is the best looking Pokemon game yet and it makes the world of Kalos even more exciting to explore.

There’s also an interesting mix up in the traditional rival system.  Instead of an antagonistic Gary Oak, we now have four friends, all travelling at the same time as you and each with different interests.  It’s hardly a revolutionary change but it’s an interesting switch up from the classic Pokemon formula.  On the other hand, the main story here hasn’t changed at all.  There is still an evil group, this time Team Flare, working towards some nefarious scheme.  It’s maybe made slightly more complicated this time round, but they are still very easily dissuaded from their goals by losing to a kid in a Pokemon fight.

Which leads nicely to the next point.  This game is far too easy.  While Pokemon games have never been particularly hard, they have at least required you to put some effort into raising your Pocket Monsters.  That’s gone here.  Now the EXP Share allows all your Pokemon to receive EXP points from each battle you do and the amount they get is not majorly restricted.  It means there’s little need to grind your way through areas leveling up your Pokemon equally, as you can instead just choose the one most suited to the wild Pokemon you are facing and let the others level up as you go along.  By the time I reached the Elite Four, all of my Pokemon were level 70 or above and it meant I could basically breeze through them and the champion.

There’s also the recurring issue of them really running out of ideas for Pokemon.  I’m sure there are some fans of Klefki, but to me it looks like a set of keys.  I’m sorry, but that’s not what I expect from a Pokemon.  It also has to be said that some of the more traditional looking Pokemon lack a cool factor.  All the good ideas have been taken and even legendary Pokemon like Zygarde, are nowhere near the league of a Charizard.

Despite these problems, Pokemon X is still good fun to play.  If you didn’t like Pokemon before, it’s not gonna do enough to convince you to change your mind.  It makes changes, but none of them are big enough to really effect how the game plays.  Instead, Pokemon X just looks to improve on an already wonderfully put together series of games.  If like me you are a Pokemon fan who still likes to indulge in running around fictional settings throwing balls at small animals, then it will tick all the right boxes.

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