If you haven’t played a Pokémon game since Red/Blue (or even Silver/Gold), then you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about with the new Pokemon X and Y. “Don’t they just recycle the same boring gameplay with new weird-looking monsters?” you’ve probably asked. Lies! This one is different, and here’s how.
The pacing is much quicker.
Seriously, who the hell has time to sit down and stare at a pair of tiny screens for hours on end? Well, okay, yes, of course we all do, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to get incredibly bored if we have to wait ages until we’re ready to defeat our first gym leader, or if we have to walk everywhere. But in X and Y, you’ve got your first badge and a shiny pair of roller skates, like, an hour into the game. Thank god, man. If we had to deliver more parcels to Professor Oak, it would probably make our heads collectively explode.
Oh, speaking of which, Professor Oak isn’t a thing anymore. Instead we’ve got this new guy, Sycamore:
Yeah, I’m super okay with this.
You can customize your player character.
If you’ll allow me to jump on a feminist soapbox, when I first played Red back in… what, ’99? The world of Pokémon was so immersive to me that I actually felt bad about playing a male character and being constantly referred to as “he”. So it’s nice to see that not only can you select your gender (which, to be fair, Pokémon has been doing since Crystal), but you can also change hairstyles, clothing types, and, most importantly, skin-tones, for the first time ever.
It’s about time, Game Freak! Light and/or white-skinned people aren’t the only ones playing Pokémon games.
Fairies can beat the crap out of dragons.
Fire cannot kill a dragon. Nor can a lot of things, regardless of what pop culture property the dragon you’re fighting might come from. So of course the same held true of previous Pokémon games, and people filled their fighting rosters up with dragon-type creatures to get the edge over their opponents, who would only be able to defeat them using ice-types or other dragon-types.
But little did these dragon-lovers know that the makers of Pokémon were watching — and in an effort to change things up, they introduced a new type of Pokémon that would be strong specifically against dragon-types.
Yeah, that’s right, suckas! Your giant-ass dragon’s gonna get its butt handed to it by the cutest thing in the whole freakin’ world! Leave it to a Japanese game to make the adorable bow-covered pokémon just as capable at holding their own as the big nasty ones. We salute you, fairy pokémon.
You can walk diagonally.
Diagonally!! You can walk diagonally in a Pokémon game!
Just look at this gameplay trailer! Look at this little guy turning an actual corner with a diagonal motion!
Truly we have evolved so far as a species. And we didn’t even need a elemental stone or anything.
You can actually hang out with your pokémon
The world of Pokémon has always been a surprisingly brutal place if you actually stop to think about it. You’re basically capturing animals in these little confined spaces and forcing them to fight other animals for you, and up until now that’s been your only meaningful interaction with them.
With the new series of games, however, you can actually play with them and pet them in a Tamagotchi-style setting as part of a new function called Pokémon-Amie.
With Pokémon Amie, you can give your pokémon treats, play mini-games, and just be adorable pals with them. And doing so can actually positively benefit you in battle sequences, too. So you’re not just gleefully sending your pokémon out to die — sorry, “faint” — without any remorse. They do it because they like you! Which probably isn’t going to get PETA off of Nintendo’s back yet, but still. Baby steps.
All in all, it seems like the Pokemon X and Y games are set to breathe new life into a franchise that many previously believed had been stalling lately. Already the games have sold more than 4 million copies in two days, and we’ve heard from a lot of people who are excited to play the new installments despite having not played anything since Red or Blue. So if you’ve got a DS and you’re looking for something new that still triggers all the right nostalgia buttons for you, it’s certainly worth a try.
- Mewtwo returns to Super Smash Bros with Project M
- Check out these delicious Eevee evolution-inspired cocktails
- If you can’t get over the original 151, there’s always Pokémon: The Origin