Saturday, October 12, 2013
Pokémon Y journal - entry one
I’ve only sunk a few hours of my time into Pokémon Y, but holy cow is it gorgeous. Seeing the full 3D character models and upgraded battle system in the pre-release trailers had me very excited, but experiencing it firsthand is another thing entirely. Between the slight cel-shading layered over everything and the dynamic actions of the various Pokémon during battle, I dare say Pokémon X and Y are far and away the best looking 3D Pokémon titles ever created – superior even to the likes of Gale of Darkness.
As I mentioned in my ‘zero entry’ for this Pokémon Y journal, Froakie was my starter, and has since evolved into Frogadier. I’m rather fond of Fletchling, as his evolutions seek to break the tradition of an early Normal/Flying bird Pokémon by having him instead become a Fire/Flying dual type. I did take advantage of the free downloadable Torchic and chose Charmander as my secondary starter, though as mentioned before I don’t intend to keep them in my party for too much longer – aside from the obvious lopsided use of Fire types in this current setup, I want to explore the new Kalos-native Pokémon to the fullest extent. That said, Pancham has potential as a Fighting type, and could fill one of the three slots not taken up by Froakie, Honedge, and the Fairy type (who will eventually comprise half of my core team).
With regards to the actual gameplay, it’s quite smooth, with the frame rate in battle remaining overall consistent – every once in a while it will slow, but only for a brief couple of seconds before it is back to firing on all cylinders. The overworld controls are a little strange at first, if only for the fact that everything is still mapped onto a grid. Rolling around on skates has proven to be a more fluid and intuitive way to travel than running on foot though, and seeing as I received my skates roughly an hour into the game, it was a hiccup that course-corrected itself relatively quickly. I would say that I was a bit disappointed in the fact that the 3DS' 3D functionality only works in full during battle segments and scripted cutscenes, were it not for the fact that I feel the overworld would appear too blurry in 3D with so much going on all the time.
The sheer number and variety of Pokémon you can catch within the game’s first few routes is incredible, and a wonderfully helpful first step in equipping both newcomers and veterans with basic, short-term team members that will answer all the necessary typing matchups for the first couple of gyms. The new Experience Share allows your lead Pokémon to gain half the experience it normally would in exchange for divvying the rest up among your remaining party members. In the long run, this will save boatloads of time otherwise spent on trying to balance the levels of individual team members. The same goes for the fact that experience points are now gained even after a wild Pokémon is caught, and while it does seem like Pokémon Y is doing a little bit of hand-holding right off the bat, it’s still a ton of fun to play.