A few of us thought it would be interesting to have a Pokémon veteran and a Pokémon newbie play Pokémon X and Pokémon Y to see how they both found it. I got, shall we say, drafted into reviewing Pokémon X. Is the game easy to pick up even if you know nothing about Pokémon, or is there a huge learning curve that leaves new players in the dark?
I am the newbie. I have never played a Pokémon game before, and I’ve never really even seen a lot about Pokémon in general. I recognize Pikachu on sight, but that is about it. Sad, I know!
Sorry, but I can’t tell you about all the cool new features because I don’t know what’s new and what’s not. However, I can tell you what I think about the game overall and what others who have never played the game might think if they picked it up. My initial reaction was that I clearly did not fit into its targeted age range. Some of the dialog is a bit childish for me. And with my warped sense of humor, I giggled far too many times at a few of the things going on, like delivering letters to my mom or several of the word choices found in the game. I would pound something, then catch it with a Poké Ball. Jokes abounded.
Also, not being able to name my Pokémon what I wanted annoyed me. I hadn’t even picked anything horrible! I wanted to name one of them Monkey Poo, and I only meant it as kind of like a cute little name, nothing else!
Don’t start hating on me yet, though. Those were just my initial, rash thoughts on the game after playing it for 10 minutes. Give me fun gameplay and a lot of things to do, and I will enjoy a game whether or not a few things are slightly childish for me or annoy me. Pokémon X definitely delivers on the fun combat and has plenty of additional things to do. The combat is enjoyable, the Pokémon are cute and the animations are neat to watch when they battle. I haven’t tried the 3D out yet, but I will before I do the actual review, I promise! There are lots of things to get into, like playing games with your Pokémon, fighting other trainers and more.
The combat is simple (so far), yet fun. Having played RPGs for years, I instantly knew that certain types of Pokémon would be able to heavily damage other types of Pokémon, and I took full advantage of that. There are a lot of combat items and options that I have not yet used, so I won’t try to talk about any of them just yet. Besides, we gotta save something for the review, right?
I love roaming around to see what new Pokémon I can discover, and I have found that I like the clicking sound the Poké Ball makes when I capture a new one. Each Pokémon is distinct, and most of them are adorable! I know when more of them start evolving, I will probably swoon over some and be mad as hell about others. I tend to like a wide variety of looks, though, so I will be OK with anything cute or evil-looking. Anything in between might annoy me, though.
I am not in love with how my character moves around when I try to stand next to someone to talk to them, but that could just be something I am doing wrong. I’ll play around with it all and see if I get any better at that before I formally say it is OK or I just don’t like those controls. It took me a few moments to get the hang of everything and realize the camera would zoom in when I got close to a building to let me see which doors I could go into. Once I realized that, it was easy sailing. I am loving the rollerblades I got and have found myself rolling around all over the place doing nothing but seeing what I can roll on and what I can’t. Yeah, sometimes, small things amuse me.
The music in the game is pretty good so far, and I doubt it will change too much later in the game. I found myself bopping along to it and even keeping the sound turned up on my 3DS, which I don’t always do while gaming. The beep beep you hear when your Pokémon is hurting is handy for making sure you don’t forget to heal them, which makes it even better that the music is good, since I now have a reason to keep the volume turned up.
I like the cute style of everything in the game, from the fields and paths to the people and the towns. While I don’t like the Blossom quality of the hat I started out with (anyone remember that show?), there are shops in the towns where you can get something less ugly and creepy.
The towns I have been to so far mostly have that small town charm that makes them fun to explore. Even the bigger towns have a nice layout so far, and it has been easy to explore and remember where I have already been. I get lost a lot, so a good layout is important to me. I have found quite a few fun things to do, and I am glad the towns made me want to explore them and see what they had to offer.
There are many things in the game that I have not yet tried, but I am excited to do so! I’ve only had the game for a day or two now, but I am racing through it and trying to experience everything it has to offer. Some of the themes and messages the game conveys really touched me, and I was glad to see them included. These include things like realizing that some Pokémon are different from others and that this is OK, something I think everyone needs to be aware of. When we can use a fun game to help spread that message, it’s even better.
Fellow oprainfall writer Josh Speer, our Pokémon veteran, will be reviewing Pokémon Y, so be sure to check out his impressions! Check back next week to see how this self-admitted newbie feels about the game overall and to see how our experiences differ based on our personalities and level of understanding of the Pokémon world. Until then, have fun catching ’em all!