REVIEW: Pokémon Y

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

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Some of you are perhaps curious about the difficulty of the game. I know some people are cynics and say all Pokémon games are easy, but that is simply not the case. That said, I found Pokémon Y to be far easier to breeze through than White or White 2. Maybe it is a result of my years of playing the series, or the generous mixture of wild Pokémon from various generations, but I managed to get through the main campaign in just under 30 hours with 306 Pokémon in my Pokédex. I found most of the gyms to be less difficult and less creative overall, with a couple notable exceptions. Likewise, the Elite Four weren’t that elite. Frankly, only one member and the Champion gave me any trouble at all. I don’t mean to say I didn’t enjoy the experience, because I certainly did. I just felt it could have been a bit harder.

As far as post-game goes, let me assure you that there is still a lot to do. From the Battle Mansion to Friend Safari to battling through the Restaurants to increase your fame and completing your Pokédex, this is a busy game. I know some people were concerned that this gen had nothing to do after you beat the game, so worry not. However, I do wish there was a bit more to do with my post-game experience. I liked how White 2 had a bunch of towns and routes that only became accessible after you beat the Elite Four. I also enjoyed playing through the Elite Four a second time with better teams, a feature that is sadly lacking this time around. Regardless, I fully anticipate spending hundreds of hours fully completing the game.

Now, there is one aspect of the game that absolutely disappointed me, and that was the plot. Maybe I was spoiled by the plot in Pokémon White and White 2, but I found Team Flare and their machinations to be very generic and underwhelming. There were a few highlights I won’t spoil, and it got genuinely interesting briefly, but afterwards the whole thing just sputtered out and died. I would have appreciated a more menacing villain and group. Maybe it was because Game Freak was more focused on the graphic improvements, but the story simply did not shine in Pokémon Y. Musically, the game was as good as ever, with the main themes being uplifting, and the occasional dramatic tune thrown in for good measure. The various cries of Pokémon have been updated, and I found they worked well. Nothing to write home about, but nothing bad either.

Pokémon Y | Team Flare

Though I enjoyed their design, Team Flare was just an upgraded Team Rocket…

All in all, Pokémon Y was something of a mixed bag. It finally improved the graphics, streamlined the menu selection and added new features. However, many of those new features felt somewhat half-assed, and some were downright pointless. Occasional issues with framerate annoyed me, and I was shocked by the Lumiose City glitch, but more often than not, the game ran smoothly. I will say, I was not bothered by how few Pokémon were introduced this generation, as I thought it was a cool and varied bunch. Game Freak also capitalized on my nostalgia with new Mega Evolutions of some of my favorite old school Pokémon, as well as old school starters.

Pokémon Y | Mega Evolution

He may not be as uber as his X counterpart, but Mega Charizard Y is pretty cool.

I also spent far too much time with character customization after I beat the game, pouring thousands of dollars into a better wardrobe. Overall, though, this generation didn’t quite live up to my, perhaps high, expectations. Yes it was very fun and enjoyable, and will undoubtedly be a great time sink as I strive to complete my Pokédex. But it also had its share of small problems that could have been fixed. If nothing else, however, Pokémon Y should serve as a wonderful new starting point for the series. It may not have been the definitive experience I was hoping for, but it did a lot of work modernizing the series for future generations. That makes Pokémon Y a must-buy game for any Pokémon fan. Now, to finish Super Training my Gourgeist!

Review Score

Review copy purchased by reviewer.

Pokémon X and Y are available for purchase from and

About Josh Speer

Josh is a passionate gamer, finding time to clock in around 30-40 hours of gaming a week. He discovered Operation Rainfall while avidly following the localization of the Big 3 Wii RPGs. He enjoys SHMUPS, Platformers, RPGs, Roguelikes and the occasional Fighter. He’s also an unashamedly giant Mega Man fan, having played the series since he was eight. As Head Editor and Review Manager, he spends far too much time editing reviews and random articles. In his limited spare time he devours indies whole and anticipates the release of quirky, unpredictable and innovative games.

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