Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Joe Reviews: Pokemon X and Y

Pokemon X: Starring the weird reindeer thing from Princess Mononoke...
I know I've talked a lot about Pokemon in the past, what with reviewing the franchise as a whole and talking about Pikachu specifically, but right now I want to talk about the latest games that came out, which I also promised myself I wouldn't get: Pokemon X and Y, or to save space, Pokemon Y.

Pokemon Y drops us off in the Kalos region, yet another area never mentioned before by the Pokemon series (I wonder if they take notes from JK Rowling) were you play as a bright-eyed 10 year old going out to become the best Pokemon trainer ever. Along the way you catch a staggering number of Pokemon (As of this game we're over 600) and meet interesting people in your journey. This go around though "Interesting" is interchangeable to "annoying" as it seems whoever was in charge of dialogue and writing for this game spent the entire time trying to find a way to roll Oreos off his belly and into his mouth.

They look like the kids who play the card game....
Instead of one rival as in the other games here you have a group of four children who pop up periodically on your journey. One is an introverted nerdy kid interested in filling out his Pokedex and nothing else. One is a fat kid hoping to study dance by watching how his Pokemon move. One seems to have parachuted in directly from Sesame Street as her entire motivation is to out-cute her Pokemon, and the last is the closest to an actual rival as she is in this to capture and train Pokemon, though halfway through the story she seems to give up so she can... Actually I have no idea what she wants in the end because the story was so stupid that I started tuning out just to reach end game.

...Is he wearing skinny pants or spandex?
In former Pokemon games the subplot to go with you beating up countless defenseless animals has been whatever the criminal organization of the week is up to. This time around we get Team Flare, who's primary objective seems to be becoming the most fashionable trainers in the world by ending all life on Earth.
Wait, what?

Their leader, a red headed man whom I didn't bother to learn his name, tells us a story about how many hundreds of years ago a man loved a Pokemon very much, but then a horrible war struck and his Pokemon friend was killed. The man then built a giant Final Fantasy crystal machine to bring his Pokemon back from the dead. But apparently the machine also had the power to shoot an energy ball into space that could turn around and hit the earth... Okay I can't go on this is too stupid. Team Rocket's thing about using Pokemon for prophet, yeah I get that. Team Plasma's thing about Pokemon freedom, kinda hypocritical but okay whatever. This game on the other hand has the dumbest story I have ever seen in media, and I've seen three of the Twilight movies. And the weirdest part is that his Team Flare grunts don't even seem to be aware that they're trying to end all life on Earth, they're just concerned about fashion and looking good. The story isn't just stupid, it doesn't make sense.

Team Flare and Marvin the Martian aren't the only story problems though. Every town and place you go there's some person with a problem you have to solve, but as opposed to Pokemon Red and Blue where you actually had to prove yourself to these people before they believe that your ten year old self can actually be of any use, the people in Pokemon Y just look at you and say "I can see your destiny shining bright, here you deserve this!" then give you whatever you want. A prime example is the PokeFlute. In Red you had to use a PokeFlute to wake up a Snorlax lying in the road, a task which took you all over creation to help the guy who told you about the guy who knew the guy who had the stupid thing. Now when you find Snorlax some dude comments on your destiny and sends you to a mansion ten yards down the road, where the owner won't give it to you until his pet poodle is recovered safely.
Except the stupid flute I've had to get like 10 times now...

The poodle is in the back yard.

A yard we can assume it frequents often.

Since it's connected to the house where it lives.

The guy is so grateful that you stepped outside and brought in his dog that not only does he give you the PokeFlute, he sets off fireworks over his house for you. I was playing this part on my way to class on the bus at like 11 AM and so the fireworks were going off in the middle of the day, which made sense since a man who can't GET HIS DOG out of his OWN BACK YARD would presumably not understand that fireworks are traditionally set off AT NIGHT!

So... The writing is bad.

You know this thing sells for like $20 now?
That being said, this is a pretty awesome Pokemon game. They're are 450 some odd types to catch in the game alone without cheating, that's a huge number! Nearly every time I step into an area I find a new Pokemon, either one from the first generation or a brand new thing I've never seen. The game is flooded with nods to players as old as me, like giving you either a Squirtle, Bulbasaur or Charmander at one point early on in the game, thus giving you the ability to raise it instead of your starter. No offense to my new Fennekin, but my fire type when facing the Elite 4 this time was a Charizard named Drogon.

So for me the game is good when you're not talking to NPCs. The catching, playing with other players, battling, breeding and everything else is solid, just a major miss with the world they built with regards to other humans. So give it a try if your hankerin' for some Pokemon action. It'll be worth your time, just tune out whenever you have to read.

P.S. What's your favorite Pokemon experience ever?

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